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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works

 

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Joshua ben Alexander HaKohen Falk
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Hebrew Name(s): יהושע בן מאלקסנדר הכון פאלק; סמ׳׳ע
Other Names: RaFaK, RaFaC (רפ''כ), Joshua Falk, Yehoshua Falk ben Alexander HaCohen, Ma-HaRWaK, SMA, Joshua Falk ben Alexander Katz
Period: Acharonim — 16th Century
Location: Lemberg (now Lviv, Ukraine)
Dates: 1555–1614.

Biography:
Joshua ben Alexander HaKohen Falk, a Polish halakhist and Talmudist, was a pupil of R. Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria. He was a Talmudic scholar and Rosh Yeshivah in Lemberg. He is best known for his commentary on the Arba'ah Turim (Jacob ben Asher) and the Sefer Me'irat Enayim on the Shuchan Arukh (Jospeh Karo) which came as a result of his opposition to reliance on law codes to the exclusion of studies on the original sources.

Works:
Beit Israel; Sefer Me'irat Enayim (The Book that Enlightens the Eyes); Sefer ha-Hosafah; Kontres 'al Dine Ribbit; Pene Yehoshu'a; Novellae

Comments:
Beit Israel is a commentary on Jacob ben Asher’s Arba'ah Turim (The Tur), which contains four sections:
1. Perishah provides explanations of the rulings in the Arba'ah Turim based on legal sources. Falk provides straightforward explanations and traces rulings to their sources in the Talmud and Rishonim.
2. Derishah gives Falk's own interpretations accompanied by his own evidence and support for them and discusses other interpreter's commentaries especially Joseph Karo and Moses Isserles where they disagree with Falk's own ideas. Falk deals with problems and deeper realities discussed by Talmudic authorities.
3. Be'urim. This section provides explanations and rulings which are based upon Responsa which appeared in response to the commentaries of Joseph Karo and Moses Isserles.
4. Sefer Me'irat Enayim. The section provides an interpretation of the Ḥoshen Mishpat section of The Shulchan Aruch. It contains corrections and clarifications and attempts to reconcile the views of Joseph Karo and Moses Isserles and deals with the criticism of Mordekhai Yafeh (Jaffe).
Sefer Me'irat Enayim, also known as SMA is a commentary on the Ḥoshen Misphat section of the Shulchan Aruch. It contains corrections and clarifications and attempts to reconcile the views of Joseph Karo and Moses Isserles and deals with the criticism of Mordekhai Yafeh (Jaffe). Sefer Me'irat Enayim is the fourth section of Falk's Beit Israel.
Sefer ha-Hosafah is a supplement to Moses Isserles’ Darkhei Moshe.
Kontres ‘al Dine Ribbit is a discourse on the laws prohibiting usury, and some rabbinic ordinances (takkanot).
Pene Yehoshu’a is a collection of homilies following the order of the parashat hashavuah.
Joshua ben Alexander HaKohen Falk wrote Novellae on Talmudic treatises.

 

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