Rabbi Israel Chaim Daiches was the Rabbi of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in Leeds, England, from 1901. This Shul was founded in the 1870s and grew until it was able to appoint an Eastern European Rabbinical scholar as its Rabbi.
Israel Chaim Daiches was born in 1850 in Darshunishek, Lithuania, into a Rabbinical family. His father, Rabbi Arieh Leib Tzvi Hirsch Daiches was the son of Rabbi David Daiches, who had been the Rabbi in Eisishok, Lithuania. (And yes, the British writer David Daiches was named after him). Rabbi Israel Chaim was a scholar from an early age, and this book of responsa was published when he was just twenty years old. It was printed in Vilna on the press of Joseph Reuven ben Menachem Romm.
Rabbi Daiches studied in Lithuanian Yeshivos and became Rabbi of a Lithuanian community before emigrating to England. His published writings include annotations on the Jerusalem Talmud.
His grandson, David Daiches wrote about his grandfather, whom he knew as a relatively elderly man in Leeds, in a memoir published in Commentary Magazine in December 1955. “My grandfather, a famous Talmudic scholar of the first eminence, migrated to England while my father was still a student, to become rabbi of an Orthodox Jewish congregation—the Beth Hamedresh Hagadol—in Leeds… My father already knew English, and after a few years in England spoke it perfectly, while my grandfather never mastered more than the merest rudiments of the language. He and my grandmother represented for me a picturesque old world… “
My copy has the pasted down label of The Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Commission. This organization, first proposed by Theodor Gaster of the Library of Congress, was set up to collect heir-less books found in American Occupied regions of Europe after the war and redistribute them to libraries in the United States of America.
In addition, as a bonus, my copy is bound with a small book – really just a pamphlet, that was written by Israel Chaim Daiches’ father, Rabbi Arieh Leib Tzvi Daiches in 1867. It is called Zivchei Teruah, and is a commentary on the prayers for Rosh Hashana.
Rabbi Israel Chaim Daiches founded the Union of Orthodox English Rabbis. His two eldest sons were:
- Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, who was a writer and important lecturer at Jews College. Click here for more about Rabbi Samuel Daiches.
- Rabbi Dr. Salis Daiches, who was the well-known Rabbi of Edinburgh, Scotland.
This is the introduction to Pirchei Aviv, followed by a letter from Rabbi Arieh Leib Tzvi Daiches:
This is followed by the first section: