||Super commentary on the Ba’al ha-Turim on the Torah by R. Naftali Hertz Melahvitz. The title is from, “The refining pot (mitsaref le-kesef) is for silver” (Proverbs 17:3, 27:21). The title page describes Mitsaref le-Kesef as explaining those passages in the Tur that require clarification. It diescribes R. R. Naftali Herz as the author of Mishlo’ah Manot on Megillat Esther and Bet Avot an Pirkei Avot. There is a preface from R. Mordecai Gershon Eliezer Alter ben Joseph Shalom, who brough the book to press and was the editor. There is also a mention of gratitude to five rabbis who gave approbations to the manuscript for this and the other books. Next is the author’s intoroduction followed by the text. Mitsaref le-Kesef covers the entire text, from Bereshit through Zot ha-Berachah, on the Ba’al ha-Turim. The volume concludes with notes (43-44).
R. Jacob ben Asher (1270?–1340) was a major halakhic authority. He was the son of R. Asher b. Jehiel (the Rosh), under whom he studied. In 1303 he accompanied his father from Germany to Toledo, where he lived in great poverty, shunning rabbinical office and devoting all his time to study. In his learning, he avoided prolixity and casuistry. His enduring fame rests upon his major work, the Arba'ah Turim, as a result of which, he is commonly referred to as "the Ba'al ha-Turim." Perceiving that "reasoning had become faulty, controversy had increased, opinions had multiplied, so that there is no halakhic ruling which is free from differences of opinion," he decided to compile a work to embrace all halakhot and customs incumbent upon the individual and the community. The excellence of the work soon led to its dissemination throughout the Diaspora. Its authority has been recognized and accepted by all Jewish scholars throughout the generations, many of whom (including R. Joseph Caro, R. Moses Isserles, R. Isaac Aboab, R. Jacob ibn Habib, R. Joel Sirkes, and R. Hayyim Benveniste) wrote commentaries on it, and made prMcis of it. When R. Caro wrote his major work, the Beit Yosef (with the Turim ed. of Wilmersdorf, 1720–27), he decided to "base it upon the Turim... because it contains most of the views of the posekim." He also wrote a comprehensive commentary on the Pentateuch (Zolkiew, 1806), containing the best expositions of the peshat ("literal meaning") by earlier Bible commentators, such as Saadiah Gaon, Rashi, R. Abraham ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, and others, in particular abstracting "the straightforward explanations" from the commentary of Nahmanides and disregarding the kabbalistic ones, since "my soul has not entered its secret" (cf. Gen. 49:6). Mitsaref le-Kesef is based on this work.