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Bidding Information
Lot #    10723
Auction End Date    5/24/2005 2:46:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Amud ha-Avodah
Title (Hebrew)    עמוד העבודה
Author    [Hasidim - Kabbalah -First Ed.] R. Baruch of Kosov
City    Czernowitz (Chernovtsy)
Publisher    John Eckhardt and Son
Publication Date    1854
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. [2], 5-6, 202 ff., 230:175 mm., wide margins, light age and damp staining, title repaired, stamps on several ff. A good copy bound in modern half cloth and marbled paper boards.
   Kabbalistic homilies by R. Baruch ben Abraham Kosover. The title page describes Amud ha-Avodah as part two of Yesod ha-Emunah, a considerably smaller work printed the same year, also in Czernowitz. Amud ha-Avodah has a page of approbations and an index followed by the text, which is partially printed on bluish paper. It has an introduction from R. Baruch followed by an explanation of unfamiliar terms and the text. Amud ha-Avodah, in contrast to Yesod ha-Emunah, which is on the Pentateuch and miscellanies, is on the basic questions of Kabbalah, and explains the essence of spiritual entities. Although written in about 1763 it was not printed until 1854.

R. Baruch ben Abraham of Kosov (Kosover, c. 1725/30–1795) was a noted kabbalist. He was a disciple of R. Menahem Mendel of Vitebsk and also studied with R. Menahem Mendel of Przemyslany for a short while. R. Baruch became Maggid in Kosov. In his sermons he tried to make the kabbalist doctrine, as taught mainly by R. Isaac Luria and R. Hayyim Vital, easily comprehensible by the use of explanatory metaphors. According to R. Baruch, R. Luria was the highest authority on Kabbalah. Therefore, he advised all who wished to study the Zohar, first to read R. Luria and R. Vital.R. Baruch interpreted (as did R. oseph Ergas) R. Luria’s doctrine of zimzum (i.e., G-d's self-willed withdrawal), as a metaphor and not as an actual fact. On this point he argued against the realistic interpretation of R. Immanuel Hai Ricchi. R. Baruch taught that the true life of every material entity was conditioned by its spiritual aspect. He therefore contended that full surrender and complete attachment to G-d was possible because this was an intellectual discipline originating in a love which knows no limits. He maintained that it was possible to attain a concept of things, first through the senses, then on a higher level, through the imagination, and finally, at the highest stage, through wisdom. It was only through wisdom that one could perceive the spiritual quality inherent in every material being. Only wisdom had the capacity to feel the pain which the soul inevitably felt when man committed a sin. R. Baruch conceded that the questions of predestination and free will were so difficult as to be unanswerable. Nevertheless he believed in both, and counseled unconditional belief in them (Ammud ha-Avodah, 54–55, 107; Yesod ha-Emmunah, 76–99). R. Baruch was totally and aggressively against the followers of Shabbetai Zevi and Jacob Frank. In 1760 his antagonism to the latter apparently motivated him to begin writing his books with the aim of refuting the anthropomorphism applied by Frankists to the basic concepts of Kabbalah. From 1761 he had started to collect from learned authorities their written commentaries on the manuscripts of his books. However, it was only in 1854 that they were actually printed in Czernowitz.

Paragraph 2    והוא החלק השני מספר יסוד האמונה ... ללמד דעת ... ליראה את ה' ולאהבה ... בדברי אגדה. ובדרושים ... גם לחקר עיוני על דרכי ההגיון ... ויותר מהמה ... מפתח ביד איש ואיש לפתוח שערי הקבלה ... רדה דבש מגוית האר"י ויחלק לכל העם ... יפנה לשני ראשים ... האחד ... על דרך שואל ומשיב ... השני יעבור על קונטריסים והוא בדרושים. כל אלה חוברו יחד. ניתנו מרועה אחד ... מוה' ברוך במוה אברהם מקאסוב המכונה בפי כל ר' ברוך קאסובר ... הובא לבית הדפוס ע"י ... מוה' משולם היללער בהמנוח מוה' שמעון ארי' ז"ל: וע"י ... נכדי בעל המחבר ... מוהר"ר משה בהרב המנוח ... אברהם בן המחבר ... מוה' אליעזר בהמנוח מוה' יחיאל מיכל כ"ץ בן בתו של המחבר ...

הסכמות ר' מנחם מענדיל ב"ר אליעזר מפרעמשלאן אשר נסע סוף ימיו לאה"ק; ר' משה אב"ד דק"ק דראגיטשין ולע"ע בק"ק סאמבור, כד אייר תקכ"ה [הועתקו מספר יסוד האמונה].

   EJ; Vinograd, Czernowitz 109; CD-EPI 0114109
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Hasidic:    Checked
Kabbalah:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica