Abramsky, Yeḥezkel

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ABRAMSKY, YEḤEZKEL (1886–1976), talmudic scholar. Abramsky was born in Lithuania. He studied at the yeshivot of Telz, Mir, and Slobodka as well as under Ḥayyim *Soloveichik of Brisk. He achieved a reputation as a profound talmudic scholar and active communal worker. During World War i and the Russian Revolution he wandered in Russia and applied himself to learning, lecturing, and strengthening religious life. He was appointed rabbi of Slutsk and Smolensk. In 1928 Abramsky and S.J. Zevin published Yagdil Torah, a periodical dedicated to strengthening Torah study in the unfavorable conditions of the Soviet Union. It was probably the last Jewish religious periodical published in the Soviet Union for nearly 60 years. In 1930 he was arrested as a "counter-revolutionary." Abramsky was sentenced to hard labor in Siberia, but, after two years, his wife and friends succeeded in obtaining his release. He went to London, where he was appointed rabbi of the Machzike Hadath congregation, and subsequently became dayyan of the London bet din. He became a British subject in 1937. In London, his strong personality was largely responsible for the influence of traditional Orthodoxy in the official community. He was appointed a member of the Moeẓet Gedolei ha-Torah of *Agudat Israel. In 1951 he retired and took up residence in Jerusalem, where he became a significant figure in the yeshivah world. Abramsky wrote Divrei Mamonot (1939) and Ereẓ Yisrael (1945), but his scholarly fame rests on his Ḥazon Yeḥezkel, a 24-volume commentary on the Tosefta, with his novellae (first volume, 1925). In 1955 he was awarded the Israel Prize. Several of his responsa were published in London (1937). In Israel he was recognized as a rabbi of great stature, and his funeral in Jerusalem was attended by an estimated 40,000 mourners.

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[Mordechai Hacohen]