Weekly Freebies: Or Hashem

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R. Chasdai Crescas was a 14th century rabbi, philosopher and communal leader. His philosophical work Or Hashem is a classic. In R. Shlomo Fisher’s 1990 edition of the book, he fixed many typos and added vowels. This edition is available in full here: link

More about R. Chasdai Crescas here: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Judaica, Jewish Encyclopedia.

See prior posts here: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

11 comments

  1. Is Chasdei Crescass the only pre-modern era rabbinic figure known only for his philosophical works?

  2. R. Crescass has chidushim on gitin.

  3. different R. Crescas

  4. DZ – There’s R. Bahya for Chovot Halevavot, R. Yehuda Halevi for the Kuzari (if you’re not counting his poetry), R. Yosef Albo (R. Crescas’ student) for Sefer Haikarim (if you don’t count the one responsum we have of his), not to mention the less famous ones.

    Besides R. Crescas actual work, we have lots of information on his tireless communal work for the Spanish Jews. We also know that he intended to write a comprehensive work of Halacha meant to rival the Mishna Torah, but that he died before writing it.

  5. Did he write a pirush on the Moreh, or was that someone else?

  6. Does anyone know what is the story with critical edition of this Sefer and translation that was being worked on by Warren Zev Harvey?

  7. Cheese: Yes, that was him.

  8. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: You are mistaken. The standard peirush of Crescas was by Asher Crescas.

    Prof. Harvey, to the best of my knowledge, is still working on it.

  9. Wow, I did not know that. It makes sense that R. Chasdai Crescas wouldn’t write a commentary on a book with which he disagreed so fundamentally. Thank you!

  10. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: My pleasure.

    If you will look at Asher Crescas’ commentary on the Guide, you will see that it is rather superficial and unbefitting such a profound thinker as R. Hasdai Crescas.

    However, regarding your basic point, Abarbanel wrote an extensive (albeit partial) commentary on the Guide, though he disgees with the Guide on many fundamental issues, particularly regarding prophecy.

    There is a (perhaps apocryphal) story that when Abarbanel lectured on the Guide, he always concluded his lecture by saying, “This is the teaching of (torat) Rabbenu Moshe, not the teaching of Moshe Rabbenu!

  11. Thank you so much for this. I have not had fund to buy seforim for several years now and something like this means alot to me. Shabbat shalom.

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