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Abba Tsabrah (traditional attribution)

Abba Tsabrah (also, Abba Sabra, fl. ca. 1450) was an Ethiopian Orthodox monk and the teacher of the children of Emperor Zara Yaqob of Ethiopia who became a prominent and influential Jewish convert. Abba Tsabrah tried to convert the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) to Christianity, but was instead converted by them to Judaism. He then later converted the son of king Zara Yaqob, Saga-Amlak, who adopted the religious name Abba Saga. Later Abba Tsabrah and Abba Saga established a separate kingdom in modern day Ethiopia in which Jews were not persecuted. Tsabrah is also known for introducing monasticism to the Beta Israel, and the tradition of Jewish monks continued down the centuries until the Great Famine of the 1890s decimated their monasteries in Lay Armachiho.


Təʾəzazä Sänbät, a work from the Greater Betä Ǝsraʾel Canon, translated and cantillated in Masoretic Hebrew

Contributed on: 30 Oct 2021 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Wolf Leslau (translation: English) | Abba Tsabrah (traditional attribution) |

The Təʾəzazä Sänbät, or the Commandments of the Sabbath, is a unique and fascinatingly eclectic work, combining Enochic and aggadic material with an almost kabbalistic personification of Shabbat, and influence from Islamic and Christian texts. Attributed to Abba Ṣabra, a famed 15th-century convert to Judaism, it is a compilation of texts meant to be studied and considered on Shabbat, alongside unique and striking visualizations of divine cosmology, heaven and hell, and midrashim found nowhere else. . . .

בסיעתא דארעא