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The Twin Contexts 229

by David Joshua Malkiel
The Twin Contexts 229 their focus and character  could be identified, however loosely, with religious occasions. 105  Establishing the norms and mores of legitimate feasting became the responsibility of the communal leadership, and the Libro Grande rules represent a typical  communal elaboration of the laws concern for responsible feasting. 106 These Libro Grande rules  have their analogy in contemporary Venetian sumptuary law. 107  In January 1611 the Pompe office decreedthat  no one can throw  more than two banquets for the occasion of a marriage: one of sixty  place settings for the betrothal, and  one of one hundred place settings for the nuptials. The cooks and servants were ordered to come to the government office for particulars about the permitted quantity and quality of meats, and the number of guests. 108 The Libro Grande statute now switches over to the topic of food gifts, dealing with nuptials, the third day following a circumcision, and the Saturday on which a newly- delivered mother attends the synagogue services. This list is followed  by the rules for the traditional Purim exchange of food gifts. 109  Finally, the statute shifts to 105 E. g. SA, OH, # 670: 2. The celebration of the completion  of tractates, discussed in chapter seven, is part of this same phenomenon. 106 Sumptuary law shows little tendency towards standardization,  revealing, rather, an impressive degree of variation, even within a fairly small geographical and temporal range. During the early seventeenth century, the Jewish communities of Padua and Mantua passed sumptuary laws concerning celebrations, that were quite different from those of Venice. See Carpi, Pinkas... 364, pp. 146- 7, 377- 8, 469; Simonsohn, History, pp. 532- 5, 540. Cf. also the Forli legislation of 1418 [ Finkelstein, Jewish, pp. 286, 293- 294], which was far less restrictive than the Libro Grande with regard to the number of guests at wedding and circumcision parties, and set no limits on the quantity and quality  of foods served. It was, however, more restrictive with regard to dress. 107 On Venetian feasting,  see Molmenti, Venezia, pp. 455- 488. See  also above, chapter six, I. 108 ASV, Magistrato  alle Pompe, Capitolare, r. 1, f. 86r, cited in Bistort, Il Magistrato, p. 99. The mandatory visit to the Pompe office may have meant to secure approval of the proposed guest list and menu,  rather than information about them, since this is provided in the statute. 109 Purim was formalized as the occasion for financial gifts. The Small  Assembly hired an additional beadle in 1617, and one of his financial benefits was that he was to  have his Purim, like the other beadles [ 204r]. The Knesiah Le- Shem Shamayim confraternity bought a present for its teacher every Purim. See JTS MS. 3594, f. 10v. Cf. Carpi, Pinkas... 364, index, s. v. Purim.   Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index t t t t t

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The Twin Contexts 229 their focus and character could be identified, however loosely, with religious occasions. 105 Establishing the norms and mores of legitimate feasting became the responsibility of the communal leadership, and the Libro Grande rules represent a typical communal elaboration of the law's concern for responsible feasting. 106 These Libro Grande rules have their analogy in contemporary Venetian sumptuary law. 107 In January 1611 the Pompe office decreed that no one can throw more than two banquets for the occasion of a marriage: one of sixty place settings for the betrothal, and one of one hundred place settings for the nuptials. The cooks and servants were ordered to come to the government office for particulars about the permitted quantity and quality of meats, and the number of guests. 108 The Libro Grande statute now switches over to the topic of food gifts, dealing with nuptials, the third day following a circumcision, and the Saturday on which a newly- delivered mother attends the synagogue services. This list is followed by the rules for the traditional Purim exchange of food gifts. 109 Finally, the statute shifts to 105 E. g. SA, OH, # 670: 2. The celebration of the completion of tractates, discussed in chapter seven, is part of this same phenomenon. 106 Sumptuary law shows little tendency towards standardization, revealing, rather, an impressive degree of variation, even within a fairly small geographical and temporal range. During the early seventeenth century, the Jewish communities of Padua and Mantua passed sumptuary laws concerning celebrations, that were quite different from those of Venice. See Carpi, Pinkas... 364, pp. 146- 7, 377- 8, 469; Simonsohn, History, pp. 532- 5, 540. Cf. also the Forli legislation of 1418 [ Finkelstein, Jewish, pp. 286, 293- 294], which was far less restrictive than the Libro Grande with regard to the number of guests at wedding and circumcision parties, and set no limits on the quantity and quality of foods served. It was, however, more restrictive with regard to dress. 107 On Venetian feasting, see Molmenti, Venezia, pp. 455- 488. See also above, chapter six, I. 108 ASV, Magistrato alle Pompe, Capitolare, r. 1, f. 86r, cited in Bistort, Il Magistrato, p. 99. The mandatory visit to the Pompe office may have meant to secure approval of the proposed guest list and menu, rather than information about them, since this is provided in the statute. 109 Purim was formalized as the occasion for financial gifts. The Small Assembly hired an additional beadle in 1617, and one of his financial benefits was that he was to \\" have his Purim, like the other beadles\\" [ 204r]. The Knesiah Le- Shem Shamayim confraternity bought a present for its teacher every Purim. See JTS MS. 3594, f. 10v. Cf. Carpi, Pinkas... 364, index, s. v. Purim. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t t t t t
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