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Bidding Information
Lot #    6448
Auction End Date    1/13/2004 1:50:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Netivot Olam
Title (Hebrew)    נתיבות עולם
Author    [First Ed.] R. Judah Loew
City    Prague
Publisher    Gerson b. Bezalel
Publication Date    1595-96
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 131 ff., folio, 284:183 mm., usual staining (acidic ink in all copies of this work), wide margins. A very good copy bound in modern full calf boards.
   Systematic work on ethics, the second part of Derekh Hayyim. The work is most often quoted by Rabbis in homiles for its numerous insights into religion and its proper observance. In Ch. 9 the Maharal states "Pronouncing the words of the Torah alone is not the desired goal. The main goal of learning Torah is understanding what is learnt, and it is normally impossible to fully understand any part of the Torah." A concept still in need of digestion by modern Jewry.

R. Judah b. Bezalel Loew (known as Der Hohe Rabbi Loew and Ma-Ha-Ra-L mi-Prag; c. 1525–1609), rabbi, talmudist, moralist, and mathematician. R. Judah Loew was the scion of a noble family which hailed from Worms. His father, R. Bezalel b. Hayyim, was brother-in-law of R. Isaac Klauber of Posen, the grandfather of R. Solomon Luria. R. Judah Loew's older brother, R. Hayyim b. Bezalel, and his two younger brothers, Sinai and Samson, were also scholars of repute. (According to one tradition, however, Judah was the youngest son.) His teachers are unknown. From 1553 to 1573 he was Landesrabbiner of Moravia in Mikulov (Nikolsburg) after which he went to Prague. There he founded a yeshivah called Die Klaus, organized circles for the study of the Mishnah, to which he attached great importance, and regulated the statutes of the hevra kaddisha, founded in 1564. He remained in Prague until 1584, and from then until 1588 served as rabbi in Moravia (according to others, in Posen), eventually returning to Prague. On the third of Adar 5352 (Feb. 16, 1592) he was granted an interview by Emperor Rudolph II, but it is not known what its purpose was. There seems little basis for the belief that it was due to their common interest in alchemy. Shortly afterward he left Prague for Posen, where he became chief rabbi, and several years later again returned to Prague, becoming its chief rabbi and remaining there until his death.

Paragraph 2    המה נתיבות יושר ודרכי המדות המשובחות. אשר נמצאו בדברי חז"ל ([מאת ר'] יהודה ליווא בן... בצלאל)...

בשער הפרט: ש'נ'"ה' טובה. בקולופון: תם ונשלם... יו' ד אלול שנ"ו. מעבר לשער: סדר בעל המחבר הזה חבורו לשני חלקים. החלק הראשון... דרך החיים והוא פי' למסכת אבות... והחלק השיני הזה נקרא נתיבות עולם והוא מה ששאל וחקר המחבר י"ץ אחר ל"ב נתיבות חכמה בחפוש כל התלמוד וכל מדרשי חז"ל... וקבצם המחבר ... וביאר מאמריהם. שם המחבר בנתיב הלשון, פרק ט.

   CD-EPI 0138985; B. Z. Bokser, From the World of the Cabbalah—the Philosophy of Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague (1954); F. Thieberger, The Great Rabbi Loew of Prague (1954); Kohen-Yashar, Bibliografyah Shimmushit shel Kitvei ha-Maharal mi-Prag (1967); EJ; JE
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Other:    Bohemia
Other:    Ethics
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica