Meir ben Elijah
MEIR BEN ELIJAH
MEIR BEN ELIJAH (early 19th century), author of the ethical and educational work, Naḥalat Avot ("The Inheritance of the Fathers," Vilna, 1835). Although written in the form of an *ethical will – the author seemingly directing his teachings toward his own sons – the book is intended for the ethical betterment of the general public. Meir's principal concern is demonstrating the way to achieve reverence toward God, but he also deals with man's struggle against his own evil inclination, the best methods by which to educate one's children, proper behavior at home and in the synagogue, and social and religious ethics. The book is prefaced by a piyyut, with the notarikon of the author's name, and two opening statements, one encouraging sinners to repent, and the other insisting on repeated study of ethical literature. Among his major sources are the *Zohar and Sefer *Ḥasidim, which he quotes frequently; the Shenei Luḥot ha-Berit by R. Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz; and a more contemporary source – Nefesh ha-Ḥayyim by R. Ḥayyim of *Volozhin. In addition, Meir mentions Ma'alot ha-Torah, a work composed by his grandfather. Meir also wrote a commentary on the tractate Avot, Derekh Avot, printed in Vilna, 1836.