Sefer Asufot

Sefer ha-Asufot[1] (Hebrew: ספר האסופות; lit. "book of the collections") is the name of a 14th-century compilation of medieval German Jewish Halakha and Minhagim, the manuscript of which is currently held in the Montefiore College Library. The work includes a large number of teachings, minhagim, descriptions of popular costumes, halachic rulings, and collected stories from numerous authors, displaying the ordinary life of Rhineland Jews in during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The manuscript is endowed with vowel-signs almost throughout, which makes it the only non-liturgical and non-Biblical text of its kind.[2]

Original titleספר האסופות
CountryRhineland, Germany
Publication date
14th century


The contest of the work mostly deal with the laws relating to divorce, Rosh Hashanah, tefillin, the ritual slaughtering of animals, the observance of Shabbat and the observance of Passover, with a description of the ritual of the Seder. The work also discuses medical prescriptions, charms, marriage ceremonies, numerous commercial and religious contracts, various forms of excommunication, and mourning and burial customs. Lastly, at the end of the work is a summary of all material discussed. The vocalization of the work has been studied by scholars, who have concluded that medieval German Ashkenazi vocalization was much akin to contemporary Sephardic vocalization.[2][3]


The author of Sefer Asufot compiles several rich literary resources, which displays more interest in every branch of religious life than the majority of similar compilers. Particularly, the author often mentions local customs and even superstitions. Additionally, the accuracy with which he indicates the sources of his information is far beyond his contemporaries. From a philological point of view, the book possesses considerable interest, from the fact that numerous German glosses are found in the text that explain difficult or obscure terms, and some that show, incidentally, the intimate knowledge of German possessed by the Jews of that time.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ Sefer ha-Asufot. London. Jews College 132 (Montefiore 115).
  2. ^ a b c "ASUFOT -". Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  3. ^ a b Fine, Lawrence (2001-11-18). Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages Through the Early Modern Period. Princeton University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-691-05787-3.
  4. ^ Marcus, Ivan G. (1998). Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Acculturation in Medieval Europe. Yale University Press. pp. 29–31. ISBN 978-0-300-07658-5.