||Four works bound together. The first title is R. Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto’s Kaftor va-Ferah on the aggadah in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and Midrashim. Kaftor va-Ferah is made up of ma’amarim by subject, and with each ma’amar the text is further divided by tractate in the order of the Talmud. Luzzatto explains many of the aggadah in an allegorical manner, but according to traditional sources, such as Rashi, Ba’alei Tosafot, R. Solomon Adret (Rashba), and R. Nissim, thus defending the aggadah against the attacks of censors, who found in them anti-Christian meanings. The work encompasses cites parallel passages in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, Midrashim and the Zohar.
R. Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto (16th century), rabbi and author was born apparently in Safed where he spent his childhood. He later moved to Europe where he lived in Basle and probably also in Posen and Cracow. He was also probably the final corrector, after the censor, of the Basle Talmud (1578–81), since it contains some of his glosses. He edited (including a preface and index) the Ta'amei ha-Mitzvot (Basle, 1581) of Menahem Recanati and Solomon Molcho's Sefer ha-Mefo'ar (Cracow, 1570). A copy of the latter in Luzzatto's own handwriting is extant (Ms. Oxford, 1660). Luzzatto is identified with the Jacob b. Isaac Luzzat of Posen who corrected the Toze'ot Hayyim (Cracow, n.d.) of Elijah Vidas. He probably died in Erez Israel, though some believe he died in Venice.
The second work, Kohelet Ya’akov by R. Judah ha-Levi Lizner, meant to complete Kaftor va-Ferah. He brought both works to press and here adds, as a separate work, his glosses. This is followed by Ma’aseh ha-Gedolim by R. Solomon ben Isaiah Joseph Wolf, which recounts tales from the Talmud in the order of tractates, and Pa’er Mekdoshim by R. Menahem Mendel ben Rueben Shraga, recounting tales of the righteous but particularly of the Ba’al Shem Tov.