Page 29 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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9
A
gnon
— H
ebrew
A
uthors
and
H
oly
W
riting
Ineffable Name—“Foundation of all foundations and Pillar of
all wisdom”—and concluded with an allusion to the Messiah—
“And the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11.19). He also said that Rabbi
Moses remained secluded in his room for ten years and did not
venture forth until the work was finished. On the night of its
completion his father and another man appeared to him in a
dream. When the father identified the other man as Moses, son
of Amram, Maimonides trembled with awe. Moses said, “I have
come to examine your work,” and after perusing it he commended
Maimonides, “Well done!” (Seder ha-Dorot)
G
uide
to
the
P
erplexed
I heard it said in the name of Rabbi Hayyim of Krasnow (18th
century), of sainted memory, that the son of Rabbi Pinhas of
Koretz wanted to present a book to a poor man in need of
security for a loan. Searching for a volume infrequently read,
he decided to give him Maimonides’
Guide to the Perplexed.
He
consulted his father who said, “Don’t remove this holy book from
our house, for the fear of the Lord pervades a house containing
Maimonides’ works.” (Peer le־Yesharim)
No
W
riting
on
th e
K
abbalah
The pupils of the Ari, of blessed memory, asked him why he
had never written a book on the Kabbalah. He replied it was
impossible because as soon as he plunges into one subject a tor-
rential stream of thoughts overwhelms him without surcease.
One subject leads ineluctably to another, and even when he
speaks to them he must strive to confine his thoughts to a limited
area. (Shem ha־Gedolim)
B
lessed
R
emnant s
The gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis, of blessed mem-
ory, wrote: I heard from my father and teacher, who in his
youth had heard it from reliable folk, that owing to an epidemic
or some other cause, my grandfather, Rabbi Moses Isserles (16th
century), was forced to live for a time in a village near Cracow.
Remnants of his writings found their way into the archives of
the local prince, whose prestige began to soar steadily. He held
on to these writings tenaciously and would not surrender them
to anyone. He also left instructions for his heirs to treat them
with utmost reverence. Each year the manuscripts were spread
in the open air to prevent their perishing. (Shem ha-Gedolim
he-Hadash)