Abraham Ha-Levi

views updated


ABRAHAM HA-LEVI (15th century), leader of the Jerusalem community. Abraham went on a mission to the Mediterranean islands and Italy in 1455, two years after the Turkish capture of Constantinople. The capture had aroused many messianic hopes among Jews in Jerusalem. These hopes were strengthened by the tales told by pilgrims from Babylonia, Persia, and Yemen. They told of a war in Ethiopia against the Christians, an earthquake in Jerusalem which uncovered remains of the First Temple, the expulsion of the Franciscans from Mount Zion, and the dream of an aged Babylonian kabbalist to the effect that the "Prince" (Guardian Angel) of Israel would overcome the "Prince" of Edom (Rome). Abraham also appealed for help in maintaining the holy places of Jerusalem. In the course of his mission he arrived at Corfu, then under Venetian rule. There he was denounced to the authorities, who destroyed his credentials. Abraham's letters are an important source for the history of the Jewish community in Jerusalem in the 15th century.


A. Neubauer, in: Kobez al Jad, 4 (1888), 45–50; A. Yaari, Iggerot Ereẓ Yisrael (1943), 88–89; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 211–2.

[Avraham Yaari]

About this article

Abraham Ha-Levi

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article