About Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz
Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz (1550 –March 3rd 1619) was a rabbi, poet and Torah commentator, best known for his Torah commentary Keli Yakar.
He was born in Lenczyk (also known as Luntschitz) and studied under Solomon Luria in Lublin, and subsequently served as rosh yeshiva (dean) of the yeshiva in Lvov (Lemberg). In 1604 he was appointed rabbi of Prague, a position he filled until his death. In the introduction of his Keli Yakar he relates that the name Shlomo was added to his name during life-threatening illness, a common practice in Judaism.
Luntschitz is best remembered for his homiletical work, most prominently Keli Yakar ("precious vessel", an allusion to Proverbs 20:15) on the Torah which first appeared in Lublin in 1602, is still printed in many editions of the Pentateuch and continues to be highly popular. He composed two penitential prayers in commemoration of the 1611 pogroms that hit Prague on the 2nd of Adar on the Jewish calendar. In addition he wrote:
- Ir Giborim ("city of strong men", cf. Proberbs 21:22), comprising Petichot u-Shearim ("openings and gates") and two works of Torah homilies. It was first published in Basel in 1580.
- Olelot Ephraim ("grapes of Ephraim", a reference to Judges 8:2), four volumes of sermons published in Lublin 1590.
- Amudei Shesh ("pillars of marble", Esther 1:6), sermons (Prague, 1617)
- Siftei Da'at ("words of wisdom", also Proverbs 20:15), a continuation of Keli Yakar in style and reach, Prague 1610.
- Orach le-Chayim ("a path for life", Proberbs 10:17), sermons for Shabbat Shuvah and Shabbat ha-Gadol, Lublin 1595.
- Rivevot Efraim ("myriads of Ephraim", Deuteronomy 33:17), not extant but mentioned in the introduction of Orach le-Chayim.
EPHRAIM SOLOMON BEN AARON OF LENCZIZA:
Rabbi and popular preacher at Prague; born probably at Lencziza, Poland; died at Prague March 3, 1619. After having filled the office of rosh yeshibah at Lemberg, he was appointed in 1604 rabbi of Prague, and remained in this position until 1618.
Ephraim was the author of the following works: "'Ir Gibborim," in three parts, the first, entitled "Petiḥot u-Shẹ'arim," containing a rhetorical introduction and an ethical treatise, and the second and the third being homilies on the Pentateuch, Basel, 1580; "'Olelot Efrayim," ethical sermons based upon Bible and Talmud, in four parts, Lublin, 1590; "Keli Yeḳar," annotations on the Pentateuch, ib. 1602; "Sifte Da'at," forming the second part of the preceding work and containing homilies on the Pentateuch, Prague, 1610; "Oraḥ le-Ḥayyim," two ethical sermons, one for the Sabbath between New-Year and the Day of Atonement ("Shabbat Teshubah"), and the other for Passover, Lublin, 1595; "'Ammude Shesh," sermons, Prague, 1617; "Ribebot Efrayim," homilies on the Pentateuch (mentioned in the introduction to his work "Oraḥ le-Ḥayyim").
Ephraim was also the author of three liturgical poems celebrating Adar 2 (Feb. 15), 1611, on which date a hostile army that had entered Prague was defeated.
- Moritz Grünwald, Rabbi Salomo Efraim Luntschitz, Prague, 1892;
- Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 421;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 904;
- Zedner, Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 240;
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 501.