||Two works by or ascribed to R. Leone (Judah Aryeh) Modena, Sha’agat Aryeh and Kol Sakhal, published under the title Behinat ha-Kabbalah. There are two title pages, the first, headed Examen Traditionis, is in Latin, followed by a Hebrew title page, which is dated, behinat ha-kabbalah בחינת הקבלה (612=1852). Behinat ha-Kabbalah was published by Isaac Samuel Reggio, who also wrote the introduction. Sha’agat Aryeh and Kol Sakhal comprise the first part of Behinat ha-Kabbalah. The second part (pp. 71-268), with its own title page is Reggio’s arguments that R. Modena was indeed the author of Kol Sakhal.
Sha’agat Aryeh has been described as “a gentle but comprehensive defense of rabbinic Judaism against the anti rabbinic treatise called Kol Sakhal.” Whether R. Modena also wrote Kol Sakhal is a matter of considerable dispute. Kol Sakhal was, apparently mistakenly, ascribed to R. Modena by Reggio and Abraham Geiger, an accusation strongly refuted by E. Rivkin. Kol Sakhal may in fact have been written by Amitai bar Yedaiah ibn Raz, a Jew from the Spanish city of Alcala (de Henares?).
R. Leone (Judah Aryeh) Modena (da Modena, 1571–1648), described as an “infant prodigy and hoary prodigal” is among the most fascinating Jews of the Renaissance. He was born in Venice, to a distinguished family of French origin settled in Italy from the 14th century, and raised in Ferrara. Well educated in rabbinic and secular subjects, including music and dance, Modena had, by early adolescence, written a rabbinic responsum on prayer, translated Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and prepared a work on gambling (Sur Mera, Venice, 1595). In 1592 R. Modena moved to Venice where, among the twenty six occupations listed in his autobiography, are serving in the rabbinate, teaching, writing letters, and preaching regularly. He was a prolific writer on a wide variety of subjects. His first two published books are Sur Mera - its topic not withstanding R. Modena was a compulsive gambler- and Sod Yesharim on segulot.