||On the transmigration of the soul by the renowned kabbalist R. Menahem Azariah Da Fano. The text is constructed about the letters of the Hebrew alphabet instead of chapters. The title page, which is undated, informs that it was brought to press by R. Shimon ben Ephraim Judah of “Eisenstadt. At the end of the volume are errata followed by approbations from R. Aaron ben Jekutiel Segal, R. Nahman ben Zevi Hirsch, and R. Nathan Nuta ben Samuel, all of Shklov. The text is in a single column in rabbinic type, excepting headers and initial words which are in square letters. There are signatures on the title page and final text page.
R. Menahem Azariah Da Fano, (1548–1620), an Italian rabbi and noted kabbalist, was the scion of a wealthy family and a prolific author. He was a recognized authority on rabbinic law and the foremost exponent in the West of the kabbalistic system of R. Moses Cordovero. Under the influence of R. Israel Sarug, who during his stay in Italy spread the knowledge of the mystical system of R. Isaac Luria, R. Menahem Azariah became an admirer of the latter, though without departing from the system of R. Moses Cordovero. A pupil of R. Ishmael Hanina of Valmontone in Ferrara, he was active in Ferrara, Venice, Reggio, and Mantua. Together with his brothers he aided the victims of the earthquake of 1570. He was a patron of Jewish learning, contributing funds for the publication of such works as R. Cordovero's Pardes Rimmonim (Salonika, 1584) and R. Joseph Caro's commentary Kesef Mishneh (Venice, 1574–76) on Maimonides' Code.
R. Fano's fame as a talmudist is borne out by the collection of 130 responsa bearing his name which was published in 1600 in Venice and in 1788 in Dyhernfurth. His style of writing was precise and he displayed considerable originality in the views he expressed. He enjoyed great popularity as a teacher, attracting students from far and wide, from Germany as well as Italy. One of his disciples compared him to an angel of God in appearance. His gentleness and humility showed themselves in his refusal to answer adverse criticism leveled against him by a contemporary scholar on account of certain statements he made with regard to the ritual of the lulav on the festival of Tabernacles. R. Amadeo Recanati dedicated to him his Italian translation of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed; R. Isaiah Horowitz praised his theological treatise Yonat Elem (Amsterdam, 1648) saying of it, "the overwhelming majority of his words, and perhaps all of them, are true, and his Torah is true" (introduction to Novelot Hokhmah (Basle, 1631) by R. Joseph Delmedigo). Seventeen of his works, including Gilgulei Neshamot, have been published. These include a summary of the legal decisions of R. Isaac Alfasi and his own major work on the Kabbalah, entitled Asarah Ma'amarot (only parts have been printed, Venice, 1597); and Kanfei Yonah (Korzec, 1786), a kabbalistic work on prayer. Many of his kabbalistic interpretations must have been made for the first time in the course of sermons delivered by him. Extant in manuscript are liturgical poems, elegies, comments on the teachings of R. Isaac Luria, and a voluminous correspondence. He died in Mantua.