||Popular glossary of Hebrew terms in the Torah and Megillot translated into Yiddish by R. Moses Saertels with an introduction on the rules of grammar by R. Shabbetai ben Joseph Bass. Saertels, a resident of Prague in the first half of the seventeenth century, was a biblical exegete whose name is a matronymic of Sarah. Be’er Moshe is the first glossary, to be arranged according to the order of books of the Bible rather than strictly alphabetically. The title page, with a frame made up of multiple rows of florets, states that it is, An explanation of the words in the Torah and five Megillot, every difficult and hard word, expertly explained, as received from the mouth of Moses, that is, R. Moses Saertels, who wrote and collected from the Targum, Rashi, Ramban, pageAbraham ibn Ezra, Radak, and others. And added to what was done previously are the rules of grammar in a concise introduction. Everyone who uses it will say that it is much better than before, for they are collected from books, new and old by the hazzan Shabbetai Meshorer (Bass).
The title page is not dated nor does it give the name of the printer. However, the colophon dates completion of the work to 442, 7 Shevat (Friday, January 16, 1682). There are brief introductions on the verso of the title page from Saertels and Bass, in two columns, one Hebrew the other Yiddish. Saertels’ introduction here appears to be abbreviated from earlier editions where he writes critically of the teachers of small children, who improperly instruct them, providing definitions and interpretations of biblical words based on sources that are not authoritative. As a corrective, Saertels has written Be’er Moshe in the order of the biblical text, translating and explaining difficult terms in Yiddish, utilizing the sources noted on the title page. In writing Be’er Moshe Saertels visited the home of the great Talmudic scholar, R. Hayyim Frid-burg, to listen and write down every word of that scholar’s explanation of the Torah in Yiddish to his children. The introductions are followed by Bass’s rules of Hebrew grammar, first published with Be’er Moshe in 1669. The text follows, in three columns, the Hebrew text in square vocalized letters, the Yiddish text facing it in rabbinic letters, all in the order of the biblical text. Encompassing the Torah and five Megillot. Highly popular, Be’er Moshe became a standard work, utilized as a basic textbook for teaching Bible to Polish Jewry. In addition to the editions noted below, Be’er Moshe was also printed with the Hamishah Homshei Torah (Frankfort a. Main, 1662) and several times in the following century. Saertels also wrote Lekah Tov (Prague, 1604), a similar work with glosses and notes on the Prophets and the Hagiographa.
R. Shabbetai ben Joseph Bass (1641-1718) is better known today for his Siftei Hakhamim (1680), a popular and much reprinted commentary on the Torah and Siftei Yeshenim (1680), a list in Hebrew of some 2,200 Hebraica and Judaica. The Sartels also wrote Lekah Tov, a similar work with glosses in notes on the Prophets and the Hagiographa.