Sunday, July 01, 2007

15th Tamuz - Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh

Today is the Yarzheit of the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, best known for his commentary on Chumash.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Ohr ha-Chaim

Chaim ben Moses ibn Attar was a Talmudist and kabbalist; born at Mequenez, Morocco, in 1696; died in Jerusalem July 31, 1743. He was one of the most prominent rabbis in Morocco.

In 1733 he decided to leave his native country and settle in Palestine. En route he was detained in Livorno by the rich members of the Jewish community who established a yeshiva for him. Many of his pupils later became prominent and furnished him with funds to print his Ohr ha-Chaim.

He was received with great honour wherever he travelled. This was due to his extensive knowledge, keen intellect and extraordinary piety. In the middle of 1742 he arrived in Jerusalem where he presided at the Beit Midrash Keneset Yisrael.

One of his disciples there was Chaim Joseph David Azulai, who seems to have been completely overwhelmed by the excellence of his master. He wrote of him: "Attar's heart pulsated with Talmud; he uprooted mountains like a resistless torrent; his holiness was that of an angel of the Lord, . . . having severed all connection with the affairs of this world."

He published:

* (1) Hefetz Hashem (God's Desire), Amsterdam, 1732—dissertations on the four Talmudic treatises Berakot, Shabbat, Horayot, and Chullin.

* (2) Ohr ha-Chaim (The Light of Life), Venice, 1742—a commentary on the Pentateuch after the four methods known collectively as Pardes; it was reprinted several times. His renown is based chiefly on this work, which became popular also with the Hasidim.

* (3) Peri Toar (Beautiful Fruit), novellae on the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah, dealing especially with Hiskiah de Silva's commentary Peri Hadash, Amsterdam, 1742; Vienna and Lemberg, 1810.

* (4) Rishon le-Zion, Constantinople, 1750—consisting of novellae to several Talmudic treatises, on certain portions of the Shulchan Aruch, on the terminology of Maimonides, on the five Megillot, on the Prophets and on Proverbs.

* (5) Under the same title were published at Polna, 1804, his notes on Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Isaiah.

He is buried on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.

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