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Reuben Hoeshke ben Hoeshke (Joshua) Katz


REUBEN HOESHKE BEN HOESHKE (Joshua ) KATZ (d. 1673), rabbi and kabbalist. Reuben lived in Prague and was the grandson of the famous preacher R. *Ephraim Solomon of Luntshits. He wrote a comprehensive compilation of Midrashim, mostly based on kabbalistic literature, in four parts, two of which have been published: (1) Yalkut Re'uveni (Prague, 1660), a collection mostly of kabbalistic legends, arranged in alphabetical order. It is also called Ha-Kaẓar ("The Brief ") or Ha-Katan ("The Small"), to differentiate it from his second book of the same name; (2) Yalkut Re'uveni (Wilmersdorf, 1681), also called Ha-Gadol ("The Great"). This work is based on the weekly portions of the Pentateuch (the author's project of writing on the Five Scrolls was not executed). Yalkut Re'uveni is an important collection of the kabbalistic lore, similar to the 13th-century anthology of midrashic lore, *Yalkut Shimoni. Its importance lay in the use of kabbalistic texts and manuscripts composed during the preceding 500 years, many of which have been lost and others such as Sodei Rezayya by *Eliezer of Worms, and the Parma manuscript of Sefer Ḥasidim have only recently been rediscovered and published. He lists the works which he used in rhymed verse in the introduction to his book. Additional importance lies in his wide use of the teaching of the *Ḥasidei Ashkenaz, and his conception of it as an organic part of the doctrine of the Kabbalah. The practical purpose of this anthology was to present to the public and to the preachers literary material not in their possession in an organized and accessible manner. He wrote two additional works of a definitely kabbalistic nature: (3) Oneg Shabbat (Sulzbach, 1684), a short compilation of Sabbath laws with mystical intentions and kabbalistic sayings; and (4) Davar she-bi-Kedushah (ibid., (1684)), a lengthy treatment in a kabbalistic manner of the matters of sin mentioned in "the confession" (Heb. viddui). The popularity of this work is attested to by its numerous editions in print.

[Moshe Hallamish]

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