Joshua Falk

Joshua Falk
Drisha redirects here. For the center for advanced Talmudic studies for women, see the Drisha Institute.

Joshua ben Alexander HaCohen Falk (1555 – 1614) was a Polish Halakhist and Talmudist, best known as the author of the Beit Yisrael commentary on the Arba'ah Turim as well as Sefer Me'irat Enayim (סמ"ע) on Shulkhan Arukh. His name also occurs as the Hebrew acronym רפ"כ ("RaFaC") ("Rabbi Falk Cohen" and מהרו"כ ("Ma-HaRWaC") ("Morenu ha-Rab Walk Cohen").



He was a pupil of his relative Moses Isserles and of Solomon Luria, and became the head of the yeshiva of Lemberg. Many celebrated rabbis were his pupils, among them being Joshua Höschel ben Joseph of Kraków, the author of "Maginne Shelomoh". Falk was a great authority on rabbinical matters. At the meeting of the Council of Four Lands in 1607, during the Kremenetz fair, many of his proposals were approved. In 1611 Falk and Enoch Hendel ben Shemariah issued a bill of divorce at Vienna which occasioned lengthy discussions among the celebrated rabbis of the time, including Meir Lublin and Mordecai Yoffe (see "She'elot u-Teshubot MaHaRaM", Nos. 123 et seq.). He was Rosh Yeshiva in Lemberg and served on the Council of Four Lands.

Falk was opposed to the reliance on law codes to the exclusion of study of the original sources. Towards this end he composed a series of commentaries on the most influential codes, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's Tur and Rabbi Joseph Karo's Shulkhan Arukh. He spent his early life composing extensive analytical commentaries on the Talmud, which were later lost in a fire.

Falk died at Lemberg (now Lviv, Ukraine) March 29, 1614.

Note on the name "Joshua Falk"

Until the early 19th century, the names of most Central European Jews consisted of a Hebrew first name, a German second name, the patronymic "ben ... " (son of ...) and, if an upper one, the class - HaCohen (or "Katz") or HaLevy. The German name was chosen to fit the Hebrew one: thus "Zvi" or "Naftali" went with "Hirsch", and "Zev" or "Binjamin" with "Wolf". Those whose given name was Yehoshua, Josua, or Joshua had the second name of Falk, Valk, Walk, Wallik or Wallich. (One theory is that "Falk", here, derives from the German for falcon: just as a falcon circles its prey, so Joshua circled and explored the Holy Land before swooping down on it. Some derive "Valk" from an acronym of Leviticus 19:18: "ve'ahavta lere'akha kamokha" - "Love thy neighbor as thyself"). The name Falk was thus not a family name until the 19th century, when it was adopted by those whose immediate ancestors had "Falk" as a second name. Encyclopedias will therefore have several entries under "Falk", where "Falk", strictly, is not a surname. References to Rabbi Falk are therefore often via "Yehoshua Falk ben Alexander HaCohen" or "Joshua Falk ben Alexander Katz" or "Joshua Falk Katz".


Beit Yisrael is a twin commentary on the Tur, composed of the Perishah, a straightforward explanation, and the Derishah, deeper discussions on specific problems. The Perishah clarifies the rulings of the Tur, by tracing them to their sources in the Talmud and Rishonim. The Derishah is devoted to extensive analysis and comparison of the various interpretations and decisions proposed by various Talmudic authorities.

Rabbi Katz also wrote:

  • Sefer Me'irat Einayim, a commentary to the Choshen Mishpat section of the Shulkhan Arukh, containing all the decisions of the Rishonim, with an index of their sources.
  • Sefer ha-Hosafah a supplement to the Darhkei Mosheh of Moses Isserles, printed with the Choshen Mishpat, Dyhernfurth, 1796;
  • Kontres 'al Dine Ribbit, a discourse on the laws relating to the prohibition of usury, followed by some "takkanot" (ordinances by the Rabbis), Sulzbach, 1692;
  • Novellae on Talmudic treatises.



External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jacob Joshua Falk — ( he. יעקב יהושע פאלק) (also: Yaakov Yehoshua ben Tzvi Hirsch, or Yaakov Yehoshua Falk see Note on the name Joshua Falk .) 1680 January 16, 1756) was a Polish and German rabbi and Talmudist. Early lifeHe was born in Cracow in 1680 and died in… …   Wikipedia

  • Jacob Joshua Falk — Pnei Yehochoua, 3eme partie, Sydlykov 1834 Jacob Joshua Falk(19 décembre[1] 1680, Cracovie 1756, Offenbach am Main) était un rabbin polonais, français et allemand, une des plus grandes autorités talmudiques de son temps …   Wikipédia en Français

  • LISSER, JOSHUA FALK — (d. 1807), rabbi and talmudist. Joshua studied under moses zerah eidlitz of Prague. As dayyan at Lissa he was involved in the decision to condemn and burn naphtali herz wessely s Divrei Shalom ve Emet, which called on Jews to emancipate… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • FALK, JACOB JOSHUA BEN ẒEVI HIRSCH — (1680–1756), rabbi and halakhic authority. Falk was born in Cracow and was a descendant of joshua heschel b. joseph of cracow , the author of Meginnei Shelomo. He studied in Polish yeshivot and took up residence in Lemberg after his marriage to… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Falk — m Jewish: from the Yiddish vocabulary word falk falcon (modern German Falke). It is sometimes taken as a translation of the Hebrew given name Yehoshua (see JOSHUA (SEE Joshua)); there have been many famous rabbis named Joshua Falk. The… …   First names dictionary

  • Joshua (name) — Joshua is a Biblical masculine given name derived from the Hebrew Yehoshua (hebrew|יהושע), which has a meaning similar to God rescues or God is salvation . [ [ Yehoshua, Yeshua or Yeshu; Which one is the… …   Wikipedia

  • Joshua Höschel ben Joseph — was a Polish rabbi; born in Wilna about 1578; died at Cracow August 16, 1648. In his boyhood he journeyed to Przemysl, Galicia, to study the Talmud under Rabbi Samuel ben Phoebus of Cracow. He returned to his native country, and continued his… …   Wikipedia

  • JOSHUA HOESCHEL BEN JOSEPH OF CRACOW — (1578–1648), Polish rabbi. Joshua Hoeschel was born in Vilna. In his youth he studied under Samuel b. Feibush in Przemysl and then in the yeshivot of meir b. gedaliah of lublin and joshua falk of Lemberg. From 1634 to 1639 he served as rabbi in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Falk (name) — Family name name = Falk imagesize=200px caption= a falcon which the surname Falk is derived from pronunciation = meaning = falcon region = Northern Europe origin = Old Norse, Middle High German related names = Falck, Falker, Valke footnotes =… …   Wikipedia

  • FALK, JOSHUA — (1799–1864), U.S. Orthodox rabbi, scholar, and author. Joshua ben Mordechai Hakohen Falk was born in Poland and immigrated to America in 1854. He served as rabbi of two communities in New York, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, before becoming an… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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