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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works

 

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Moses ben Hayyim Alshich
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Hebrew Name(s): משה בן חיים אלשיק; האלשיק הקדוש
Other Names: Moses Alshikh, Alshikh Hakadosh, Moses ben Hayyim Alshikh, Moshe Alshich, Moses Alshech, Alshich HaKadosh, Moses ben Chaim Alshich
Period: Acharonim — 16th Century
Location: b. Adrianopolis, d. Damascas. Lived in Safed
Dates: 1508–1593

Biography:
Moses Alshich was born in Turkey. He later moved to Safed where he was a student of Joseph Karo. He studied under Rabbi Moses Cordovero and Isaac Luria (The Arizal.) Hayim Vital and Yom Tov Tzahalon where students of Alshich.
 
The title "Hakadosh" is a rare title and reflects the esteem in which Alshich was held within his community and beyond. Although he was a member of the circle of Kabbalists who lived in Safed his works are not kabbalistic but emphasise allegorical perspectives. Alshich considered his allegorical interpretation of Torah to be the balance between the two extremes of peshat (literal) and sod (mystical) methods of interpretation (Shoshanat ha-Amaqim.)

Works:
Torat Moshe (Commentary on the Pentateuch); Qitsur Alshech al ha-Torah; Marot ha-Tsobeot (Collected Visions); Romemot El (Praises of God); Rab Peninim (Multitude of Pearls); Ḥelqat Meḥoqeq (The Lawgiver's Portion); Shoshanat ha-Amaqim (Lily of the Valleys); 'Ene Mosheh (Eyes of Moses); Debarim Niḥumim (Comforting Words); Debarim Tobim (Good Words); Massat Mosheh (Moses' Gift); Ḥabatselet ha-Sharon (The Rose of Sharon); Liqqute Man (Gatherings of Manna); Yarim Mosheh

Comments:
Torat Moshe is a commentary on the Torah and a record of Alshich's Sabbath homilies.
Qitsur (Kiẓẓur) Alshech al ha-Torah is an abstract of Alshich's Torat Moshe prepared by Joseph ben Aryeh Loeb Mendel-Belser.
Marot ha-Tsobeot is a work on the prophets and their prophecies.
Romemot El is a commentary on the book of Psalms.
Rab Peninim is a work on Proverbs.   
Ḥelqat Meḥoqeq is a work on the Book of Job.
Shoshanat ha-Amaqim is a commentary on the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). According to Alshich the Song is an allegory, and represents a dialogue between God and exiled Israel on Israel's mission.
'Ene Mosheh is a work on Ruth.
Debarim Niḥumim (Comforting Words) deals with the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Debarim Tobim (Good Words) is a commentary on Ecclesiastes. According to Alshich, Ecclesiastes is like "waters without end" (i.e., an ocean) because of its deep thoughts.
Massat Mosheh is a commentary on the Book of Esther.
Ḥabatselet ha-Sharon is a commentary on the Book of Daniel.
Liqqute Man is a commentary on the haftarot complied from Marot ha-Tsobeot.
Yarim Mosheh is a commentary on Avot compiled by Schlenker (1764) from the work of Alshich.
Extracts of Alshich's Marot ha-Tsobeot were included in Minḥah Qe'tannah published in Biblia Rabbinica, Amsterdam, 1724.

 

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