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Menorat Ha-Maor. In Four Volumes. From a Unique Manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
by Al-Nakawa, Israel Ibn.

Publisher Information:
The Bloch Publishing Company New York 1929, 1930, 193

Octavos, black cloth, 90, 40 + 460, 48 pp. + 632, 60 + 636, 156 pp., a few b/w plates. Introductions to each volume in English. Some light soiling. Largely uncut

Text is in Hebrew except as noted. Edited by H.G. Enelow. Israel Al-Nakawa was a product of medieval Toledo during golden age of Jewish life in Spain. However, he lived to see the stark ending of the period in 1391. Seeing what he thought was the decline of knowledge and understanding in the Jewish community he was, at first, too abashed to make a start of it. A dream helped him overcome his trepidation and he produced the vast work Menorat ha-Ma'or. The lone surviving manuscript is comprised 665 folio sized sheets is a combination of poetic and homiletic sections. In it Al-Nakawa focused on the mitzvot - both their meanings and application. The sections of the work discussing the mitzvot cover charity, prayer, repentance, humility, fixed hours of prayer, the commandments and their fulfillment, acts of mercy, the observance of Sabbath and Holy Days, the honoring of parents, marriage, the education of children, upright conduct in business, the proper administration of justice, contentment, equanimity (or, refraining from anger), avoidance of flattery and deception, love of comrades and their considerate treatment, cleanness of speech, keeping a friend's secret, and good manners (or, general good conduct). It was essentially a homiletic work for whom the primary readers were other Rabbis. The synthesis that he made of halakhah, midrash and kabbalah was appealing. This four volume edition is the full first printed edition. Because of the vastness of the work Enelow's efforts to produce a scholarly edition from the manuscript was a very impressive achievement. The text appears to have been well known in rabbinic circles and was rephrased in abridged form as well as freely plagiarized from, but I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery. In addition to the value of Menorat Ha-Maor as a work as whole, it is valuable as a repository of quotations from earlier sources that have now been lost. For a number of them Menorat Ha-Maor is our only source for any part of them.


Language: Medieval Studies
Edition: First Edition
Binding: Hardbound
Condition: Very Good-
Book Id: 10825

Price: $180.00

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