Naftali Hertz ben Yaakov Elchanan
Naftali Hertz ben Yaakov Elchanan (Bacharach) (17th century) was a German rabbi, born in Frankfurt, author of the controversial work Emeq HaMelekh (Valley of the King, 1648, Amsterdam) on the subject of the Lurianic Kabbalah.
It was based mainly on Israel Sarug's Limmudei Azilut (published 1897), incorporating large portions of that text. It seems very likely that Bacharach borrowed heavily from many sources (including Sarug, Joseph Solomon Delmedigo, and Shabbetai Horowitz) without acknowledging the debt (Scholem 1974). The book had a major impact on later kabbalah as it was regarded among many, including the Chabbad Hasidim and the followers of the Vilna Gaon, as an authoritative statement of Luria's kabbala. Its influence is also evident in Ramchal's system. The book indicates that, prior to the conquest of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Jeremiah hid the treasures of Solomon's Temple, with the assistance of five others.
Although Emeq HaMelekh contained approbations from well-respected scholars (Goldworm 1989, p. 158), it also met with substantial disapproval from contemporary kabbalists such as Chaim Joseph David Azulai, Berechiah Berak, and Moses Hagiz. See Scholem (1974) for more details.
- Goldworm, H. (1989). The Early Acharonim: Biographical Sketches of the Prominent Early Rabbinic Sages and Leaders from the Fifteenth — Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Mesorah Publications.
- Scholem, Gershom G. (1974). Kabbalah. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House.
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