19 June 2008

Taz on Yoreh Deah

(Meta comment: I know I haven't blogged in a while and this is a random post, but hopefully it will get my blogging back on.)
Today, whilst being in the Bishop Library at the Kraft Center, a book entitled "Taz": Rabbi David HaLevi caught my eye. In any event, I figured since we studied a lot of Yoreh Deah this year, I would quote what the author wrote regarding Rabbi HaLevi's work on Yoreh Deah:
The Turei Zahab to Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah was the first of Rabbi David's works to be published and his most influential and authoritative literary achievement. It appeared in print for the first time in 1646 in Lublin. A second edition appeared in the margin of the Shulhan Arukh, along with the commentary (also published for the first time in 1646) of Shabbetai b. Meir HaKohen. This edition, entitled Ashlei ha-Ravrevei, was printed in Wilhelmsdorf in 1677, with the approval and support of the Vaad Arba Arazot. TaZ wrote a one-page addendum to the first edition which was entitled Daf Ahron or Kuntres Ahron. It consists of his critiques against the Siftei Kohen of Shabbetai HaKohen. This addendum appeared in print only once and is apparently no longer in existence. However, at the time its publication led to a rebuttal volume by Rabbi Shabbetai entitled Nekudot HaKesef, and a heated dispute ensued between the two scholars. Rabbi David also wrote a volume of corrections and additions to his commentary on entitled Yoreh DeahSefer Haggahot veHiddushim, first published in 1710 in Halle.
In his introduction to the commentary, Rabbi David describes his students urging him to publish his work. He explains the choice of title Turei Zahab ("Rows of Gold") as being due to his hope that the Turim would now be clarified and elucidated by one whose name, David, is the numerical equivalent of the word zahab ("gold", i.e., "fourteen"). TaZ confesses that he had long desired to publish this commentary but had been unable to do so; furthermore, the loss of several of his notebooks necessitated his reviewing anew all his materials. He concludes the introduction with the hope that he will soon be able to publish his commentary to Hoshen Mishpat, a commentary which he apparently completed before TaZ, Yoreh Deah, or simultaneously with it. However, this hope was not realized. Of TaZ's four commentaries, only the volume on Yoreh Deah was printed in its author's lifetime.

-Elijah J. Schochet, "Taz": Rabbi David Halevi (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1979), 27-28.

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