Section: Stories   Category: Gedolim Biographies
The Shach - Rav Shabsi Kohen, On The Run One Step Ahead
After wandering from place to place, one step ahead of the murderous Cossaks, Rav Shabsi Kohen, known by the name of his famous peirush on Shulchan Aruch, the Shach, found himself in a small town in Moravia.  After his greatness was discovered by the townspeople of Helishoi, they wanted to appoint him Rov.  Before doing so they sent a message to Rav Menachem Mendel Krochmil one of the Gedolei HaDor and the Rov of the entire Moravia.  He had never heard of the Shach but in his house at the time was Rav Heshel of Cracow the Rebbi of the Shach. 

When Rav Menachem Mendel asked Rav Heshel about the Shach he said, if you are talking about my Shabsi then he is worthy of being Rov of the entire Moravia and you should go be the Rov of Helishoi.  In his great modesty, Rav Menachem Mendel sent a message to Helishoi saying that upon the advice of Rav Heshel, the Shach should come be Rov of Moravia and he is willing to take on the Rabbanus of Helishoi.  The people of Helishoi said no thanks and hired the Shach on the spot.

The Shach was born around 1622 to his father Rav Meir, a talmid chochom of great repute.  He was a child prodigy and learned under the famed Maginei Shlomo the grandfather of the Pnei Yehoshua on Shas.  He later went with his Rebbi to Cracow where he also learned under another one of the Gedolei HaDor, Rav Heshel of Cracow.

He married the daughter of Rav Wolf Toiber the great grandson of the Rema and son in law of the Maharsha.  At a very young age he was chosen to serve on the Bais Din of Vilna headed by Rav Moshe Lema the Chelkas Michokeik.  Due to the murderous onslaught of the Cossaks, he and many of the gedolim fled.  He found sanctuary in Lublin until the cossaks set there eyes on massacring Jews in that town as well.  He ended up in Helishoi, Moravia where he served for a few years until his untimely passing at age 41 in 1663.

The Shach wrote his famous peirush on Yoreh Dei'a at a very young age and received haskamos from 18 leading gedolim.  Although 35 years the junior of the Taz, the Shach did not hesitate to argue on his senior when he saw fit.  He printed Nekudos HaKesef arguing on specific points of the Taz, despite considering himself a friend and admirer of the Taz.  His criticism was L'Maan HaEmes.

The Shach also wrote a peirush on Choshen Mishpat, as well as Po'el Tzedek a concise summary of the Taryag Mitzvos.  He also wrote his landmark work entitled Takfo Kohen at the age of 19 in the short span of one month.  He did not have arichas shanim but he had fulfilled and accomplished arichas yamin.  Yehi Zichro Boruch!