Israel Moses Hazan

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Israel Moses Hazan was a Sephardic rabbi from Smyrna who was born in 1808 and died in October 1862 in Beirut.


He was taken by his father Eliezer Hazan to Jerusalem (1811), where he was educated under his grandfather, Joseph ben Hayyim Hazan. In 1840 he became a member of a rabbinical college; in 1848 he was appointed "meshullach" (messenger). While at Rome he was elected chief rabbi. In 1852 he resigned this office for the rabbinate of Corfu, and in 1857 he was called to the rabbinate of Alexandria. In 1862 he went to Jaffa; but, being in ill health, he removed to Beirut, where he died. He was buried in Sidon. In Rome and in Corfu he was held in high esteem, and the poet Ludwig August von Frankl, who saw him in Corfu (1856), speaks in glowing terms of his venerable personality. While a champion of Orthodoxy, he possessed sufficient independence of mind to protest against the superstitious practices customary among the Jews of Rome, who insisted on washing corpses with warm water, and who would not allow a clock in the yard of the synagogue. He wrote a letter condemning the reforms advocated in the Brunswick rabbinical conference (published in the collection "Kin'at Tziyyon," Amsterdam, 1846).

In his book Iyye ha-Yam, a commentary on the Responsa of the Geonim, he provided an extensive analysis of the Geonic chain of tradition, arguing among other things that the 'Spanish' version of Iggeret Sherira Gaon (Sherira Gaon's epistle) was the original version,[1] in line with the scholarly consensus of the time.


  • Naḥalah le-Yisrael, a collection of decisions in an inheritance case (Vienna, 1851; Alexandria, 1862); linked here
  • Kontres Kedushat Yom-Tob Sheni, an argument in favor of retaining the second holy days (ib. 1855); linked here
  • Dibre Shalom we-Emet, a reply (in the form of an address to the Israelites of Great Britain by a Levite) to a Reform pamphlet (Hebrew and English, London, 1856);
  • She'erit ha-Nahalah, a discourse in dialogue on religious questions, with a revised edition of his Nahalah le-Yisrael (Alexandria, 1862);
  • Iyye ha-Yam, responsa of the Geonim, with his notes (Livorno, 1864); linked here
  • Kerakh shel Romi, responsa (ib. 1876); linked here.

Other responsa, with homilies and a defence of the Kabbalah, remain in manuscript.

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Hazzan, Hazan". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. 

  • Solomon Hazan, Ha-Ma'alot li-Shelomoh, p. 114;
  • Elijah Hazan, Zikhron Yerushalayim, p. 131, Livorno, 1874;
  • Berliner, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, pp. 152, 208, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1893.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jose Faur, Harav Yisrael Moshe Hazan: ha-ish umishnato (Rabbi Israel Moses Hazan: the man and his teaching) (Jerusalem 1976) [Hebrew]
  • Avi Sagi, "Harav Yisrael Moshe Hazan, ben particularizm ve-universalizm" in Yahadut: ben dat le-musar (Tel Aviv 1998) [Hebrew]
  • Zvi Zohar, Rabbinic Creativity in the Modern Middle East (London 2013), chapter 7


  1. ^ Iyye ha-Yam no. 187.