New Edition of the Rif
Ezra Chwat of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts has posted at Giluy Milta B’alma about the conclusions of research into the manuscripts of Hilchot ha-Rif that were done in preparation for a new edition that will be published by Maor in their edition of the Talmud. To be blunt, and possible extreme in the use of language, the printed editions of the Rif are practically worthless if one wants to know what the Rif actually wrote and what text was used by the Rambam and most Rishonim.
The post includes numerous examples of:
1. Intentional changes. 2. Defective copy. 3. Additional passages that corrupt the resulting decision. 4. Extracted passages that corrupt the resulting decision.
Chwat writes that just in Tractate Shabbat 2,411 differences were found between the printed editions and the manuscripts. In the last chapter of Moed Katan there were 377 differences and in the last chapter of PesaḥI’m 207 differences. I hope that Maor will also published a stand alone edition of the Rif so that people don’t have to buy a new edition of the Talmud in order to benefit from all of this important work that has been done.