Title page of the first edition of Rabbi Recanati's commentary on the Torah (Venice, 1523)
Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati (1250-1310) (Hebrew: מנחם בן בנימין ריקנטי) was an Italian rabbi who flourished at the close of the thirteenth century and in the early part of the fourteenth. He devoted the chief part of his writings to the Kabbala.
Rabbi Menachem Recanati was born in Italy, ca. 1250, and he died ca. 1310. In addition to the halachic rulings collected in Piskei Recanati (his only halachic work), R. Menachem wrote a kabbalistic commentary on the Torah, a commentary on the siddur, and discussions of the commandments. Piskei Recanati was first published in Bologna, 1538, and was published several times thereafter. (From Bar Ilan CD)
Perush 'Al ha-Torah (Venice, 1523), a work full of mystical deductions and meanings based upon a textual interpretation of the Bible; it describes many visions and celestial revelations claimed to have been experienced by the author, who was influenced by cabalistic ideas, and expresses the highest respect for all cabalistical authors, even the most recent apocryphal ones. The work was republished with a commentary by Mordecai Jaffe, at Lublin in 1595 and was also translated into Latin by Pico di Mirandola.
Perush ha-Tefillot and Ṭa'ame ha-Miẓwot, published together (Constantinople, 1543–1544; Basel, 1581). Like the preceding work, these are strongly tinctured with German mysticism. Recanati frequently quotes Judah he-Hasid of Regensburg, Eleazar of Worms, and their disciples, and alludes also to the Spanish cabalists, Nahmanides among them. He is rarely original, quoting almost always other authorities. Although Recanati had a high reputation for sanctity, he exercised less influence on his contemporaries than upon posterity. To assist him in his cabalistic researches, he studied logic and philosophy; and he endeavors to support the cabala by philosophical arguments.
Menahem Recanati – Commentary on the Daily Prayers: Flavius Mithridates’ Latin Translation, the Hebrew Text, and an English Version, edited with introduction and notes by Giacomo Corazzol, two volumes, 860 pages. [THE KABBALISTIC LIBRARY OF GIOVANNI PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA 3, Giulio Busi, general editor] Torino: Nino Aragno Editore, 2008.