Considered by some to be the first Hebrew book ever printed, this collection of responsa belongs to a group of Hebrew books printed in Rome between 1469 and 1472, some fifteen years after Guttenberg’s invention of moveable type. Responsa are replies to questions addressed to Jewish authorities on matters of Jewish law; the earliest examples still extant date back to the mid-eighth century. The responsa displayed here were written by Solomon ibn Adret, a renowned Jewish authority from thirteenth–century Barcelona who influenced Jewish communities from Spain to Asia Minor.
On the page open here, the rabbi is asked about someone who lives in one city but owns property in another – according to which community’s laws should the property be taxed? The answer affirms the right of every community to regulate itself in such matters and upholds the binding nature of local custom as a legal principle in Jewish law.