Joel Sirkis

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Joel ben Samuel Sirkis (יואל סירקיש) also known as the Bach (ב"ח)—an abbreviation of his magnum opus, Bayit Chadash—was a prominent Jewish posek and halakhist. He lived in central Europe and held rabbinical positions in Belz, Brest-Litovsk and Kraków. He lived from 1561 to 1640.[1]


Sirkis was born in Lublin in 1561. At age fourteen he went to the yeshiva of R. Naftali Zvi Hirsch Schor, a leading student of R. Moses Isserles. After remaining there some time he went to Brest-Litovsk, where he attended the yeshiva of Rabbi Phoebus. While still a youth he was invited to the rabbinate of Pruzhany, near Slonim. Later he occupied the rabbinates of Lukow, Lublin, Medzyboz, Belz, Szydlowka, and finally Brest-Litovsk and Kraków, succeeding in each of the two last-mentioned places his teacher R. Phoebus.[1]

"The Bach" was an adherent of the Kabbalah and an opponent of pilpul. He was also critical of those who relied solely on the Shulchan Aruch for halachic decisions, rather than on the Talmud and the Geonim. He was the father-in-law of Rabbi David HaLevi Segal, who frequently refers to him in Turei Zahav, his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch. Rabbi Sirkis died in Kraków in 1640.[1][2]



  1. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "SIRKES, JOEL B. SAMUEL". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. Retrieved Sep 13, 2016. 
    Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography:
    • J. M. Zunz, 'Ir ha-Ẓedeḳ, p. 62, Lemberg, 1874;
    • Güdemann, Quellenschriften zur Gesch. des Unterrichts, p. 232, Berlin, 1891;
    • R. N. Rabbinoviez, He'arot we-Tiḳḳunim, p. 9, Lyck, 1875;
    • B. Friedberg, Gesch. der Hebr. Typographie in Krakau, p. 27, Cracow, 1900;
    • idem, Epitaphien von Grabsteinen des Israelitischen Friedhofes zu Krakau, Nebst Biographischen Skizzen, p. 14, Drohobycz, 1897;
    • Ch. N. Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, part ii., p. 18b, Cracow, 1893;
    • B. Katz, Le-Ḳorot ha-Yehudim, Berlin, 1899.
  2. ^ a b "Joel Sirkes (the Bach) (Lublin, Poland)". Retrieved Sep 13, 2016.