Joseph H. Hertz

British Rabbi and biblical scholar, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom (1872-1946)

Joseph Herman Hertz CH (25 September 187214 January 1946) was the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, 1913–1946.

Joseph Hertz in 1913



The Pentateuch and Haftorahs (one-volume edition, 1937, ISBN 0-900689-21-8

  • "Accept the true from whatever source it come," is sound rabbinic doctrine — even if it be from the pages of a devout Christian expositor or of an iconoclastic Biblical scholar, Jewish or non-Jewish.
    • Preface (p. vii)
  • Because man is endowed with Reason, he can subdue his impulses in the service of moral and religious ideals, and is born to bear rule over Nature.
    • Genesis I, 26 (p. 5)
  • Everything in the Universe was as the Creator willed it — nothing superfluous, nothing lacking — a harmony.
    • Genesis I, 31 (p. 5)
  • Man must be a co-worker with God in making this earth a garden.
    • Genesis II, 5 (p. 7)
  • Men of all lands and climes are brothers.
    • Genesis II, 7 (p. 7)
  • Though man comes from the dust, sin is not a part of his nature. Man can overcome sin, and through repentance attain to at-one-ment with his Maker.
    • Genesis II, 7 (p. 7)
  • Not indolence but congenial work is man's Divinely allotted portion.
    • Genesis II, 15 (p. 8)
  • Man's most sacred privilege is freedom of will, the ability to obey or disobey his Maker.
    • Genesis II, 17 (p. 8)
  • A wife is not a man's shadow or subordinate, but his other self, his "helper," in a sense which no other creature on earth can be.
    • Genesis II, 18 (p. 9)
  • In spite of the pangs of travail, the longing for motherhood remains the most powerful instinct in woman.
    • Genesis III, 16 (p. 12)
  • Divine punishment is at once followed by Divine pity.
    • Genesis III, 21 (p. 12)
  • In contrast with the simplicity and sublimity of Genesis I, we find all ancient cosmogonies, whether it be the Babylonian or the Phœnician, the Greek or the Roman, alike unrelievedly wild, cruel, even foul.
    • Additional notes to Genesis (p. 193)
  • The immemorial ingratitude of rulers and commonwealths is proverbial. Especially common is ingratitude to Israel — the People that has achieved so much of eternal worth, but has rarely succeeded in winning gratitude.
    • Exodus I, 8 (p. 206)
  • Judaism stands or falls with its belief in the historic actuality of the revelation at Sinai.
    • Additional notes to Exodus (p. 402)

The Authorised Daily Prayer Book

  • To Israel's faithful hosts in the past, as to its loyal sons and daughters of the present, the Siddur has been the gate to communion with their Father in Heaven; and, at the same time, it has been a mighty spiritual bond that unites them to their scattered brethren the world over.
    • Introduction (p. ix)
  • Prayer is a universal phenomenon in the soul-life of man. It is the soul's reaction to the terrors and joys, the uncertainties and dreams of life.
    • Introduction (p. x)
  • Life is a frail and transitory thing, but it has been given a higher purpose and dignity through the revelation of God's Teaching to Israel, and the resulting dedication of an entire people to God's service.
    • Morning Service: Preliminaries (p. 28)
  • Sabbath rest is more than mere abstention from physical work; and, therefore, must include worship and Scripture-reading
    • Evening Service for Sabbaths (p. 381)
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