Monday, January 4, 2010

Kitsur SMaK?

The following question was received at the library’s reference email:

The Kitzur Sma"k (which I'm sure you won't confuse with the Kitzur Sma"g) was compiled by a Christian Hebraist, and for that reason is of no interest to Jews and is not found in any university library that I have been able to find in Israel, nor in yours, Oxford's, Harvard's, nor in the Bibliothèque nationale de France -- at least as far as I can tell by internet. I once saw its Latin introduction, in which the author requests (unlike every other author I have ever seen) that if the reader finds anything objectionable, he should blame not the author, but his (Jewish) source. I would like to quote this, but cannot find the book anywhere. Do you know where it is? Can you at least tell me the name of its author?

The reference appears to be to a book that summarizes Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil’s 13th century work on the commandments. Isaac ben Joseph’s original work is entitled Amude Golah or Sefer Mitsvot Katan (and is often referred to by the latter title’s acronym: SMaK). The librarians here have, so far, been unable to identify a work that attempts to summarize the SMaK. We would like to put this question to all the readers of this blog in the hope that someone may have the needed information. Is there anyone out there who can identify the author and exact title of the referenced work? Does anyone know of a library that owns this item?


  1. See Avraham Yosef Havatselet's article, 'Kitzur ha-Semag le-mi?', Moriah 16, 5-6 (1988), pp. 34-40.

  2. You might be referring to:

    "Mitsvot haTorah - Catalogus omnium praeceptorum legis Mosaicae quae ab Hebraeis"

    It was translated into Latin and published by Sebastian Munster in 1533 in Basel. However, that is a translation of the Smag, not the Smak.