YEHOSHUA ISAAC SHAPIRA
From Yahadut Lita , volume 3 page 101
Rabbi YEHOSHUA ( Eizel Harif "Eizel the sharp") was the son
of Yechiel Shapira.
He was born in Glubokie in 1801. His father; Yechiel who was a deeply
learned man was the grandson of the writer of "Seder Hadorot".
Already at an early age Yehoshua showed a great promise for learning.
By age eight he could read complex texts and his father took upon him
to further his sons' education. Soon the father realized that he had
no answers to some of the intricate questions that his son asked and
he enrolled him in the big Minsk Yeshiva school "Blumka" under
the R"M of R' Avraham Dboritzer who was known as a distinct prodigy.
They boy grew up in the Yeshiva and became famous as Eizel the
prodigy from Globok He became involved in correspondence and
meeting with many Jewish sages of his times in Minsk and in other areas.
He was renowned as a genius and received offers from respectful communities
to became their rabbi. But his father in law; RYtzhak Fein did
not want him to leave his house. Finally he took a job in the town of
He became known as Eizel Harif ("sharp") because he was one
of the keenest intellects and most outstanding pilpulists of his day,
he was av. bet din successively at Kalvarija, Kutno, Tiktin, and, finally,
Slonim. He died in 1873. His keen witticism became commonly used many
years after his death.
Bibliography; Emek Yehoshua (Warsaw 1842), Drushim,
Sfat Hanachal, Avi Hanachal Noam Yerushalmi
four volumes (Vilna 1863- 1866) Ezat Yehoshua (Vilna
1868) and a few others.
Left three prominent sons; Rabbi Berush Shapira , the rabbi of Ostrov.
Rabbi Moshe Shapira
Rabbi in Vilkomir and Riga. Wrote; Pnay Moshe (Vilna 1872),
Birkat Moshe (Pietrekov 1909) Drashot Mha RM
( 1900 Pietrekov) and Emek habacha
His third son was politically involved in Jewish causes; Mordechai Shapira.
His son in law was Rabbi Yosef, son of Zvi- Hirsh Shlofer. He was known
as the prodigy from Denenburk(Dwinsk)- The rabbi of Slonim.
He wrote Porat Yosef (Vilna 1871) and Markevet Yosef
From the internet;
R' Yehoshua Isaac Shapiro z"l
("Reb Eizel Charif")
R' Eizel was born in 1801 in Glubki, near Vilna, and his first teacher
was his father, R' Yechiel. R' Eizel was a child prodigy whose genius
was recognized by the age of seven, and he was soon nicknamed, "The
Iron Head" (presumably because he never forgot what he learned).
He later earned the nickname "Charif" / "The Sharp One,"
although he claimed, in his humility, that it was only an acronym of
"Chatan Reb Yitzchak Fein" / "son-in-law of R' Yitzchak
Fein." At one point, R' Eizel was a disciple of the chassidic rebbe,
R' Aharon of Staroselya (a leading disciple of Chabad's founder, R'
Shneur Zalman), but he later became a critic of chassidut. He also studied
in the famed Blumke's kloiz in Minsk, where, it is said, he used to
review the entire Talmud every month. In 1832, R' Eizel was appointed
rosh yeshiva and darshan / preacher in Minsk's Kloiz Chevra Kadisha.
R' Eizel received semichah / ordination from R' Abale, the av bet din
/ chief rabbinical judge of Vilna, and through the latter's recommendation
was appointed a dayan / rabbinical judge in Kalvaria, Lithuania. After
1839, he held rabbinic positions in Kutna and Tiktin. In 1853, R' Eizel
was appointed rabbi of Slonim, the town with which he his associated
for posterity. In every town where he served, R' Eizel somehow found
time, despite his superhuman schedule of learning and writing, to engage
in numerous communal and charitable activities. In addition, many dinei
Torah / legal disputes were brought to R' Eizel for resolution, and
he was one of the three judges appointed to rule on the dispute involving
the leadership of the Volozhin Yeshiva. R' Eizel's nickname, "Charif,"
alludes in part to his sharp sense of humor, which he readily used to
humble those who he felt needed humbling and to criticize those whose
scholarship was not up to par with the standard that he expected of
Torah leaders. (Chassidic rebbes were frequent subjects of his witticisms.)
In particular, R' Eizel was adept at making puns or plays on the words
of verses and Talmudic statements. R' Eizel died in 1873, leaving 11
works including Emek Yehoshua, Nachalat Yehoshua and a commentary on
the Jerusalem Talmud, Noam Yerushalmi. Many of his derashot are in the
style of the 18th century Parashat Derachim, explaining midrashic stories
and actions of biblical figures in halachic terms. All exhibit a wide-ranging
knowledge of halachah, midrash and Tanach. (An example will appear in
next week's issue of Hamaayan.) (Gedolei Ha'dorot p. 685) Copyright
© 2000 by Shlomo Katz and Project Genesis, Inc.The editors hope
these brief 'snippets'
It is true that the Jews
committed a very great sin with the golden calf,
but we must nevertheless admit that that generation was better than
They were willing to cast away their gold and silver in order to make
themselves a god, while in our days, people are willing to cast away
it were, in order to make themselves gold and silver.
-- R. Eizel Harif
Sat Mar 6 00:04:48 1999 Date: Sat, 6 ...
the Rav was Rabbi Yehoshua Isaac Shapiro, known as "Reb Izele Charif,"
who published eleven sefarim, including the Eimek Yehoshua and Noam
Yehoshua. From Tiktin, he went to Slonim and became known as "Reb
Izele Slonimer."Ikalvarija site;
Eizel Harif SHAPIRA, JOSHUA ISAAC BEN JEHIEL (d. 1873), rabbi and talmudist.
Known as Eizel Harif ("sharp") because he was one of the keenest
intellects and most outstanding pilpulists of his day, he was av bet
din successively at Kalvarija, Kutno, Tiktin, and, finally, Slonim.Rav
Eizel Charif, the Rav of Slonim, felt that one of the town's
teachers was not qualified to teach children. He discouraged some of
townsfolk from sending their children to study Torah from this teacher.
When the teacher heard of the Rav's actions he came to complain to him,
"Rabbi, you are ruining my livelihood!"
Rav Eizel told the fellow that he would try to find him a job dealing
with livestock. The teacher looked horrified, " But Rabbi, I don't
anything about livestock!" Rav Eizel responded, "That may
be true, but the
damage that can be done by improperly teaching young children is a lot
worse than the damage you could inflict by not knowing much about the
QUESTION: The Midrash comments on the verse "Al Zeh Hayah Daveh
Libenu" (Eichah 5:17) the following: "Hashem caused tremendous
anguish to a woman, she must count 11 days of Zivah after seven days
of Nidah. What does this have to do with the destruction of the Beis
ha'Mikdash, which is the subject of the above verse?ANSWER: Rav EIZEL
CHARIF (Emek Yehoshua, Drush #15) explains that there is a fundamental
difference between a Nidah and a Zavah: A Nidah is Tamei for a fixed
period of time. As soon as her seven days of Nidah are up she may be
Toveles in a Mikvah, regardless of whether or not she bled during those
seven days. On the other hand, a Zavah may only be Toveles if she experiences
seven consecutive clean days. If she sees blood within these seven days
she has to count another period of cleanliness, such that her becoming
Tehorah is dependent on more factors than just time.