Abraham ben Isaac

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ABRAHAM BEN ISAAC (Gerondi ; mid-13th century), ḥazzan, kabbalist, and paytan in Gerona (Spain). One of the greatest kabbalists of his time, he was a pupil of *Isaac the Blind from whom he learned the mystical intentions of the prayers according to the Kabbalah. Gerondi later enlarged on this teaching and introduced it into his own order of the prayers. Although his work Kabbalah me-Inyan ha-Tefillah le-Rabbi Avraham ("Tradition Concerning Prayer, According to R. Abraham") was not published until 1948 (see Scholem in bibl.), his contemporaries quote various ideas on the subject of prayer from it. *Naḥmanides held him in great esteem and tradition has it that he eulogized Abraham and offered a prayer in kabbalistic style by his grave. Abraham's hymn for the eve of Rosh Ha-Shanah, *Aḥot Ketannah ("Little Sister"), which describes the sufferings of the Jewish people in exile, has become well known. It is as yet unclear whether other hymns signed Abraham b. Isaac Ḥazzan are wholly or in part his work, or whether they were composed by another writer of the same name.


G. Scholem, Reshit ha-Kabbalah (1948), 128, 243–8; Schirmann, Sefarad, 2 (1956), 291–4, 692; Zunz, Poesie, 311, 410; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 355.

[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann]

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Abraham ben Isaac

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