Sefer Maggid Meisharim - Yosef Karo

Yosef Karo's (1488 - March 24, 1575) authorative works on Jewish law are considered among the masterpieces of rabbinic literature. The Maggid Meisharim (Preacher of Righteousness, Maggid Meisharim (מגיד מישרים) (Lublin, 1646), and supplements (Venice, 1646)) is a mystical diary in which Karo recorded the nocturnal visits of an angelic being, his heavenly mentor, the personified Mishna (the authoritative collection of Jewish Oral Law). For a period of about 50 years, his visitor spurred him to acts of righteousness and even asceticism, exhorted him to study the Kabbala, and reproved him for moral laxities. For more about this interesting text see ..

Sefer Maggid Meisharim - Venice 1649

This was a supplementary edition (second part) to the first 1646 first (incomplete) edition.

Sefer Maggid Meisharim, “significant and marvelous secrets revealed to modest… wholesome Rabbi Yosef Karo…”. Section two. Venice, [1649].


First edition of second section. First section of composition on Torah portions Bereshit-Metzora, was brought to print by Rabbi Yitzchak Binga in Lublin (1646) and its continuation was printed in this edition, by him and by Rabbi Elisha Chaim Ashkenazi. In this edition the composition was completed from Torah portion of Acharei Mot until VeZot HaBracha, and includes esoteric explanations on Shir HaShirim, Ruth, Shmuel II, Yeshayau, Amos, Tehillim, Mishlei and Iyov. This publication also contains (leaf 1-12,1): “Warnings, corrections and restrictions” on Bereshit-Metzora. In following editions these additions were integrated as “Batra Edition”. This wonderful book, Maggid Meisharim, contains powerful secrets and unknown Torah notions which were revealed to Rabbi Yosef Karo author of Beit Yosef and Shulchan Aruch, through a “Maggid” [messenger] sent to him from heaven. Description of great revelation of the Maggid on evening of Shavuot, as documented by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (author of Lecha Dodi) who was present at that event, is famous: “I have been granted the merit of hearing the voice speaking to the Chassid (Rabbi Yosef Karo); an intense clear voice, and all neighbors heard this and did not comprehend; the revelation was pleasant and the voice became stronger and more powerful, and we fell on our faces and lost consciousness out of reverence and awe”. (Estimate: $1000 - $1500, August 2013).

Details from the cover of the Venice 1649 edition.

See The Seventeenth Century Hebrew Book By Marvin J. Heller

מגיד מישרים. Sefer Maggid Meisharim - Amsterdam, 1708

This was the first complete edition.

** Sefer Maggid Meisharim - Amsterdam, 1708



See also Three manuscripts bound together. Yemen, 17th century.

מגיד מישרים. Rabbi Yosef Karo. Russia-Poland, 1820??

מגיד מישרים. Rabbi Yosef Karo. Russia-Poland, 1820??.

R. Joseph Caro's Kabbalistic diary wherein he relates the revelations made to him by the Maggid in his dreams. R. Caro believed himself to be regularly visited - generally at night - by a heavenly mentor ("maggid") who revealed to him kabbalistic doctrines, as well as rules and predictions for his private ascetic life. This heavenly mentor identified himself as the heavenly archetype of the Mishnah and the Shekhinah, and manifested himself in the form of "automatic speech," i.e., as a voice coming out of Caro's mouth which could be heard by others. The best-known account of this phenomenon is that contained in a letter by R. Solomon Alkabez, recounting such a "maggidic" manifestation during a Shavuot-night vigil in R. Caro's house, probably in Nikopolis. These visitations, which continued for about 50 years, were not experienced in a state of trance, for R. Caro subsequently remembered the messages and wrote them down in a mystical diary.

A small part of this diary has survived in manuscript and was subsequently printed under the title Maggid Mesharim (1st, incomplete, ed. Lublin, 1646; 2nd, supplementary, ed., Venice, 1649; 1st complete ed., Amsterdam, 1708).

Attempts to deny R. Caro's authorship of the Maggid Mesharim were mainly inspired by the prejudice that this lucid halakhist could not possibly have exhibited such mystical states (seen as irrational, trance-like, or even pathological); the authenticity of the book is, however, beyond doubt. R. Caro's mystical diary was recast by the editors before it was published in the form of a kabbalistic-homiletical commentary on the Pentateuch. Maggid Mesharim is a major source for a better knowledge of the state of the Kabbalah in the period after the expulsion from Spain and before the great revival in Safed of the new Kabbalah associated with the name of R. Isaac Luria. While not creating a new kabbalistic system or synthesizing earlier doctrines, R. Caro's diary throws much light on contemporary pre-Lurianic kabbalistic discussions, especially the doctrine of the Shekhinah and of the intermediary realms of being between the world of Azilut and the lower worlds.


Sefer Maggid Meisharim - Vilna 1879

Maggid Meisharim. Rabbi Yosef Karo. Vilna 1879. The revelations of the angel to Rabbi Yosef Karo.


Maggid Meisharim

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