Rivkes, Moses ben Naphtali Hirsch

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RIVKES, MOSES BEN NAPHTALI HIRSCH (d. c. 1671/72), Lithuanian talmudist. It is not known when Rivkes went to Vilna, but he was one of those expelled from Vilna in 1655 (together with *Shabbetai b. Meir ha-Kohen, Ephraim Cohen, and Aaron Samuel *Koidonover) during the war between Poland and Russia. He reached the Prussian border but was prevented from proceeding further because of the Swedish army which was invading Russia. He then sailed for Amsterdam, where he was well received by the Sephardi community. Although most of the refugees were sent to Frankfurt, Rivkes, through the influence of Saul Levi *Morteira and Isaac *Aboab, remained in Amsterdam. He later returned to Vilna, where he died.

Rivkes' fame rests upon his Be'er ha-Golah. At the request of Ephraim *Bueno, "the distinguished doctor," and Jacob Castello, he corrected the edition of the Shulḥan Arukh printed in Amsterdam, adding to it the sources and clarifying the reasons for conflicting opinions. The work (first published in the Amsterdam (1661–66) edition of the Shulḥan Arukh) became an integral part of the Shulḥan Arukh, appearing in all editions. Rivkes also wrote additions to the Shulḥan Arukh and a commentary on the Mishnah, which were never published. In the sphere of Jew-gentile relations, Rivkes favored tolerance and mutual respect, condemning dishonesty toward non-Jews in commercial dealings and stressing the duty of Jews to respect Jews and gentiles alike, since Christians shared with Jews certain religious beliefs based upon the Bible. He was renowned for his personal piety and was called he-Ḥasid ("the pious"), an unusual appellation for that time. In his ethical testament he refers to his sons, Pethahiah, Joseph, and Judah, who died in his lifetime, and to his sister's son, David Lida, rabbi of Amsterdam. Rivkes was an ancestor of Elijah Gaon of Vilna, who was supported by a legacy established by him.


S.J. Fuenn, Kiryah Ne'emanah (19125), 97–100; I. Klausner, Toledot ha-Kehillah ha-Ivrit be-Vilna (1938), 15; Ch. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 3 (1947), 172–5; J. Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance (1961); Yahadut Lita, 1 (1959), 253, and index; 3 (1967), 71, and index.

[Itzhak Alfassi]