The printer Chaim Schwarz came from Prague, a centre of Hebrew printing at the time. He arrived in Augsburg via Wroclaw around 1533 and probably stayed here until 1544, before moving on to Ichenhausen in Swabia. Some of the most important Hebrew and Yiddish printed books of the time were produced in Augsburg: among others, two of the oldest printed Yiddish stories, as well as Hebrew prayer books – and the print “Arba’a Turim”, which has now returned to Augsburg.
The “Arba’a Turim” is a halakhic codex and was written by Jakob ben Asher. The title translates as “four pillars” or “four rows”. The work, which is divided into four parts, comments on topics that were of great relevance to the Jewish communities living in the Diaspora, i.e. scattered all over the world: Jewish holidays and prayers, the Jewish dietary laws, Jewish marriage law and Jewish civil and criminal law.
The book is a great document of Augsburg history as Chaim Schwarz’s printing press produced the first Hebrew prints known in modern Germany. It also marks a religious milestone, because “Arba’a Turim” was an important basis for the later and still authoritative collection of laws “Schulchan aruch”.