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Koidonover (Kaidanover), Aaron Samuel ben Israel


KOIDONOVER (Kaidanover ), AARON SAMUEL BEN ISRAEL (c. 1614–1676), talmudic scholar and preacher. Koidonover took his name from Koidanovo near Minsk, where he was born. He was known also by the abbreviation Maharshak (M orenu H a-R av Sh emu'el K aidanover). In his youth he studied in Brest-Litovsk under R. Jacob and his son Joshua Heschel of Lublin. Following the Chmielnicki pogroms of 1648 he fled to Vilna where he became a member of the bet din of Moses Lima, author of the Ḥelkat Meḥokek, the other members being *Shabbetai b. Meir ha-Kohen (the Shakh), and Ephraim Katz, author of the Sha'ar Efrayim. In 1656 during the war between Russia and Sweden in Poland he took refuge in Kurow near Lublin, where he served as rabbi, and there his two daughters were killed by Cossacks. He went to Austria, where he became a rabbi in a small town, and from there to Moravia where he became rabbi of Nikolsburg. Subsequently he was rabbi and av bet din of important communities, including Fuerth, Reischer, Brest-Litovsk, and Frankfurt. He stayed some six months in the sister communities of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck in 1669 where he enacted many *takkanot which were included in the regulations of Altona. Toward the end of his life he returned to Poland and was appointed av bet din of Cracow. He died in Chmielnik.

Koidonover wrote many important halakhic and homiletical works. In his learning he sought to return to the primary sources of the halakhah and refrained from relying upon the aḥaronim. He also wrote responsa, largely on the permissibility of *agunot to remarry, which had become an urgent question as a result of the massacres. His sermons contain in popular form the ideas of the kabbalists of Safed and Poland. His main work is the Birkat ha-Zevaḥ (Amsterdam, 1669), novellae and glosses to most of the order of Kodashim, with an autobiographical introduction. Three more of his works were published by his son Ẓevi Hirsch: Birkat Shemu'el (Frankfurt, 1682), sermons partially kabbalistic in content; Emunat Shemu'el (ibid., 1683), responsa; and Tiferet Shemu'el (ibid., 1696), novellae on the Talmud, glosses and novellae to the Piskei ha-Rosh of Asher b. Jehiel, to the Turim and Beit Yosef, and *hassagot on the novellae of Samuel Edels. Koidonover also compiled a book on the procedure to be followed in executing divorces and ḥaliẓah, which is in manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.


M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen, ed by J. Unna (1969), 87–90; L. Loewenstein, in: jjlg, 6 (1908), 158–63; Beit Yisrael be-Polin, 2 (1953), 22, 39; I. Markon, in: Studies in Jewish Bibliography in Memory of A.S. Freidus (1929), 374–5.

[David Tamar]

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