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Rabbeinu Behaye's Kever Today

This kever trek was in the merit Rachel Elana bat Sarah.

B”H we are only the messengers, and the tzadikim are the conduit to Hashem and our prayers.For those people who who commented in in the “increase of emuna” prayer thread from Friday, your prayers were prayed at today at Rabbeinu Behaye's kever today! Please if you commented for this prayer thread, light a candle in Rabbeinu Behaye's merit.


Who is Rabbeinu Behaye?

One of the most distinguished of the Biblical exegetes of Spain; born about the middle of the thirteenth century at Saragossa; died 1340. A pupil of Solomon ben Adret, Baḥya did not, like his eminent teacher, devote his attention to Talmudic science, but to Biblical exegesis, taking for his model Moses ben Naḥman, the teacher of Solomon ben Adret, who was the first to make use of the Cabala as a means of interpreting the Scriptural word. He discharged with zeal and earnestness the duties of a darshan in Saragossa, sharing this position with several others, and on this account receiving but a small salary, which was scarcely enough to support him and his family; but neither his struggle for daily bread nor the reverses that he suffered (to which he referred in the introduction to his commentary on the Pentateuch) diminished his interest in religious studies in general, and in Biblical exegesis in particular (jewishencyclopedia.com).


Baḥya's principal work was his commentary on the Pentateuch, in the preparation of which he thoroughly investigated the works of former Biblical exegetes, using all the methods employed by them in his interpretations. He enumerates the following four methods, all of which in his opinion are indispensable to the exegete: (1) The "Peshaṭ," or the simple and direct exposition advocated by Rashi and Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel, whom Baḥya recognizes as authorities, and whose works he industriously employs. (2) The "Midrash," or the haggadic exegesis, accorded considerable space in his commentary; there being scarcely a haggadic work which has not been employed by him. However, he usually confines himself to a literal quotation without further exposition. (3) The method of Reason, or philosophical exegesis, the aim of which is to demonstrate that philosophical truths are already embodied in Holy Writ, which as a work of God transcends all the wisdom of man. He therefore recognizes the results of philosophical thought only in so far as they do not conflict with Scripture and tradition. (4) The method of the Cabala, termed by him "the path of light," which the truth-seeking soul must travel. It is by means of this method, Baḥya believes, that the deep mysteries hidden in the Scriptural word may be revealed, and many a dark passage elucidated.

Baḥya's commentary derives a particular charm from its form. Each parashah, or weekly lesson, is prefaced by an introduction preparing the reader for the fundamental ideas to be discussed; and this introduction bears a motto in the form of some verse selected from the Proverbs. Furthermore, by the questions that are frequently raised the reader is compelled to take part in the author's mental processes; the danger of monotony being also thereby removed. The commentary was first printed at Naples in 1492; and the favor which it enjoyed is attested by the numerous supercommentaries published on it. Owing to the large space devoted to the Cabala, the work was particularly valuable to cabalists, although Baḥya also availed himself of non-Jewish sources. Later editions of the commentary appeared at Pesaro, 1507, 1514, and 1517; Constantinople, 1517; Rimini, 1524; Venice, 1544, 1546, 1559, 1566, and later. Not less than ten supercommentaries are enumerated by Bernstein ("Monatsschrift," xviii. 194-196), which give further evidence of the popularity of the work (jewishencyclopedia.com)..


Bibliography:

  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. pp. 777-780;

  • Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Literatur, ii. 21, 433-434;

  • B. Bernstein, in Magazin für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums, xviii.(1891), pp. 27-47, 85-115, 165-196.

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