Chidush (Hebrew: חִדּוּשׁ; also transliterated as chiddush, hiddush or hidush), sometimes used in its plural form, chidushim (Hebrew: חִדּוּשׁים), is a novel interpretation or approach. [1] [2] Historically referring to Torah topics, [3] [4] the term is widely used in rabbinic literature [5] [6] to describe a form of innovation that is made inside the system of the halakha, as distinguished from shinuy, an innovation outside tradition. [7]


Chidush comes from the Hebrew root word chadash (Hebrew: חדש), meaning new. The usage of the word in this context originated from the language of Talmudic analysis and argumentation in the Gemara.[8] It passed into Yiddish, where it is at times used informally.

In rabbinic literature

Nachmanides states[9] that it is an "obligation imposed upon us to search through the subjects of the Torah and the precepts and bring to light their hidden contents".[10]

What "powers" Chidushim? MaaYana Shel Torah[11] asks regarding "VaYayLech Moshe" (31:1) - where did he go? and answers that he went into everyone: NichNas Moshe Rabbeinu LeToch ToCho Shel Kol Adam MiYisroel. This, he writes, is the basis of people having/writing ChiDuShim.

Although "any chiddush (novel idea) which a reputable disciple will ever come up with was already given to Moses by Sinai,"[12] in one rabbi's understanding of a particular ruling, he wrote: "I have always understood Rabbi Feinstein to be insisting on a balance between innovation and tradition.[13]

Chidushim are the ongoing results of a process[10][14] and, as a form of Kavod HaTorah, we're required not to forget them. New ways to recall what we learn can be a form of chidush.[15]

Rulings vs. understanding

There is a difference between issuing a ruling, meaning to "distinguish the case at hand from the precident (sic)... to solve a problem,"[13]: footnotes 4 & 5  and an understanding of something. Even in the latter case, he writes "What Rabbi Feinstein means is that one should not be innovative (mechadesh) just to innovate."

Forms of chidush


One form is called Notarikon.[19]

Shabbat (שַׁבָּת), the Sabbath, is a day of rest. The word is spelled with 3 Hebrew letters.
The Notarikon of the three-word phrase "Shayna b'Shabbat Taanug" (שינה בשבת תענוג) (translation: "(Extra) Sleep on Shabbat is considered a Delight!") spells Shabbat (שַׁבָּת).[20][21]
By itself it might seem like at best a minor chidush. When published amidst a collection of many other such 3-word phrases about the day of rest, the title has justified use of the plural form: chidushim.


Another is finding a Gematria.[22][23]

Lechadesh (to renew)

The above term[24] points to a need for something "old" to be seen in a new light.[25] A multi-volume commentary on Mesillas Yesharim[26] compares and contrasts this to emotional insight, a type of Chidush where "something which is novel emotionally" illuminates the value of an idea one already knew intellectually, and brings "a new internalization".


Among the first post-Geonic writers of chidushim[10]: pp.465–466  are:

By the late sixteenth century, with printing an established technology, hair-splitting distinctions into the treatment of halakic-Talmudic themes became more frequent,[27] with chidush-driven works such as those by:

A counter-intuitive use of the term was the Chasam Sofer's novel interpretation of the phrase Chadash asur min haTorah, ("'new' is forbidden by the Torah"). The phrase as originally used is regarding the laws of keeping kosher, whereas his use was regarding changes being made by the Reform movement in Europe: it was a way of saying no - but using a pun.[29]

Current usage

Chidush has become assimilated into American English.[30] In its regular use, it means an unusual or innovative idea or point,[31][8] though the word is also commonly used in an ironic or humorous fashion, so as to imply that the statement in question is nothing new.

Book titles may use the word:

uses the Hebrew word chidushei in the possessive form, and means chidushim of.
  • Another form is
(name of person): Chidushim or Chidushim of (name of person)

Chidushei father and son:

  • "I once learned a very useful chidush (novel idea) in the name of Harav Moshe Feinstein zt"l, concerning ..."[32]
  • "He is famous for his original insights on ..." (review: Rabbi Dovid Feinstein - Kol Dodi On Torah)[33]

See also


  1. ^ Olitzky, Kerry; Isaacs, Ronald (May 1996). A Glossary of Jewish Life. Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-1568219653.
  2. ^ "Creative interpretation" is how Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik cites Rav Chaim of Volozhin,
  3. ^ "Chiddushim in a sentence - chiddushim sentence".
  4. ^ "CAL-02 – Iyar – Pesach Sheni – Yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess |". Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  5. ^ Levi, Leo (November 1990). "Chidush (Innovation)". Torah Study: A Survey of Classic Sources on Timely Issues (1st ed.). ALPHA. ISBN 978-0873065559.
  6. ^ Blech, Benjamin (September 2003). "Chapter 9: The Later Voices of Judaism". The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism (2nd ed.). Feldheim. ISBN 978-1592571314.
  7. ^ Sinclair, Rabbi Julian. "Chiddush", The Jewish Chronicle, November 5, 2008. Accessed January 31, 2017. "Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (1903-93) distinguishes between chiddush, innovation within a tradition, and shinui, change which represents a sharp break from tradition. In Rabbi Soloveitchik's view, chiddush is an aspect of imitatio Dei (imitation of God). Through it we become creative partners with God in the unfolding of the Torah's meanings. On the other hand, shinui, which is not deeply rooted in traditional knowledge, risks becoming subjective and arbitrary."
  8. ^ a b Glinert, Lewis (November 1993). The Joys of Hebrew. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195086683.
  9. ^ in his Sefer HaMilhamot
  10. ^ a b c Encyclopaedia Judaica. Jerusalem Israel: Keter Publishing House Ltd. 1972.
  11. ^ a 5 volume set by Rabbi Alexander Zusia Friedman
  12. ^ Silberberg, Naftali. "How Is the Torah Interpreted?". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  13. ^ a b Broyde, Michael J. (10 August 2008). "The Role of Chiddush: The View of One Paragraph in Iggerot Moshe ..." Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  14. ^ "the results of a method of study of rabbinical literature which derives new ideas from talmudic and also rabbinic texts, in order to clarify halakhah."
  15. ^ Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, "Parshas Ki Savo". Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. talks of tapes, CDs, notebooks summarized with indexes, indexes of accumulated notebooks, folders, "files on computers".
  16. ^ Friedman, Ephraim. "The Role of the Yisroel" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-08. "One of the G’dolei Achronim who introduces this concept is the Hafloah (Rav Pinchas Horowitz zt’l, Rebi of the Chasam Sofer) in his chidushim to Meseches Kesuvos 24b. He maintains, that although the Torah is only explicit in commanding the Kohanim to deliver the brochos, since the mitzva can not be performed without the participation of the Yisroelim
  17. ^ "Rabbi Frand on Parshas Pinchas". Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  18. ^ "Elul - L'David". 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  19. ^ As defined in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, "A system of shorthand consisting in either simply abbreviating the words or in writing only one letter of each word. This system…was said by the Talmudists to have existed as early as the time of Moses; and they held that the latter used it in the composition of the Pentateuch. The law concerning noṭariḳon is the thirtieth of the thirty-two hermeneutic rules laid down by Eliezer b. Jose ha-Gelili for the interpretation of the Bible.” ("
  20. ^ source: Dayan I. Grunfeld
  21. ^ "Remember the Day of Shabbat". Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  22. ^ There's more than one way, not all of them correct. "Inventing Your Own [False] Gematrias". you need a mesorah for gematria
  23. ^ This doesn't take away from one said at a Sheva Brachos, if done well: "so long as it fits with a real idea/source/Halacha"
  24. ^ as used by a discussion group, discussing Mesillat Yesharim
  25. ^ From Mishnat Rebi Aharon 1:203 within
  26. ^, citing Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, volume 5, Pirkei Avodah U'Machshava
  27. ^ a b c Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906, Public Domain. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  28. ^ not to be confused with MaHaRam of Rottenberg
  29. ^ "YUTorah Online - Chatam Sofer on the Meaning of "Chadash Assur Min HaTorah" (Rabbi Elli Fischer)".
  30. ^ "Professor to speak on Yiddish's influence on the English language". Jewish News - Your Community Weekly Serving Greater Phoenix & Northern Arizona. 30 November 2016. Sarah Bunin Benor, associate professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and adjunct associate professor of linguistics at the University of Southern California, will speak on 'Chutzpah to Chidush: A Century of Yiddish-Influenced English in America'
  31. ^ Pava, Moses (April 2003). Leading With Meaning: Using Covenantal Leadership to Build a Better Organization. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1403961327.
  32. ^ "Atlanta Scholars Kollel: Articles". Archived from the original on 2017-01-10. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  33. ^ "Rabbi David Feinstein - Kol Dodi On Torah". Retrieved 2017-02-13.