||Two ethical works by by R. Isaac ben Solomon Farhi. Matok la-Nefesh is moral homilies, “‘reproofs of instruction are the way of life’ (Proverbs 6:23) to chastise and reprove oneself and others.” Matok mi-Devash begins with verse in praise of the book, followed by an introduction from R. Farhi, and the text, which is organized in nineteen chapters. It concludes with prayers (tehinot) to be said to humble the heart, and errata. The second ethical work is Matok mi-Devash, “words of mussar which I the youth wrote to fulfill what King Solomon wrote, ‘Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her; for she is your life’” (Proverbs 4:13). R. Farhi’s introduction is followed by the text in eleven chapters.
R. Isaac ben Solomon Farhi (1782-1853) dayyan in Jerusalem, belonged to the distinguished family of financiers in Damascus during the 18th and 19th centuries, who held the position of sarraf (banker) in the province of Damascus during the 1740s and possibly even earlier. R. Farsi was born in Safed. The Jerusalem rabbinate sent him to Europe to raise funds for the poor; it was while he was an emissary that he printed many of his books in Livorno. In addition to Matok la-Nefesh and Matok mi-Devash, R. Farhi was also the author of Tuv Yerushalayim (Jerusalem, 1842), Zekhut ha-Rabbim (Constantinople, 1829), Imrei Binah (Bilagrado, 1837), Zekhut u-Mishor (Smyrna, 1850), Zuf Devash (Livorno, 1849), Shevet Mishor (Belgrade, 1837), Marpe la-Ezem (Constantinople, 1830), Musar Haskel (Constantinople, 1830), and Minei Metikah (Livorno, 1848).