The Aleppo Codex
The Aleppo Codex is the earliest known Hebrew manuscript comprising
the full text of the Bible. It is also the most authoritative, accurate,
and sacred source document, both for the biblical text and for its
vocalization, cantillation and Massorah (literally, "transmission"
of the Bible, the oral and written tradition by which the Holy Scriptures
have been preserved and passed on from generation to generation).
The Codex was copied by the scribe Shlomo Ben-Buya'a over one thousand
years ago. The text was then verified, vocalized, and provided with
the Massorah by Aaron Ben-Asher, the last and most prominent member
of the Ben-Asher dynasty, which shaped the Hebrew text of the Bible.
It was probably the manuscript used by Maimonides when he set down
the exact rules for writing scrolls of the Torah.
The Codex was written in Palestine in the early tenth century,
looted and transferred to Egypt at the end of the eleventh century,
and deposited with the Jewish community of Aleppo in Syria at the
end of the fourteenth century. The rabbis and elders of the community
guarded it zealously for some six hundred years. During the riots
against Jews and Jewish property in Aleppo in December 1947, the
communityâs ancient synagogue was put to the torch and the
Codex, which was kept in the synagogue's "Cave of Elijah,"
suffered damage, so that no more than 295 of the original 487 leaves
In January 1958 the Aleppo Codex was brought to Jerusalem, where
it remains until today.