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The Chafetz Project -
Biographies

    Gershom Chafetz (גרשם חפץ)

    Gershom ben Moses (1683-1700) was Moshe Chafetz's son. Moshe published Gershom's Yad Charuzim, adding an introduction with Gershom's biography.

    Based on dates in that biography: Born on Tuesday, the 11th of Adar, 5443 (March 9, 1683). He died on the fourth shabbat of Tevet (Tevet 25, 5460; or January 16, 1700) from plague (smallpox?) at age 16. (All sources say he was 17, but they subtracted the years and didn't account for the dates.)

    Moshe Chafetz quotes some of Gershom's interpretation in Melekhet Machashevet.

    • Yad Charuzim (lit. Handbook of Rhymes), a Hebrew rhyme lexicon. (Venice, 1700; second edition, without appendix and eulogy, but additional notes by Simchah Calimani, Venice, 1738-45)
      • Twelve rules for Hebrew usage in poetry and rhyme scheme
      • Appendix with a poetic version of Rambam's enumeration of the 613 mitzvot
      • Eulogy by Solomon ben Isaac Nizza, Gershom's teacher (appendix)

    Other Biographical Information

    • Bio in Toldot Gedolei Yisroel
      Biography in this "Annals of Great Minds of Israel in Italy" (Trieste, 1853). Page 70. The apparent origin of many sources' Chafetz bios.
       
    • Tovushi-Light (The Light of Torah), the Kavkazi Jewish Youth Magazine provides a biography and book description.
       

    Online Citations/References

    The Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume 1 (1910? 1941?)

    From Chapter III - Poets of the Seventeenth Century (p.370)

    "The scope of Hebrew poetry has also enlarged. While we find... at the end of the century the brilliant young son of Moses b. Gerson, Gentile (Hefez) (1663-1711) Gerson, who died in 1700 at the age of seventeen, busying himself with giving poetic form to the 613 Commandments (Shir Le-Taryag Mizwot), the theme of the poets of this period bears a closer relation to life, and its tone is more worldly. Even Gerson Hefez shows in his Yad Haruzim (Venice 1700) which is a dictionary of rimes, a fine appreciation of poetry and poetic forms, and the octave he quotes from his father is elegant and finished... The bulk of the poetry of the seventeenth century is philosophical, didactic, and polemic rather than religious. True poetic feeling is beginning to manifest itself."

    Some information repurposed from Encyclopedia Judaica

     

    Got Information?

    Any information about Gershom Chafetz or his book is greatly appreciated; in particular, available copies or existing translations.

    Contact me at djbrook@sbcglobal.net.

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