Abraham ben Benjamin Ze'ev Brisker

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ABRAHAM BEN BENJAMIN ZE'EV BRISKER (d. 1700), Lithuanian author and preacher. After the decree of expulsion from Lithuania in 1655 Abraham went to Vienna, where he became a pupil of R. Shabbetai Sheftel *Horowitz. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670 Abraham returned to Brest Litovsk and continued his studies under R. Mordecai Guenzburg and R. Ẓevi Hirsch. At the end of his preface to Zera Avraham he described his tribulations: "Most of my days were spent in sorrow, and I studied under difficulties and in wandering." He mentions his intention "to immigrate to the Holy Land" which, however, he did not fulfill. He signed himself "Alluf Abraham" as one of the representatives of Brest Litovsk at the meeting of the *Council of the Lands in Lublin in 1683. Abraham is the author of Asarah Ma'amarot, a commentary on Avot, chapter 6 (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1680); Zera Avraham, which includes sermons on "the connection between the weekly portions, and other verses, Midrashim and commentaries according to a literal interpretation" (Sulzbach, 1685); and Perush al Eser Atarot – a kabbalistic work (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1968). In the preface to Asarah Ma'amarot he refers to his unpublished works Berit Avraham (a brief summary of the decisions of Shabbetai b. Meir ha-Kohen and *David b. Samuel ha-Levi on Yoreh De'ah) and Ḥesed Avraham, a kabbalistic commentary on the weekly scriptural portions.


A.L. Feinstein, Ir Tehillah (1886), 32, 158, 191; D. Kaufmann, Die letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien… (1889), 223–4; eg, 2 (1954), 53–54, 153.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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Abraham ben Benjamin Ze'ev Brisker