ABBA

ABBA (Ba), two amoraim are known by this name. (1) ABBA (late third and early fourth centuries), in his youth probably knew Rav and Samuel, the founders of rabbinic learning in Babylonia. He was, however, primarily a disciple of R. Huna and R. Judah, and frequently is mentioned together with their other disciples. Like R. Zeira, Abba ignored R. Judah's prohibition to leave Babylonia and emigrated to Ereẓ Israel (Ber. 24b). In Ereẓ Israel Abba was a close friend of R. Zeira and other Palestinian scholars. In Tiberias he studied with R. Johanan's chief disciples, R. Eleazar and Resh Lakish. After the death of Eleazar, leadership passed to R. Ammi and R. Assi, but Abba was considered equally great and was referred to in the Babylonian academies as "our teacher in the land of Israel" (Sanh. 17b). Abba dealt in silk (BK 117b) and became very wealthy. This enabled him to honor the Sabbath by buying 13 choice cuts from 13 butchers (Shab. 119a). A very charitable man, he never embarrassed the poor and would put money in his scarf which he would hang behind his back, so that the poor might take the money without him seeing their faces (Ket. 67b). He frequently revisited Babylonia, but always returned to Ereẓ Israel for the festivals. Thus he transmitted Babylonian teaching and traditions to Ereẓ Israel and vice versa (TJ, Shev. 10:2,39c; Ned. 8:1,40d; BM 107a). When the body of his teacher Huna was brought from Babylonia for burial, Abba eulogized him, saying "Our teacher deserved to have the Shekhinah rest upon him, were it not that he lived in Babylonia" (MK 25a). Influential in both halakhah and aggadah, Abba's teachings are found in the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds, as well as in the Midrash. (For a critical analysis of the traditions relating to the death and burial of Rav Huna, see S. Friedman , Historical Aggadah, pp. 146ff.) (2) ABBA (THE LATER; fourth–fifth centuries), Palestinian amora. Abba went to Babylonia, probably during the anti-Jewish reaction following the death of julian the Apostate in 363 C.E. Abba is mentioned together with R. Ashi, to whom he transmitted the Palestinian tradition (BK 27b). He is also quoted as saying to R. Ashi: "You have derived teaching from this source, we derive it from a different one, as it is written: 'A land whose stones are iron' (Deut. 8:9), Do not read 'whose stones' (אֲבָנֶיהָ, avaneha) but rather 'whose builders' (בּוֹנֶיהָ, boneha, i.e., sages)", meaning that a scholar who is not as hard as iron is no scholar (Ta'an. 4a; cf. Bek. 55a). He is not mentioned in the Palestinian Talmud. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: (1) Bacher, Pal Amor; Hyman, Toledot, 3–8. (2) A. Harkavy (ed.), Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim, 4 (1887), no. 248; Halevy, Dorot, 2 (1923), 573–6; Hyman, Toledot, 9ff. (Yitzhak Dov Gilat) ABBA ABBA (Rava, Rabbah; eighth century), rabbinical scholar; disciple of yehudai Gaon and possibly also of Aḥa of Shabḥa, the author of She'iltot. Abba is the author of Halakhot Pesukot, a juridical tract in the vein of She'iltot from which it apparently quotes. It was published in segments twice – first by S. Schechter and then by J.N. Epstein. A small monograph on the laws of phylacteries (probably part of a larger work), which has been attributed to Abba, was appended by asher b. jehiel – who calls it the work of a gaon – to his own laws on the subject, under the title Shimmusha Rabbah ("Rabbah's Legal Practice"); it was printed in the Vilna edition of the Talmud in Asher's Halakhot Ketannot at the end of tractate Menaḥot. judah b. barzillai pointed out that many of its utterances run counter to talmudic regulations, a phenomenon which he attributed to errors by pupils and copyists. Among Abba's best-known pupils was pirkoi b. baboi . -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Schechter, in: Festschrift … David Hoffmann (1914), 261–6 (Heb. sect.); Baron, Social2, 6 (1958), 339–40, n. 43, 356, n. 72; J.N. Epstein, in: Madda'ei ha-Yahadut, 2 (1927), 147–63. (Meir Havazelet)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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