Yisrael Meir Kagan

Age 91, on his visit to the Polish Prime Minister

Also well known for the Mishna Berurah, his book on ritual law, was an influential rabbi, Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life.

- Yisrael Meir Kagan

118 related topics


Chofetz Chaim


The Sefer Chafetz Chaim (or Chofetz Chaim or Hafetz Hayim) (חָפֵץ חַיִּים, trans. "Desirer of Life") is a book by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, who is also called "the Chofetz Chaim" after it.

Mishnah Berurah

Mishnah Berurah Tiferet, published by Mifal Arzei Levanon, where Sephardic law and customs are included printed

The Mishnah Berurah (משנה ברורה "Clear Teaching") is a work of halakha (Jewish law) by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (Poland, 1838–1933, also known as Chofetz Chaim).


Term in Jewish law for a "decisor", a legal scholar who determines the position of halakha, the Jewish religious laws derived from the written and Oral Torah in cases of Jewish law where previous authorities are inconclusive, or in those situations where no clear halakhic precedent exists.

Toledot HaPoskim, History of the Jewish Codes, by Chaim Tchernowitz.

Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838–1933), Mishnah Berurah, Chafetz Chaim

Orach Chayim

Section of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's compilation of Halakha (Jewish law), Arba'ah Turim.

Orach Chayim book of 1817/1818 published from the collection of the "Mezhybizh" State Reserve (Ukraine)

Mishnah Berurah - by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan

World Agudath Israel

Established in the early twentieth century as the political arm of Ashkenazi Torah Judaism.

The Jews in Central Europe (1881)

Prominent Torah scholars who led Agudath Yisroel included the Gerrer Rebbe, the Radziner Rebbe, Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Elazar Leiner, and the Chafetz Chaim.

Lashon hara

The related terms "hotzaat shem ra"/"hotzaat diba", "motzi shem ra", and "rekhilut" all redirect here.

"No lashon hara" sign in the Mea Shearim quarter of Jerusalem
Advertisement on a bus saying "Lashon hara doesn't speak to me!" in Hebrew

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan wrote two major halakhic works on the evil tongue: Chafetz Chaim ("Desirer of Life", ) and Shmirat HaLashon ("Guarding the tongue"), both 1873.


Semikhah (or semicha or smicha; סמיכה) traditionally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism.

Example semikhah certificate, Yadin Yadin, of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan awarded by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. The wording, as is typical, states that the holder is learned in Shas (ש״ס) – i.e. has wide knowledge of Talmud – as well as in Rishonim and Acharonim – i.e. has deep knowledge of Halakha; the phrase "כל מן דין סמוכין לנא" is often included, and translates "anyone of this [caliber] may be ordained for us".

For example, according to some reports Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (known as the Chafetz Chayim) did not officially receive semikhah until late in life, when a formal rabbinic qualification was necessary for him to call himself "rabbi" on an immigration application.

Elchonon Wasserman

Prominent rabbi and rosh yeshiva (dean) in prewar Europe.

Rosh yeshiva, Yeshiva Ohel Torah-Baranovich
Monument to the victims of the massacre at the Seventh Fort (July 1941)

He was one of the closest students of Yisrael Meir Kagan (the Chofetz Chaim) and a noted Talmid Chacham.

Radin Yeshiva

Building of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, Radin
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan
Rabbi Moshe Landynski
Rabbi Hersh Leib Levinson
Rabbi Naftoli Trop
The yeshiva building today

The Radin Yeshiva, originally located in Radun, Poland (now in Belarus), was established by Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (known as the Chofetz Chaim after the title of his well-known sefer) in 1869.

Shulchan Aruch

Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

The Mishna Berura, the main work of halakha by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (the "Chafetz Chaim") is a collation of the opinions of later authorities on the Orach Chayim section of the Shulchan Aruch.