R. Moshe Alshikh – Intellectual Profile

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R. Moshe Alshikh
R. Moshe Alshikh
ר' משה אלשיך, האלשיך הקדוש
LocationsTurkey / Zefat
WorksCommentary on most of Tanakh
Exegetical CharacteristicsKabbalistic
Influenced byR. Yosef Taitazak, R. Yosef Karo
Impacted onR. Chayyim Vital



  • Name – ר' משה בן ר' חיים אלשיך‎1
  • Dates – c. 15202 – c. 1593
  • Locations – R. Moshe was born in Adrianople, studied in Salonika as a youth, and moved to Zefat, where he lived the rest of his life. He also visited the Jewish communities of Syria and Turkey.
  • Occupation – R. Moshe's main area of activity was as a halakhist.3 Accordingly, after arriving in Zefat, R. Yosef Karo appointed him to serve on his rabbinical court. In Zefat, R. Moshe also became known for his popular weekly sermons, which served as the basis for his Biblical commentaries.4 R. Moshe founded two yeshivot in Zefat and was intimately involved in communal affairs.
  • Family – R. Moshe had a son R. Chayyim.5
  • Teachers – R. Yosef Taitazak, R. Yosef Karo.
  • Contemporaries – R. Eliezer Ashkenazi,6 the circle of scholars in Zefat, including R. Yitzchak Luria (the "Ari"), R. Shelomo Alkabetz, and R. Moshe Cordovero, among others.
  • Students – R. Chayyim Vital7
  • Time period – R. Moshe lived in Zefat during a time of great spiritual ferment which saw, among other things, the advent of Lurianic Kabbalah, the publication of Shulchan Arukh, and the great controversy over renewal of semikhah. During this controversy, which began in 1538, R. Yaakov Berav conferred semikhah upon R. Moshe's teacher, R. Yosef Karo. R. Karo later ordained R. Moshe with this controversial renewed semikhah.8


  • Biblical commentaries – R. Moshe authored commentaries on most books of the Bible.9 This includes commentaries on the Torah,10 Earlier and Later Prophets (excluding Yechezkel),11 Tehillim,12 Mishlei,13 Iyyov,14 Shir HaShirim,15 Rut,16 Eikhah,17 Kohelet,18 Esther,19 Daniel,20
  • Rabbinics and Jewish thought – Responsa.21
  • Other works – A dirge that became part of the Tikkun Chatzot service.
  • Lost works22 – She'arim,23 commentary to Midrash Rabbah,24 novellae on Talmudic topics.

Torah Commentary


  • Verse by verse / Topical
  • Genre
  • Structure
  • Language



Textual Issues

  • Manuscripts
  • Printings
  • Textual layers


Significant Influences

  • Earlier Sources
  • Teachers
  • Foils

Occasional Usage

Possible Relationship


Later exegetes