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Perla, Jeroham Fischel ben Aryeh Ẓevi


PERLA, JEROHAM FISCHEL BEN ARYEH ẒEVI (1846–1934), scholar and commentator. Born in Warsaw, Perla at the age of 15 went to study under Joshua Leib Diskin in Lomza, and when Diskin left Lomza he became the pupil of Ḥayyim*Soloveichik of Brest-Litovsk. Perla was invited by many communities, including those of Cracow and Lublin to accept the position of communal rabbi. Believing that the burdens of office would interrupt his study, however, he refused all the calls extended to him and devoted himself entirely to study, supported by his wife, who kept a shop in Warsaw. Perla spent 40 years on his remarkable three-volume commentary on Saadiah's Sefer ha-Mitzvot, which he completed in 1917. With the appearance of this extensive and brilliant work Perla's reputation spread, reaching Ereẓ Israel long before he himself arrived there, and due to it he entered into correspondence with Ḥayyim *Sonnenfeld. They became close friends after Perla's arrival in Jerusalem in 1924, but otherwise Perla shunned people in order to spend his whole time studying. It is said that in his house there was a chest containing many manuscripts, including a commentary on Eliezer b. Nathan's Raban, equal in length to Perla's commentary on the Sefer ha-Mitzvot. Perla began to publish a commentary on Kaftor va-Feraḥ of Estori ha-Parḥi called Pirḥei Ẓiyyon, but only the first five chapters appeared (1966). The manuscript of the remainder was taken back to Europe by Perla's son and was lost in the Holocaust. Perla died in Jerusalem.


J. Gelis, Mi-Gedolei Yerushalayim (1967), 233–8; Saadiah Gaon, Sefer ha-Mitzvot…im Be'ur…Yehudah Yeruḥam Perla (1962), preface.

[Anthony Lincoln Lavine]

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