Wednesday 16 December 2015


            He was born in Lublin, Poland, into a devout, middle-class family.  He studied in religious elementary school.  He later became a student of R. Leybele Ayger (Eiger) in Lublin.  He married young and lived in the village of Kotseve (?).  He was a man of great virtue, who for many years supported himself on incidental earnings and did not wish to become a rabbi.  He later lived in Rachów (Annopol) and there became known as a Hassid with the name “Shayele from Rachów.”  In 1902 he was hired to serve as rabbi in the town of Visoke (Wysocie Litewskie), near Lublin, and five years later he departed for Israel.  He was the author of eighteen works on various and sundry topics, also fables and stories drawn from the Talmud and midrashim, such as: Misgeret hashulḥan (The framework of the Shulḥan [arukh]); Yeshuot ḥayim (Deliverance of life) (Warsaw, 1911), 104 pp.; and Darkhe ḥayim (Pathways in life) (Lublin, 1886); among others.  He translated into Yiddish Kitsur shulḥan arukh (Shorter Shulḥan arukh) under the title Likute shoshanim (Gleanings of lilies) (Lublin, 1903), with a preface and an afterword in which he noted: “Every Jew is obliged to study Torah every day.  Even those who have no time are obliged to study just a little each day, so that each word that one studies is a great deed that one should not take for granted.  Even those people who cannot study are obliged to study the sacred texts that have been translated into ‘Yiddish’ [Ivre-taytsh], just a little every day.  Also, at night before lying down, one should study just a little.  And, for this accrued merit, one shall have many good things in this world and in the world to come.”  This work (96 pp.) was published in Lublin in 1880 and was republished in 1903, 1912, and later.  He also compiled Sefer divre tora (Commentaries on the Torah) which included Jewish laws of the Shulḥan arukh in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1886, republished in many editions, the last of which among Holocaust survivors in Germany [Landsberg, 1947, 172 pp.]).  He also compiled the prayer book Yeshuot yisrael (Deliverance of Israel) (Lublin, 1876), also known by its Yiddish translation as Brokhe veyeshue (Prayer and salvation) (Lublin, 1977); aside from the translated prayers into Yiddish, this prayer book contained sections from Psalms and portions of the Gemara and Mishnah.  He died in Jerusalem.

Source: Y. Bashevis, Fun mayn tatns beys din shtub (From my father’s religious court) (New York, 1957).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

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