Chajon, Nehemiah Chija

Chajon, Nehemiah Chija a Jewish impostor, was born about 1650. He received his Talmudic education at Hebron, where the pseudo-Messiah Sabbathai Zebi (q.v.) had his adherents. When eighteen years of age he became rabbi at Uskupia, not far from Saloniki, but, on account of his immoral life, he was compelled to leave the place. From this time his adventurous life commenced, which brought him in contact with a great many literary men, who either supported or opposed him. By the way of Egypt Chajon came to Leghorn, where he was opposed by Joseph Ergas (q.v.). At Prague he was supported by D. Oppenheimer (q.v.). In the house of the chief rabbi he had not only leisure to write some of his works, but also delivered sermons at sundry occasions, which, though replete with the greatest nonsense, were readily applauded. From Prague, Chajon went to Amsterdam, where he was opposed by Zebi Ashkenazi (q.v.) and Moses Chagis (q.v.), who, in connection with Ashkenazi, pronounced the ban against Chajon. The latter left Amsterdam, and went hither and thither. Everywhere he was persecuted, and, finding no resting-place, he finally went to North Africa, where he died after 1726. His writings are דַּברֵי נחֶמיָה, Sermons and Conmments on the Pentateuch, written in the house of Oppenheimer, and published with the approbation of this and other rabbis (Berlin, 1713): — כֶּתֶר עֶליוֹן, The Crown of the Highest, on the doctrine of the unity of God (Venice, 1711): מהֵימָנוּתָא דכלָא, or a system of the Judaeo- cabalistic religion, to which are appended two large cabalistic and theosophic commentaries, the בֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הִקָּדָשַׁים and עוֹז לֵאלהַים (Berlin, 1713): — פַּתקָא מַן שׁמִיָּא, a treatise on the true conception of the Cabala (Amsterdam, 1714): — רָזָא דיַחוּדָא, The Secret of the Unity of God (Venice, 1711). See Furst, Bibl. Jud. 1, 161 sq.; De Rossi, Dizioiario Storico (Germ. transl.), p. 74; Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 10:343 sq.; Jost, Gesch. d. Juden, u.s. Sekten, 3, 177. (B. P.)

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