Moshe Marechovski lived until he was seventy or eighty
years old, in the nineteenth century, and he was known
in the Kiev region as the Boslever Marshelik. He came
from the town Drobov, Zolotonosha Oyzer, Poltover
Gubernia, where his mother lived into her late nineties.
From Drobov his family was able to travel to Boslev.
Yitskhok Perkov, who had personally known M., reports
that M. was born in Konotop, Chernigov Gubernia and
married in Boslev to where he had moved.
According to B. Slutsky, M. was a badkhan and a
marshelik (jester) with the Boslever Klezmer. He
was also a bit of a Talmudic scholar. In Boslev he
most likely had a brother who was a carter. However, this
was disputed by Perkoff.
M’s relative, the old man Hersh Slipokov, reports that
M. was childish and a bit crazy. As a child he studied in
Zolotonosha in a Talmud Torah. He used to skip
classes and run around the neighborhood singing songs
such as "Avinu Malkeinu" and "My Heart is Happy," receiving as
much as three kopeks for his entertainment. He also used
to distribute matzos from a matzo factory while singing
" A Song of a Matzo Peddler."
M. left Zolotonosha after three or four years, and when
he returned he sang other songs, such as "A Blind Poor Man,"
"A Grave Digger," ”Summer with Winter." He wasn’t a bad
singer; and when he was invited into a house, he was fed
and given a few kopeks. Once again he disappeared for a
few years and again showed up with altogether new songs,
with a different type of beard and sidelocks, now an
accomplished theatre actor with such songs as "The Old
Father” and "Two Kuni Lemels." He explained that he had
spent his time with the Goldfaden troupe in Odessa. He
used to go to weddings and recite rhymes and satires and
would smoothly fit in with the klezmer band.
B. Slutsky wrote about him, that M. was a tall, slender
Jew, a shadow, with a pointed beard and
indistinguishable from any other Jew, aside from his
healthy, fresh humor.
Outside of his traveling with the klezmer band, he used
to, at times, be invited to entertain in rich private
homes with his "performance pieces." With these same
"pieces” he would travel to towns, singing his own
compositions, as well as those by others.
His most popular ‘shtick’ was stand up comedy about
"Resurrection of the Dead," a story about a resurrected
Jew who returns to new things and a new order that he
does not recognize.
M. used to play an old father with a grey beard and humpback. M. would lament about his bad luck and finish
with a song,
His jokes and humor were a bit vulgar, but his
popularity and vitality were validated by his loving
According to Yitskhok Perkov's parents, who had lived as his neighbor,
remembered that he used to be referred to as Moshe the
Jester, recalling that he used to sleep all day. He was known
as a wonderful mimic, with a beautiful voice. He had one
piece he called "The Recruit,” (not Goldfaden’s routine)
in which his ‘shtick’ was "How many soldiers can I
shoot, twenty? Bring them to me here, and I will shoot
During his military forced conscription, M. composed a
satirical little song on this theme: the death of two
rich men in the town, among them Sholem Aleichem’s
father-in-law, Melech Loyev, who are now welcomed into
the "other world."
Marechovski has with him two helpers, one of whom had a
squeaky voice and used to dress as a woman.
M. was a big competitor of the klezmer bands, who were
compensated by payment for each dance number they
played, but when M. performed his rhymes and songs the
listeners so enjoyed them that the audience preferred
M’s entertainment over the klezmer band, that they lost
payment. This angered the bands. Shortly after this
time, M. died in 1884 in Boslev.
He had published a novel, "The Angry Step Mother." Also
published were a few song books, "Contemporary Songs,
Beautiful to the Singers and to the Listeners," Warsaw
1884, 22 pages, 12°, and
"The Lonely Orphan, Yiddish,
Beautiful Songs," Odessa 1872, 32 pages, 16°,
Harvard Library), as well as "Yom Tov Songs."
Sholom Aleichem (in the first volume of his "Folks
Library") strongly discredits M’s "Yom Tov Rhymes."
M.E. from Yitskhok Perkov.
Z. Reisen -- Lexicon of
Yiddish Literature, Vol. II, p. 325.
B. Slutsky –Yiddish badkhans - Actors.
"Magazine." Minsk, 1926, Vol. I, p.260-1.
Dr. Jacob Shatsky – Criticisms
"Annals," New York, 1928, Vol. 4, P.394.