Sample IV


The Order of Amora Sages

(in alphabetic order)



In the Ch. One, Kiddushin[1], his amorei said: Thus did R. Ashi say. Thus, Amora is an interpreter who interprets and explicates the Mishna. Also in PT, Rabbi ordered Abdan his amorei, meaning ‘his interpreter’, as mentioned in the Pesakim[2] Berachoth, Ch. Tefilath Hashachar. Also, R. Huna and R. Hisda placed an amorei etc.

R. Abba. When R. Abba came up [to Palestine] he met R. Abin. Or variant reading, R. Johanan, at the end of Yom Tov[3]. And he met R. Hanina and R. Hanina b. Papi and R. Zera, and some say R. Abbahu, R. Simeon b. Pazi and R. Isaac Nappaha. In Ch. Ein Maamidin,[4] a ship carrying fish brine arrived at the port of Acre. R. Abba of Acre placed guards[5]. R. Jeremiah said to R. Zera: ‘Perhaps the ship has come from Tyre with its abundant wine?’ He told him: ‘There are narrow waterways and pishurei’, which means the water of melted snow[6]. R. Abba[7] said to R. Abba of Acre: ‘Who guarded it until now?’ etc. In Ch. Elu Treifoth[8], R. Abba was in Babylonia at the time of Raba, Abaye’s opponent. He and R. Zera came up to Palestine, however R. Zera came first. R. Abba was in Babylonia with R. Huna and R. Jeremiah b. Abba. When R. Abba came from the school of Rab. R. Ela, R. Johanan b. Eliakim and R. Eleazar all lived at the same time. It seems, he is the R. Abba of Babylonia stam[9]. However, I am in great doubt who is the R. Abba stam in the Gemara. Is it R. Abba b. Memel or somebody else? For the sake of this issue, at the proper time, I shall write about it at length. R. Abba raised an objection to Ulla. The case of R. Abba’s bar. A certain man snatched a nasecha, which means a bar of silver. He came before R. Ammi. Apparently, judging by Gemara versions in the Talmud, it refers to R. Abba b. Memel. When the Talmud speaks of the [silver] bar of R. Abba in Ch. Shevuath Haeduth[10] it refers to R. Abba b. Memel. In Ch. Hagozel[11], R. Abba sent R. Safra to collect money from R. Joseph b. Hama, Raba’s father. At that time, R. Abba was very old. Raba gave advice to his father how to pay[12]. In Ch. Elu Metziyoth[13], the Tosafoth infer from [the case of] R. Abba’s bar that R. Abba was a disciple of R. Ammi. To me, it seems the contrary, because R. Ammi said: ‘our Palestinian Masters’ stam refers to R. Abba.’ R. Ammi was the Academy Head in Palestine in place of his Master R. Johanan at that time. It states there: R. Abba sat before him, in Ch. Kol Hanishbain[14]. In Ch. Hamafkid[15]: R. Ammi sat and related a teaching. R. Abba b. Memel challenged R. Ammi. Because of that, sometimes he relates a law in the name of R. Ammi[16]. At the end of Ch. Kol Hakelim[17], R. Abba said in the name of R. Ammi who said in the name of R. Johanan. Though he was not his master, [he still said it in R. Ammi’s name] because [R. Ammi] had said in the name of R. Johanan. Also at the end of Ch. Hezkath Habatim[18], R. Ammi sent to R. Abba b. Memel. R. Abba b. Zabda – who was a disciple of R. Huna - asked of R. Abba although, R. Huna was greater than him. In Ch. Hasholeach Get[19]: R. Abba said to R. Huna: Our Master, you have taught us. At the end of MK[20], he eulogised [R. Huna]: Our Master was worthy of having the Divine Presence abide with him etc. R. Abba said in the name of R. Huna who said in the name of Rab. In Ch. Elu Treifoth,[21] when R. Abba came to Palestine, he met R. Zera. [R. Abba] said to him: Since you had left Babylonia, we had an opportunity of asking R. Huna etc. and once I found R. Jeremiah b. Abba etc. Rashi commented: R. Zera and R. Abba were both from Babylonia. R. Zera came over [to Palestine] first; consequently R. Abba said to him: ‘Since you have left Babylonia etc.’ In the Ch. One, Hulin[22]: R. Abba sat behind R. Kahana and R. Kahana sat before R. Judah. R. Abba went and said in the presence of R. Eleazar and [then] R. Eleazar went and said in the presence of R. Johanan. At the end of Yoma[23], R. Jeremiah asked pardon because he had annoyed R. Abba. ‘Our Palestinian Masters’ referred to in the Ch. One, Sanhedrin[24] - this is R. Abba. The reason for nasecha of R. Abba is stated in Ch. Kol Hanishbain[25]. It seems that it refers to R. Abba b. Memel. R. Hiyya b. Abba said to R. Abba and to R. Jeremiah. Also, R. Abba said to R. Jeremiah b. Abba. R. Abba asked of R. Huna. It seems that he was rich, because every Sabbath eve, he would pay 13 Astiris[26] to 13 butchers and he would say: ‘Prepare these quickly’ which Rashi interpreted in two ways. R. Abba, the colleague of R. Zera, or R. Zera, the colleague of R. Abba. There is a version at the end of Hulin[27]: R. Abba b. Memel asked, and some say…Come and hear etc. R. Abba spoke before R. Ammi. This does not undermine my interpretation, because R. Ammi was an Academy head. Similar to this, in Ch. Elu Metziyoth: ‘R. Ammi came before R. Assi’, to which Tosafoth commented: Even though he was greater than him, the fact that he came before him to consult him poses no problem, since he was his colleague. However, if the correct version is that [R. Ammi] came before R. Abba, it is problematical, because R. Abba was a disciple of R. Ammi as proven in the case of ‘nasecha of R. Abba’, so why would he come before him? End quote. According to the way I explained it above, the version ‘before R. Abba’ is fine, as I have said above. R. Ammi sent him to R. Abba since he was like a colleague to him, and he studied in Babylonia with Rab and R. Huna. Also in Ch. Haholetz, in the Pesakim[28]: ‘The Raabad wrote that the law follows the opinion of R. Abba because he was the Palestinian judge, as it states in Shevu'oth[29] and a judge delves into depths of the law.’ R. Joseph [sat] behind R. Abba and before R. Huna. R. Abba challenged R. Assi and R. Abbahu. It seems that he lived a long life since he lived from the time of Rab until the time of Raba. He imposed upon Raba to pay the price of an ox, because he declared it ritually unfit for eating. It also seems that he returned to Babylonia, as we shall explain in the entry Ketina who is R. Zera. In Ch. Haomer in Kiddushin[30], he would go on his pilgrimage before R. Isaac Nappaha and that he bought a field and he was not aware that R. Gidal had expressed his intention of purchasing it first. He [R. Abba] forfeited his ownership and the land was called ‘Rabbinic Land’.[31]

R. Abba: R. Abba said to R. Ashi, in Shabbath in Ch. Shoel[32], in Nidah, in Ch. Haisha[33], in the Ch. One, Ta’anith[34], in Ch. Hakometz[35], and in Ch. Hasholeach Get[36]. Tosafoth at the beginning of Me’ilah use the version ‘R. Assi to R. Abba’ because R. Ashi never saw R. Abba.

Abba, the father of R. Ammi. R. Ammi b. Abba said in the name of R. Huna[37]. Perhaps, he is the R. Abba stam.

Abba, the father of R. Hiyya b. Abba. His son was a disciple par excellence of R. Johanan, that is R. Hiyya, his son was.

Abba, the father of R. Jeremiah b. Abba. In Ch. Techeleth[38]: The father of R. Jeremiah b. Abba had taught. Rab said about him that he was the penitent in his generation like Josiah the King. There are those who say, that this refers to R. Aha, the brother of this R. Abba, the father of R. Jeremiah, for Mar said: Abba and Aha were brothers. This was during the time of Rab, in Ch. Bame Behema[39].

Abba, the father of R. Simlai. He said to Samuel: Does the Master know [the meaning] of this remark which occurs in [the Baraitha known as] Sod ha-Ibbur[40] [the secret of the Calendar]: ‘If the new moon is born before midday or after midday’? in the Ch. One, RH[41].

R. Abba b. Zabda the brother of R. Judah b. Zibda.

Abba Omna (a blood letter). He would receive greetings from Heaven daily while Abaye received prior to Sabbath and Raba prior to the Day of Atonement. Raba was upset because of Abaye, and Abaye was upset because of Abba Omna. They said to him: ‘You can’t do what he does etc.’ as it states in Ta’anith[42]. Abaye sent a pair of scholars to inspect him and he was kind to them.

Abba Arika is Rab. His disciples would call him Rab out of respect, but his actual name was Abba. R. Johanan or R. Nahman would say: ‘Abba comes from the healthy family’, in Ch. Kisui[43]. Also, that is how the Aruch explained it and also Samuel would call him that [name]. There are those who say that his actual name was Rab, but out of respect they would call him Abba. This is how Rashi obm explained it in Ch. Hashochet[44] and also Tosafoth settled on Rashi’s explanation and this also seems to be so at the end of Berachoth[45] and in Ch. One, Hagiga[46] because his disciple R. Kahana called him Abba. He was also [called] Arika [Tall] because he was the tallest in his generation, and R. Judah [the Prince] would reach his shoulder. This is the way Rashi and the author of the Aruch explained it referring to Ch. Hamapeleth[47]. We have already explained this in [the section of the] Tanna Sages in the entry Abba Saul. There is an esoteric meaning in this issue. R. Hisda called him ‘Our great Master’, in Ch. Lulav Hagazul[48]. He composed the Sifra which is the Law of the Priests, that is to say [the commentary on] the book of Leviticus. He also composed the Sifre Rabah which encompasses the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy. From these [books] you can discern his immense wisdom and dialectics just like Our Saintly Master [R. Judah the Prince]. When the Rabbis would depart from the school of Rab, there would still remain 1200 Rabbis. At the end of Ch. Elu Treifoth[49], it seems from Rashi’s commentary, that his book was called Sifra of the school of Rab because it was fluent in the mouths of all the scholars. If so, in my opinion it was not named after Rab. Rambam wrote at the beginning of the Mada, that Rab composed the Sifra and the Sifre. According to Rashi at the end of Hulin, it seems that R. Hiyya and R. Oshaia composed all the Baraitha. Also, in Ch. Mi Shemeto in Berachoth[50], 13 teachings, such as the Mishna of Rabbi [Judah the Prince], R. Hiyya, R. Oshaia, Raba, Levi and Samuel. However, he did not mention Rab. In the Ch. One, Berachoth, R. Hiyya b. Ashi said: ‘Many times I stood before Rab and we would read the Sifra of the school of Rab and he would wash his hands first and recite the blessing.’ [Rab] was the son of the brother and the sister[51] of R. Hiyya as we have said. Rab’s son was also named Hiyya, like Rab’s uncle. Rab’s father was Aibu, as Rashi obm explained in the Ch. One, Pesachim and the Ch. One, Sanhedrin. Rab had a son named Aibu, like his father as mentioned in Ch. Arvei Pesachim[52]. ‘The Babylonian Masters’ stam refer to Rab and Samuel. In the PT, Samuel said to Rab: ‘Eat the oil of a goy, otherwise I shall inscribe you as a rebellious elder’, and he ate. In Ch. Ein Maamidin[53]; ‘Rab, Samuel and R. Johanan are Krai, which means their words are like Scripture [Mikra].’ ‘Rab is [like] a Tanna and may disagree’, i.e. he was a colleague of Levi and Bar Kappara and the sons of Rabbi [Judah the Prince], R. Gamaliel and R. Simeon, the Tanna Sages. R. Hai Gaon commented that Rab’s status of Tanna is confirmed in three places. The first is in Ch. Shelosha Sheachlu; R. Abba said: He must say grace at the beginning and at the end. The other is in Ch. Haisha Shenaflu. R. Abba said: ‘I have asked Symmachus.’ The other is in Shabbath, Ch. R. Eliezer, R. Abba said: ‘If she was immersed and then she gave birth’. ‘Abba’ is Rab. What the Gaon said he found in Shabbath I found in the Gemara, as well, however I did not [find] ‘Abba’ in Rashi or in Tosafoth, but rather R. Hama. But I found in the Tosefta, in Ch. seven of Hulin: R. Abba said: this is one of the questions R. Hiyya used to say of: ‘there is no answer’. And R. Eliezer answered. Also, in the Ch. One, Beitzah, in the Tosefta and in Ch. Kisui Hadam[54] in the Gemara. In the letter Resh, with God’s help, we shall write at length in the entry Rab. Rab said about R. Hinena Bar Shila, that his love for him was like that of a father to son, in Ch. Sorer[55]. And in the PT and in Ch. Bame Isha[56], R. Samuel said to R. Hinena Bar Shila: ‘No Rabbi of the house of the Exilarch may go out on Sabbath in shawl with the seal except for you because the Exilarch is not strict with you’. Rashi commented that they used to make seals for their shawls to show that they are subservient to the Exilarch like his servants. They would become anxious that the seal would come off, and they would fold [the shawls]. [However, with you] he is not strict if you go without a seal. The Aruch explained (in the entry sarbal) that it was out of fear of the tax collector. If they would not find the seal, they would say that he short-changed the tax. R. Hinena, a proud and prominent man, was not afraid. Rashi’s commentary seems to be the most suitable one. R. Ada b. Ahba, a Rab’s disciple, was present at the burial of Rab, in Ch. Ketzad Mevarchin.[57] Rab attended to Rabbi [Judah the Prince] and R. Hiyya while sitting and R. Johanan while standing. He was a Master of the entire Torah and great in piety[58]. The ten qualities of piety were all found in Rab as we shall explain in the entry Rab. In Ch. Elu Treifoth[59], Resh Lakish said about him: ‘This man is to be remembered for good’. In Ch. Reshith Hagez[60], R. Johanan said to Issi b. Hini, ‘Who is the head of the Academy in Babylonia?’ He replied, ‘Abba Arika.’ He told him: You called him Abba Arika? I remember (nahirna, in Aramaic. Nahirna is of the word ‘memory’; thus [a child born under] that star [Mercury] shall be nahir ve-hakim[61] which means one of retentive memory and wise as the Aruch interpreted) when I was sitting seventeen rows behind Rab in the presence of Rabbi, seeing sparks of fire leaping from the mouth of Rabbi into the mouth of Rab and from the mouth of Rab into the mouth of Rabbi, and I could not understand what they were saying; and you simply call him Abba Arika!’

In the Ch. One, Beitzah[62], Rashi commented on the controversy that one reference to Rab contradicts another reference to Rab[63]: Even though Rab was an Amora, he could challenge a Tanna opinion because he was the Master of all Exile in that generation, besides Samuel.

R. Abba: R. Abba son of R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan; ‘One may pass water in public, however one may not drink water in public.’ A man wished to urinate but didn’t and his belly burst, in Ch. Mumin in Bechoroth[64]. Perhaps there is a mistake and it should be R. Hiyya b. Abba. [Samuel Shullam has said: Perhaps he is Samuel’s father, for (in Bechoroth) once Samuel was preaching and needed to urinate and he demanded that they bring a cloth to serve as a partition, and he urinated. His father was angry at him and demanded: get out [from behind the partition] and tell people that even without a partition it is permitted. He went out and expounded: One may pass water in public etc. See text.[65]]

Abba Bar Abba the Priest, the father of Samuel, the colleague of Rab. In Ch. Elu Metziyoth[66], he [returned the find] beyond the requirements of the law, because he was a very pious man. In Ch. Kol Habasar[67], Rab said: [Heaven] forbid that the issue of Abba b. Abba etc. To which Rashi commented: ‘Abba b. Abba, the father of Samuel, was a very pious man’. Also in Ch. Hamekadesh[68], [Heaven] forbid that the issue of Abba. The father of Samuel and Levi were colleagues. Why was he called the ‘father of Samuel’? He was told on the night that Samuel’s mother became pregnant that he will have a wise son. He was miraculously transported to his wife on that night, and afterwards he immediately returned to his distant place. People thought that his wife was pregnant from somebody else. His father came and declared that he is his son. This is what I have heard. I have also found in Ch. Asara Yohassin[69], that the Rosh obm wrote ‘As in the case of Samuel’s father who came [to his wife] by the use of the Name as it states in the PT’.[70]


[1] 31b

[2] Pesakim or Piskei of the Rosh (our Master Asher)

[3] Beitzah 38a.

[4] AZ 34b.

[5] Perhaps it contained wine, and brine mixed with wine called for special consideration, by Jewish law. R. Jeremiah tries to explain the reason for R. Abba’s action. His opponent says: It is difficult to get wine from Tyre; so people won’t put expensive wine into cheap brine. Thus, no reason to put guards.

[6] Rather, shallow waters. In real life, Tyre to Acre is a short sailing of few hours; but the Iraqi sages had imprecise knowledge of Palestinian geography. ‘Melted snow’ is a European contribution to this [mis]understanding, unless one considers the mountain streams.

[7] In the Gemara text, ‘Raba to R. Abba’. Sometimes, Raba is written as R. Abba and Rabin as R. Abin. Freimann.

[8] Hulin 57

[9] By default i.e. if there are no other names or titles.

[10] Shevu’oth 32b.

[11] BK 104b.

[12] Or rather, how to avoid payment.

[13] BM 24b

[14] Shevu’oth 37a.

[15] BM 36a

[16] Or Assi, in other version

[17] Shabbath 125b.

[18] BB 59a.

[19] Gittin 46b

[20] MK 25a.

[21] Hulin 57b.

[22] Hulin 19b

[23] Yoma 87a

[24] Sanhedrin 17b.

[25] Shevu’oth 47b.

[26] A Roman coin, sesterce, or sestertius.

[27] Hulin 141a

[28] Rosh Yevamoth Ch. 4, section 10.

[29] Shevu’oth 47a

[30] Kiddushin 59a.

[31] i.e. it became ownerless.

[32] Shabbath 150b

[33] Nidah 62b and 65b

[34] Ta’anith 4a

[35] Menachoth 37a

[36] Gittin 34b

[37] Nedarim 32a, Nidah 20a

[38] Menachoth 47a.

[39] Shabbath 56b.

[40] Sod ha-Ibbur – ‘the secret of intercalation’, the ancient term designating the mechanics of the Jewish calendar. Until the 4th c., this term referred to the ‘council of intercalation’ that set the calendar.

[41] RH 20b. This is a part of funny exchange. Samuel said: I can do the Calendar; Abba made the remark, Samuel professed his ignorance, and Abba concluded: Since the Master does not know this, there must also be other things which the Master does not know.

[42] Ta’anith 21b. It is a nice story: ‘Abaye sent to him two scholars in order to test him. He received them and gave them food and drink and in the evening he prepared woollen mattresses for them [to sleep on]. In the morning the scholars rolled these together and took them to the market [for sale]. There they met Abba and they said to him, Sir, value these, how much they are worth, and he replied, So-and-so much. They said to him, Perhaps they are worth more? He replied, This is what I paid for them. They then said to him, They are yours, we took them away from you; tell us, pray, of what did you suspect us. He replied: I said to myself, perhaps the Rabbis needed money to redeem captives and they were ashamed to tell me. They replied, Sir, take them back. He answered: From the moment I missed them I dismissed them from my mind and [I devoted them] to charity.

[43] Hulin 84a. Abba comes from a healthy family, but as for us, whosoever amongst us has a penny in his purse should hasten with it to the shop-keeper. R. Nahman said: As for us, we must even borrow to eat.

[44] Hulin 38a

[45] Berachoth 47a, and Rashi

[46] Hagiga 5b

[47] Nidah 24b.

[48] Sukkah 33a.

[49] Hulin 66a

[50] Rashi Berachoth 20a.

[51] Of different marriages.

[52] Pesachim 113a.

[53] AZ

[54] Hulin 85a

[55] Sanhedrin 22b.

[56] Shabbath 58a.

[57] Berachoth 42b.

[58] Hulin 54a

[59] Hulin 54a

[60] Hulin 137b. In our texts, ‘dahirna’, the usual Aramaic word for remembering.

[61] Shabbath 156a

[62] Beitzah 9a.

[63] Beth Shammai accept the teaching of R. Judah in the name of Rab, and Beth Hillel reject the teaching of R. Judah in the name of Rab; this is a Tanna controversy.

[64] Bechoroth 44b.

[65] Bechoroth 44b

[66] BM 24b

[67] Hulin 111b.

[68] Kiddushin 44b.

[69] Rosh Kiddushin Ch. 4, Sec. 6.

[70] Cf Halachoth Gedoloth, end of Halachoth Gittin.


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