Abraham Azulai

Abraham Azulai (c. 1570 - 1643) (Hebrew: אברהם בן מרדכי אזולאי) was a Kabbalistic author and commentator born at Fez.


The expulsion of the Moors from Spain brought a great number of the exiles to Morocco, and these newcomers caused a civil war from which the country in general and the Jews in particular suffered greatly. Abraham Azulai, in consequence of this condition of affairs, left his home for the Land of Israel and settled in Hebron.


In Hebron he wrote a commentary on the Zohar under the title "Kirjath Arba" (City of Arba; Gen. xxiii.2). The plague of 1619 drove him from his new home, and while in Gaza, where he found refuge, he wrote his cabalistic work "Chesed le-Abraham" (Mercy to Abraham; Micah vii.20). It was published after the author's death by Meshullam Zalman ben Abraham Berak of Gorice, in Amsterdam, 1685. Another edition, published in Sulzbach in the same year, seems to be a reprint, although Steinschneider, in "Cat. Bodl." col. 666, thinks the reverse. Azulai's commentary on the Zohar, "Zohore Chammah" (Rays of the Sun), was printed in Venice, 1654. He also wrote: "Or ha-Lebanah" (Light of the Moon), "Ma'asse Chosheb" (Cunning Work), and "Kenaf Renanim" (Peacock's Wing). He died in Hebron on November 6, 1643.

Of the numerous manuscripts that he left and that were in the hands of his descendant, Hayyim Joseph David (No. 4), some are still extant in various libraries. Only one was published, a cabalistic commentary on the Bible, under the title "Ba'ale Berit Abraham" (Abraham's Confederates; see Gen. xiv.13), Vilna, 1873. His most popular work, "Chesed le-Abraham," referred to above, is a kabbalistic treatise with an introduction, אבן השתיה ("The Cornerstone"; see Talmud Yoma 53b), and is divided into seven "fountains" (see Zecharia iii.9), each fountain being subdivided into a number of "streams." The contents of the work are hardly different from the average vagaries found in cabalistic books, as evidenced by the following specimen from the fifth fountain, twenty-fourth stream, p. 57d, of the Amsterdam edition:

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography

*Azulai, "Shem ha-Gedolim," s.v.;
*Isaac Benjacob, "Oẓar ha-Sefarim," p. 196;
*Julius Fürst, "Bibliotheca Judaica," i.67;
*Heimann Joseph Michael, "Or ha-Ḥayyim," p. 12.



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