Isaiah ben Abraham

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ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM (d. 1723), rabbi and kabbalist, grandson of *David b. Samuel ha-Levi. He wrote Ba'er Heitev, a commentary on the Shulḥan Arukh, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, which the title page describes as "a digest of the legal decisions of all the early and later halakhic authorities, and of all extant responsa." The book, which contains many kabbalistic quotations, particularly from Isaac Luria, achieved immediate acclaim, many editions appearing within a few years (first ed. in Shulḥan Arukh, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, Amsterdam, 1708). In 1742, however, Judah *Ashkenazi, dayyan of Tiktin, published a book serving the same purpose, with the same form and content and even the same name. Because the later book treated the material in greater detail, the earlier one lost its popularity, and whereas Ashkenazi's edition was published with the Shulḥan Arukh, Isaiah's was forgotten. His work on the other sections of the Shulḥan Arukh was never published. Isaiah, his wife, and his daughter met their death in an inn fire in Mogilev, on their way to Ereẓ Israel.


Azulai, 2 (1852), 12, no. 17; H.N. Maggid-Steinschneider, Ir-Vilna (1900), 139 n.2; Ch. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 3 (1947), 306–8.

[Abram Juda Goldrat]

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Isaiah ben Abraham

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