B. Benjamin Porges (Porjes)
(b. 1650 Prague)
Rabbi in Prague in the
Under the title "Zikron Aharon"
he wrote an introduction to the " Kizzur Ma'abar Yabbok", concerning
the ancient Jewish customs relating to death and the dead, and containing
also counsel for persons suffering from venereal disease. This work,
published first in Prague in 1682, has been often reprinted.
Bibliography : Fürst,
Bibl. Jud. j. 22 ; Benjacob, Ozar ha-Sefarim, p.157 ; Steinschneider,
Cat. Bodl. col.718.
[The Jewish Encyclopaedia]
ben Israel Naphtaly Hirsch Porges
(b. ca 1600 Prague, d. 1670 Jerusalem)
Gemeindevorsteher und Rabbiner der Pinkassynagogue in Prag war und
später nach Jerusalem auswanderte)
Rabbi in Prag
and emissary of the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. Nicknamed
in Prague, he was a relative of Isaiah ha-Levi Horowitz, whom he
followed to Erez Israel, settling in Jerusalem, where he became
a scribe. When, after the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-49, the
contributions from Poland ceased, and the Ashkenazi community in
Jerusalem was overwhelmed with debt, Porges was sent as their
emissary to Germany. During this mission he published, in Prague,
Frankfurt and Amsterdam (1650), a small illustrated work "Darkhei
Ziyyon" in judeo-german (see below) designed to arouse sympathy
and obtain support for the Jewish community in Erez Israel.
"Darkhei Ziyyon" :
One of the best examples of this type of literature, the work is
divided into 4 sections : the virtue of living in Erez Israel, prayer,
study, memorial prayers.
first section "Schaar biath haarez" is a kind of guide
book for new immigrants to Israel, in which Moses draws upon his
personal experiences and advises them on what to take for the journey,
the easiest routes, how to conduct themselves on the way and the
like. In this section he also gives practical details on prices
and currency, describes the food available in Erez Israel, recounts
in detail how much is needed for living, rent, and taxes, and lists
customs of dress and conduct in everyday life.
the second section "Schaar Hatephilia", he describes in
detail the liturgical customs of Jerusalem,
in the third section "Schaar halimmud", the methods of
study there, including various details about the holy places,
and in the fourth "Schaar hazkarath", customs then practised
in Jerusalem, among them those of reciting memorial prayers for
the departed and of obtaining contributions from generous individuals
outside of Erez Israel, in whose honour lights were kindled in the
synagogues on Sabbaths and festivals and for whom blessings were
The book was directed to the masses, and therefore was written in
the language they knew best - Yiddish.
It succeeded admirably in its aim of presenting an attractive picture
of Israel. "Darkhei Ziyyon" has only been published once and is
access the text of Darke Zion, click
Yaari, Masot Erez Israel (1946), 267-304,770f.;
Yaari, Sheluhei, 275-6;
Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col 1827;
Fürst, bibl Jud. ii 398;
Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. iii, 764;
Benjacob, Ozar ha-Sefarim, p. 121, N° 518;
Lunez, Jerusalem, iii., N° 44.
: Encyclopaedia Judaïca , The Jewish Encyclopaedia
ben Leib Porges,
scribe of the Jewish
community of Bonzlau (Bohemia)
message posted on the internet in 1997 :
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 18:20
David Shapiro <email@example.com>
update on origins of the SHAPIRO family
I sent a posting some
time ago reporting that my research studying many SHAPIRO
family trees (unfortunately, I have not yet made the connection
to my own family) suggested that all SHAPIROs (and variants)
of Lithuania, Belarus, and most SHAPIRO families in Poland
and Galicia were descended from one progenitor, namely Rabbi
Noson Notte ben Shimshon SHAPIRO of Grodna, author of "Mevo
Shearim" on the laws of Kashrus and "Imrei Shefer, a supercommentary
on Rashi. He died in 5337 . Even kohanim known as KAHANA-SHAPIRO
or KATZ-SHAPIRO are his descendants being descended from his
son in law Rabbi Yitzchok KATZ-SHAPIRO of Lublin.
According to traditonal
genealogy, the yichus continues :
Rabbi Noson Notte's
father was Rabbi Shimshon SHAPIRO of Posen,
son of Rabbi Noson Notte SHAPIRO of Posen,
son of Rabbi Perets SHAPIRO av beth din of Constanz in
the state of Baden,
son of Rabbi Shlomo SHAPIRO av beth din of Heilbron and
Landau in Bavaria,
son of Rabbi Shmuel of Speyer which was called Shapiro
in Hebrew, whence the name, a descendant of Rashi.
At the time of the previous
posting I indicated that what was still unclear was whether
there was a connection to the rabbinical SHAPIRO family of
Prague (also known as FRANKEL-SPIRO). Now I have come across
a new source suggesting that there is indeed a connection!
In "Bet Almin Heyudi
BiPrague" Jerusalem, 5748 (I believe this was translated from
a German edition, but I don't know the exact name in German)
p. 204, headstone 200 Reb [Binyomin] Wolf Dayan ben Hagaon
Rabbi Yechiel [Michal] Zatsal 7 Marcheshvan 5391 .
There is a footnote
quoting a letter from Shmuel ben Leib PORGES (PORIS),
scribe of the Jewish community of Bonzlau (Bohemia) from the
year 1734 addressed to the "Primatur" Shimon ben Wolf Frankel-Spiro.
The letter was first published in MGWJ vol. LVI 1912 pp. 334-358
under the title "Neue Beitrage zur Geschichte der Familie
In the letter Shmuel
writes that he heard from his mother Keila and from her brother
Reb Wolf Klit that the rabbi of Posen, Rabbi [Yechiel] Michel
had three sons,
1) Reb Wolf Elabes (subject
of this headstone), the father of Rabbi (Aharon) Shimon SHAPIRO;
2)Rabbi Chaim, who inherited
his father's position as rabbi of Posen;
3) Rabbi Man, rabbi
of Brisk deKoi (Brzecz) who died of the plague while fleeing
from the Cossaks 12 miles from Hamburg and was buried there.
His wife, Rebitzen Yorsy died in the year 1658 in Prague and
his son Reb Wolf Belis died in 1651. His daughter Keila, mother
of the author of this letter , Shmuel ben leib Porges,
died in 1690 and was the widow of Reb Koppel Brandes.
(I have translated
all this freely from the Hebrew, so there may be spelling
errors in names of people and places).
So, here we have two
rabbinical SHAPIRO families which both came from Posen at
about the same time. I think there can be little doubt that
the two are related!
I'd like to hear from
anyone who can suggest the exact connection. Obviously, the
next question is who were the parents of Rabbi Yechiel Michel.
If anyone has access to the original article in MGWJ I would
like to hear from him.
ben Judah Loeb Porges
of a book (in Hebrew), originally published in Amsterdam 1709, with
introduction by the editor Joseph Samson ben Issac of Chinon.
see a copy of the front page of this book,
A 1885 edition is in possession of the Jewish Theological Seminary