Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SEPHARDIC RABBIS: Israel Moshe Hazan (1808-1863)

Rabbi Israel Moshe Hazan was born in Smyrne, Turkey. His parents emigrated to Jerusalem when he was three years old.  There, he studied in the Yeshiba of his grandfather the famous  Rabbi Yosef Hazan, author of hiqre leb.  

In 1842 Rabbi Hazan was appointed a member of the bet din in Jerusalem. In 1844 he traveled to London and Amsterdam. He published then a small book called qinat zion (1846) against the recently established Reform movement.  In those years the Reform movement had convened in Frankfort and Brunswick deciding among other things to abolish ritual dietary Laws (kashrut), circumcision, the observance of Shabbat (S. Holdheim conducted Shabbat services on Sunday)and declaring that they do not recognize anymore the Talmud and rabbinical tradition as authoritative.   In his short book Rabbi Hazan  explained the basics of normative Judaism and defended the principles of rabbinical tradition and their authority. 
Rabbi Hazan went later to Rome where he was appointed as the rabbi of that Italian community. He tried to intercede on behalf of the Jews of Italy in the court of Pope Pius IX, in the times of the infamous Mortara case (a Jewish child kidnapped by the Church who was adopted and raised by the Pope himself.  See this.) 
Rabbi Hazan also wrote an important book on the Halakhic laws of inheritance, which include several diagrams. The book is called Nahala leIsrael and it is based on the examination of a 
complex case of inheritance involving an Italian Jewish family.   

He also authored the book qedushat yom tob , against the attempt in Italy to abolish the second day of the festivals. And Iyyei haYam, an important commentary on the responsa of the Geonim.

His most famous book is perhaps kerakh shel romi, a collection of his responsa dealing with the application of Jewish Law on various subjects, particularly the new challenges of modern life.  

In 1862 Rabbi Hazzan settled in Haifa, but died in Beirut, Lebanon.  His remains were taken for burial to Sidon since this city is regarded as being within the Halakhic borders of Eretz Israel. 

 Click here to download and read Rabbi Israel Moshe Hazan's  qin-at Zion