11W-2 Rabbi Goldfischer
Yonah Ben Abraham Gerondi, also known as Rabbeinu Yonah, was one of the most prominent Rabbis to emerge from Spain in the 13th century. In addition, he was a renowned author and moralist, and he is most famous for his work on ethics, The Gates of Repentance, in which he categorizes the main aspects of performing acts of Teshuva into four “gates”, or sections. The sefer was fundamental in bringing a clear and concise explanation on teshuva and building a relationship with God to the general Jewish population. It is considered to be one of the greatest Mussar works of all time, as Rav Chaim Volozhin once commented that while the mussar seferim are not always appropriate or beneficial to some people, Shaarei Teshuva (The Gates of Repentance) is appropriate for “every Jewish soul for all eras in all situations”.
Yonah Gerondi was raised in Girona, Catalonia, and based his study there, eventually becoming a remarkable student under the teachings of Solomon of Montpellier. Montpellier was the leader of the adversaries against the philosophical works of Maimonides, and greatly influenced Yonah Gerondi and his later works. Gerondi followed his teacher’s contempt towards Maimonides’ work, and in fact, Gerondi disapproved so greatly of Maimonides teachings that he became an incendiary of a public book burning that would take place by order of the French authorities. However, a great number of Talmuds were also burnt at the same place as the philosophical works, which severely angered Gerondi’s community, which caused him to publicly apologize for his involvement in front of the Montpellier synagogue.
After this incident, Gerondi devoted himself to Maimonides’ philosophical works and as an act of repentance, began to travel to Palestine where he would repent in front of Maimonides’ grave. It is then said that he died on his way there, in Toledo. Some scholars even presume that it was a...