Moznaim LeMishpot by Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, Koenigsberg, 1855.

Kalischer01I usually write about Anglo-Judaica, however this book is from my general antique book collection.  It is the only edition of a detailed clarification of the Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat written by R. Zvi Hirsch ben Solomon Kalischer.

Rabbi Kalischer (1795 – 1874) was an early proponent of the Zionist idea.  He was born in Lissa (Lesno) in Posen and studied under the great scholars of his day, including Rabbi Jacob Lorberbaum of Lissa and the famous Rabbi Akiva Eiger.  From 1824 he lived in Thorn.  He wrote on Jewish law and religious philosophy and contributed to the German and Hebrew press.

He is known for advocating the idea of mass settlement of European Jewry in the Land of Israel, long before the modern Zionist movement.

The title page of the book, which states that it is the first volume, says that it is an in depth explanation of each and every law in the holy Torah. It clarifies the words of early and later commentators and provides legal decisions for the laws from the leading rabbis.

At the bottom of the page the Rabbi Kalischer writes that he intends to speedily give the second part to the printer. Indeed, in my copy the second part is bound with the first part and the title page is below.  Both parts have a list of approbations of prominent rabbis.  The text is comprised of the Shulhan Arukh Hoshen Mishpat accompanied by Moznayim le-Mishpat.

Moznayim le-Mishpat is significant because R. Kalischer is remembered today for his Zionist activities. This work clearly shows that he was an eminent legal scholar – a halakhist, something that may not be remembered when he is thought of as a very early Zionist today.

His opinion was that the redemption of Israel would not come, as had been believed for generations, just through a miracle,  but rather that salvation would be brought about by human endeavor. He stressed the idea that the natural redemption would serve as the first and main stage before the miraculous redemption at the end of days.


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