Rav Avrahom (ben Alexander) HaKohen Katz of Kalisk zy”a passed away 4 Shevat 5570/1810. He was originally a talmid of the Vilna Gaon and transcribed some of the Vilna Gaon’s seforim (Heard from Rav Shlomo Kupetz). He went on to become one of the legendary talmidim of the Maggid of Mezeritch. Eventually, the Kalisker emigrated to Eretz Yisroel with Rav Mendel Vitebsker and others. He is buried in the old cemetery in Teveria together with many of the Talmidei Baal Shem (the cemetery slightly north of Rebbe Meir Baal Haness – off the road, at the end of the cemetery that is furthest from Rebbe Meir’s Kever).

The Kalisker passed away in the week of Parshas Bo, which ends off with the parsha of והיה כי יבאך יקוק אל ארץ הכנעני כאשר נשבע לך ולאבתיך ונתנה לך.

His moving to Eretz Yisrael is hinted here, as the words כאשר נשבע לך are equal in gemtriya to רבי אברהם בן אלכסנדר הכהן ז״ל.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said the following about Rav Avraham Kalisker: “I have seen many tzadikim, but only in him did I see shleimus (completion)” (Shivchei HaRan 18).

If I may add, this is alluded to in the tzaddik’s name, as אברהם is equal to 248 (the number of positive commandments), and his father’s name, אלכסנדר, is equal to 365 (the number of negative commandments). Together, they equal 613, the total amount of mitzvos – completion.

R' Dovid Friedman
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