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Caro, Joseph Ḥayyim ben Isaac


CARO, JOSEPH ḤAYYIM BEN ISAAC (1800–1895), rabbi. He was born in Slupca, where his grandfather was rabbi and his father dayyan, and studied under Akiva *Eger. After holding the post of rabbi in a number of towns in the Poznan district, he was appointed in 1859 to Wloclawek. He had a good knowledge of German literature and preached in the language, often quoting from the German classics. He also spoke Hebrew fluently – unusual attainments in those days for a rabbi of unswerving orthodoxy. He even gave endorsements to works by maskilim.

He associated himself with the activities of Ẓevi Hirsch *Kalischer and Elijah *Gutmacher in behalf of settlement in Ereẓ Israel, and warmly praised those who worked toward that end. In 1872, on the occasion of his golden wedding anniversary, he was the recipient of a gift from Kaiser William i. His sons were Jacob Caro, professor of history in Breslau and Ezekiel Caro, rabbi of Lemberg. Caro's best-known book is Kol Omer Kera (published in four parts, 1866–85; second and standard edition Vilna 1895; since republished). It consists of sermons on the Sabbath and festivals in the classic rabbinic manner. Written in a lucid style, it reveals his fervent faith. He does not hesitate fearlessly to rebuke his congregation for their failings. His works also include Yoreh u-Malkosh (1894), funeral orations; Minḥat Shabbat (1847), containing two commentaries on Avot; and Tevaḥ ve-Hakhen (1859), on Sheḥitah.


eg, s.v.; Sefer Wloclawek (1967), 21f., 133–43.

[Itzhak Alfassi]

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