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Eliyahu Simcha Chazan

CHAZAN, ELIYAHU SIMCHA (c. 1905–1982), Orthodox rabbi. Chazan grew up in Bransk near Bialystok. He stayed in Bransk after his bar mitzvah to study with Rabbi Simeon *Shkop, a noted scholar. He continued his studies with Rabbi Joseph Solomon *Kahaneman in Ponevezh, then went to Telshe to study with Rabbi Ḥayyim Rabinowitz, and spent some time in Slobodka and Mir before learning with Rabbi Baruch Ber *Leibowitz in Lukishok in 1921.

He followed Leibowitz to Kamenetz, where he stayed for several years, and in 1928, left on a fundraising mission with Rabbi Leibowitz's son-in-law, Rabbi Reuven Grosovsky, on his first trip to the United States. After World War II broke out, Chazan fled to Vilna and ultimately found refuge in Japan. After the war, he settled in Montreal, Canada. In Montreal, he served as a pulpit rabbi at Congregation Chevra Shas and as a Talmud teacher at Yeshiva Merkaz Ha Torah. He also worked closely with the Montreal Va'ad Harabbonim.

In 1946, at the request of Rabbi Shraga Feivel *Mendlowitz, he accepted an appointment to teach at Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn and earned a reputation as an outstanding teacher of the Talmud. He remained at Torah Vodaath for at least 20 years, and also, beginning in 1966, taught at the mesivta of the Ḥasidei Gur.

A prolific writer, in Europe he published several articles in the journal Ohel Torah and in the United States contributed regularly to Ha-Pardes. Other articles appeared in Ha-Mesivta, Ha-Darom, and Talpiot. In 1965, the first volume of his commentary on the Mishneh Torah, Divrei Eliyahu, was published to acclaim from Rabbi Joseph Dov *Soloveitchik of the Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary. He completed the rest of the work during the 1970s and also worked on the Encyclopedia Talmudit project sponsored by Yad ha-Rav Herzog.


M. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook, (1996), 48–49.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.