SCHAPIRO, MOSES B. PHINEHAS:
Russian rabbi and printer; born probably in Koretz, Volhynia, about 1758; died in Slavuta 1838. He was the son of the Ḥasidic rabbi Phinehas of Koretz, and was rabbi of Slavuta in 1808, when he began to publish a new edition of the Talmud (1808-13). This edition was much superior to former ones, and was sold so quickly that the printers at Kopys thought the injunction of the rabbis, that the Talmud shouldnot be reprinted in Russia for twenty-five years, no longer binding, and began their edition (1816-28); this was much inferior, however, and proved financially a failure. Schapiro then undertook the publication of another edition (1817-22), which also sold better than had been expected. In 1836 the Romms of Wilna considered themselves free to begin work upon an edition, and found that great rabbis like Akiba Eger of Posen and Moses Sofer of Presburg, and most of the prominent rabbis of Lithuania, regarded a later injunction against publishing a new edition for twenty-five years, granted in favor of Moses Schapiro, as void. They held that, on the contrary, Moses Schapiro himself had no right to publish a new edition until the Romms had sold theirs or a quarter of a century had elapsed. Moses, however, found other rabbinical authorities who sided with him against the Romms; these included the Orensteins and many other Polish and Galician rabbis, and practically all the rabbis of the Ḥasidim. A quarrel ensued, which was waged with unusual bitterness on both sides, a movement to settle it by arbitration being rejected.
Moses, or rather his sons Phinehas and Samuel Abraham, began the publication of a third edition of the Talmud, but had not gone further than the tractate "Pesaḥim" when they were arrested on the charge of having murdered a Jewish bookbinder who had committed suicide in their establishment. Their enemies succeeded in influencing the authorities against them because as printers they scrupulously abstained from publishing "haskalah" literature. After a hasty and unfair trial they were condemned to run the gantlet and to be transported to Siberia. The elder brother, Phinehas, succumbed to the terrible ordeal, and the father, then an octogenarian, died of a broken heart soon afterward. The printing-house was closed, though it was reopened about a quarter of a century later by Ḥanina Lipa and Joshua Heschel Schapiro, grandsons of Moses who had settled in Jitomir. Samuel Abraham, who survived the scourging and was ultimately liberated, died in 1863.
- Orient, 1840, p. 23 (incorrect);
- Rabbinoviez, Ma'amar 'al Hadfasat ha-Talmud, pp. 116-117, Munich, 1877;
- Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, p. 101, Warsaw, 1882;
- Lipshitz, Toledot Yiẓḥaḳ (biography of R. Isaac Elhanan Spektor), pp. 58-61, Warsaw, 1896.