||First edition of this kabbalistic exposition and commentary on the prayer-book by R. Hayyim ben Joseph Vital. The title page states that it was written and transcribed by R. Jacob Zemah Hayyim from a manuscript of R. Vital, who in turn wrote it from what he heard from R. Isaac Luria (ha-Ari ha-Kodesh). The text encompasses both prayers and the proper intent to be brought to mitzvot, addressing such related subjects as benedictions, zizit, tefillin, and tefillah.
R. Hayyim ben Joseph Vital (1542–1620) was born in Safed and studied in yeshivot there, especially under R. Moses Alshekh, his teacher in exoteric subjects. In 1564 he began to study Kabbalah, at first according to the system R. Moses Cordovero, and, after R. Isaac Luria’s (Ari) arrival in Safed, under the latter, becoming the Ari’s principal disciple. After the Ari’s death, R. Vital began to arrange the Ari’s teachings in written form, elaborating on them according to his own understanding, becoming the primary transmitter of the Ari’s teachings. R. Vital later moved to Jerusalem, serving as rabbi and head of a yeshivah from late 1577 to late 1585, where he wrote the last version of his presentation of the Lurianic system. In 1586 he returned to Safed, remaining there until 1592. In 1590 R. Vital was “ordained” as rabbi by his teacher R. Moses Alshekh, and then returned to Jerusalem in 1593 remaining several years, occasionally returning to Safed. His last move was to Damascus where he died. R. Vital was a prolific writer, his works encompassing Talmud, response, homilies, and even astronomy. R. Vital assembled his major writings into two vast works Ez ha-Hayyim and Ez ha-Da’at. The former is the inclusive name for all those writings in which he elaborated on the teaching of Isaac Luria. R. Vital began to arrange what he had heard from Luria immediately after his death, remained absorbed in this task for more than 20 years.
R. Jacob ben Hayyim Zemah (d. after 16 65), belonged to a Converso family in northern Portugal, where he served as a physician. He fled that land for Erez Israel, passing through Salonika where he studied Torah. Some time between 1610 and 1620, he settled in Safed and learned Talmud and Kabbalah. In approximately 1628 he left for Damascus, and studied the Lurianic Kabbalah under R. Samuel ben Hayyim Vital for eighteen years. Around 1640 he settled in Jerusalem where he became one of the leading kabbalists. He opened a yeshiva, counting among his students R. David Comforte. R. Zemah was among the Jerusalem opponents of Shabbetai Zevi who excommunicated him when he first claimed to be the messiah in 1665.
||שחיבר הרב ... מהר"י צמח, והעתיקו מכתיבת יד הרב ... חיים וויטאל ... כפי מה שקיבל מפי רבו המקובל ... הרב יצחק לוריא אשכנזי ... אתן שנת עולת ת'מי'ד' העשיה בהר' סיני
בראש הספר: "ולהיות כי ספר זה כולו מדבר בענין התפילות לזה קראתי אותו עולת תמיד ... והנה כל הכתוב לכאן נעתק מכתיבת יד הרב כה"ר חיים ז"ל עצמו. ואע"פ שנראה שיש בספרינו קצת מן הכתוב כאן, עכ"ז הבקי וזוכר ימצא בכל ענין חדוש ותוספת סדר
וביאור. ולכל עשיתי הגהה פה ירוש' ת"ו עם החברים... נאם יעקב צמח חיים".
על הספר ראה: י' אביב"י, בנין אריאל, ירושלים תשמ"ז, עמ' סב-סג. לדבריו החיבור לא נדפס בשלמותו.