Are You a Descendant of King David?
A Look at Rabbinic Sources
by David Einsiedler
An important source is Sefer Toledot Ve-Niflaot Maharal (The Book of History and Wonders of the
(Bilgoray, 1911), by Meir Perles. Right on the title page it proclaims
Judah Lowe, the MaHaRaL of Prague, as the descendant of both Rashi and
the other Davidic line. It goes into much detail to describe the family,
the stories, and the genealogy of the related families. Some derivative
families are: Cohen (Katz), Bachrach, Margulies,
Karo, and Edels.
Atarah Le-Banim (Parents are the Crown of the Children) (Warsaw,
1927) has a great number of derivative families. It begins with a
detailed history of Saul Wahl, moves back to each ancestor up to Rashi,
mentions the few known ancestors of Rashi, on to Hillel, to Shephatiah,
son of David, as far back as Judah (head of the tribe). The primary
families are Wahl, Katzenellenbogen, Luria, Treves,
Spiro, and Shapiro.
One part has a list of ancestors from the Lifshutz family all the way to
King David, followed by a number of related branches. Some of the
derivative families: Ginzburg, Schor, Teomim, Shereshevski,
Morgenstern, Posner, Berliner, Levinsohn, Alter,
Weinberg, Bernstein, Falman, and Rotenberg.
Sefer Linchitz (The
yizkor book of Leczyca) by I. J. Frenkel (Tel Aviv, 1953) has a chapter
starting with King David and going down to the Karo family in Leczyca
and related families Auerbach, Horowitz, and Landau (of Ciechanov).
Derivative families: Goldman, Oknovski, Fuchs, Friedensohn,
Kalb, Birnbaum, Widslawski, Sonnabend, and Malavski.
Ve-She'erit (Name and Remainder) (Krakow, 1895), and Dor Yesharim
(Generation of the Righteous) (Berdychev, 1898), both by Joseph Kohen-Tzedek, contain the theme of descent of the
Lurias from Rashi as
discussed before. It may be of interest to note that some of the Treves
changed the name to Dreyfus.
Ha-Yuchsin (Degrees of Genealogy), by Ephraim Z. Margolioth
(Lemberg, 1900), is an early, oft-quoted source. The author states his
descent from a number of famous rabbis and from Rashi and Johanan
Ha-Sandler on the title page. He cites the fragmentary list of Rashi's
ancestors, then leaps to the Lurias, Landaus, and himself. He mentions
families Schor, Heschel, Margulies, Itinga, and
Horowitz. This work has
been criticized as containing errors; for instance, "the brother of
MaHaRaShaL (Solomon Luria) Abraham, son of Jehiel, son of Moses (?), son
of Isaac (?), son of Jusinius of Posen (?)..." Actually, Solomon
Luria was the son of Jehiel, son of Abraham, son of Jehiel, son of
Sefer Nitey Ne'emanah
(Seedlings of Fidelity, subtitled A Shoot Out of the Stock of Jesse), by
Mordechai Rubinstein (Jerusalem, 1910), also cites descent from King
David on the title page. His genealogy includes most
previously-mentioned family names plus Teomim, Halberstam,
Frenkel, Ish-Zvi, and Klausner.
Ha-Gedolim (Fame of the Great Ones), by Chaim Joseph David Azulai
(Livorno, 1774), is an early biographical encyclopedia of rabbis and
their works. The entry "Solomon Luria" starts "of descent
of Rashi, who descended from the Tanna Johanan Ha-Sandler, the fourth
generation of Rabban Gamaliel the Elder."
Ha-Machriah (The Book of the Arbitrator), by Isaiah de Trani
(1180-1250) (Livorno, 1779), has a genealogy of a later publisher, Noah
Samuel Lifshitz (Lublin, 1897) which ends with the Lurias, Rashi, and
Anaf Etz Avot (A
Branch of the Family Tree), by Samuel Kahan (Krakow, 1903), has a
partial genealogy of a number of rabbinic families and ends with an
entry stating the descent of Solomon Shapiro ABD Heilbron from Rashi and
from King David.
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