Isaak Irzhak was born in 1908 in Drissa (now Verkhnedvinsk, Belarus) in 1908. In 1924 he and his father Aron moved to Kharkov (Ukraine), where his father worked at a sawmill factory, and Isaak joined at a tinsmith artel (artisan cooperative) as an apprentice. In the same year, Isaak moved to Kanavino, Central Russia to work at a factory. It was there that Irzhak joined the Communist Party and began his Party career. In 1930 he entered the faculty of history and philosophy of Moscow University. In 1931, as a Party member Irzhak was sent to a military aviation school, from which he graduated in 1934.
With the beginning of the Soviet-German war in June 1941, he was given the rank of captain and became deputy commander for political matters of an aircraft regiment of the 9th Assault Aircraft Division attached to the Baltic Fleet. Despite his appointment as a political officer, from time to time he flew sorties with an assault airplane.
On January 17, 1944, during fighting south of Leningrad, as a head of a bomber squadron, Irzhak flew a sortie. His squadron hit their targets, but during a second sortie, an enemy shell hit Irzhak's plane and it caught fire. The situation of Irzhak's plane was hopeless. However, the pilot had the presence of mind to turn his aircraft and aim it at a large building, next to which there were many cars with enemy soldiers. With his bomb-laden plane, Isaak Irzhak purposely crashed into this target. The huge explosion that followed, destroyed many cars and enemy soldiers.
Isaak Irzhak was one of the 617 Soviet airmen in 327 aircraft who repeated the heroic deed of Lieutenant Nikolai Gastello, a Belarusian. On June 26, 1941 (the fifth day of the Soviet-German war), Gastello's plane received a direct hit in its fuel tank from a German anti-aircraft gun and caught fire. Realizing that the situation was hopeless (even the ejection of anyone except the first pilot was impossible), the crew aimed the burning plane at a column of enemy tanks and destroyed it. Gastello was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Irzhak was recommended for the same award, but the Command of the Baltic Fleet did not approve the recommendation. A total of nine Jews were among the 617 airmen who emulated the deed of Gastello.