M. was born on 10 October
1879 in Maishigola, Vilna region, Polish Lithuania. His
father maintained other landowners [giter], then he was
took to becoming an author, and at the end opened a soup
kitchen in Vilna, that was a center for revolutionaries.
Until age ten he learned in
the shtetl from a teacher and Chumash and Tenach from a
religious teacher, writing, then for three years he was
in the three-class kroynisher school at the Vilna
Yiddish Teacher's Institute, a short time also attending Katsenelenbogen's
school in Vilna, then he learned by himself in Prehn
(Suwalki area), reading Haskalah and books of inquiry.
In 1893-94 he studied in the
Strashun Library in Vilna the important works of Hebrew
literature. In 1894 under the influence of the prophets,
he became a socialist, casting away his learning,
becoming a turner. He entered into the secret socialist
organization. In 1897 he searched for God -- he learned
day and night in tefillin and davened "according
to Harry Kuns", then he reoriented himself, and in 1898
again took to studying.
In 1899 he studied
literature, art, philosophy, history and political
economy in the city university, then for three years he
studied natural science in Freiburg's university, where
he also attended the philosophy facultat.