Abraham Kalisker

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Abraham Ben Alexander Ha-Kohen of Kalisk (1741–1810) was a prominent Chassidic rabbi of the 3rd generation of Chassidic leaders. He was a disciple of the 2nd generation Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, who was the successor of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, in turn, the founder of Chassidism in the 1740s in Medzhybizh, now in western Ukraine.


In his youth, Rabbi Abraham Kalisker studied Torah with the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Elijah Kramer, 1720–1797), who later became the leader of the Mitnagdim - i.e. those who opposed Chassidic Judaism.

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

In 1777, at about age 36, he joined the first Chassidic aliyah under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (1730-1788) and emigrated to the Holy Land. He died in Tiberias on 9 January 1810 (4th of Shevat of the year 5570 from creation).


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