[Book List]  

PLEASE NOTE: All bidding for the auction currently underway
at our new website at www.virtualjudaica.com/

Bidding Information
Lot #    9386
Auction End Date    2/15/2005 1:31:14 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut (The Order of G-d)
Title (Hebrew)    מערכ' האלקות
Author    [Kabbalah] Anonymous
City    Mantua
Publisher    Meir of Padua; Jacob b. Naphtali
Publication Date    1558
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Second edition. 4, 208 ff., 202:145 mm., wide margins, damp stained, old hands and stamps with erasures on approximately 10 ff., few minor wormholes in margins not affecting text, clear tear in title expertly repaired on verso. A very good copy bound in modern full leather boards, tooled in blind and stamped in gilt.
   Anonymous systematic book of early Kabbalah literature. R. Moses Cordovero attributed it to R. Todros Abulafia while Jacob Reifmann believed the author to be R. Bahya b. Asher. In the first edition, published in Ferrara in 1557, the book is attributed to Perez the tosafist, but no author is named on the title page of the Mantua edition of 1558. The annotator remarks in his preface that "it is written that the author is the Gaon Perez the tosafist, but the truth is not known." There is no doubt whatsoever that the book cannot be ascribed to any of these writers. It was written at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century by a man who associated with the disciples of R. Solomon b. Abraham Adret, in whose name and that of the kabbalist R. Isaac (probably Adret's colleague R. Isaac b. Todros) the author introduces some kabbalistic interpretations. There is reason to believe that he made use of Keter Shem Tov by R. Shem Tov (b. Abraham) ibn Gaon, which was written around that time. Because of its systematic nature, Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut became one of the classical books of Kabbalah. The many commentaries on it, most of which were composed in Italy in the 15th and early 16th centuries, show the great interest it aroused. About ten commentaries were written, two of which were printed: the anonymous commentary which R. Judah Hayyat called "Paz" (Perush Zulati, "commentary not by me"), and the commentary written by R. Judah Hayyat at the request of the elders of Mantua.

The author's theosophical speculations first appear in the third chapter. The Divinity is here defined as the totality of the ten Sefirot, which constitute G-d's direction of the world. This aspect of G-d alone is expressed in the Bible and Talmud while the Divinity Itself, referred to as Ein-Sof ("infinity"), is hinted at only to initiates. Ein-Sof, the infinite, the hidden aspect of the Divine, is expressed neither through the order of nature nor in the laws of the Torah. The act of emanation itself, which is the emergence of the Sefirot from Ein-Sof, does not constitute an innovation or a change in the Divine: it is simply the revelation of what had been hitherto concealed. The author attempts to explain through reasoning and homily that both the legends of the rabbis on the modification in G-d's thought regarding the ways in which the world should be conducted and the description of the dynamic relations among the diverse Sefirot in Kabbalah literature are simply a projection of human experience upon Divinity. Because it is observable in human experience that man decides on the most desirable alternative by a process of choice and deliberation, he therefore ascribes to divine leadership an ideal synthesis of Justice and Mercy, as if it resulted from a similar process. In a similar manner, he expounds the aggadic legend concern ing the waning of the moon which the kabbalists related to an act occurring in the world of the Sefirot; other legends are also given a kabbalistic interpretation.

Paragraph 2    עם פי'... ר' יהודה חייט ופ"ז [ופירוש זולתו]... עם ההגהות שהוסיף בו המגיה ומורה מקום מהפסוקים ומהמאמרי' הדפיסו והגיהו [בתוספת הגהות והערות]... ר' עמנואל נר"ו בכמ"ר יקותיאל ז"ל איש בניונטו... קולופון: ותכל עבודת הקדש... ר"ח אדר שני שנת חמשה אלפים אף י'צ'ר'י'ח' לאלף הששי [שי"ח].

"פירוש זולתו" הנז' בשער, הוא "פירוש לא נודע שם מחברו", שנדפס בהוצאה הראשונה. כאן נשמטו מן הפירוש קטעים רבים. לקטעים אלה רומז ר' עמנואל בהקדמתו, שבהוצאה זו "לא יראה ולא ימצא בו דעות אריסטו ותלמידיו ושום דבר מילדי נכרים" ובגללם חזרו והדפיסו את הספר במנטובה כארבעה חדשים בלבד אחר הדפסת הספר בפירארא. מאידך השלים לעיתים המגיה ר' עמנואל בינוונטו ביאורים ממחברים אחרים. עיין: ישעיה תשבי, הפולמוס על ספר הזהר, פרקים, א, תשכ"ז-תשכ"ח, עמ' 172-166 ,152.

   CD-EPI 0160028; G. Scholem, in: KS, 21 (1943/44), 284–95; Scholem, Mysticism, index; E. Gottlieb, Ha-Kabbalah be-Khitvei Rabbenu Bahya ben Asher (1970), index; idem, in: Sefer Zikkaron le-Binyamin De Vries (1968), 295–304; EJ
Associated Images
2 Images (Click thumbnail to view full size image):
  Order   Image   Caption
  1   Click to view full size  
  2   Click to view full size  
Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Kabbalah:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica