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Bidding Information
Lot #    29149
Auction End Date    1/25/2011 11:52:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Beit ha-Behirah - Avot
Title (Hebrew)    פירוש על פרקי אבות - בית הבחירה
Author    [Avot] R. Menahem Ben Solomon Meiri
City    Vienna
Publisher    Adalbert della Torre
Publication Date    1854
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   xiv, 18, 43, octavo, 204:110 mm., wide margins, light age and damp staining. A very good copy bound in later boards.
   Renowned commentary on Pirkei Avot by R. Menahem Ben Solomon Meiri (Meiri). While Meiri’s commentaries on the Talmud are both valuable and treasured his commentary on Avot is of particular interes, for in his introduction he gives the names of all the people who form the chain of tradition of Torah study from Moses to his own time. It contains valuable material for the knowledge of the history of Torah study in Spain and Provence. There is an introduction to this volume, Meiri’s introduction, and then the text, comprised of Avot in square vocalized Hebrew and the accompanying commentary in rabbinic letters and a second brief commentary entitled Malekhet Shelomo. R. Menahem Ben Solomon Meiri (1249–1316), Provençal scholar and commentator of the Talmud. Meiri was born in Perpignan where he spent his whole life. His family, regarded as one of the most distinguished in Provence, originated from Carcassonne and Narbonne. Few biographical details are known of Meiri. In his youth he was orphaned of his father, and his children were taken captive while he was still young (Introduction to Kiryat Sefer), but no details of this personal tragedy are known. Meiri's principal teacher was R. Reuben b. Ḥayyim . His reference to R. Jonah Gerondi as "my teacher" does not necessarily mean that he studied under him; it may merely mean that he studied his works. Among the contemporary scholars with whom he maintained close ties was R. Solomon b. Abraham Adret ; they exchanged many responsa and Adret's teachings assisted him in the writing of his monumental work. Meiri was one of the participants in Adret's polemic against Maimonides which ended in Adret's excommunicating any person who read philosophical works in his youth. In a letter to Abba Mari b. Moses Joseph, who handled the entire affair and collected the relevant correspondence, Meiri disassociated himself from the attitude of Adret and his colleagues, upholding freedom of thought for the scholars of each country, and freedom from intervention by outside scholars. Extracts from Meiri's letter (republished by D. Kaufmann along with the reply by Joseph b. Simeon in the name of Abba Mari under the title Ḥoshen Mishpat in the Jubelschrift… L. Zunz, 1884; Heb. sec. 142–74), reveal his great interest in philosophy and other secular sciences, and reflect his pride in the local scholars who had acquired proficiency in them. Meiri occupies a central position in the sphere of the talmudic creativity of Provence, not only due to his extraordinary literary fecundity and the comprehensive scope of his works, but also because he summarizes the teachings of his predecessors during the previous three centuries. In effect he puts the seal upon the literary efforts in this area of Jewish culture. His literary activity covered halakhic rulings, talmudic exposition, biblical exegesis, customs, ethics, and philosophy. The vast majority of Meiri's works remained in manuscript until very recently, probably on account of their exceptional length, which made it practically impossible to copy them in full. A small number of his books were published in the second half of the 18th century and the majority of them – from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present day. A great contribution to this project was by A. Sofer (Schreiber). An exception is his commentary to the Book of Proverbs which was first published in Portugal in 1492, and then included in the Kehillot Moshe edition of Mikra'ot Gedolot (Amsterdam, 1724). Meiri's chief work is the gigantic Beit ha-Behirah on the Talmud, in which he was engaged from 1287 to 1300. In it he summarizes the subject matter of the Talmud, giving both the meaning and the halakhah derived from it. It follows the order of the Mishnah. Meiri follows an original method of exposition. He develops his theme from its origin and for this reason he assigns a separate section to the Mishnah and explains it before turning to the later development and discussions in the later literature. Each tractate and its individual chapters are preceded by a short preface outlining the subject in general terms. The discussion begins with a presentation of the fundamental principles involved and proceeds with an explanation of the opinions of each of the amoraim. The author in conclusion sums up and collates these opinions, giving the relevant halakhah as he sees it. An abundance of comments handed down by German, Provençal, and Spanish scholars with their different interpretations are incorporated, but each one is given separately to prevent confusion on the part of the reader. Meiri was one of the few rabbis of his time to make extensive use of the Jerusalem Talmud in order to clarify the parallel discussions in the Babylonian Talmud, and his works are therefore of added importance for research on the Jerusalem Talmud and its variant readings. Meiri's style contributes much to the lucidity of his presentation. His Hebrew is accurate, precise, and simple. In addition, he succeeded in finding the golden mean between the generally contradictory aims of expository comprehensiveness and halakhic definitiveness. These features endeared the Beit ha-Behirah to scholars and its volumes are now repeatedly republished in spite of their great length. Meiri adopted the unusual practice of designating his predecessors by epithet rather than by name, e.g., "the greatest of authors" (Maimonides), "the greatest of posekim" (Alfasi), "the early scholars of Narbonne," "the former scholars of Catalonia," and "the great scholars of Provence." As a result it is difficult now to determine to whom he is referring, especially as he often employs the same epithet for many scholars who, in his opinion, belong to the same "genre." Contrary to the common conception of the Meiri's commentary as purely anthological, similar to the later work Shitah Mekubbeẓet by R. Bezalel Ashkenazi, the Meiri quotes only those opinions that are germane to the discussions, either to refute them or to bolster his own ideas. His admirable style makes it impossible to detect the verbatim quotations which no doubt he gives from the sources, since it became one harmonious whole. He employed this method only in Beit ha-Behirah.
Paragraph 2    פירוש על פרקי אבות [עם הפנים, מנוקד]. עם פתיחה גדולה כוללת סדר הקבלה... לרבנו מנחם בר שלמה מפרפיגנאן... המאירי. יצא שנית לאור... [בתוספת הערות], תולדות המחבר וקורות ספריו מאת זלמן בן מו"ה גאטטליב ן' כ"ט [כוכב טוב]... שטערן מילדי... רעכניטץ...

עמ' XIV-XIII: שלשה שירים לכבוד ר' מנחם המאירי. מתוך ההקדמה: את הפי' [דרכי חיים] של... ר"ח פאלאגי... הסרתיו כלו... גם מה שכתב... בתוך דברי המחבר [הציונים והערות]... לא הנחתי כלו רק מעט... ואנכי... כתבתי... בסוף הספר מאסף תיקונים והוספות קראתיו תקוני המשניות, ותקוני הפתיחה (הגהות והערות) קראתי דלת הפתח... גם הוספתי [בשולי הפנים]... הגהות מס' מלאכת שלמה [מאת ר' שלמה עדני] שהעתיק כל הנוסחאות מהרב ר' יוסף אשכנזי... בנוסח המשניות... והוא בכתב עצם יד המחבר... וידידי (מו"ה נחמן נתן קורוניל שד"ר מירושלים)... העתיק אותן הגהות על פרקי אבות...על פרק ו ספחתי פי' ר' עובדי' ספורנו, נדפס במחזור מנהג רומא דפוס בלוניא ... ש"א... כי... המאירי לא כתב על זה הפרק...

   BE bet 514; EJ; CD-EPI 0151231
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Austria
Other:    Avot
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica