ABBA BAR MEMEL


ABBA BAR MEMEL
ABBA BAR MEMEL (third and the beginning of the fourth centuries), Palestinian amora. Some scholars consider that Memel refers to his place of residence, Mamla or Malaḥ in Lower Galilee. He posed questions to R. Oshaya in Caesarea who may have been his teacher (TJ, BK 2:1, 2d). Eleazar b. Pedat, one of his eminent contemporaries, refers to Abba Memel as his master (Ket. 111a). He discussed halakhic problems with R. Ammi, R. Assi, R. Zeira, and others, and halakhot are quoted in his name by many Palestinian sages. He is the author of several principles concerning the interpretation of the biblical text. A gezerah shavah ("inference from a similarity of phrases in texts") may be established to confirm but not to invalidate a teaching. One may deduce a kal va-ḥomer (inference from minor to major) of one's accord, but not a gezerah shavah. An argument may be refuted on the basis of a kal va-ḥomer, but not on the basis of a gezerah shavah (TJ, Pes. 6:1, 33a). He also stated, "If I had someone who would agree with my view, I would permit … work to be done on the intermediate days of the festival. The reason why work is then prohibited is to enable people to eat and drink and study the Torah; but instead they eat and drink and engage in frivolity …" (TJ, MK 2:3, 81b). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frankel, Mevo, 67a-b; Hyman, Toledot, 50–52; Bacher, Pal Amor. (Yitzhak Dov Gilat)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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