haGaon Yitzhak Chayot, ABD Prague

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haGaon Yitzhak Chayot, ABD Prague

Hebrew: הרב יצחק חיות, אב"ד פראג, בעל "אפי רברבי"
Also Known As: "הגאון הגדול", "Chayes"
Birthplace: Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Death: June 28, 1615 (76-77)
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Prague, Czechia (Czech Republic)
Immediate Family:

Son of Abraham Chayot and Unknown Chyois
Husband of Bat Shmuel Shmelke Chayot (Chayes)
Father of Rabbi Menahem Meinish Chayot (Chayes), ABD Vilna; Shmuel Chajes; Eliezer Chajes; Rabbi Avraham Chayot (Chayes); בת ר' יצחק חיות אשת המהר"ל מפראג חיות and 1 other

Occupation: Afei Ravrevei, אב"ד פראג
Managed by: Shulem Jeremias
Last Updated:

About haGaon Yitzhak Chayot, ABD Prague

R' Yitzchak Chayes z"l

R' Yitzchak ben Avraham Chayes served successively in the rabbinates of Prossnitz (Prostejov) and Prague, attracting numerous disciples with his erudition and saintliness. The 16th century historian, R' David Ganz, writes of him in his Tzemach David, "The great rabbi whose fame has spread throughout the Diaspora. He cultivated many disciples and furthered the knowledge of Torah."

R' Yitzchak was an adherent to the pilpul method of study that was popular in his time but has been widely rejected since then. He is best known for his work Pnei Yitzchak which was published in 1591. The work has two parts: Apei Ravrevei, which sets the Yoreh Deah section of the Shulchan Aruch to rhyme, and Apei Zuta, a commentary on the first part. R' Yitzchak's son, R' Monish, added two elegies to this work, one on the destruction of the city of Posen by fire in 1590, and the other on the death of his own 18-year-old son. (R' Monish was rabbi of Vilna.)

R' Yitzchak also wrote Siach Yitzchak, which sets the laws of Pesach to rhyme, Pachad Yitzchak, a commentary on the passage in Tractate Gittin which deals with the destruction of the Temple, and other, as yet unpublished, works.

R' Yitzchak died on the 11th of Tammuz in approximately 1616. (Several sources state that he died in 1585. This is clearly wrong, for Tzemach David states: "He came here, to Prague, in the year [5]344 [i.e., 1584], and he was the rabbi and rosh yeshiva here for three-and-a-half years, may Hashem lengthen his days with pleasantness and may his throne become greater and loftier, higher and higher." Tzemach David was written in approximately 1592.)

Among R' Yitzchak's many prominent descendants were: R' Yitzchak Chayes, author of the Mishnah commentary, Zera Yitzchak; the 19th century Talmud commentator R' Zvi Hirsch Chayes (the "Maharitz Chayes"); and R' David Hillel Altshuler, author of the popular Tanach commentary, Metzudat David. Chief Rabbinical Judge of Prague

Great-grandfather of the Mekubal Yitzchok Chayos, AB'D of Skolye

Regarding possible connections to the Maharal

  1. Incorrectly called a relative of the Maharal. (per Hebrew wikipedia), based on errors in Moses Meir Perls' Megillat Yichusin. See Putik's recent article on the Maharal. https://photos.geni.com/p13/23/c3/6d/69/5344484c6dc91718/judah_loew_ben_bezalel_called_maharal_original.pdf


Listed in Toldos Avrohom, p. 464


Jewish Dynasties

Segal, Yehezkel, Torat Yehezkel, Abraham Singer (ed.), Pecs, 1899:
"These Geonim [R. Menahem Manish Hayut & R. Abraham Hayut] were the sons of R. Isaac Hayut, the head of the rabbinical court of Prague, who lived at the time when the MAHARAL was a head of a Yeshiva. Later on he was the head of the rabbinical court in Krakow and then in Lvov, where he passed away" (Introduction. p. 3).

death: Lemberg, Poland/Lviv, Ukraine ??

Note: several decades after the the death of Yitzoch Chayes ABD Prague there is another Yakov Yitzach Chayes who is a Dayan and Morej Zedek in Prague: Yakov Yitzach Chajes, Dayan and Moreh Zedek of Prague

This raises the possibility that the two were related, perhaps as uncle/nephew, which would mean that Avraham Chayes is the grandfather of Yakov Yitzach.

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