Ephrati, David Tevele ben Abraham

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EPHRATI, DAVID TEVELE BEN ABRAHAM (1849–1884), talmudic scholar. Born in Merits (near Vilna), he showed exceptional talent as a child and at the age of 14 had already written his Daltot Zahav on the Shulhan Arukh Oraḥ Ḥayyim and Yoreh De'ah. At 15, his articles and studies began to appear in the periodical Ha-Levanon, and he continued to write regularly. At the age of 22 he wrote a halakhic work, Migdal David. Ephrati was one of the most active leaders of the Ḥibbat Zion movement, and was on intimate terms with Elijah *Guttmacher and Ẓevi Hirsch *Kalischer. In 1873 he was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for his Zionist activities. He refused invitations to rabbinic posts and, from 1868 lived alternately in Mogilev and Gorodok, later moving to Vitebsk where he engaged in business. Toward the end of his life he moved to Berlin, where he became friendly with Azriel *Hildesheimer. He died in Frankfurt on the Main. Ephrati was also the author of Toledot Anshei Shem (1875), biographical sketches of great Jewish scholars, with an appendix, Divrei David, consisting of homilies and novellae; this work is of considerable historical importance. Other works are Yad David (1880), halakhah and aggadah; Matta Efrati (1882), novellae and responsa; Kohelet David ha-Efrati (1884), a commentary on Ecclesiastes; Sha'ar ha-Zekenim (1884), a collection of manuscripts of early authorities with his own commentary, Mevo Efrati. Ephrati was also editor of a monthly periodical called Eẓ Ḥayyim. Many of his works have remained unpublished.


Ha-Asif, 2 (1885), 754; Oẓar ha-Sifrut, 1 (1887), 129–32 (2nd pagination), contains an autobiography.

[Itzhak Alfassi]