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Abraham Gershon of Kutow


ABRAHAM GERSHON OF KUTOW (d. c. 1760), ḥasid, talmudic scholar, and kabbalist. He was probably born in Kutow (Kuty), Ukraine, where his father was rabbi. He was the brother-in-law of *Israel b. Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov. As a youth, he moved to Brody where he continued to study at a klaus. According to ḥasidic tradition, Abraham resented his sister's marriage to the Ba'al Shem Tov and at first slighted him, but later became one of his most ardent disciples. In 1747 he went to Ereẓ Israel, intending to spread the teachings of Ḥasidism there, settling first in Hebron and later in Jerusalem. He formed especially close ties with the Sephardi scholars in Jerusalem and in other countries. The correspondence between him and Israel Ba'al Shem Tov is an important source of information for the beginnings of the ḥasidic movement. According to a tradition transmitted by R. Israel of Kuznitz, R. Abraham Gershon told the Besht how ideal prayer is connected to a divestment of corporeality and the speech of the Shekhinah from the throat of the person who prays.


Horodezky, Ḥasidut, index.

[Adin Steinsaltz /

Moshe Idel (2nd ed.)]

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