Benjamin ben Elijah
BENJAMIN BEN ELIJAH
BENJAMIN BEN ELIJAH (18th century), *Karaite pilgrim to Ereẓ Israel. A resident of *Chufut-Kale (Bakhchisarai), in the Crimea, Benjamin made a vow to "cross seas and deserts and brave great hardships" in order to visit Jerusalem, where a small Karaite community had been revived in 1744. He embarked with six other Karaites from Eupatoria on June 27, 1785, and reached Jerusalem on October 18. After a month's stay there Benjamin returned by way of Jaffa and Constantinople. Benjamin described his nine-month journey in his account, in which he relates, among other matters, that contributions from Crimean Karaites to those in Jerusalem were concealed from the Turkish authorities in order to prevent extortion of money. Some hymns by Benjamin are included in the Karaite liturgy.
H.J. Gurland, Ginzei Yisrael be-St. Petersburg, 1 (1865), 44–54; J.D. Eisenstein, Oẓar ha-Massa'ot (1926), 212–8; A. Ya'ari, Masot Ereẓ Yisrael (1946), 459–78, 775f.