Moses ben Israel Naphtaly Hirsch Porges
(b. ca 1600 Prague, d. 1670 Jerusalem)
Shmuel ben Leib Porges
scribe of the Jewish community of Bonzlau (Bohemia) ca 1730

Aaron B. Benjamin Porges (Porjes)
(b. 1650 Prague)

Rabbi in Prague in the 17th century.

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]

Moses ben Israel Naphtaly Hirsch Porges
(b. ca 1600 Prague, d. 1670 Jerusalem)

(der Gemeindevorsteher und Rabbiner der Pinkassynagogue in Prag war und später nach Jerusalem auswanderte)
Rabbi in Prag

Rabbi and emissary of the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. Nicknamed "Prager".

Born 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.

The 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.

In 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 invoked.
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 very rare.

To access the text of Darke Zion, click here

Bibliography :

A. 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.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaïca , The Jewish Encyclopaedia

Shmuel ben Leib Porges,
scribe of the Jewish community of Bonzlau (Bohemia)

A message posted on the internet in 1997 :

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 18:20

From: David Shapiro <>

Subject: 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 [1577]. 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 [1631].

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 Fraenkel-Spira".

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.

David Shapiro


Joseph ben Judah Loeb Porges

Author of a book (in Hebrew), originally published in Amsterdam 1709, with introduction by the editor Joseph Samson ben Issac of Chinon.

To see a copy of the front page of this book, click here.
A 1885 edition is in possession of the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York).