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Chochmat Adam

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Chochmat Adam

Rabbi Avraham Danzig (ben Yehiel Michael, אברהם דנציג  ;1748–1820) was a Posek ("decisor") and codifier, best known as the author of the works of Jewish law Chayei Adam and Chochmas Adam; he is sometimes referred to as "the Chayei Adam".

Biography

Rabbi Danzig was born in Danzig (modern Gdańsk), Poland (hence his name), in 1747 or 1748 into a prominent Rabbinic family. When he was fourteen his father sent him to study at the Prague yeshivah, after exacting a promise from him "that he would not mingle with the Moderns" who were then gradually coming into prominence through the influence of Moses Mendelssohn.

He studied in Prague for four years under Rabbi Yechezkel Landau and Joseph Liebermann. He was then offered a position as Rabbi in Vilna, but declined, earning his livelihood as a merchant (frequenting the fairs of Leipzig and Königsberg - which are referenced in his writings). Only in his later years, and after having lost almost his entire fortune through the explosion of a powder-magazine, could he be induced to accept the position of dayan in Vilna, where he served until 1812. He died there on September 12, 1820.

Rabbi Danzig is one of three authorities on whom Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried based his rulings in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.

Works

Rabbi Danzig authored several important works, but he is especially known for Chayei Adam and Chochmas Adam, his works of halacha covering the laws of the Shulchan Aruch dealing with everyday life.

Chayei Adam (Hebrew: חיי אדם‎ "The Life of Man") deals with the laws discussed in the Orach Chayim section of the Shulchan Aruch. It is divided into 224 sections - 69 dealing with daily conduct and prayer, and 155 with Shabbos, and holidays. In this work, Rabbi Danzig collected and critically sifted the Acharonic material, in the field of halakha written in the more than two and a half centuries since the appearance of the Shulchan Aruch. Chayei Adam was intended primarily "for the cultured layman", as opposed to rabbinic scholars, and the work is thus presented in a readily accessible form. The parallel work Nishmas Adam, published together with Chayei Adam, discusses the halachic issues in greater depth. The two are usually printed together. The scholarship of the work is evidenced by the fact that Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, known for his opposition to "digests of halacha",[1] granted the work his approbation (on condition that each section be cross-referenced to the Shulchan Aruch to allow for further study). In many cities, societies were formed for the purpose of studying Chayei Adam. The rulings of the Chayei Adam are often cited in later works, especially the Mishnah Berurah.

Chochmas Adam (Laws of Interest, one may alternatively rely on Chochmas Adam.

Other works by Rabbi Danzig include:

  • Zichru Toras Moshe - an introduction to the laws of Shabbos.
  • Kitzur Sefer Chareidim - an abridgement of the classic Sefer Chareidim by Rabbi Elazar Ezkari.

Rabbi Danzig also wrote Tefillah Zakah, a penitential prayer recited by many on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Notes

References

Template:JewishEncyclopedia

  • Rabbi Avraham Danzig, Great Jewish Leaders by Eliezer C. Abrahamson
  • Danzig, Abraham Ben Jehiel, jewishencyclopedia.com
  • The Chayei Adam - Rabbi Avraham Danzig (1748-1820), jewishvirtuallibrary.org
  • Avraham ben Yehiel Mikhl Danzig (1748-1820), bh.org.il
  • Hebrew), daat.ac.il

Resources

  • Hebrew), daat.ac.il
  • Hebrew), daat.ac.il

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