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Zvi Hirsch Marshak (Kaidanover)


Native of Wilna; died at Frankfort-on-the-Main March 23, 1712; son of Rabbi Aaron Samuel Kaidanover; pupil of Joseph ben Judah Jeidel, rabbi of Minsk and later of Dubno. Rabbi Joseph's teaching exercised a considerable influence upon his pupil, especially in the cabalistic trend of his studies; whereas in the Halakah, Kaidanover followed more closely his father.

In his native place Kaidanover, with his whole family, was thrown into prison on account of a base denunciation, and was forced to languish in chains for years until he was pardoned, his son being retained in prison at Slutsk. Fearing another imprisonment, he decided to settle in Frankfort-on-the-Main.

In Frankfort he recovered from the trials through which he had passed and found leisure to engage in literary pursuits. Besides publishing his father's works, which he in part accompanied with notes (as in the case of "Birkat Shemuel"), he wrote a book on morals entitled "Kab ha-Yashar," being a combination of ethics and asceticism. It has passed through numerous editions since its first appearance at Frankfort in 1705. The book contains 102 chapters, corresponding to the numerical value of . "Ha-Yashar"  is an anagram of the author's name. Kaidanover also made a Judæo-German translation of his work which has often been published together with the Hebrew text (as ed. Sulzbach, 1815). A similar book on morals was written by his son-in-law, Rabbi Manoah Hendel Kirchhahn, under the title "Simchat ha-Nefesh."

By Solomon Schechter   M.A. Litt.D. President of the Faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York City.

Moses Löb Bamberger   Ph.D. Rabbi Lecturer on Rabbinics, Jewish Seminary, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany.

Copyright 2002 JewishEncyclopedia.com. All rights reserved, originally published between 1901-1906

Kav HaYashar - Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kaidanov  
By: Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kaidanov

A work of musar by Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kaidanover (1600's). This famous work was a factor in uplifting the spirits of Jewish communities in Europe after the Chmelnitzki Massacres of 1648-1649 (Decrees of Tach ve'Tat).

Kav Ha Yashar

La première bénédiction que l'on dit pour l'allumage des lumières d e Hanouka comprend treize mots. Il faut penser qu'ils réveillent les treize attributs de la Bienveillance. Il y a aussi treize mots dans la deuxième b énédiction, ce qui ensemble fait un total de vingt six mots, correspondant au nombre de lettres du Grand Nom de D. Béni Soit-Il. (Kav Hayashar)

Kav Ha Yashar

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 181:2 Likutie Maharich brings from the Kav Hayashar Perek 14 in the name of the Shelah Hakadosh that one should pour the After Waters specifically into a vessel for these waters are the portion of the Other Side and it is necessary to dispense them in a honorable fashion.


There once was a good, honest man in whose home the holy Ari (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) stayed as a guest. The host served him with great honor. As the holy Ari was leaving to resume his journey, he asked, "How may I repay you for the great love you have shown me?" The householder answered that after bearing several children, his wife had become barren. Perhaps [the Ari] could suggest some remedy so that his wife could bear children again.

The Ari then told the man why his wife had become barren. "You know that there was a small ladder standing in your house, upon which the little chickens used to go up and down in order to drink water from a bowl nearby. Thus did they drink and quench their thirst. Once your wife told her servant girl to take the ladder away. Although she did not mean to afflict the chickens but only to clean the house, from the day she removed that ladder, the chickens suffered greatly and had to endure extreme thirst. Their cries ascended before the Holy One, blessed be He, Who pities all of His creatures. That is why it was decreed that she become barren."

The householder returned the ladder to its former place, the Holy One, blessed be He, caused his wife to conceive, and she bore children again (Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kaidanover, Kav HaYashar 7:20).

If a book is shelved upside down, one is to turn the book right side up and kiss it (Tzvi Hirsch Koidonover, d. 1719, in Sefer Kav haYashar).

The Kav Hayashar relates one of his characteristically mysterious stories, in the name of Rabbi Yehudah Chasid. The Ramban had a student who learned Torah with a tremendous zeal and fervor -- to extremes. He would not sleep, had a book opened when he ate; his eyes were always in the book. He refused to pray, as well; the davening took him away from his learning. The Ramban warned him: "Eat when it's time to eat, sleep when it's time to sleep, pray when it's time to pray -- you will live and not err. If not, the Torah itself will seek your punishment." Especially, the Ramban warned him regarding the prayers.

The student did not pay attention. One day, when he went to the market to make some purchase, he returned to find his daughter had been attacked, in his own house. He mourned for many days. The Ramban said to him: "I told you not to forsake the prayers, where it is stated, 'Save me today, and every day ... from an evil person ... and an evil encounter ...' "

From then on, the student was always aware of "hashgacha pratis b'bitul hatefilah" -- providential supervision regarding missed prayers.

(Kav Hayashar)
Immediately after lighting the first candle, and similarly on all the nights, begin to say the text of "Hanairot Halalu..." -- "These candles which we light...."

The text of this prayer is mentioned in the Tur Shulcan Aruch in the name of the Tractate Sofrim. A person should say this prayer of acknowledgment with great joy and with a tremendous sense of thanksgiving. After reciting this text of thanksgiving it is proper to immediately say Psalm 30, "A psalm, a song at the dedication of the house...." He should say it slowly and have in mind the great salvation which G-d did for us in those days. Also, Psalm 67, "To the chief musician.... G-d, be merciful unto us and bless us...."

I found that it is proper to continue with songs and praises for a half hour, and then to speak to the people in the house and to read to them from books and stories about G-d's miracles and wonders which he has done for us throughout the generations during these times....

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