AARON BERECHIAH BEN MOSES BEN NEHEMIAH OF MODENA:
Italian cabalist, who died in 1639. He was a pupil of Rabbi Hillel of Modena (surnamed Ḥasid we-Ḳaddosh, that is, "The Pious and Holy") and of Rabbi Menahem Azariah of Fano. At the request of the Ḥebrah Ḳaddisha (Burial Society) at Mantua he instituted rites for them. He is the author of "Ma'abar Yabboḳ," which contains dissertations on (separation), (purity), and (holiness). Added to these are prayers to be offered for the sick and the dead, as well as rules for their treatment. To avert possible criticism for failing to discuss these themes philosophically, he makes use of the statement of Isaac Arama in his book "'Aḳedat Yiẓḥaḳ" (chap. xxv.): "Reason must surrender some of its rights to the divine revelations which are superior to it." Other works written by him are: (1) Ashmoret haBoḳer" (The Watches of the Morning), prayers to be said in the early morning, arranged for the society called "Me'ire ha-Shaḥar" (Awakeners of the Morning), and therefore also published under this name. (2) A commentary on "Tiḳḳune ha-Zohar." (3) "Me'il Ẓedaḳah" (The Cloak of Righteousness), on worship and study, published at Mantua in 1767, together with (4) "Bigde Ḳodesh" (Garments of Holiness), on the same subject. (5) "Ḥibbur beḲabbalah," a work on the Cabala, consisting of four volumes: (a) "Shemen Mishḥat Ḳodesh" (The Oil of Holy Anointment), on the principles of the Cabala according to Moses Cordovero and Isaac Luria; (b) "Shemen Zait Zak" (The Pure Oil of the Olive), public addresses on the same subject; (c) "Shetil Poreaḥ" (The Blossoming Plant), on the mysterious meaning of prayers and ceremonies; (d) "Imre Shefer" (Words of Beauty), and miscellaneous matter; this whole work was seen in manuscript by Azulai at Modena, and is found in parts in some libraries. (6) "Magen Aharon" (Shield of Aaron), containing a compendium of Luria's works. This fertile writer is said to have been, like Joseph Caro, in constant communion with a spirit called the Maggid.
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 280;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 166;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 4348.