This is a solid volume of Rabbinic Laws, first published at the end of the sixteenth century. It was edited by Rabbi Mordecai Chanoch Knoblowicz, who was the Rabbi of the Hendon Adath in Brent Street. The Hendon Adath Yisroel Synagogue was started in 1938, and in 1940 Rabbi Knoblowicz became the Rav until his retirement in 1965. He was a teacher and educator, a pedagogue and a Talmudic scholar, who also taught Talmud at the Hasmonean Grammar School for Boys.
Rabbi Knoblowicz was born in Dobri, Kalish, Poland in 1900 and died in January 1982. He emigrated to Germany after the First World War, continued his rabbinic studies in Hamburg, and became headmaster of the Talmud Torah in Dortmund, Westphalia. He emigrated to England in 1938.
He was a disciple of the Chassidic scholar Rabbi Meir Dan Plotski, and was said to remain a Chasid of Ger, although in the synagogue he conformed to Ashkenazi ritual. According to Rabbi Harry Rabinowitz, Rabbi Knoblowicz had expert knowledge of Chassidic folklore and resented very much a view expressed by secular historians that the Baal Shem Tov was pious but unlearned. ‘It is inconceivable’ he said, ‘that the Maggid of Mezeritch, an outstanding talmudical scholar of his generation, could have sat at the feet of an am haaretz’ (an unlearned person).
Sefer Mate Moshe concentrates on the religious customs which the author selected from original sources. he was very interested in local customs and concerned to preserve them. The work discusses the laws of studying Torah, prayer, Sabbath and festivals, the importance of charity, visiting the sick and laws of mourning.
The book is not just about customs. It includes the actual laws, rules and regulations which are generally binding. It also clarifies and explains them. It also interprets interesting passages in Scripture and Talmud.
Rabbi Knoblowicz wrote the foreword, and added notes, sources and an index. At the end of the book, reproduced below, is an interesting list of prenumeranten – donors who enabled the printing of the book.