NEḤUTEI (Aram. נָחוֹתֵאי, נְחוּתֵאי, Nahutei, sing. נְחוּתָא Neḥuta; "one who goes down"), rabbis who went from Ereẓ Israel academies to those of Babylonia, or vice-versa. The name was first applied to ulla , a native of Ereẓ Israel in the third century C.E. (TJ, Kil. 9:4, 32c). He was given this epithet because from time to time he "went down" from Ereẓ Israel to Babylonia and had discussions in Babylonia with the heads of its academies and its scholars. Rav Ḥisda referred to Ulla as "our teacher who came down from Ereẓ Israel" (Ber. 38b: see Dikdukei soferim ). When he came to Babylonia, Ulla brought with him the halakhic and aggadic sayings of Johanan and Eleazar, the heads of the academy of Tiberias at that time. He also described the customs and ways of the Jews of Israel, and evoked historical memories and popular sayings current among them. He used to compare the customs current among the Jews of Babylonia with those current in Ereẓ Israel. Generally he gave preference to the customs of Ereẓ Israel, and more than once he uttered caustic comments about the Jews and scholars of Babylonia (Ta'an. 9b). In the first half of the fourth century the name neḥutei was given to a few scholars, born apparently in Babylonia, who traveled to the academies of Ereẓ Israel and brought back with them the teachings of its scholars. The best known of them were dimi , Samuel b. Judah, Rabin, and isaac b. joseph . The purpose of their activity was to transmit the teachings of Ereẓ Israel to Babylonia, and vice versa. Through their activity, the texts of the Mishnah and the beraitot and their exact meaning were established, and the halakhic and aggadic sayings of the first amoraim of Ereẓ Israel, such as Ḥanina , johanan , eleazar , and simeon b. lakish in Tiberias and abbahu in Caesarea, and of the first amoraim of Babylonia, such as rav and samuel , huna and Ḥisda , and others, were elucidated. By their activities the neḥutei contributed to the cross-fertilization of the academies of Ereẓ Israel and Babylonia. Their words were tested in the academies and compared with parallel traditions, and in this way they attempted to arrive at the precise implication of the statements, their truth, and their reliability. In this manner the neḥutei made their contribution to the formation and elucidation of many topics in the Babylonian Talmud. As a result of the connections established by the neḥutei between the academies of Ereẓ Israel and Babylonia the mutual knowledge of the two large Jewish communities was increased, and so the Oral Law was prevented from developing separately with the two communities becoming two nations, alien one to another. The scholars mentioned were especially active in two academies–in Tiberias in Ereẓ Israel and in Pumbedita in Babylonia. References are found at times to the neḥutei informing Babylonia of various halakhot by means of letters (Git. 9b). These scholars were active until the middle of the fourth century C.E. In the opinion of sherira gaon (Iggeret…, ed. B. Lewin, p. 61) their mission ceased because of the increase of restrictive edicts in Ereẓ Israel and the decrease of Torah there. The reference is apparently to the restrictive edicts of Constantius (377–361) in the 340s and 350s and the revolt by a section of the Jews of Ereẓ Israel against Gallus in 351. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Halevy, Dorot, 2 (1923), 467ff.; A. Steinsaltz, in: Talpioth, 9 (1964), 294–306. (Moshe Beer)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ISAAC BAR JOSEPH — (first half of fourth century C.E.), Palestinian amora. Isaac was a pupil of abbahu and of jeremiah who transmitted to him the teachings of johanan (Pes. 72a; Git. 11b). He may have studied under Johanan himself in his youth (cf. Yev. 64b). He… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • BAR HEDYA — (fl. first half of the fourth century), Babylonian scholar. Bar Hedya was one of the neḥutei, amoraim who moved between Babylonia and Ereẓ Israel, transmitting the rabbinical traditions of both countries. He testified, among other things, that in …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • BEẒAH — (Heb. בֵּיצָה; egg ), a tractate (so called after its opening word) of the order Mo ed, in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Babylonian Talmud, and Jerusalem Talmud. The tractate deals with the laws of festivals, but whereas other tractates of the order Mo… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • DIMI — (Avdimi Naḥota; fl. first half of the 4th century), Babylonian amora. Dimi was one of the Neḥutei , the scholars who traveled from Palestine to Babylonia and back, conveying the teachings of the Palestinian academies to Babylonia and bringing the …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ISAAC NAPPAḤA — (third century), Palestinian amora. A R. Isaac, without epithet, is frequently mentioned in the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds and in the Midrashim. There was another contemporary scholar called Isaac Nappaḥa (i.e., the smith ) who is… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • PUMBEDITA — PUMBEDITA, town in Babylonia. Pumbedita was situated on the bank of the River Euphrates on the site of the Shunya Shumvata (Git. 60b), the most northerly of the canals joining the Euphrates and the Tigris. A canal called Nehar Papa also passed… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ULLA I — (Ulla b. Ishmael in the Jerusalem Talmud; second half of third century), Palestinian amora. Ulla studied in Ereẓ Israel under Johanan b. Nappaḥa (Ḥag. 19a), Resh Lakish (Git. 50b), and eleazar b. pedat (Er. 21b), and transmitted halakhic… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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