Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer

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Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, Rabbi

Hebrew: Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, רבי צבי הירש קלישר
Also Known As: "הרב צבי הירש קלישר", "Zwi Hirsch Kalischer"
Birthplace: Lissa, Posen
Death: October 16, 1874 (79)
Thorn, Germany
Place of Burial: Thorn, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Salomon (Shlomo) (Schlaume) Kalischer and Rahel Gutel Kalischer
Husband of Henrietta (Gütel) Kalischer
Father of Jakob Kalischer; Johanna (Hannah) Falk; Jenny Kalischer; Alfred (Christlieb) Kalischer; Auguste Kalischer and 9 others
Brother of Moses Kalischer, III; Löbel Kalischer and Hanna Kalischer

Occupation: Rabbi ("Vater des Zionismus"), rabbi
Managed by: Raziel Yohai Seckbach
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer


Zvi (Zwi) Hirsch Kalischer (24 March 1795 – 16 October 1874) was an Orthodox German rabbi who expressed views, from a religious perspective, in favour of the Jewish re-settlement of the Land of Israel, which predate Theodor Herzl and the Zionist movement.

Contents [show] Life[edit] Kalischer was born in Lissa in the Prussian Province of Posen (now Leszno in Poland). Destined for the rabbinate, he received his Talmudic education from Jacob of Lissa and Rabbi Akiva Eiger of Posen.

After his marriage he left Jacob of Lissa and settled in Thorn, a city on the Vistula River, then in Prussia and now Toruń, in northern Poland, where he spent the rest of his life.

In Toruń, he took an active interest in the affairs of the Jewish community, and for more than forty years held the office of Rabbinatsverweser ("acting rabbi"). Disinterestedness was a prominent feature of his character; he refused to accept any remuneration for his services. His wife, by means of a small business, provided their meager subsistence.

Works[edit] In his youth he wrote Eben Bochan אבן בוחן, a commentary on several juridical themes of the Shulkhan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat (Krotoschin, 1842), and Sefer Moznayim la-Mishpat מאזניים למשפט, a commentary, in three parts on the whole Choshen Mishpat' (parts i. and ii., Krotoschin and Königsberg, 1855; part iii. still in manuscript). He also wrote: Tzvi L'Tzadik (צבי לצדיק) glosses on the Shulkhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, published in the new Vilna edition of that work; the Sefer ha-Berit[1] commentary on the Pentateuch; the Sefer Yetzi'at Mitzrayim commentary on the Passover Pesach Haggadah; Chiddushim on several Talmudical treatises; etc. He also contributed largely to Hebrew magazines, as Ha-Maggid, Tziyyon, Ha-'Ibri, and Ha-Lebanon.

Views on the re-settlement of the Land of Israel[edit] Inclined to philosophical speculation, Kalischer studied the systems of medieval and modern Jewish and Christian philosophers, one result being his Sefer Emunah Yesharah an inquiry into Jewish philosophy and theology (2 vols., Krotoschin, 1843, 1871); an appendix to volume 1 contains a commentary (incomplete) on Job and Ecclesiastes.

In the midst of his many activities, however, his thoughts centered on one idea: the settlement of the Land of Israel by Jews, in order to provide a home for the homeless Eastern European Jews and transform the many Jewish beggars in the Holy Land into a population able to support itself by agriculture.

He wrote in the Ha-Levanon, a Hebrew (at that period, a renovated language) monthly magazine.[2] In 1862 he published his book Drishat Tzion (Lyck, 1862)[3] on this subject, including many quotes from his commentaries in the Ha-Levanon magazine. He proposed:

To collect money for this purpose from Jews in all countries To buy and cultivate land in Israel To found an agricultural school, either in Israel itself or in France, and To form a Jewish military guard for the security of the colonies. He thought the time especially favorable for the carrying out of this idea, as the sympathy of men like Isaac Moïse Crémieux, Moses Montefiore, Edmond James de Rothschild, and Albert Cohn rendered the Jews politically influential. To these and similar Zionist ideals he gave expression in his Derishat Zion,[4] containing three theses:

The salvation of the Jews, promised by the Prophets, can come about only in a natural way — by self-help Immigration to Israel Admissibility of the observance of sacrifices in Jerusalem at the present day. The appendix contains an invitation to the reader to become a member of the colonization societies of Israel.

The second part of the book is devoted to speaking to "the nations" who believe in the bible and the prophets, and persuading them, that this new course in history is a logical one, and that they too can hope for the salvation of the Jewish nation as part of the salvation of the entire world.[5]

This book made a very great impression, especially in the Eastern Europe. It was translated into German by Poper (Toruń, 1865), and a second Hebrew edition was issued by N. Friedland (Toruń, 1866). Kalischer himself traveled with indefatigable zeal to various German cities for the purpose of establishing colonization societies. It was his influence that caused Chayyim Lurie, in Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1861, to form the first society of this kind, and this was followed by others.

Owing to Kalischer's agitation, the Alliance Israélite Universelle founded the Mikveh Israel agricultural school in Israel in 1870. He was offered the rabbinate, but he was too old to accept it. Although all these endeavors were not attended with immediate success, Kalischer never lost hope. By exerting a strong influence upon his contemporaries, including such prominent men as Heinrich Grätz, Moses Hess (see Rome and Jerusalem, pp. 117 et seq.), and others, he is considered to have been one of the most important of those who prepared the way for the foundation of modern Zionism.

Kalischer, Zevi Hirsch (1795-1874) was a Polish rabbi and Zionist thinker.

Lissa is now Leszno, Poland and Thorn is now Torun, Poland.


In addition to his books on halakhah and Jewish philosophy, Kalischer's great contribution to Jewish thought was his belief that the settlement of Erez Israel was a necessary first step before the coming of the Messiah.

A student of Rabbi Akiva Eger and a strong opponent of Reform Judaism, Kalischer also acquired a knowledge of philosophy and other secular subjects.

Rabbi Kalischer, as had Rabbi Alkalai before him, saw an intrinsic connection between the national aspirations of the Jewish people and the traditional messianic belief. He was greatly influenced by the emancipation of the Jews in France and the Germanic countries during Napoleanic rule. These various emancipation decrees were seen by Rabbi Kalischer as part and parcel of the traditional and historical development of the Jewish people. However, he also saw this in a more esoteric structure – that of belonging to the period immediately before the messianic era. Therefore, he viewed the developments of rising nationalism among the Jewish people as one of the first stages in the process of natural redemption, i.e., that process by which man himself would help bring about the beginning of redemption in which at least some Jews would return to Eretz Israel.

His first expression of Zionism is to be found in a letter that he wrote in 1836 to the head of the Berlinbranch of the Rothschild family. There he explained that the beginning of the Redemption would come through natural causes – by human effort and by the will of the governments to gather the scattered of Israel into the Holy Land. These notions, however, did not engage him seriously until 1860, when an otherwise unknown doctor, Hayim Lurie, organized a society in Frankfurton the Oderto foster Jewish settlement in the Holy Land. Kalischer joined this group, and though the organization was short-lived and had no practical achievements to its credit, it provided him with the impulse to write his important Zionist work, Derishat Zion (“Seeking Zion”), which appeared in 1862.

Kalischer’s professional career was not remarkable. After completing his education in the conventional modes of the ghetto, he settled in Thorn, where he served as the Rabbi of the community for forty years. Financially independent in his own right, he was able to engage, after 1860, in innumerable journeys, meetings and myriad literary and practical activities on behalf of the ideal to which he was henceforth devoted.

Some tangible results flowed from his efforts, for he was instrumental in getting a group to buy land for colonization on the outskirts of Jaffa in 1866. His prodding finally moved the Alliance Israelite Universelle, the organization that had been created in France in 1860 for the international defense of Jewish rights, to found an agricultural school in Jaffa, Palestine, in 1870.



1913--1996- The Eger Family Association- pg.38

1913--1990- The Eger Family Association-אילן יד

מגילות יחש של משפחת יפה- צבי יפה 1996/ גניגר ישראל- עמוד 7ג


Descendant of MaHaRaL of Prague - המהר״ל מפראג via Meir Kremnitzer, of Kalish.

About Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer (עברית)

הרב צבי הירש קלישר, 1795 - 1874 היה מגדולי הרבנים באירופה במאה ה-19, ומנהיג רב פעלים בתנועת התחייה הלאומית של ישראל. יותר מחמישים שנה שימש כרבה של קהילת טורן שלא על מנת לקבל פרס. לחם בתנועת הרפורמה ביהדות. טען שגאולת ישראל לא תבוא באופן ניסי בלבד אלא שלב ראשון שלה צריך להיות עלייה לארץ, התיישבות בה וקיום המצוות התלויות בארץ. ב-1860 הצטרף לאגודה שפעלה להתיישבות בארץ וב-1862 הוציא לאור את ספרו "דרישת ציון". קרא להשתחרר מן החלוקה ולהקים בית ספר חקלאי בארץ ישראל. כאשר הוקם בית הספר החקלאי מקוה ישראל ב-1870, הזמין מייסדו קרל נטר את הרב קלישר להצטרף לצוות המוסד, אך הדבר לא יצא אל הפועל.

כמה מרעיונותיו שימשו יסוד לתנועת "חיבת ציון", שקמה ברוסיה בשנת 1881. על שמו הקיבוץ הדתי "טירת צבי" שבבקעת בית שאן.

מספריו: " דרישת ציון",  "אמונה ישרה"(מחקרים ופירושים); "מאזניים למשפט"(דינים בחושן משפט); פירוש להגדה של פסח.

מגילות יחש של משפחת יפה- צבי יפה 1996/ גניגר ישראל- עמוד 7 ג

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Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer's Timeline

April 1, 1795
Lissa, Posen
October 1820
Age 25
Thorn, Prussia
Age 27
Age 30
September 20, 1828
Age 33
Age 36
July 19, 1833
Age 38
Thorn, Germany
April 30, 1836
Age 41
July 1, 1839
Age 44
Thorn, Posen, Germany