Chaim Joseph David Azulai

Chaim Joseph David Azulai

Chaim Joseph David Azulai

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Chaim Joseph David Azulai (1724 – 1 March 1806) (Hebrew: חיים יוסף דוד אזולאי), commonly known as the Chida (by the acronym of his name, חיד"א), was a rabbinical scholar, a noted bibliophile, and a pioneer in the publication of Jewish religious writings.


Azulai was born in Jerusalem to Isaac Zerachia Azulai, where he received his education from some local prominent scholars. He was the scion of a prominent rabbinic family, the great-great-grandson of Rabbi Abraham Azulai. His main teachers were the Yishuv haYashan rabbis Isaac ha-Kohen Rapoport, Rashash, and Chaim ibn Attar (the Ohr ha-Chaim). At an early age he showed proficiency in Talmud, Kabbalah, and Jewish history.

In 1755, he was — on the basis of his scholarship — elected to become an emissary (shaliach) for the small Jewish community in the Land of Israel, and he would travel around Europe extensively, making an impression in every Jewish community that he visited. According to some records, he left the Land of Israel three times (1755, 1770, and 1781), living in Hebron in the meantime. His travels took him to Western Europe, North Africa, and — according to legend — to Lithuania, where...
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