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Bidding Information
Lot #    24713
Auction End Date    9/22/2009 11:27:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Torat Moshe (Alshekh al ha-Torah)
Title (Hebrew)    תורת משה
Author    [R. Joshua Isaac Shapira (Eizel Harif) Copy]
City    Amsterdam
Publisher    Jacob b. Solomon Proophs
Publication Date    1777
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   5, 88 ff., 258:203 mm., wide margins, light age staining, old hands and stamps on title. A very good copy bound in modern half cloth boards.
Paragraph 1    The R. Joshua Isaac Shapira (Eizel Harif) copy with his signature on title. R. Joshua Isaac b. Jehiel Shapira (Eizel Harif; d. 1873), rabbi and talmudist. Known as Eizel Harif ("sharp") because he was one of the keenest intellects and most outstanding pilpulists of his day, he was av bet din successively at Kalvarija, Kutno, Tiktin, and, finally, Slonim.

R. Shapira was the author of (1) Emek Yehoshua (1942), in two parts: part 1-24 responsa on the Shulhan Arukh; part 2-16 occasional homilies; (2) Nahalat Yehoshu'a (1851), in two parts: part 1-responsa on several halakhot and various subjects in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds; part 2-Sabbath and festival homilies, and, at the end, a eulogy on his father; (3) No'am Yerushalmi, commentary and glosses on the Jerusalem Talmud-on Zera'im (1863), Mo'ed (1866), Nashim (1868), Nezikin (1869); (4) Ibbei ha-Nahal (1855?), homilies; (5) Sefat ha-Nahal (1859), homilies and comments on aggadot in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds; (6) Azat Yehoshu'a (1868), commentary on the questions asked by the "sages of Athens" (Bek. 8b); (7) Marbeh Ezah (1870), commentary on the aggadic statements of Rabbah bar Hana; (8) Marbeh Tevunah (1872), on the basic principles of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. Shapira was one of the few scholars in his generation who attached as much value to the Jerusalem Talmud as to the Babylonian, a fact amply reflected in his commentaries.

   Part I (I of V) of commentary on Pentateuch by R. Moses b. Hayyim Alshekh (c. 1520-1593), rabbi and Bible commentator, born in Adrianople or Damascus. He studied in Salonika under R. Joseph Taitazak and R. Joseph Caro, and then emigrated to Erez Israel, settling in Safed, where he gained prominence as an halakhic authority, a teacher in two talmudic academies, and a preacher. He was active in communal affairs and was a member of the rabbinical court of R. Joseph Caro, who conferred upon him the full ordination which had been reintroduced by R. Jacob Berab. The Alshekh in turn ordained in 1590 R. Hayyim Vital, who was his disciple in halakhah. His major field of interest was halakhah but, acceding to requests to preach on Sabbaths, in the course of preparing his sermons he occupied himself also with Bible exegesis. He also engaged in the study of the Kabbalah, from which he derived the fundamentals of his religious philosophy. According to one tradition, R. Isaac Luria sought to dissuade him from pursuing kabbalistic studies. About 1590 The Alshekh visited the Jewish communities of Syria and Turkey, and perhaps also of Persia, in the interests of Safed Jewry. He also sent an appeal on behalf of the Safed community to Italy and other countries. The last information about him was from Damascus. He participated there in a rabbinical court session in the spring of 1593. He passed on soon after at a venerable age.

The Alshekh reworked his sermons into commentaries to most of the books of the Bible. Several of these commentaries appeared during his lifetime: Havazzelet ha-Sharon (Constantinople, 1563; Venice, 159 1) on Daniel; Shoshannat ha-Amakim (Venice, 1591) on the Song of Songs; Rav Peninim (ibid., 1592) on Proverbs; and Torat Moshe (Constantinople, c. 1593) on Genesis. About 1597–98 there appeared in Constantinople his commentary on the first Book of Psalms under the title of Tappuhei Zahav. This edition was criticized by the Alshekh's son R. Hayyim in the introduction to his own edition of his father's commentary on the Psalms. R. Hayyim Alshekh averted that the manuscript of Tappuhei Zahav had been stolen from him and represented a first draft only of his father's commentary.

Between 1600 and 1607, R. Hayyim Alshekh reissued in Venice some of the commentaries published by his father and printed those which had remained in manuscript. They were: Torat Moshe on the whole of the Pentateuch, Einei Moshe on Ruth, Devarim Nehumim on Lamentations, Devarim Tovim on Ecclesiastes, Masat Moshe on Esther (all 1601); Helkat Mehokkek on Job (1603) and Marot ha-Zove'ot on the early and Later Prophets, with the exception of Ezekiel (1603–07); and Romemot El on the Psalms (1605).

The Alshekh's commentaries, which are permeated with religious - ethical and religious - philosophical ideas supported by ample quotations from talmudic and midrashic sources, became very popular and have often been reprinted. Some of the commentaries appeared also in abbreviated versions. Hayyim Alshekh also published his father's responsa (Venice, 1605). Alshekh was the author of a dirge on the "exile of the Shekhinah," which became part of Tikkun Hazot. Never published and subsequently lost were She'arim, a book of a religious-philosophical nature; a commentary on Genesis Rabbah; and a talmudical work. The commentaries on Avot and on the Passover Haggadah printed under the name of Alshekh, are not original works but compilations from his commentaries on the Bible.

Paragraph 2    ... בשלשה מעלות ... א. במראה מקומות מפסוקי תנ"ך. ודפי ופרקי דר"א הגדול. ומאמרי הש"ס. וזוהר הקדוש. עם סימני הפרשיות ממדרשי רב"ות ושאר מפרשים ... ב. יצא לחלק בין פסוק לפסוק. ולהפריד בין ענין לענין ... ג. הרבה דברים חידושים נפלאים מאדונינו ... מהור"ר שאול נר"ו אב"ד ור"מ דקהלתינו קהל אשכנזים ...

בשנת א'ל'ה' הדברים א'ש'ר' דבר משה

   EJ; CD-EPI 0120895; EJ; Rosanies, Togarmah, 3 (1938), 276 ff.
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Holland:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica