Auction 75 Rare and Important Items
Nov 24, 2020
Israel
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 4:

Mesilat Yesharim – First Edition – Amsterdam, 1740

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Mesilat Yesharim – First Edition – Amsterdam, 1740
Mesilat Yesharim, including all topics of ethics and fear of G-d, by R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – the Ramchal. [Amsterdam]: Naftali Hertz Rofe, [1740]. First edition, printed during the lifetime of the Ramchal, while he was in Amsterdam (before he immigrated to Eretz Israel).
Mesilat Yesharim is reputed as a refined, clear summary of the Ramchal's other works (Derech Hashem, Daat Tevunot, Klach Pitchei Chochma, etc.), written in measured, precise language with great depth of thought. In his introduction to the book Mesilat Yesharim – im Iyunim (with study), R. Yechezkel Sarna mentions a tradition transmitted in the name of the Gaon of Vilna, that not one unnecessary word can be found(!) until chapter 11. R. Yerucham of Mir would tell his disciples that "Mesilat Yesharim is based on all the Ramchal's kabbalistic works, yet he simplified the concepts to make them more accessible to us, to the point that when studying them, it appears to us that we have a connection to them" (Daat Chochma UMusar, I, p. 249).
The author explains in his introduction that this work was composed to assist in the acquisition of ethical wisdom and fear of G-d, which cannot be achieved through knowledge alone. The purpose of this work is not the innovation of new concepts but rather constant review and meditation to anchor these ideas within one's soul. Indeed, this book has been accepted throughout the Jewish world as the primary book for the study of ethics.
When the Gaon of Vilna first saw the book, he proclaimed that a new light has come down to illuminate the world. In his high regard for the book, he paid a gold coin for it. In his foreword to Derech Hashem, R. Y. Moltzan quotes the statement of the Gaon of Vilna, that if the author had been alive, he would have travelled on foot all the way to Italy to greet him. He further relates that the Gaon of Vilna would frequently review the book.?Chassidic leaders likewise appreciated the great stature of the book and the holiness of its kabbalistic author. The Maggid of Kozhnitz attested that all the heights he reached in his youth stemmed from the book Mesilat Yesharim. The Ohev Yisrael of Apta and R. Menachem Mendel of Rimanov diligently studied Mesilat Yesharim in great depth, and describe it in awesome and wondrous terms. The rebbe of Apta would say that his spiritual direction and education were drawn first and foremost from the book Mesilat Yesharim (Sefer HaChassidut, p. 146). Rebbe Nachman of Breslov would instruct new disciples to study Mesilat Yesharim (Sichot VeSipurim, p. 167), and the Bnei Yissaschar wrote in his additions to the book Sur MeRa V'Aseh Tov: "Study the book Mesilat Yesharim and it will quench your thirst… its words are sweeter than honey". R. Yaakov Yosef of Ostroh writes in his approbation to the book Klach Pitchei Chochma by the Ramchal (Korets 1785): "The book Mesilat Yesharim, the paths of G-d which tzaddikim tread, written by the great rabbi… R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, this is the Torah which Moshe presented to Israel, to understand the words of the wise and their riddles, through its straightforward teachings...". In his foreword to the above-mentioned book, the publisher quotes the Maggid of Mezeritch who stated that "[The Ramchal's] generation was not worthy of appreciating his righteousness and abstention".
R. Yosef Zundel of Salant told his illustrious disciple R. Yisrael of Salant that when receiving a farewell blessing upon leaving the Volozhin yeshiva, he asked R. Chaim of Volozhin which ethics book to study. His teacher responded: "All musar books are good to study, but Mesilat Yesharim should be your guide". Since its first printing in 1740, Mesilat Yesharim has been reprinted in hundreds(!) of editions, and until this day remains the primary musar book studied in Torah and Chassidic study halls.
[6], 63 leaves. 15 cm. High-quality paper. Good condition. Stains (including dampstains). Minor wear. Margins trimmed at a slant. Tears to endpapers. Inscriptions on title page and endpaper. Original binding (leather-covered wood, with parchment spine), damaged.

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