Which ספר מנורת המאור Sefer Menoras Hamaor came first?

Between the two sefarim called ספר מנורת המאור Sefer Menoras Hamaor - One written by Rav Yisrael ben Yoseph Alnakaweh, and one written by Rav Yitzchak Abuhav I have heard that the latter was originally thought to be based on the previous work. Later I heard that many have disagreed and claimed the opposite to be true, and the Sefer of R' Abuhav came was the original Menoras Hamaor which the Menoras Hamaor of R' Al-Nakaweh was based on. I heard a 3rd opinion that they were written indepententally of each other without either affecting the other.

Can someone supply some more insight, sources, detail on this matter?

PS I would prefer, if available, a little more than just citings of sources stating one way or another.

  • Read Enelow's intro. to his edition of Al-Nakawa's MH (pp. 16-22). I think his proofs, that the aforementioned pre-dated Aboab, if not conclusive are just short of it. (Sorry I can't spoon-feed his analysis.)
    – Oliver
    Jul 4, 2018 at 15:09
  • @Oliver I was told that there is an article authored by a professor Israel Ta- shema (maybe in one of his books), in which he refutes the proofs offered by Enlow in regard to this matter, and he concludes that The Abuhav sefer is the original one. Unfortunately, I was not able to acces the mentioned material. Jul 5, 2018 at 14:06
  • Thank you for this; I did not know about his article. I'll look into it now.
    – Oliver
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:29
  • In light of Ta-shma's article (Tarbiz 1995, 395ff.; reprinted in his כנסת מחקרים vol. 2 202ff.) I no longer think Enelow's proofs are "just short of [conclusive]". Ta-shma's rejections of the latter's proofs are convincing. Nevertheless, Ta-shma doesn't seem to be advancing the position that AN copied from Aboab as definitive.
    – Oliver
    Jul 5, 2018 at 15:06
  • @Oliver Thank you. Would it be possible to post a link to TS's article itself, not just to the book? Jul 5, 2018 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


This thread on the Otzar Hachochma forum discusses the issue. Ta-Shema's essay is also brought there and discussed a little.

The OP thought he had some evidence that it was R"Y Abuhav who copied from R"Y Alnakaweh, being that at one point R"Y Alnakaweh copies a midrash from a lost midrash called "Midrash Hashkem", and then later on brings a midrash without sourcing it. A simple search shows that it originates in Midrash Rabbah, however R"Y Abuhav, when bringing the midrash, sources it to Midrash Hashkem! Though we no longer have Midrash Hashkem, it seems to the OP that the simplest explanation is that R"Y Abuhav copied from R"Y Alnakaweh and assumed that the latter midrash was also from Midrash Hashkem, not having, himself, a copy to check.

Another poster opined that this wasn't strong evidence, because then one would have to wonder why R"Y Abuhav didn't copy a third section from R"Y Alnakaweh, seemingly attested to the midrash as well.

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