JOSEPH BEN ḤIYYA (d. 333 C.E.), Babylonian amora and head of the Pumbedita academy for two and a half years, after the death of rabbah . Joseph was a pupil of Judah b. Ezekiel. Hundreds of his sayings in halakhah and aggadah are to be found throughout the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, and a large number of his pupils transmitted statements in his name. He devoted himself particularly to the text of the Mishnah, which he would clarify by means of the beraitot. His knowledge was exceptionally comprehensive, his teaching was well ordered, and his halakhic decisions clear, so that he was called Sinai, i.e., a scholar with wide knowledge (Hor., end). He also delved into mysticism, and was one of the "masters of the merkabah" (see merkabah mysticism ; Ḥag. 13a). He was also distinguished in biblical exegesis and left an Aramaic translation of parts of the Bible, which is often quoted. It is not to be assumed, however, that Joseph translated the whole Bible, though the Aramaic translation of the Book of Chronicles is ascribed to him and is called "the Targum of Rav Joseph." Despite the fact that Joseph was recommended for the position of head of the yeshivah, he deferred this honor for the 22 years that Rabbah headed the yeshivah, and during this period Joseph accepted Rabbah's authority, declining even the slightest external signs of honor or office (Ber. 64a). According to the Talmud, he had an overwhelming love of the Torah and its students and, possessing considerable wealth (he owned fields and vineyards and his wine was praised), he undertook the support of 400 of his pupils (Ket. 106a). He stressed the importance of the Torah and its students in his aggadah and underwent many fasts, until he received assurance from heaven that the study of Torah would not depart from his descendants during the course of three generations (BM 85a). One of the central events in his life was a severe illness which caused him "to forget his learning," and Abbaye – his pupil – re-taught him what he had forgotten (Ned. 41a; cf. Er. 10a), and this illness may have been the cause of his blindness (Kid. 31a; cf. Pes. 111 b).   Many remarkable stories of his conduct are related, and even the details of his death and burial were embellished by legends. His teachings and rulings stress concern for the plight of the poor and the improvement of social life. His aspiration to raise the importance of the academy above that of the exilarch, which would lead to the dependence of the latter upon the academies, is discernible in his aggadic dicta, and can also be seen in the tendency in his teachings toward giving increased authority to the courts of law and their decisions (see e.g., Beẓah 5a; Ket. 81b; Git. 88b; et al.). The first struggle in the conflict of the academies with the exilarch originated with Joseph. Another noteworthy detail in his aggadah is that he is the only one to mention conversations with asmodeus (Asmedai), king of the demons (Pes. 110a). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hyman, Toledot, 742–9; Halevy, Dorot, 2 (1923), 440ff.; Epstein, Mishnah; Judelowitz, Ḥayyei ha-Yehudim bi-Zeman ha-Talmud: Ir Pumbedita bi-Ymei ha-Amora'im (1939), 96–98; J.S. Zuri, Shilton Rashut ha-Golah ve-ha-Yeshivot (1939), 127–56, 184–9; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 291–3. (Israel Moses Ta-Shma)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Joseph bar Hiyya — (fl. 9th cent)    Babylonian gaon. He was gaon of Pumbedita (828 33). During the controversy between the exilarch David ben Judah and his brother Daniel, Joseph bar Hiyya and Abraham ben Sherira presided over the academy at Pumbedita. When peace… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Joseph Colon Trabotto — Joseph Colon ben Solomon Trabotto, dit le Maharik (Morenou HaRav Yossef Kolon « Notre professeur et maître Joseph Colon »), (vers 1420 1480) est un rabbin du XVe siècle, considéré en Italie comme l un des érudits juifs et des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joseph Colon Trabotto — Joseph Colon ben Solomon Trabotto, also known as Maharik, (c. 1420, Chambéry – 1480) was a 15th century rabbi who is considered Italy s foremost Judaic scholar and Talmudist of his era. Contents 1 Early years 2 Travels and growing fame as scholar …   Wikipedia

  • Hiyya bar Abba — For the Amora sage of the Land of Israel, of the 1st Amora Generation, see Rabbi Hiyya (Hiyya the Great). For the Amora sage of Babylon, of the 2nd and 3d Amora Generation, and Dean of the Pumbedita Academy, see Huna b. Hiyya. Hiyya bar Abba or… …   Wikipedia

  • Nahshon ben Zadok — Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Nahshon ben Zadok Gaon (Hebrew: נחשון בן צדוק or sometimes: Nahshon b. Zadok) was head of the Academy of Sura from 874 to 882, in succession to Mar Amram ben Sheshna …   Wikipedia

  • Nehemiah ben Kohen Tzedek — was the head (gaon) of the Academy of Pumbeditha from 960 to 968. [1] Nehemiah was the son of Kohen Tzedek Kahana ben R. Joseph, who had been gaon. While his predecessor, Aaron ibn Sargado, was still in office, Nehemiah tried to have him removed; …   Wikipedia

  • Nissim ben Jacob — (Hebrew: ניסים בן יעקב, also known as Rav Nissim Gaon or in Hebrew: רבנו נסים, lit. Nissim our teacher; 990–1062), was a rabbi best known today for his Talmudic commentary ha Mafteach, by which title he is also known. Contents 1 Biography 2 Works …   Wikipedia

  • Dodai ben Nahman — (Hebrew : דודאי בן נחמן or Rav Dorai, Hebrew: רב דוראי) was a Babylonian Jewish scholar of the eighth century CE and gaon of the Talmudic academy at Pumbedita (761 764). Little is known of his life. He was a brother of the famous Judah ben… …   Wikipedia

  • Natronai ben Hilai — Not to be confused with Natronai ben Nehemiah. Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Natronai ben Hilai (Hebrew: נטרונאי בן הלאי or Natronai Gaon, Hebrew: נטרונאי גאון; Full name: Natronai ben R. Hilai… …   Wikipedia

  • Natronai ben Nehemiah — Not to be confused with Natronai ben Hilai. Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Natronai ben Nehemiah (Hebrew: נטרונאי בן נחמיה; also called: Mar R. Yanka, Hebrew: בר מר ינקא) was Gaon of Pumbedita from …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.