Levush Ateres Zahav Hagedola, by Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, Prague, 1609.

Levush01Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe was born between 1525 and 1530, in Prague, and died in 1612, so that my copy (the second edition) was printed during the author’s lifetime.  Rabbi Yaffe studied in Poland with Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Rema), and with the Maharshal, Rabbi Solomon Luria. (I have previously written about my copies of the Maharshal’s Responsa, and also about my copy of his book Chochmas Shlomo.)

Rabbi Yaffe then established his own Yeshiva (Rabbinical College) in Prague, and became the Rabbi of Grodno and, later, of Lublin, where he was head of the Yeshiva.

Rabbi Yaffe’s contemporary, Rabbi David Gans wrote of him in his book Tzemach David (which I have and will eventually write about) in 1592 “He is the foremost of the great Yeshiva heads and judges of the Three Lands.”

Rabbi Yaffe was one of the more important members of the Council of Four Lands. The Council of Four Lands was the central body of Jewish authority in the four lands of Greater Poland, Little Poland, Galicia and Volhynia.

Later, he served as Chief Rabbi of Kremenitz.  When the Maharal of Prague moved to Poznan in 1582, Rabbi Yaffe succeeded him and remained in Prague, where my book was printed, until his death on 3rd of the month of Adar II in the year 5372 (1612).

Rabbi Yaffe (sometimes written Jaffe) was known as the Ba’al Halevushimn – owner of the Garments, after the ten books that he wrote, all of which have the word Levush (Garment) in their titles.  The idea is that the books, such as this one, Levush Ateres Zahav Hagedola, which is a commentary of the Tur Yoreh Deah, wrap around and embellish the texts that they are explaining.

Here are some extracts:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s