Thursday, July 2, 2009

Biography of Rabbi Zvi (Tsvi) Hirsch Kalischer

Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer was born in Leszno, Prussia in 1795 and died in Thorn, Prussia, in 1874. He was one of the first forerunners of modern Zionism, and specifically of modern religious Zionism, together with Rabbi Alkalai. A fierce opponent of Reform Judaism, Kalischer also was learned in philosophy and non-religious subjects. He spent most of his life as a rabbi in Thorn, which is now in Torun, Poland, serving without salary. In 1862 he declared that the redemption of Zion would have to begin with action by the Jewish people; the messianic miracle would then follow. He frequently had to defend these views against rabbinic opponents in both Europe and in the land of Israel who insisted that the Jewish people would have to wait for the Messiah without taking any action to hasten its deliverance

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