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Marshak Lineage

This surname (during old times it was said Мааршак Maharshak) has taken place from reduction of ranks and a name of the oustanding Jewish scientist, the writer - Talmudistа XVII centuries of Aaron - Shmuelа ben Isroela Kojnavoera ("М" - morejnu, the teacher, "Р" - rabbi, "Sh" - name Shmuel, "К" - most likely, from place Коjdаnоvо near Minsk, but it is possible, that from patrimonial surname "Кlujgеr" - "clever"). Rabbi Ahron Shmuel, son of Itschak Kaidanover, who was born about 1614 in Kaidanov (or Koidanov) near Minsk and died 1676 in Chmielnik. The first letters of his name in Hebrew, Morenu HaRav Shmuel Kaidanover make the name Maharshak, which in Russian was shortened to Marshak, as the Russian does not have the letter H. He was Rabbi in Vilna.


Rav Shmuel ben Moshe di Modena was born in 1506 in Salonika. He authored a collection of responsa. He was the student of Maharalbach (the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem), and was the teacher of the author of the Lechem Mishne. He passed away in 1590.

Rav Moshe Isserles

Born in 1530, Rav Isserles served as the Rosh Yeshiva of Cracow. His most famous work is the Mapah, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, and he also authored the Darchei Moshe, a commentary on the Beit Yoseif of Rav Yoseif Karo. He is the main halachic authority for Ashkenazic Jewry. He passed away in 1572.

Rabbi Solomon Luria, the Maharshal

Known as the Maharshal, Rabbi Luria was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim (halachic authorities) and teachers of his time. He served as rabbi in various communities in Poland and Lithuania.  His major work of halacha, Yam Shel Shlomo, covers sixteen tractates of the Talmud.  However, it is extant on only seven tractates.  In it, Maharshal analyzes key sugyot (topics) and decides between various authorities as to what the practical halacha should be.  He emphasizes the importance of the Talmud as the ultimate source.  In his introduction Maharshal alludes to the fact that he was able to study when there was insufficient light as if he were being guided from Heaven.

His Chochmot Shelomo, glosses on the text of the Talmud and comments, is printed in the standard editions of the Talmud.  However, it should be noted that the original separately printed version of Chochmot Shelomo is far more extensive and contains much more material.

Maharshal’s responsa contain a good picture of the contemporary questions of the day.  There are a number of responsa to Rabbi Moshe Isserlis for whom he had great respect but with whom he sharply differed in some areas.  He was particularly critical of R. Isserles’ affection for philosophy, which he strongly opposed.  Maharshal, was a strong follower of the Kabbala.  Rabbi Isserles’ controversial view was that in many areas kabbala and philosophy are grappling with the same problems but using different terminology.

Maharshal was a firm and sharp critic.  However, he also invited self-criticism and it was his custom that every day a “mochiach” (critic) would reprimand him as one of the masses.

Almost all of the greatest rabbis of the time were disciples of the  Maharshal.

M. G.

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Isaac Rivkind (.) has a theory of how the custom of having a feast started in Europe. He cites the Maharshal (.) "The Bar-Mitzvah feast which is done by the Ashkenazim, it seems that their is no greater a Mitzvah feast than this..., and they praise the L-ord and thank him that a young man has merited becoming a Bar-Mitzva, (.) and greater is the one who is commanded and performs than one who performs without being commanded. The father merited to enter his son into the covenant of the Torah in its entirety. (.)

The Maharsha was born in Krakow in 5315 (1555). His father, Rav Yehuda, was an eminent talmid chacham who descended from Rav Yehuda Hachassid, as well as from Rav Akiva Hakohen Katz, the father-in-law of the Shela Hakadosh.

The Maharsha's mother also stemmed from an illustrious family. She was the granddaughter of Rav Yehuda Loewe, the Maharal of Prague.

A Center of Torah Learning

Vilna had already become a preeminent center for rabbinical studies by the beginning of the 17th century. Among the scholars born in Vilna were Joshua Hoeschel Ben Joseph and Shabbetai Ha-Kohen, who served as dayyan of the community. The Rabbi of Vilna in the middle of the 17th century was Moses B. Isaac Judah Lima. Among the scholars of Vilna in the second half of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th were R. Moses, called Kremer, his son-in-law Joseph, author of Rosh Yosef, Halakhic and Aggadic novellas; R. Baruch Kahana, known as Baruch Charif; the grammarian Azriel and his two sons Nisan and Elijah, and Zvi Hirsch Kaidanover. From the second half of the 18th century the personality and activities of Eliyahu ben Solomon Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna, who attracted numerous disciples, had a lasting impact on Vilna Jewry. The circle thus formed became the most stimulating religious and spiritual center there and had a profound influence on Judaism, especially in the domains of the Halakhah and Kabbalah.

Jews of Vilna

These are the generations from Aaron Shmuel to  Samuil Marshak:

Father Aaron - Shmuela - Isroel Коjdаnоvеr, S.J. A.Marshak's ancestor in the seventh knee, was a person of tragic destiny: For fear of the Cossacks, Aaron and his family fled to Lublin where they were overtaken and martyred with the hardest of tests - Before Aaron's eyes Исроэла his two daughters were killed and his invaluable library was burnt. These tests have not shaken his belief in G-d. All his life he loved the Book of Job. Aaron has transferred his fidelity to Supreme senior son Aaron - Shmuela, the future rabbi of Frankfurt - Nа-Маjnе and Krakow.

But as long as Wilna remained under Polish and Lithuanian rulers all those restrictions and limitations were tolerable; the real and acute suffering began with the conquest of Wilna by the Russians in 1654, when the savage hordes of Cossacks, led by their barbaric chieftain Chmielnicki, destroyed everything destructible in the city, and killed every Jew they met (see "Entziklopedicheski Slovar," vol. vi., p. 384). The Jews that remained were banished from Wilna by order of the Russian king Alexis Mikhailovich ("Regesty," No. 971).

Calamity of 1655

To this wholesale expulsion from Wilna reference is made in the preface of "Be'er ha-Golah" by R. Moses Ribkes: "And on the fourth day of the week, on the 23d of Tammuz, in 5415 [1655], the whole congregation fled for its life from the city of Wilna, as one man. Those who had provided themselves with conveyances carried their wives, children, and their small belongings in them; but those who had no conveyances traveled on foot and carried their children on their backs." Further reference to that catastrophe is made in the "Bet Hillel" on Yoreh De'ah (section 21), and in the responsa collection "kema? kede?" (No. 101). Among the exiles from Wilna in that year were the following prominent rabbis: Aaron Samuel b. Israel Kaidanover (who afterward became rabbi of Cracow, and who used to supplement his signature with the words, "the exile from the city of Wilna"; see the preface to his "Birkat ha-Zebach"); Shabbethai b. Mear ha-Kohen (author of "Megillah 'Afah," in which the Wilna catastrophe of that year is described); and Ephraim b. Aaron (author of "Sha'ar Efrayim"). Wilna remained in the hands of the Russians for about six years, when it again came under the rule of the kings of Poland; the lot of the Jews, however, remained as bad as ever.The vernacular of the Jews of Wilna at that time seems to have been Russian. This conclusion is drawn from the following statement in the volume of responsa "Geburot Anashim" (p. 26): "It happened in the city of Wilna that a man, at the wedding ceremonies, used the Russian language in betrothing his bride, 'Ya tebja estum me kaddesh.'" The date following this is Dec. 26, 1636.


The principal Polish rabbis of the seventeenth century who wrote responsa were Aaron Samuel Kaidanover and Menahem Mendel Krochmal. The decisions of the former, which were published at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1683 under the title "Emunat Shemu'el," afford a glimpse of the plight of the German Jews of the time.


Aaron - Shmuela death is marked by a seal of sanctity - He died, saying a prayer at congress of rabbis in Chмеlvniке.

Son Aaron - Shmuela - Tsvi-Girsh, Wrote a lot of books. He published in Frankfurt the writings of his father. Went more than 200 years...

Son S.J. A. Marshak  After the death of his father, he prepared eight-languid assembly of his compositions for the book "The Fair Measure " Tsvi-Girsh  was placed together with his family for 4 years in Vilenskuju prison. Vijda on freedom,  has exclaimed: " About the person, if you knew, how many devils thirst for your blood  you would obey entirely both with body and soul G-spody Ju". To his grandson, future grandfather Samuila, he inspired the eternal precepts presented to the Supreme people of Israel. These precepts were transferred to descendants of  Marshaks from generation to generation and for ever entered into their hearts. In this indissoluble continuity, are the sources of the Jewish theme in Samuil Marshak's creativity.


Samuil Marshak, the famous Twentieth Century Russian author, was in my grandmother's generation and was born a month after she was born.

S.J.A. Marshak was born on November, 3 (on October, 22 on old style) 1887 in Voronezh. In the beginning of 1893 Marshak's big family after long wanderings lodged in Vitebsk, where father of mother B.A. Gitelson, state rabbi lived at the governor, the talented teacher, one of which pupils was future sculptor M. Antokolsky.

" Vitebsk. We are staying at our grandfather's house... His voice, vigorous and melodious, his tender smile, his stories about an ancient life were embodied in my soul and have brought up in me - together with precepts and an example of father - feelings of humanity, honesty, love to a life, to the nature, to people ", - the older brother of the poet, Samuil Marshak, M.J. A. Marshak wrote in memoirs. And Samuil Jakovlevich, recollecting city of the childhood, has noticed somehow, that in this surprising place " even carriers with loshad-mi talk in Yiddish "...

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