R' Zvi Hirsch Chajes, A.B.D. Zolkiew and Kalisz

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Zvi Hirsch Chajes, "The Maharatz Chajes"

Also Known As: "The Maharatz Chajes", "מהר"ץ חיות"
Birthplace: Brody, Brodivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Death: Died in Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Immediate Family:

Son of R' Meir Chajes and Wife of R' Meir Chajes
Husband of Golda Chajes
Father of Leon Chajes; Haim Joachim Chajes; Shlomo (Solomon) Chajes; Yita Shifra Chajes; HaGaon Yitzchak Chayes A.B.D. Brody and 2 others
Brother of Isaac Chaim Chayes; ? Chajes; unknown Son #1 Chajes and unknown Son #2 Chajes

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About R' Zvi Hirsch Chajes, A.B.D. Zolkiew and Kalisz

November 20, 1805 - October 12, 1855; also Chayes or Hayot) was one of the foremost Galician talmudic scholars. He is best known for his work Mevo Hatalmud (Introduction to the Talmud), which serves both as commentary and introduction.

Chajes is also known as "The Maharatz Chajes" (מהר"ץ חיות), the Hebrew acronym for "Our Teacher, the Rabbi, Zvi Chajes".

Chajes was born in Brody. He studied under a number of great scholars of that time, particularly R. Ephraim Zalman Margulies. In addition to his traditional talmudic education, he was educated in modern and classical languages and literature, as well as geography, history and philosophy. In 1846, a law was promulgated in Austria compelling rabbinical candidates to pass a university examination in the liberal arts and philosophy; Chajes received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

At twenty two, he was called to occupy an important rabbinic position in the district of Zhovkva (Zolkiev), Galicia. In this position, he fought against the innovations being introduced into Judaism at that time, while also opposing the increasing conservatism among his Orthodox colleagues. Chajes died prematurely in 1855 at the age of 50, only three years after being appointed to the prestigious post of rabbi of Kalisz (Kalish), Poland.

Chajes produced many works of scientific study of Judaism that were faithful to tradition but modern in their orientation and organization. In this role he is closely associated with Nachman Krochmal and S. L. Rapoport.

"There are few modern works dealing in detail with the Halakha or the Haggadah which have not profited by the labors of Chajes, although his name is often passed over in silence. His Introduction to the Talmud is especially noteworthy...". Dr. Bruria Hutner David describes Chajes as "Traditionalist and Maskil" - as the subject of her PhD thesis.

Mevo Hatalmud deals with both the Halakha, the legal aspects of the Talmud, and the Aggadah, the non-legal portions. In this work, Chajes imparts a detailed history and classification of the Talmud and its underlying oral tradition. This work is the first modern attempt on the part of Orthodoxy to formulate the nature, extent, and authority of tradition.

Chajes also authored:

   * Torat Neviim: treatises on the authority of Talmudic tradition, and on the organic structure and methodology of the Talmud.
   * Darkhei Horaah: an examination of the rules that obtained in Talmudic times in deciding practical religious questions.
   * Imre Binah: treatises on the relation of Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, on lost aggadah collections, on the Targumim, on Rashi's commentary to tractate Taanit, and on Bat Kol.
   * Minhat Kenaot: against Reform Judaism.
   * Glosses to the Talmud, now published as standard in the Romm-Vilna edition of the Talmud.


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R' Zvi Hirsch Chajes, A.B.D. Zolkiew and Kalisz's Timeline

November 20, 1805
Brody, Brodivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 22
Zhovkva (Żółkiew), Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 24
Zhovkva, Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 29
Zhovkva, Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 31
Zhovkva, Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 36
Zhovkva, Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Age 39
Zhovkva, Zhovkivs'kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine