ZHIDACHOV


ZHIDACHOV, ḥasidic dynasty. The dynasty's founder and most outstanding personality, ẒEVI HIRSCH EICHENSTEIN (1785–1831), was born in the village of Safrin, Hungary. In his youth he was known as a brilliant Torah scholar, and while still a young man, he devoted himself mainly to the study of the *Kabbalah. Under the influence of his brother, Moses of Sambor (d. 1840), he became a Ḥasid and the outstanding disciple of *Jacob Isaac ha-Ḥozeh ("the Seer") of Lublin. In addition, Ẓevi Hirsch studied with *Moses Leib of Sasov, whom he also considered to be his mentor, and with *Baruch of Medzhibezh, among others. Only after the death of Jacob Isaac of Lublin did he become the leader of a large ḥasidic community.

His unique approach to Ḥasidism, which aroused the opposition of other ḥasidic leaders, consisted in strengthening the kabbalistic-philosophical foundation of the movement. He wrote a number of important works on mysticism, and his disciples and followers were distinguished from other streams of Ḥasidism by their open and dedicated study of the system of Isaac *Luria, whose thought they considered to be a direct forerunner of Ḥasidism. Ẓevi Hirsch saw Ḥasidism as the means by which the ideals of the important later kabbalists could be put into practice, and, in addition, he maintained that no understanding of Ḥasidism was possible without a deep knowledge of Kabbalah.

Among his numerous disciples were his brother, Judah Ẓevi of Rozdol, and his nephew, Isaac Eizik of Komarno. The well-known *Malbim (Meir Leib b. Jehiel of Michael) studied Kabbalah under Ẓevi Hirsch. The 11th of Tammuz, the date of Ẓevi Hirsch's death, became a day of celebration, when his disciples, admirers, and the adherents of closely related ḥasidic sects made a pilgrimage to his grave. He was followed as leader of the Zhidachov dynasty by his brothers ISSACHAR LEIB (d. 1832) and MOSES OF SAMBOR, and then by his nephew, ISAAC EIZIK (1804–1872). Isaac Eizik, although a follower of a number of the great ḥasidic leaders of his generation, was primarily a devoted disciple of his uncle Ẓevi Hirsch. In addition, Isaac Eizik wrote ḥasidic works which are firmly based on a kabbalistic foundation and serve as a kind of bridge between Ḥasidism and Kabbalah. Isaac Eizik's sons and grandsons, who were rabbis and communal leaders in several places, continued the tradition of the dynasty, and were *admorim in several centers.

Among the works of Ẓevi Hirsch are Sur me-Ra va-Aseh Tov (1835), preface to Peri Eẓ Ḥayyim; Peri Kodesh Hillulim (1836), on Peri Eẓ Ḥayyim; Ateret Ẓevi (1836), on the Zohar; Beit Yisrael (1834), on the Pentateuch. A book about his life and work is M. Braver's Ẓevi la-Ẓaddik (1931).

The works of Isaac Eizik include: Likkutei Maharia (1890), on Yalkut Shimoni; Likkutei Torah ve-ha-Shas (1886). M. Braver's Pe'er Yiẓḥak (1928) treats of his life and work. The entire Zhidachov dynasty is covered in I. Craker's Eser Kedushot (1906), and R. Mahler's Ha-Ḥasidut ve-ha-Haskalah (1961), which contains an index.

[Adin Steinsaltz]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.