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7 Facts About Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher on The Anniversary of His Passing

He wrote his commentary on the Torah in one night: Today, the 12th of Tammuz is the anniversary of the passing of the Baal HaTurim - Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher. He is the author of a gigantic work, which even to this day-more than six hundred years later-is still studied by the students and authorities of Jewish law

7 Facts About Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher on The Anniversary of His Passing
1. Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher, the third son of the Rosh, is the author of the Arba Turim "Four Columns".
 
2. The book "Four Columns" is a central book of Jewish Law, according to which the Shulchan Aruch – The Code of Jewish Law was composed.
 
Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher divided all the laws into four divisions, called in Hebrew Arba Turim (Four Columns), after the four columns of jewels in the breastplate of the High Priest.
 
Each section deals with a specific topic in Jewish life:
 
The Orach Chaim (Way of Life) column, deals with everyday matters such as the laws of waking up in the morning, blessings, prayers, reciting the Shema, grace after meals, the laws of Shabbat and Kiddush, Jewish Festivals, fast days and Kiddush HaChodesh - laws of the new moon. The laws of the new moon include several maps of the Jewish calendar until the end of the sixth millennium.
 
The Yoreh De'ah (Teacher of knowledge) column, deals with the laws concerning slaughtering animals, eating & preparing meat and milk foods, the Jewish dietary laws idolatry, vows, charity, Torah study, respect for Torah scholars and more.
 
The Even HaEzer (Stone of Help) column, deals with family matters, laws of marriage and divorce, Yibum and more.
 
The Choshen Mishpat (Breastplate of Judgment) column, deals with Jewish civil and criminal law.
 
3. The book "Four Columns" was written in a unique and specific order. Each column is divided into distinct sections and divisions. The layout of the material is easy to use precise and to the point.
 
4. After the composition of the book "Four Columns", Rabbi Yaakov wrote a commentary on the Torah, based mainly on Ramban's words, also containing extracts from the writings of Rashi, R. Yosef Kimchi, Rashbam and the Rosh.
 
5. His commentary on the Torah became extremely popular, and was subsequently printed in most editions of the Jewish Bible. It is worthy to note that the portion printed in most editions today is only the preface written before the body of interpretation. In the preface, the author mentions paraphrases of wisdom, such as gematria (numerical values) and number hints, which the author describes as "paraphrases of traditions to entice the heart."
 
6. It is a well-known fact that Rabbi Yaakov wrote his entire commentary on the Torah in one night, orally, although no reliable source has been found.
 
7. In his will he wrote:
 
"Trust not in your wealth, nor in your understanding, nor in any human being, but in G-d alone."
 
"If people condemn you or praise you, in your eyes regard their praise as condemnation and their condemnation as praise."
 
"If you see people doing something inappropriate, rebuke them in a moral and wise way, do not despise them and they will listen to you.”
 
"Do not say anything unless it is necessary."
 
"The fruit of a day's work – is the time of prayer, and the fruit of all the week's work – is the day of Shabbat."