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BENJAMIN BEN ZERAḤ:

Payyeṭan; lived in southeastern Europe in the middle of the eleventh century. He is called by the later payyeṭanim "the Great," and also "Ba'al Shem" (Master of the Name), on account of the numerous names of God and angels used by him in his piyyuṭim. He wrote 15 poems ("yoẓerot") for the Sabbaths preceding the feasts, and 40 seliḥot, published in the Maḥzor of the German rite.

His piyyuṭim have an easy, elegant style. Parallels with Kalir are frequent. Judging from his seliḥah, ("I beseech thee, Lord God")—in which he plays on the name of God—consisting of 22 letters, and his "Ofan," in which he gives the names of angels, Benjamin was inclined to mysticism.

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Literaturgeschichte, pp. 120, 139-143;
  • idem, Z. G. p. 376;
  • Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah, p. 52;
  • Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, p. 278;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 167.
L. G. I. Br.
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