||A legendary story of a dialogue between R. Yaakov Shimshon of Shepetovka and R. Yehezkel Landau, author of Noda BeYehuda. There is no separate title page. The colophon with the city and printer is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. The running title is "Maaseh Nora'ah" - a terrible (or formidable) incident.
R. Jacob Samson of Shepetovka (d. 1801), rabbi and hasidic leader. A celebrated talmudist, he served as rabbi of Shepetovka, Slavuta, and Bar. He was a disciple of Dov Baer of Mezhirech and Phinehas Shapiro of Korets. His reputation for scholarship advanced the cause of Hasidism among rabbis and scholars. Semilegendary stories attest the impression he left on the greatest rabbis of his generation. He helped to spread Hasidism by selling the books of his teacher Jacob Joseph of Polonnoye. In later years he apparently became a follower of Baruch b. Jehiel of Medzibezh. He went to Erez Israel (1799?), settling in Tiberias where he died. Some of his halakhic works are referred to in books by contemporaries. A booklet entitled Divrei No'am (also other names) describing a (probably legendary) dialogue between him and R. Ezekiel Landau of Prague was popular among Hasidim.
R. Ezekiel b. Judah Landau (1713–1793), halakhic authority of the 18th century, known as the Noda bi-Yehudah, after one of his works. Landau was born in Opatow, Poland, and received his talmudic education in Vladimir-Volinski and Brody. He was endowed with qualities which make him one of the most famous rabbis of the close of the classical Ashkenazi rabbinic era. He came from a wealthy and distinguished family tracing its descent back to Rashi. He had a commanding appearance and rare intellectual ability, was of strong character imbued with a love of truth and of his fellow men, and had considerable diplomatic skill. By nature he was an intellectual ascetic whose main interest lay in the study and teaching of Torah. In his time he was regarded as the prototype of the ideal Jew. At the age of 21 he was already dayyan of Brody, and at 30 rabbi of Yampol. From there he received a call in 1754 to become rabbi of Prague and the whole of Bohemia, one of the highest positions of that time. His famous proclamation of 1752, whose purpose was to put an end to the notorious Emden-Eybeschuetz controversy, which split the Jewish world into two, helped in no small measure in his obtaining this appointment. His tenure of the Prague rabbinate enabled Landau to give practical effect to his outstanding qualities. It afforded ample scope for his rabbinic and communal activity both in Prague itself and beyond. He acted as judge, teacher, and mentor of the community. In his capacity as rabbi of Bohemia, he represented the Jews before the Austrian government. In his great yeshivah, he taught hundreds of students, the cream of Jewish youth from Austria and surrounding countries.