Vinograd, Pesaro 34; Mehlman 673
The author of this classic commentary on the Torah, Moses ben Nahman (1194-1270) is also known by the Hebrew acronym Ramban. He began this work while still in his native Spain although it was completed, or at least emended, during the sage's later years in the Land of Israel, as attested to by his first hand knowledge of the geography of the Holy Land. Unlike the running commentary of Rashi, Nahmanides' Perush is an extensive elucidation of selected passages and there is minimal concern with linguistics. His critical analysis of the aggadic and halakhic interpretations of both talmudic and midrashic texts is lucidly written.
The title and first text page of Genesis each have a decorative frame comprised of panels from the Decachordum, a Latin work that Gershom Soncino had previously published. Between them is Ramban's preface and introduction, the initial words of the latter in a Soncino ornamental border. Although the "Sons of Soncino" are listed as the printers, the text of the page begins with four lines consisting of verses from Psalms which give the name Gershom in an acrostic. The title page further informs us that work on the book commenced on Wednesday, November 30, 1513 and was completed on Sunday, June 7, 1514.
Nahmanides' Perush ha-Torah is considered by many the most important Torah commentary after that of Rashi. The first edition, printed in Rome sometime between 1469 and 1473, may well have been the first Hebrew book ever printed and its popularity remained undiminished in subsequent centuries.
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