Born in Pshemishl in the
middle of the nineteenth century. Gifted with a poetic
talent and mastering several languages, S. created songs
in four languages: Yiddish, Hebrew, German and Polish.
At the age of fifteen he began to tour across the
Galician cities and towns, staying months long in Brody,
Kolomea, Lemberg and other cities, where he used to sing
his songs in the wine cellars or in private dwellings
during weddings. The number of his songs were great, and
only a small part of them were published.
S. was one of the
interesting types in Galicia. From one side he was a
terror there due to his hul-meyishkeyt, from the
other side however -- the darling, because he was the
"comic" of the society, who made everyone laugh.
S. also often used to recite
his creations, mixing them with a high German rhetoric,
in the casino of Pshemishl ofitsirn.
According to Dr. Yitzhak
Shiper, who heard S.'s more well-known song collection:
"Fraydele the Mame" (Lemberg 1882), "Shir bat yehudah"
(1883), "Melodien oys der gegend am san" (Krakow 1886),
in 1893 the Leipzig theologist Dr. Zalman issued a
collection of Yiddish songs "Judische Melodien Aus
Galizien u. Russland", in which it is also found several
songs of S.'s. S.'S songs consist of for a certain
literary value. They possessed a lovely rhythm and were
written in a more-or-less enduring ferzmos fun ymbn,
trakheyen and onfibrakhn. Their biggest
drawback is the badkhan-ish tsetsoygnkeyt
and the deep German-like language. Some songs of
Schafir's were nevertheless very popular, such as an
instance of the national poem "Droysn blozt a vint a
kalter", which was until today sung in Galicia as a
folksong. For us there is of greater interest the second
part of Schafir's "Melodien": "Oys der negend am son",
which brought about a series of comical songs, couplets,
satires etc., according to the manner of the "Broder
Avraham Kahana (Ab"rkh)
characterized S. and his creations as such:
"Unfortunately Shafir was a
neglected talent who produced as a tandetnik only
for the minute in order to earn a poor groschen." One
volume of his songs S. called a "lkhm hklukl" D. H. a
simple nothing, an instruction on the simplicity of
Yiddish, and in the introduction he wrote a song in
Hebrew, discussing the question because he wrote in
Yiddish and published it only herewith, in the language
spoken by six hundred thousand Jews.
The idea for his songs
[according to Avraham Kahana] was "laughter, dance and
knakn, and finally reformed. Calls for reform
were by rabbis, betlnim-kloyznikes, opponents of
newspapers, theatre, etc. But understood all the advice
from the mouth of Bajrach Schafir was able to know a
weak cooperation (?), he was too much "lts". The
second bunch, were, the "lkhm hklukl" had already
much less poetry, although here and there he made an
impression on the various geferte vitsn across
btlnim, rabbis, Chasids, the boulevard, reform
movements, and other motifs that were partly
cultural-historical, but not a poetic value. So it also
was with the opportunity gedichtn due to the "ringtheatre-brand",
Tisa Eslar protests, the death of Montefiore vkhdumh.
Ale zakhn were farzen with melodies,
ibergenitsevet, from other items".
Due to a criminal, S.'s
crime put him in the jail of Pshemishl for two years,
then he, after a long time, lived in Krakow, where he
was a teacher of French, German and Hebrew, and he
passed away before the World War, leaving many songs in
his own handwriting.
[According to Jacob Mestel,
who B. Perzenlik knew and was in a certain period
witnessed from his activity, Sh. actually belongs to the
series of the "Badkhanim-actors".
Zalmen Reyzen --
"Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", 1914, pp. 608-10.
Dr. Itzhak Shifer -- "Di
broderzinger", "Morgen", Lemberg, 9 April 1927.
Avraham Khhna (Ab"rkh)
-- Der yudisher trubador fun pshemysl -- birkh
shafir, "Morgen", Numer 704, 1929.