The Laws of Books

These laws for the care and keeping of books date from 1190 C.E., when Rabbi Judahben Samuel Sir Leon Chassid included them in the Sefer Chbasstdon, or Book of the Pious.  They’re as relevant today as they were nearly a thousand years ago.  Enjoy!

Nor shall a man write any accounts upon the pages of a book or scribble anything on any part of it.

    One must be careful not to keep his books in the same receptacle with food, for fear of the mice nibbling them both.

    If one is unable to press the leaves of a book together in order to fasten the clasp, he shall not place his knees upon it to force it to close.

    If a father dies, and leaves a dog and a book to his sons, one of the children shall not say to the other, “You take the dog and I’ll have the book,” for what a disgraceful contrast are these two objects!

    If one wishes to take a nap, he must first cover his books up, and nor recline upon them.

    If a book has fallen to the ground, and at the same time some money or a sumptuous garment has fallen also, he shall first pick up the book. If a fire breaks out in his house, he shall first rescue his books, and then his other property. Nor shall he ever think the time spent upon attending to books wasted; and even if he finds a book so full of errors as that correction of them would be useless, he shall not destroy the book, but place it in some out-of-the-way corner.

    A man is obliged to be very careful as to the respect due to books, for by not acting thus he is behaving offensively to his fellow-man, whose brain has produced these books.

 

(These rules and other book lore available at Bookseller World.)

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About Dani Alexis

Dani Alexis is the Legal Coordinator at Autonomous Press as well as a freelance writer. When she's not working, she coaches winterguard and waits on the whims of two spoiled cats. Check out her most recent work by subscribing to her Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/noncompliantspace.
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