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Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Began 1948
Ended 1959
Successor Isser Yehuda Unterman
Other Chief Rabbi of the Ireland (1919-1936)
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine (1936-1948)
Personal details
Born 3 December 1888
Łomża, Poland
Died 25 July 1959
Nationality  Israel

Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog (Hebrew: יצחק אייזיק הלוי הרצוג) (born 3 December 1888; died 25 July 1959), also known as Isaac Herzog, was the first Chief Rabbi of Ireland, his term lasting from 1921 to 1936.[1] From 1937 until his death, he was Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine and of Israel after its independence in 1948.



Rabbi Herzog was born in Łomża, Poland, and moved to the United Kingdom with his family in 1898, where they settled in Leeds. His initial schooling was largely at the instruction of his father, Joel Leib Herzog, who was a rabbi in Leeds and then later in Paris.[citation needed]

After mastering Talmudic studies at a young age, Yitzhak went on to attend the Sorbonne and then later the University of London, where he received his doctorate. His thesis, which made him famous in the Jewish world, concerned his claim of re-discovering Techelet, the type of blue dye once used for the making of Tzitzit.[citation needed]

Rabbi Herzog served as rabbi of Belfast from 1916 to 1919 and was appointed rabbi of Dublin in 1919. He was a fluent speaker of the Irish language. He was Chief Rabbi to the Irish Free State from 1919 - this was prior to formal independence. He was known as "the Sinn Féin Rabbi"[2] He went on to serve as Chief Rabbi of the Ireland between 1922 and 1936, when he immigrated to Palestine to succeed Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi upon his death.


Rabbi Herzog's descendants have continued to be active in Israel's political life. Chaim Herzog, the rabbi's son, was a general in the Israel Defense Forces and later became president of Israel. Currently, his grandson Isaac Herzog is a member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament and the country's minister of welfare. He has previously served as housing and tourism minister.[citation needed]

Defenders of Pope Pius XII have asserted that Herzog had maintained friendly relations with the pontiff during and after the WW2. In 1945, he stated: “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world.” [3]


Rabbi Herzog was recognised as a great rabbinical authority, and he wrote many books and articles dealing with halachic problems surrounding the Torah and the State of Israel. Indeed, his writings helped shaped the attitude of the Religious Zionist Movement toward the State of Israel. Rabbi Herzog authored:

  • Main Institutions of Jewish Law
  • Heichal Yitzchak
  • Techukah leYisrael al pi haTorah
  • Pesachim uKetavim
  • The Royal Purple and the Biblical Blue


  • In 1958, Rabbi Herzog was awarded the Israel Prize, in Rabbinical lierature. [4]


  1. ^ "Herzog, Chaim (1918-1997)". Israel and Zionism. The Department for Jewish Zionist Education. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  2. ^ Benson, Asher (2007). Jewish Dublin. Dublin: A&A Farmer Ltd. p. 22. ISBN 9781906353001. 
  3. ^ Pius XII website
  4. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1958 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010 by WebCite®. 

See also

Preceded by
New creation
Chief Rabbi of Ireland
Succeeded by
Immanuel Jakobovits
Preceded by
Abraham Isaac Kook
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New creation
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Succeeded by
Isser Yehuda Unterman


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