ABRAHAM BEN JEHIEL MICHAL HA-KOHEN


ABRAHAM BEN JEHIEL MICHAL HA-KOHEN
ABRAHAM BEN JEHIEL MICHAL HA-KOHEN of Lask, Poland (d. c. 1800), kabbalist and rabbinical emissary. Abraham was renowned for his asceticism, fasting during the week and eating only on the Sabbath. He settled in Jerusalem shortly after 1770. Ten years later he returned to Europe as an emissary to collect funds on behalf of the rabbis of Jerusalem, and was then involved in a number of disputes with them regarding these collections. He traveled extensively and is known to have been in Nice for four years, in Ferrara (where he met Graziadio Neppi), Glogau, Berlin, and Warsaw. Wherever he went, he exhorted the Jewish community to repentance and good deeds and encouraged more intensive communal activity, including the building of synagogues. On his return to Jerusalem (1790) he was arrested and held ransom for the failure of the Jewish community to pay taxes. He died in prison, probably as a result of maltreatment. The best known of his kabbalistic works are Ve-Ḥashav lo ha-Kohen (1884), Ve-Shav ha-Kohen (Leghorn, 1788), Beit Ya'akov (Leghorn, 1792), Ayin Panim ba-Torah (Warsaw, 1797). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Yaari, Sheluḥei, 550, 553–6.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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