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MeAm Lo'ez Commentaries

The Torah Anthology

If a book can be judged by its influence, it must be said that Rabbi Yaakov Culi's MeAm Lo'ez ranks among the greatest classics of Jewish literature.  No work designed to instruct the average Jew has ever proven so popular.  As the Encyclopedia Judaica states, it was "the outstanding work of Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) literature."  Written in Ladino, it was the only literature available for thousands of Sefardic families who could not understand Hebrew.  The success of MeAm L'ez among the Jews of Turkey and the Balkans was unparalleled.

It is difficult even to assess the influence that this one book had on the Jews of the Mediterranean region.  Many who did not understand Hebrew had gradually drifted away from Jewish observance, and many communities were in an advanced state of decay when this book was first published in 1730.  When MeAm Lo'ez first came out, it changed the spiritual climate of this entire region.  It is reported that tens of thousands of families who had dropped religious practice almost entirely once again became completely observant, creating a religious renaissance of Sefardic Jewry.

Sources for MeAm Lo'ez Commentaries:

Complete Tanach: 45 Volume Set (purchase whole set or by individual book)