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The President's Mysterious Manuscript

When the President of Israel, Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin, presented the National Library with a manuscript from his father's estate, Middle East expert Prof. Yosef Yoel Rivlin, the Library did not expect to be handed such a treasure.


צילום: חנן כהן, הספרייה הלאומית 

President Reuven Rivlin presents the mansucript to the Chairman of the Library David Bloomberg at the National Library cornerstone ceramony (Photographer: Hanan Cohen, The National Library of Israel)




During the cornerstone ceramony of the new National Library building in Jerusalem, President Rivlin presented a Persian-Jewish manuscript, copied in 1899. It contains Persian Piyutim and Liturgical poems previously unknown and extremely rare. During the cataloguing process it was clear that this was a major discovery in the research and history of Persian Jewry.


 "Poem for a Brit Milah", from the manuscript 


The National Library is currently working hard to digitize the content of the manuscript, scanning it and putting it online so it can be available and accessible for researchers and anyone else who wishes to view it from around the world.


A previously unknown piyut by Bahb Ben Lutuf, from the manuscript


It is interesting to note that the manuscript's author is unknown. However, the listing of owners prior to the Rivlin estate,  reveals that  the previous owner had passed away in 1978 – approximately a year before the Iranian Revolution which brought about the severing of diplomatic relations between Israel and Iran.


The births and deaths of the previous manuscript owners, from the manuscript