Derashos Mahariach, by Rabbi Yisroel Chayim Daiches, Leeds 1920.


This is a folio sized book, printed in Leeds by Joseph Porton.  It consists of the sermons and writings of Rabbi Israel Chayim Daiches, who was Rabbi in Leeds, England and whose children included Rabbi Dr. Salis (Betzalel) Daiches, the Rabbi of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, who, after serving as rabbi in  Sunderland, England, became lecturer in Bible, Talmud, and Midrash at Jews’ College, London, in 1908.  

The book includes a long list of those who helped finance printing, an interesting autobiography, and a haskamah (approbation) from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who had been in London from 1917-1919 and had returned to Eretz Yisroel (Palestine).

Rabbi Israel Chayim was the son of Rabbi Aryeh Zevi Hirsch Daiches, a Dayan (Rabbinical Judge) and Rosh Yeshiva (Head of a Rabbinical School) in Kovno.  I have written more about Rabbi Aryeh Zevi Hirsch Daiches here

Rabbi Israel Chayim Daiches was born in Darshunishek, Lithuania, in 1850.  He studied at Lithuanian yeshivot and, after a short time as Rabbi in the Lithuanian community of Neushtadt Shirvint, emigrated to England in 1901 to take up a post at the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue in Leeds, where he served as Rabbi until his death in 1937.  He was known as the foremost learned provincial Anglo-Jewish Rabbi of his day, and presided over the orthodox Rabbinical conference held in Leeds in 1911.  Rabbi Daiches was a founder of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of England. He was known for trying to adapt to modern technological advances, and was also an ardent Zionist.  His published work mainly concerned the Jerusalem Talmud, on which he wrote annotations; the responsa of Isaac b. Sheshet (Ribash; 1879); Ma’arḥot Yisrael, on Orah le-Hayyim by R. Hayyim Segal of Ratzki (1879); and notes added to Last’s edition of Magen Avos by R. Menahem ha-Meiri (1909).

Rabbi Daiches also published a book of responsa (Pirchei HaAviv1870), which I have in my collection and have written about previously.  Also sermons (Imrei Yosher, 1887), as well as this book Derashos Mahariach.

Rabbi Daiches biography is on page 463 of Ohalei Shem (a directory of the world’s rabbis, published in 1912).

The title page lists Rabbi Daiches rabbinic positions and lists his other titles. This is followed by a listing of the names and locations of the individuals who helped finance publication.  These are listed in the order of size of contribution!


Next is a memorial page for Rabbi Daiches’ son, Shalom Daiches, who died at a young age in 1916, recording his many accomplishments:



The approbation from R. Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook comes next:


Then comes the author’s preface, with his autobiography, including a letter from the King of England thanking Rabbi Daiches for sending him a sermon in 1902:









There is also an article from Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, a professor at Jews College, which is part of the University of London, on Chullin 9a.:



The book itself consists of fifty-five sermons or articles, primarily on festivals, including halacha (Jewish Law) and aggadah (Legends).





The last page says that the book can be purchased from Joseph Porton, the printer.  He is remembered today for The Porton Collection, which is one of the largest and most regionally significant collections of Jewish literature in the UK. The foundation of the collection is the library of Rabbi Moses Abrahams, which was left to the United Hebrew Congregation in Leeds after his death. The collection is named after Joseph Porton (187?-1958), the Leeds printer and stationer who paid for the original furniture and fitting-out of the room at  Sheepscar in 1938. In 1965 the collection was moved to Leeds Central Library, and at the same time part of Joseph Porton’s own library was given to the collection by his son Leslie. The Porton Collection was deposited with the University Library in 2016.


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