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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works


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Chaim ben Moses ibn Attar
Hebrew Name(s): חיים בן עתר
Other Names: The Ohr ha-Chaim, Chaim ibn Attar, Ohr ha-Chayim ha-Kadosh, Ḥayim Ben Attar, Chayim ben Attar, Chaim ben Moses Attar
Period: Acharonim — 17th–18th Century
Location: Morocco; Lovorno; Palestine.
Dates: 1696–1743

A philosopher, kabbalist and talmudist, Chaim ben Attar was a prominent kabbalist in Morocco. He later headed a yeshivah in Livorno before settling in Jerusalem. Chaim ben Attar is remembered as a great kabbalist and a holy man whose heart "pulsated with Talmud," according to his student Chaim Joseph David Azulai.
The Baal Shem Tov (Israel ben Eliezer) called Chaim ben Attar "The Glimmer of the Messiah."

Ohr HaChaim (The Light of Life); Hefetz Hashem (God's Desire); Peri Toar (Beautiful Fruit); Rishon le-Zion

Ohr HaChaim is a commentary on the Torah following the four part interpretive methodology known as PaRDeS.
Hefetz Hashem treats the Talmudic treatises, Berakhot, Shabbat, Horayot and Chullin.
Peri Toar is a collection of Novellae on Yoreh De'ah (a section of Shuchan Arukh) treating, in particular, the commentary of Hiskiah de Silva, Peri Hadash.
Rishon le-Zion - The first edition (Constantinople, 1750) contained novellae on talmudic treatises, portions of the Shulchan Aruch, Maimonides, the Five Megillot, Prophets and Proverbs. A later edition published in Polna (1804) included notes on Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Isaiah.


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