Skip to main content

Alfes (Alfas), Benzion


ALFES (Alfas ), BENZION (1850–1940), Yiddish and Hebrew writer. Born in Vilna, Alfes settled in Palestine in 1924; his earlier attempt to do so in 1871 had failed for family reasons. In Vilna he worked as a proofreader and for many years managed his wife's stocking factory. Alfes devoted his life to religious education, and was one of the few writers of his time who attempted to stem the secularizing drift of the Haskalah and its successor ideologies by writing religious literary works in Yiddish and Hebrew in a modern, popular style. He reacted to the late-19th-century proliferation of secular novels with his Yiddish Ma'aseh Alfes ("Alfes' Story"), published serially starting in 1900. The work consists of ethical and moralistic love tales in which he cast traditional allegorical and didactic elements in epistolary form. The work went through 12 editions and became a household name. Alfes also translated many religious Hebrew works into Yiddish (e.g., Gerondi's Sha'arei Teshuvah and Maimonides' Ẓavva'at ha-Rambam), and edited several works of other authors. Many of Alfes' commentaries were included in liturgical texts. At the age of 90, he wrote his autobiography, Toledot ve-Zikhronot (published posthumously in 1941).


Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1928), 107–11; lnyl, 1 (1956), 118–20; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 117.

[Leonard Prager]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Alfes (Alfas), Benzion." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 13 Nov. 2018 <>.

"Alfes (Alfas), Benzion." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (November 13, 2018).

"Alfes (Alfas), Benzion." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.