Zrizuta de-avraham by Rabbi Avraham Noah Halevi Heller


The book Zrizuta de-avraham by Rabbi Avraham Noah Halevi Heller (d. 1786) was first published in 1900. In 1938, an enlarged edition with previously unpublished chapters was prepared in Poland, but the German invasion halted the printing. The manuscript was subsequently brought to New York and published there in 1952 (Piekarz, Be-yemei, 40). Zrizuta de-avraham, according to Mendel Piekarz, "is very important for the understanding of the spiritual climate of the time and the emergence of Hasidism and in the area of its growth" (Piekarz, Be-yemei, 39).

The book includes a positive mention of the Besht. This lone comment allowed the famous scholar Gershom Scholem to state that "rabbi Avraham Heller is the first member of the kloyz in Brody, who's positive attitude towards the Besht [in his lifetime] is known" (Scholem, "Dmuto historit," 30). However, Mendel Piekarz shows that Scholem was not right because he mistakenly assumed that Zrizuta de-avraham was written in 1759 during the Besht's lifetime. In reality, the book was composed after 1780, some twenty years after the Besht's death (Piekarz, Be-yemei, 39-41).