||Ethical work by R. Jacob of Dubno (Jacob ben Wolf Kranz, Dubno Maggid) modeled after R. Bahya ibn Paquda’s Hovot ha-Levavot. The text was edited by R. Baer Pahm, a student of R. Jacob, who also provides a preface (pp. 1-10) with biographical information about the Dubno Maggid and glosses to the text entitled Shiyyure ha-Middot and Biurei ha-Middot. Sefer ha-Middot describes the attitude required of a Jew in his spiritual relationship with God, as well as the observances required in his practical relationship. The text is arranged in eight sha’arim (gates) which discuss such subjects as the knowledge, fear, love, and service of God, and trust, prayer, hate, and arrogance. Each sha’ar is subdivided into chapters.
R. Jacob of Dubno (Jacob ben Wolf Kranz, 1741-1804) is best known as the Dubno Maggid. His homiletical skills became evident at an early age; he was known as a preacher to his fellow yeshivah students in Mezhirech, where he received his halakhic, and likely his kabbalistic, education. R. Jacob held the post of preacher in Zilkiew, Wlodawa, Kalisz, and Zamosc. His fame as a preacher, however, came in Dubno, where he served for 18years. As his reputation grew, her came into contact with some of thje most prominent rabbis of the times, such as R. Elijah ben Solomon (Vilna Gaon). When the latter was too ill to study, he asked the Dubno Maggid to visit his bedside and read to him his homiletical interpretations, stories, and parables. All of the Dubno Maggid’s works were printed posthumously by his son, R. Isaac Kranz and his pupil, R. Plahm. The Dubno Maggid’s major homiletic work is Ohel Ya’akov. He also wrote homilies on the Megillot, Kol Ya’akov, an exegesis on the Passover Haggadah, and a collectionof homilies called Haftarot. Possessed of great eloquence, he illustrated both his sermons and his homilies with parables taken from human life. The homilies are not simplisitic, but represent the highest achievement of Hebrew homiletic art at that time. Bysuch parable he explained the most difficult passages, and clarified many perplexing questions in rabbinic law. R. Jacob was an eminent rabbinical scholar and on many occasions was consulted as an authority.