Page 91 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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GREEN S TONE ---- THE BOOKS OF ELIJAH GAON
81
in the Gaon’s comments on the Talmud appear even more clearly
in his notes on the
Shulhan Aruk.
The first part on
Orah Hayyim
was published with the text in Szklow, 1803 and was reprinted
many times. The part on
Yoreh Deah
appeared in Grodno in 1806.
The commentary on
Eben ha-Ezer
was published in Wilno in
1819 and the one on
Hoshen Mishpat
saw the light of day in
Koenigsberg in 1856-58. Digests of law culled from these notes
appeared from time to time under the title of
Piske ha-Gra.
A
digest of the first three parts by Hirsh Gudleve appeared in 1875
in Wilno. The one of the fourth part by Zebi Hirsh of Stolowitz
was published in Wilno in 1904. Similar digests were issued by
Zebi Shur in Wilno in 1882, and by Abraham Kleinerman, with
the text of the
Yoreh Deah
, considerably revised and free from the
errors of the previous editions.
The study of the Kabbalah occupied a great deal of the Gaon’s
attention and his comments and notes on all the classical works
in this realm are characterized by a search for the truth, both in
the corrupted texts and in the obscure phraseology. His com-
mentary on
Sefer Yezirah
, edited by his disciple Menahem Mendel,
was published in Grodno in 1806. This poorly edited text is full
of errors. A more correct edition appeared in Warsaw in 1884.
His commentary on
Sifra de-Zeniuta
, edited by his grandson,
Jacob Moses, was published in Wilno in 1820 with an introduc-
tion by Hayyim of Wolozin. Only a small portion of the Gaon’s
commentary on the Zohar was published in Wilno in 1810. Tra-
dition has it that the complete work embraced eleven volumes
and that his son Abraham declared that the Gaon was very proud
of this commentary, saying that he would not be ashamed to
present it in the presence of Simeon ben Yohai himself. His
extensive commentary on
Tikkune ha-Zohar
in five volumes was
first published in Wilno in 1867. A commentary on
Hechalot
in
two volumes appeared both in Koenigsberg and in Wilno. His
commentary on
Raaya Mehemna
, in four volumes, also appeared
in Koenigsberg in 1858. His notes on
Sefer ha-Bahir
were pub-
lished together with the text in Wilno in 1883. Several of these
commentaries, under the title
Yahel Or
, were published together
in Wilno in 1882. Several other Kabbalistic treatises have not
yet been published, and may be extant in manuscript form.
His kabbalistic commentary on the Passover Haggadah was
published in Grodno in 1805 by the Gaon’s disciple, Menahem
Mendel. In the introduction, the editor states that the book is
based on comments heard from the Gaon when he was his Seder
guest. I t was again published in Wilno in 1818 and in Jerusalem
in 1862. Nephtali Herz ha-Levi of Jaffa published in Jerusalem
(1895) the
Siddur ha-Gra
, in which the kabbalistic references to