The Chafetz Project -
Melekhet Machashevet Citations

    The following are online citations from Moshe Chafetz's 1710 work Melekhet Machashevet, found via an unfiltered Google search and other occasional searches.

    Not all links are still active, but relevant text is excerpted here in full.

    Parshat Bo
    (From Exodus)

    Yaakov Culi's "Me'Am Loez" on Parashat Bo

    G-d warned Pharaoh that this would not be a normal locust attack. Locusts usually arrive one by one, only then attacking in number. Even then, they usually attack only one field at a time, devouring one and then moving on to another. In this case, however, the locusts would attack the entire land at once, covering all visible ground. Although Egypt was a fairly large country, it would be covered in its entirety.

    Although the locusts would denude Egypt of all vegetation, they would not attack any Israelite fields, even when they were in close proximity to Egyptian land.

    Whenever Moshe came to Pharaoh to present him with a divine warning, he would leave immediately without taking leave or saying goodbye. (Ramban) Here the Torah states this explicitly, "He turned and left Pharaoh's presence." This means that as soon as Moshe finished speaking, he turned his back on Pharaoh and left. He was careful not to back away in obeisance, as people usually do when leaving a king. This was an important symbolic gesture, to show that as G-d's ambassador, Moshe was at least the equal of Pharaoh. (Rabbi Moshe Chefetz [ben Gershon) Gentili. Melechet Machashevet [Venice, 1710])

    About "Me'Am Loez"

    Me'am Lo'ez, hailed as "the outstanding work of Ladino literature." Written by Rabbi Yaakov Culi, one of the greatest Sephardic sages of his times, the book was first published in 1730. It changed the spiritual climate of the entire Mediterranian region.

    Eastern Jews esteemed Me'am Lo'ez as a major classic, affording it the same status as the Talmud and Mishnah. Reading it each day was a religious duty; it was a highly popular text for synagogue classes held each evening.

    Many count Me'am Lo'ez among the best commentaries ever written on the Torah - in any language. The book is a veritable enclyclopedia of Jewish knowledge. Perhaps the best-known publication in Ladino, a language that declined after the Holocaust.


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