A Wandering Bible: The Aleppo Codex
---The Fame of the Aleppo Codex
The fame of the Aleppo Codex spread far and wide, and generations of scribes consulted it in order to obtain authoritative answers to their textual queries. In 1599 Rabbi Joseph Caro of Safed, author of the legal code Shulhan Arukh
, sent a copy of the Codex to Rabbi Moses Isserles (the “Rema”) in Cracow, who used it to write his own Torah scroll. Among the many “pilgrims” to Aleppo to examine the Codex, we know of Yishai Hakohen b. Amram Hakohen Amadi of Kurdistan, who visited Aleppo at the end of the 16th century; Moses Joshua Kimhi, who traveled to Aleppo on the instructions of his father-in-law, Rabbi Shalom Shakhna Yellin (1790–1874), a renowned scribe; and Professor Umberto Cassuto, whom the Aleppo community permitted to consult the Codex in 1943, prior to the publication of a critical edition of the Bible by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Not only Jews were fascinated by the celebrated manuscript: Sometime before 1753, a British traveler named Alexander Russell received permission to view the Aleppo Codex; a facsimile of one of the pages of the Codex appears on the title page of a book published in 1877 by a scholar named William Wickes; and in 1910 a missionary named J. Segall published a photographic reproduction of two pages of the manuscript – those containing the Ten Commandments – in his book, Travels through Northern Syria