Parashah Book (Genesis 12:3-17:27)
Ms. 952 (Chinese 32)
mid-17 th century
ink on paper; 16.1 x 16.3 cm.
London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews
Lasting Jewish communal activity in China dates to the 10th century, with its longest-lived
community in Kaifeng, on the Yellow River. The community originally spoke Judeo-Persian,
and manuscript evidence suggests some use of that language into the 17th century.
The known manuscript codices from the Jewish community of Kaifeng were brought from
Kaifeng to Shanghai in 1850 where they were acquired in 1851 by representatives of the London
Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews. The Society preserved the collection in
London until 1924 when Hebrew Union College Librarian, Adolph S. Oko, purchased a
collection of 59 texts, the large majority of extant manuscripts.
The condition of the texts varies greatly from nearly pristine to severely water-damaged. Written
on thin rice paper the leaves were either pasted together or later pasted onto thicker stock to
stabilize the texts. The text is written in Chinese square Hebrew letters, and the Hebrew is
inconsistently pointed, with numerous misspellings, attesting to an attenuated knowledge of
Hebrew orthography. In addition to the Hebrew there are a few instances of Chinese characters
in the text as well as numerous examples of Judeo-Persian, used for titles, headings, colophons,
and for liturgical directions.
f. 1r-4v: Obituary for the author’s father Meir Hayim Cohen Belinfante.
f. 5r-6v: Obituary for Solomon de Oliveira, 1708.
f. 7r-10v: Obituary for Joseph Senior, chairman of the pious society Honen dalim, 1715.
f. 11r-13v: Obituary for Isaac Abarbanel Arides, member of the pious society Yadrekh anavim.
f. 13v-16v: Obituary for David Raphael de Meza, member of the pious society Yadrekh anavim, 1716.
f. 16v-20r: Obituary for David ben Joseph Belmonte, member of the same society, 1717.
f. 20v-24r: Obituary for Moses Hezeqiah Mocata, 1718.
f. 24r-26v: Obituary for the author’s mother Reina Belinfante, 1725.
f. 26v-28r: Obituary for Daniel da Fonseca, 1721.
f. 28r-31r: Obituary for Daid Hezeqiah Suasso Brito, 1719.
f. 31r-34v: Obituary for Aaron Fernandes Nunes, 1726.
f. 34v-37r: Obituary for the author’s father-in-law Eliah Hacohen, alias Persiano, 1720.
f. 37v-41v: Obituary for Raphael ben David Curiel, 1723.
f. 42r-44v: Obituary for Isaac de Crasto de Paz and Moses Josuah Fermy, preceptors of the pious society Yadrekh anavim, 1726.
f. 45r--47r: Obituary for Abraham ben Isaac Zuzarte, 1733.
f. 47v-48v: Obituaryfor Hayim Fernandes, 1734.
f. 48v-50r: Obituary for Eliah Hezeqiah di Mattos, 1736.
f. 51r-54r: Obituaryfor Perla Ahuvi, 1743.
f. 54v-57v: Obituary for Isaac da Costa Athias and Samuel Ahuvi, members of the pious society Yadrekh anavim, 1733.
f. 58r-59r: Obituary for David Gutieres, 1736.
f. 59v-61r: Obituary for Solomon Lopes Colaço, 1738.
f. 61r-63r: Obituary for Benjamin Nunes Enriquez, 1731.
f. 63v-65r: Obituary for Josuah Jessurun Rodriguez, 1723.
f. 66v-68r: Obituary for Rebeccah Nunes Carvalho, 1732.
f. 68v-70r: Obituary for Esther (unreadable), 1733.
f. 70r-72r: Obituary for Isaac Raphael ben Abraham de Meza, 1733.
f. 72r-74v: Obituary for David Salom Moreno, member of Yadrekh anavim, 1741.
f. 74v-75v: Obituary for Joseph de Campos Pereira, 1741.
f. 75v-77r: Obituary for David ben Abraham Zuzarte, 1742.
f. 77r-79r: Obituary for Jacob Nunes Mendes.
f. 79r-80v: Obituary for Abigael Roccamora.
f. 80v-86v: Obituary for Sarah Hannah, wife of Abraham Zuzarte.
f. 86v-89r: Obituary for David Pereira Brandon.
f. 87v-89r: Obituary for David Zuzarte.
f. 89v-95v: Zikhron teru’ah, obituary for the father of the author, translation from Spanish into Hebrew by Isaac Cohen Belinfante, with short history of the family Cohen Belinfante.
For the copyist cf. EH 47 D 32 06.