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HOFETZ HAIM (ca. 1837-1933).

Scholar, author, and one of the prominent leaders of Polish Orthodox Jewry. Born Israel Meir Kahan in Zhitil, Poland, he derived his surname from his book Hofetz Haim (He Who Desires Life), a treatise against slander. Rabbi Kahan founded a yeshiva in Radin and, refusing important rabbinical positions, devoted his time to writing and teaching. When World War I erupted, he was active in raising funds for the support of Polish and Russian Jewry. Often he interceded in their behalf before the Russian government. In 1930, he personally protested to the Polish government against government interference with Jewish religious and economic rights. A learned man, he was the author of thirty books on Jewish ethics and law. Mishnah Berurah, a six-volume treatise on Joseph Karo‘s Orah Haim, is a highly valuable manual for rabbis today.

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