Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"

How are you related to Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"?

Connect to the World Family Tree to find out

Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"

Hebrew: רבי מרדכי יפה, "בעל הלבושים"
Also Known As: "Mordechai Yofe H'Leibushim", "Levush"
Birthplace: Bohemia (but not Prague)
Death: February 26, 1612 (81-82)
Poznań, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of HaSar HaGaon Avraham ben Joseph Jaffe
Father of Bella Epstein; Rabbi Aryeh Leib Jaffe Ginz; Peretz Jaffe; Olka (Wolka/Olga) Wahl; undocumented wife of Shmuel Sirkis Leitza Segel and 1 other
Brother of Isaschar Dov Ber Jaffe; Aharon Plan Jaffe; Isik Jaffe and Unknown Sobotka

Occupation: Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi of Horodno, Lublin, Kremenitz, Posen, kabbalist, Philosopher, Astronomer, Scientist, First President of the Synod of 4 countries., Chief Rabbi of Poland, Codificator of Jewish Law,
Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"

Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe was not born in Prague (as many people claim -- but see Wachstein I, p. 229), in the year 5290 (1530). His father Rabbi Abraham of Bohemia was the head of the community and the Chief Rabbi of the province. The famous Talmudists Rabbi Shlomo Luria (MaHaRShaL) and Rabbi Moshe Isserles (ReMO) were his teachers of the Talmud, while Rabbi Mattithyahu Delacrut was his teacher of the Kabbalah. Rabbi Mordechai was also a scholar of mathematics, astronomy and other sciences. He married and had five children, two sons and three daughters. Source

Rabbi Mordecai ben Avraham Yoffe (or Jaffe) (c. 1530, Prague - March 7, 1612, Posen) Jaffe studied also philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. He was head of a yeshivah in Prague until 1561, when, by order of the emperor Ferdinand, the Jews were expelled from Bohemia.

Jaffe then went to Venice and studied astronomy (1561-71). In 1572 he was elected rabbi of Grodno; in 1588, rabbi of Lublin, where he became one of the leaders of the Council of Four Lands.

(Hebrew: מרדכי בן אברהם יפה) was the author of Levush Malkhut, a ten-volume codification of religious laws that particularly stressed the customs of the Jews of Eastern Europe.

Although Rabbi Yoffe was a towering religious figure, his appointment generated a sharp controversy within the community because he was a relative of the Yehudichis.

In 1549, opponents of the appointment took their complaint to Queen Bona. She summoned both sides to a hearing, but because only one party appeared she transferred the arbitration of the dispute to rabbis from other communities. In the wake of this case, the queen decided to formalize the election of rabbis and regulate their rights and obligations. A few years later, in 1553, she also formalized the status of the heads of the communities and stipulated procedures for appealing their decisions to the rabbis.

In time, Rabbi Yoffe came to be revered for his incisive wisdom. In addition to his religious occupations, he tended devotedly to the public's needs, finding the time to attend the fairs at Yaroslav and Lublin, where community leaders and rabbis from large communities met to discuss matters of general interest. These meetings were the forerunners of the Council of the Four Lands and the Council of Lithuania.

His father, Abraham b. Joseph, was a pupil of Abraham ben Abigdor. Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria were Jaffe's teachers in rabbinics, while Mattithiah b. Solomon Delacrut was his teacher in Cabala.

Jaffe studied also philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. He was head of a yeshivah in Prague until 1561, when, by order of the emperor Ferdinand, the Jews were expelled from Bohemia.

Jaffe then went to Venice and studied astronomy (1561-71). In 1572 he was elected rabbi of Grodno; in 1588, rabbi of Lublin, where he became one of the leaders of the Council of Four Lands.

Later Jaffe accepted the rabbinate of Kremenetz. In 1592 he was called as rabbi to Prague; from 1599 until his death he occupied the position of chief rabbi of Posen.

Mordechai Joffe himself could count amongst his ancestors Rashi and before him Hillel, Elnathan (governor of Judea) and ultimately back to King David.

He has living descendants today who value his contribution to Judaism, seeing it as an acknowledgement that all Jews may observe in some form or another.

1913-1996- Eger Family Association- pg. 3

1913-1990- Eger Family Association - אילן אא

See Paul Jacobi chapter on Jaffe family at https://www.geni.com/documents/view?doc_id=6000000180057127283
page 431

מגילות יחש של משפחת יפה- צבי יפה 1996/ גניגר ישראל

From Eilat Gordin-Levitan website:

[The Harkavy family was a ] Russo-Jewish family. It originated, according to a tradition current in the family, with Mordecai Jaffe, author of the "Lebushim." The immediate ancestor was Joseph of Turetz (d. 1778), Turetz being a town near Nowogrudok, in the province of Minsk. The first member of the family to assume the name "Harkavy" was Gershon of Nowogrudok (d. 1824), son of Joseph of Turetz.

From the Jewish Encyclopedia:

Mordecai Jaffe:

Codifier of rabbinical law; born in Prague about 1530; died at Posen March 7, 1612. His father, Abraham b. Joseph, was a pupil of Abraham ben Abigdor. Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria were Mordecai Jaffe's teachers in rabbinics, while Mattithiah b. Solomon Delacrut was his teacher in Cabala. Jaffe studied also philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. He was head of a yeshibah in Prague until 1561, when, by order of the emperor Ferdinand, the Jews were expelled from Bohemia. Jaffe then went to Venice and studied astronomy (1561-71). In 1572 he was elected rabbi of Grodno; in 1588, rabbi of Lublin, where he became one of the leaders of the Council of Four Lands. Later Jaffe accepted the rabbinate of Kremenetz. In 1592 he was called as rabbi to Prague; from 1599 until his death he occupied the position of chief rabbi of Posen.

The "Lebush."

The "Lebush" is the achievement with which Jaffe's name is principally associated, and he is best known as the "ba'al ha-Lebushim" ("the author of the 'Lebushim'"). It is a rabbinical code, arranged in the order adopted in the Ṭurim and the Shulḥan 'Aruk, and divided into five parts. The titles of the work and its various parts were derived by Mordecai, with allusion to his own name, from Esther viii. 15. The reason advanced by Jaffe for the compilation of the work was his desire to give a digest of the latest decisions and minhagim, mainly those of German and Polish authorities and including those of his teachers, in order to shorten the course in his yeshibah (introduction). The appearance of Joseph Caro's "Bet Yosef" appended to the Ṭurim was hailed with joy as a great event in rabbinical circles. Even Jaffe thought, at the time, that this work was final. The "Bet Yosef," however, was too scientific and voluminous for the general use of an ordinary rabbi. Jaffe was on the point of publishing his work, when Caro anticipated him with the Shulḥan 'Aruk, to which Isserles later added annotations and the minhagim prevailing in Germany, Poland, and Russia. The two extremes presented by the copiousness of the "Bet Yosef" and the brevity of the Shulḥan 'Aruk left many dissatisfied, and Jaffe accordingly continued his work on his own lines, avoiding both the exuberant, argumentative style and the too terse and legal manner of Caro. Another advantage possessed by the "Lebush" was that it included parts of the Ṭurim omitted by Caro, and the latest minhagim collected by Isaac Tyrnau. The "Lebush," while its author was alive, enjoyed great popularity; but after his death Caro's code gradually superseded it, not only in the Orient but also in Europe, for the reason that the rabbis were obliged to consult the "Bet Yosef" for the sources, while the layman was content with the shorter Shulḥan 'Aruk.

His Method.

Nevertheless, for scholars who study the spirit of the Law, the "Lebushim" are a valuable contribution to halakic literature. As Jaffe rightly observes, the Shulḥan 'Aruk is "a table well prepared with all kinds of refreshments, but it lacks the salt of reasoning." Jaffe seasoned his work with the "salt of reasoning" by giving logical explanations at the beginning of almost every section.

In treating ritual-legal matters from a cabalistic standpoint, Jaffe is an exception among the codifiers. Even Caro, in Safed, the seat of Cabala, refrained from infusing Cabala into his code. Jaffe's method was to a certain extent an innovation, and tended to draw together the Talmudists and cabalists, otherwise in danger of an open breach.

In his "Lebush Tekelet," § 36, Jaffe treats the form of the script alphabet cabalistically. In addition to the "holy and true science" of Cabala, Jaffe was well versed in the secular sciences of his time. In § 94, by means of a map, he indicated the site of Jerusalem, and directed the worshipers of his own country to face the Temple, to the east, "a degree southward." In §§ 427-428 (written in 1579) he gives a minute, scientific explanation of the calendar, with tables and illustrations. That he wasfamiliar with the Russian language is evident from his "Lebush Buẓ we-Argaman," § 129.

His "Lebush Ḥur," corresponding to Oraḥ Ḥayyim, part ii., begins with § 242, on "Sabbath rules." Jaffe quotes the Talmud freely and explains, "Whoever strictly observes the Sabbath, his worship of idols is forgiven," as follows: Sabbath is based on the belief in the creation of the world by the Almighty, in the deliverance from Egypt, and in the revelation of the Torah on Sinai. Therefore it is to be presumed that in one who strictly observes the Sabbath the worship of idols is merely a formality, an involuntary act due entirely to the pressure of circumstances. Perhaps Jaffe intended this for the Maranos.

In his "Lebush 'Aṭeret," corresponding to YorehDe'ah, Jaffe follows the restrictions of his teacher Isserles, as opposed to Caro, his reason for doing so being "the lack of knowledge of physical science in our time." In a case in which the upper jaw of an animal has been removed (by accident or design), Caro is inclined to pronounce it kasher, but is reluctant to do so because Maimonides decided otherwise (§ 33). Jaffe, however, says that authoritative physicians concur in the rabbinical opinion that the absence of the upper jaw is certain to result in the death of the animal from tuberculosis, and that therefore it can not be slaughtered as kasher meat (ib.).

Liberal Interpretation.

Regarding wine of Gentiles, Jaffe, like Isserles, is somewhat lax. Caro prohibits "honey wine" (mead) made by a Mohammedan; Jaffe permits it (§§ 123-126). The principal reason for the existing prohibition is that wine is intoxicating and promotes companionship, causing an intimacy that is apt to lead to intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles. But at the present time, when business with the Gentile is generally opened with an introductory libation, it would be impossible to expand or enforce the rule. Besides, Jews are now socially too much separated from the Gentile to fear assimilation. Hence there is no necessity to expand the prohibition to include any other intoxicating beverage than wine, which was the original Gezerah; and this can not be permitted in the absence of an authoritative synod (ib.).

In regard to loans and interest, Jaffe considered a Karaite as an Israelite, and significantly said that "the Karaites are in a measure under duress, being wrongly brought up from infancy to discard the rabbinical traditions" (§ 159). He was very strict against usury, and would not allow any pretext or evasion, as the evil is contagious; "permit an opening of the size of a pinhole, and it will enlarge from day to day until it becomes as wide as the entrance of the Temple corridor" (§ 160). In the next paragraph he attacks an alleged ruling by Rashi to the effect that the prohibition against interest can be avoided by an intermediary between debtor and creditor. Caro, in "Bet Yosef," does not hesitate to say that an unscrupulous scribe inserted the ruling, and "hung himself on a tall tree" (that is, a recognized authority) by attributing it to Rashi. Jaffe is of the same opinion, and criticizes his teacher, Isserles, for adding this ruling to the Shulḥan 'Aruk; he can not comprehend how his "holy mouth" could have uttered such a thing, as there is not the slightest excuse or basis for the subterfuge, which makes the prohibition of usury a mockery and a laughing-stock in the eyes of the common people. He goes on to threaten: "If I ever get into power I will order the obliteration of that paragraph from the books" (ib.).

The "Lebush Buẓ we-Argaman," corresponding to Eben ha-'Ezer, contains rules, regulations, and forms for the writ of divorce. In connection with this appears an interesting alphabetical list of names, male and female, with their spellings, appended to § 129.

The "Lebush 'Ir Shushan," corresponding to Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, is devoted to civil laws. Speaking, in the first section, of judges and judgment, he says: "Judgment is one of the fundamental principles of creation; as the Mishnah says, 'The triple basis of the world is truth, judgment, and peace'" (Abot i. 18). The maxim "The law of the government is law" is fully treated in § 369, and defined democratically by the statement that "only that government is legitimate in which the king's seal of authority is voluntarily acknowledged by his subjects; otherwise he is not their king, but a robber gathering imposts by force, whose edicts have no legal value."

Jaffe's other works are: "Lebush Orah," a commentary on Rashi to the Pentateuch (Prague, 1603); "Lebush Simḥah," sermons (in manuscript); and "Lebush Or Yeḳarot," consisting of three independent treatises: (1) "Lebush Yeḳarah," on Recanati; (2) "Lebush Eder ha-Yeḳar," on the Jewish calendar, following Maimonides; (3) "Lebush Pinnat Yeḳarot," on Maimonides' "Moreh" (Lublin, 1594). He also annotated the Talmud, and his notes were first published at Vienna in 1830.

Jaffe's opinion was sought on many questions of law, and his responsa were highly valued.

Authority at Lublin Fair.

Lublin was one of the great fair-towns and commercial centers of Poland, and thousands of Jews from neighboring countries attended its fairs. Disputes growing out of their transactions there required adjudication by an authority of more than local standing, and Mordecai Jaffe, who had already established a reputation in Lithuania as rabbi of Grodno, was chosen as judge. The reputation he had won did much also to increase and extend his influence in the Council of Four Lands; and even after his return to Prague he was recognized as its principal leader (D. Gans, "Ẓemaḥ Dawid," p. 46a, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1692; see also Harkavy in Hebr. transl. by Rabinowitz of Grätz, "Gesch." vol. vii. ["%E1%B8%A4adashim wegam Yeshanim," p. 18]).

His last responsum, referring to a conditional divorce, is printed in the collection of R. Meïr of Lublin (No. 125). Jaffe dictated this opinion from his death-bed two days before he died. In it he said: "I am now lying on my bed, subject to the judgment of the King of Kings, hoping that He will heal and cure me of my illness." His signature was so faint that he directed his secretaries to authenticate it (ib.).

Jaffe had five children, two sons and three daughters: Perez Jaffe (d. 1647; see D. Kaufmann in Nissenbaum's "Le-Ḳorot ha-Yehudim be-Lublin," Warsaw, 1899); Aryeh Löb; Walka, the wife of R. Samuel Wahl; Bella, the wife of Jehiel Michael ha-Levi-Epstein, son of Abraham Epstein, rabbi of Brest; and a third daughter, the wife of Benjamin Wolf Günzburg, rabbi of Mayence.

Bibliography: Graetz, Hist. iv. 645;

Perles, Gesch. der Juden in Posen, in Monatsschrift, xiii. 409-416;

Horodetzki, Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe, in Ha-Eshkol, iii. 69-90, iv. 191-193.H. R. J. D. E.

  • ************************************************************************************************************

Missing Links Project

Yoseph (Yossi) Rusinek Today at 12:50 AM Mordechai, the Gaon (genius) author of "Levush" [Levush is a book of dressing code that serves as a source even today]. 5) And Mordechai ben Moshe took a daughter of a learned Gaon Joel Singer as his wife. 6) R'Joel was forced to leave his country and his town because of false claim (plot, libel) and settled (put his tent) in Krakow. And his son-in-law Mordechai, young in years but old on Tora wisdom, went with him and was called there "Mordechai Singer" by name of his father-in-law, as was a custom then. 7) The wife of Moshe Jaffe, mother of Mordechai, is a sister of a learned Gaon Moshe Gershon Hacohen, who's' young brother is a father of "Shearit Yosef". 8) R'Moshe left his country and his homeland because of the hardships for Jews in Bohemia in general and in Prague specifically and came to Krakow, town of his wife's sister and of Mordechai his son. 8) There was a daughter to Moshe whom he gave (married) to Shmuel Sirkis of Lublin and she gave birth to Joel Sirkis the author of Ba"ch (abbreviation for "Bait Chadash – New House). 9) And there was a daughter of R'Joel named Chana whom he gave to R'Avraham son of the learned Gaon Naftali Hirtz from Tibata in Lvov, and he was called by the name "R'Avraham R'Hirtzkesh" (Shem ve-Shearit note 45). 10) Chana gave a birth to a daughter called Beyla/Bayla which became the wife of R'Joel Sirkis and that's why Ba"ch (Joel Sirkis) gave his son a name Shmuel Hirtz ABD Pinchow by the name of his father R'Shmuel and by the name of his in-law R'Hirtz. 11) The wife of R'Gershon Moshe Hacohen died and he took a daughter of R'Joel Singer as a wife and that's why Baal "Shaerit Josef" called him "stepfather". 12) R'Moshe Shtarch, head of Krakow Yeshiva, died and Mordechai Jaffe, called "Mordechai Singer" took his chair. 13) And he is the father of Klemenkash Jaffe family.

About רבי מרדכי יפה, "בעל הלבושים" (עברית)

רבי מרדכי נולד בשנת ה'ר"ץ בפראג. אביו, רבי אברהם, היה רבה של בוהמיה כולה. למד תורה אצל רבי שלמה לוריא (מהרש"ל) ורבי משה איסרליש (הרמ"א) בלובלין ובקרקוב. לאחר נישואיו שב לפראג והקים בה ישיבה, אך בשנת 1561 גורשו היהודים מפראג ומבוהמיה כולה והוא עבר לאיטליה.

באיטליה התגורר רבי מרדכי למעלה מעשר שנים במנטובה ובונציה, והשתלם במתמטיקה, אסטרונומיה, פילוסופיה, ובמדעים נוספים. המסורת מספרת כי לימודי הקבלה אצל רבי מתתיהו דלקרט היו בשנות מגוריו באיטליה, וכי התגורר בביתו. באחד הימים ישב רבי מרדכי שקוע בלימודו בבית רבו ולא הבחין כי ילד קטן שניצב לידו בירך על המזון, ולא ענה "אמן" אחר ברכתו. רבו, שביקש להעמידו על חשיבות עניית "אמן", נידה אותו למשך חודש שלם.

בין השנים 1572-1578 שב רבי מרדכי לפולין, והתמנה לרבה של העיר הורודנה במקומו של רבי נתן שפירא שנפטר בשנת 1577. בהורודנה בנה רבי מרדכי בית כנסת מפואר. בעקבות מחלוקת בעיר עבר רבי מרדכי בשנת 1588 ללובלין, ובשנת 1590 לקרמניץ.

בשנת 1592 עזב המהר"ל את רבנות פראג, ורבי מרדכי מילא את מקומו. לאחר ששב המהר"ל לפראג בשנת 1599 התמנה רבי מרדכי לרבה של פוזנא שבפולין, בה כיהן עד יום מותו, ג' באדר ב' שע"ב (1612).

מספריו ניכרת בקיאותו הרבה ושליטתו הרחבה. עסק בפרשנות המקרא, בהלכה, בדרשנות, בפילוסופיה, במדעים, ובקבלה.

יחסו ללימוד "חכמות חיצוניות" היה חיובי, והוא חלק בעניין זה בתקיפות על רבו הרמ"א ששלל לימוד זה וראה בו ביטול תורה.

רבו בקבלה היה רבי מתתיהו דלקרט, ודרכו כשיטת הקבלה הספרדית הקדם-לוריאנית.

בין תלמידיו נמנה רבי יששכר בר איילנבורג, מחבר ספר "באר שבע".


ר' מרדכי יפה - בעל הלבושים – פוסק. נולד בפראג בערך בשנת 1530, ומת בפוזנא ג' אדר שני שע"ב (1612). אביו, ר' אברהם מביהם, היה ראש הקהל ורב הגליל מטעם הממשלה. רש"ל ורמ"א היו רבותיו בנגלה, ור' מתתיהו ב"ר שלמה דילקרוט היה רבו בקבלה (עי' הקדמת לבוש אור יקרות). ר' מרדכי למד גם פילוסופיה, הנדסה וחשבון.

היה ראש ישיבה בפראג עד שנת 1561, אז יצא בראש הגולים מביהם בגזרת הקיסר פרדינאנד, הלך לאיטליה ושהה בונציה שנים רבות. בשנת 1572 נקרא להיות רב בהוראדנא, ובשנת 1588 נבחר לרב בלובלין, והיה שם אחד מראשי הרבנים באספת ועד ארבע ארצות. משם הלך לקרמניץ. בשנת 1592 היה רב בפראג, ומשנת 1599 ועד מותו היה רב הגליל בפוזנא. כל ימיו עסק בצרכי הצבור וענייני הדת, ושני ימים לפני מותו כתב תשובה לרבני הועד, וסיים דבריו:

   "אני עכשיו מוטל על ערש דווי לא עליכם,
   ותולה בדין מלך מלכי המלכים,
   חותם בידים רפות,
   מרדכי נקרא יפה".

על מצבתו ניתן לקרוא את הדברים המעטים האלה:

   "ציון זה לראש הגאון אב"ד מו"ה מררכי יפה ז"ל ג' ואדר שע"ב".

הלבושים: ר' מרדכי קרא את עשרת הספרים שחיבר בשם כולל "לבושים" או "לבוש מלכות", בעקבות הפסוק "ומרדכי יצא מלפני המלך בלבוש מלכות" (אסתר ח' ט"ז). הוא מתחיל את הקדמותיו במילים "אמר התופר" - תופר הלבושים. הספרים שחיבר:

  • א) לבוש התכלת, דיני או"ח ח"א עד הלכות שבת לפי סימני הטוש"ע;
  • ב) לבוש החור, דיני או"ח מהלכות שבת עד תומו;
  • ג) לבוש עטרת זהב, דיני יו"ד;
  • ד) לבוש הבוץ והארגמן, דיני אח"ע;
  • ה) לבוש עיר שושן, דיני ח"מ;
  • ו) לבוש האורה, ביאור על רש"י ורא"ם ומפרשי התורה, והוספות על לבושי תכלת וחור;
  • ז) לבוש שמחה וששון, דרשות למועדים ורגלים לנישואין ומילות;
  • ח) לבוש פנת יקרת, באורים ותוס' הגהות על מורה נבוכים לרמב"ם;
  • ט) לבוש אדר היקר, פירוש על הלכות קדוש החדש לרמב"ם ועל חכמת התכונה;
  • י) לבוש אבן היקרה, פירוש על הריקאנטי עה"ת.

לבוש א"ח נדפס ראשונה בלובלין בשנת 1590, לבוש יו"ד קראקא 1594, ולבוש אה"ע וח"מ קראקא 9 - 1598 גם נדפסו בפראג וויניציא. לבוש האורה נדפס בפראג בשנת 1603;

  • לבוש אור יקרות כולל שלושה לבושים: לבוש יקרה, לבוש אדר היקר, לבוש פנת יקרת. כתב הגהות על הש"ס שנדפסו בהוצאה ווין 1830.

יתרון ה"לבושים" על ש"ע: ר' מרדכי יפה, בהקדמתו לחמש הלבושים הראשונים בסדר הש"ע, מתנצל על שחיבר ספרו אחר שיצא לאור ספר הטורים לר' יעקב אשרי. הוא אומר כי קודם לכן כבר עלה במחשבתו לעשות חבור כזה -

"ויהי בבוא הספר בראשונה בארצות האלו שמחו עליו כל לומדי התורה... כי חשבוהו לקיצור כנגד רבוי הספרים... כי ראוהו - משביר בר לכל עמי הארץ, וינשאוהו על כל הספרים הפוסקים הראשונים אשר היו בידינו, כי הוא כולל דעת כולם. וגם אנכי הקטן בעניות דעתי ורך בשנים אז היה בעיני כמוצא שלל רב... אך ברוב הימים ראיתי והתבוננתי כי עדיין דרכו הוא דרך ארוכה מאוד, כי הוא ז"ל לרוחב התפשטות שכלו הרב לעיין בו בנקלה, קראו הוא קצרה... אז אמרתי אלך לי בעקביו וארשום לי קיצור הדינים ע"פ הסכמתו שכתב להישען על שלושה עמודי ההוראה ז"ל (על הרי"ף הרמב"ם והרא"ש ולהכריע הרבים נגד היחיד) אבל אסבירם בטעמיהם ובדרכם בקיצור שאפשר. וזה החלי לעשות".

בינתיים גורש מארצו ובא לאיטליה ושם מצא כי ר' יוסף קארו חיבר את הש"ע, שהוא קיצור הטור וב"י. אך גם זה לא ישר בעיניו -

"כי קצר קצרה ידו בו מאוד, ולא יספיק כלל למעיינים בו, כי הוא כספר החתום וכחלום כלא פתרון, וכאלו היה הכל הלכה למשה מסיני בלי שום טעם".

ובפרט התנגד לכך שכתב רוב הדינים כדעת הרמב"ם מפני שכך היו נוהגין בארצות ישמעאל, ומנהגי אירופה היו שונים מהם. ולכן גמר בלבו לשוב למלאכתו -

"לכתוב ולבאר את הדינים הנוהגים באלו הארצות אשכנז: פיהם מעהרין פולין רוסיה ואגפיהן".

אך חזר ומשך ידו ממלאכתו פעם שנית בשמעו כי הרמ"א התעורר על הדרך הזה וכתב הגהות על הש"ע. אמנם גם ההוספות האלה עם הש"ע לא הניחו את דעתו.

"כי רחוקים וגבוהים דרכיהם מדרכי ומחשבותיהם ממחשבותי, כי הם כתבו דבריהם בלא טעמים... והנה הם ערכו שלחנם בכל מיני מעדנים מגדים כפרים עם נרדים, אך המאכלים כתפל בלי מלח... כי אי אפשר לדין בלא טעם, כמו שאי אפשר לאכול בלי מלח.., המלח שמקריבין על כל קרבן לא הביאו, והוא המרתיח את התבשיל ומחמם את האדם... וחסרו לדמות מלתא למלתא, והשמיטו כמה דינים מהטור".

הסיבה שהניעה אותו להוסיף לבושיו על הטור וש"ע היא זו: הטור הוא ארוך ביותר, והש"ע קצר ביותר, ושניהם פוסקים על פי סברא ודמיון. ר' מרדכי כתב בלשון צחה, ובכל זאת לא נתקבלו ספריו בקהל הלומדים והרבנים כמו הטור והש"ע.

ר' מרדכי כמקובל

ר' מרדכי מפרש כמה דינים ע"פ הקבלה מחכמי האמת:

  • טעם לאמירת תהילים דווקא קודם התפילה על פי בעל שערי אורה: להבריח המקטרגים קודם התפילה (לבוש התכלת סי' א' ט'). בהנחת תפילין אומר שלא להוציא תפילה של ראש מהתיק לפני שיניח של יד (אע"פ שאין להפסיק ביניהם) מפני שיש בזה איסור ע"פ סוד הקבלה... והמשכיל יבין בסוד החיבור גלוי ונעלם.
  • לא יתקן לפתוח הרצועות של תפילה של ראש עד אחר הנחת של יד ע"פ הסוד הנ"ל בסוד לא תחסום שור (שם סי' כ"ה י"א).
  • אין נופלין על פניהם בלילה כדי שלא לקצץ בנטיעות ח"ו כידוע ליודעי חן, ובליל האשמורות נוהגין ליפול על פניהם, ונ"ל טעמא מפני שהוא קרוב ליום ומדת היום שהיא מידת הרחמים ממשמשת לבוא ולהתחבר ואין כאן קיצוץ והמשכיל יבין וידום (שם סי' קל"א ג').
  • פוסק כזהר (משפטים) שלא לאכול אפילו בשר אחר גבינה ואפילו בשר עוף, ואומר "ויש אומרים .
  • אומר כי "קבלת הזהר וסודותיו לא היו מפורסם בזמן הפוסקים אלא שנתגלה מקרוב" (שם סי' קע"ג א').
  • עוד דברים בקבלה פוזרים בלבושיו ובפרט בפירושו על הריקאנטי.

בניו ובני משפחתו

ר' מרדכי יפה השאיר אחריו שני בנים ושלוש בנות: ר' פרץ יפה (מת בשנת 1647), ר' אריה ליב יפה; וולקה אשת ר' שמואל וואל, בילא אשת ר' יחיאל מיכל הלוי עפשטיין ב"ר אברהם הרב בריסק דליטא, ובתו אשת ר' בנימין וואלף גינצבורג רב במאינץ.

מקור הערך: ע"פ אוצר ישראל לי"ד איזנשטיין ומקורות נוספים

view all

Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, Ba׳al "Halevushim"'s Timeline

Bohemia (but not Prague)
Prague, Czech Republic
Mikulov, Breclav, South Moravia, Czech Republic
February 26, 1612
Age 82
Poznań, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland