Abraham Kalisker

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Abraham HaKohen of Kalisk (1741–1810) was a prominent Chassidic rabbi of the 3rd generation of Chassidic leaders. He was a disciple of Dov Ber of Mezeritch.


Avraham was born in 1741 in Kalyshki, Belarus to Alexander. In his youth, Abraham Kalisker studied Torah with the Vilna Gaon, who later became the leader of the mitnagdim - i.e. those who opposed Hasidic Judaism.

Kalisker and his followers took an emotional and mystical approach towards the service of God in contrast to the formalism of traditional religious scholars, who focused on Talmudic study. After the death in 1772 of his teacher, Dov Ber Mezeritch, most of the opposition to hassidism was directed against Kalisker and his disciples.

In 1777, at about age 36, he joined the first hassidic aliyah under the leadership of Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk and emigrated to the Holy Land. He died in Tiberias on 9 January 1810.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Kalisker, Abraham Ben Alexander Ha-Kohen". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.