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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Rabbah b. Abuha

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Babylonian amora of the second generation teacher and father-in-law of R. Naḥ man b. Jacob. He was related to the house of the exilarchs (Letter of Sherira Gaon, in Neubauer, "M. J. C." 1:23 Halevy, "Dorot ha-Rishonim," 2:412), and is even said to have been an exilarch himself (Weiss, "Dor," 3:176 Bacher, "Ag. Bab. Amor." p. 46). He lived at Nehardea and after the destruction of that city in 259 he went with his son-in-law to Maḥ oza, where they both settled (Letter of Sherira, l.c. p. 29). There are allusions to a number of decisions and rulings made by him while at the latter city (Yeb. 115b Shab. 59b ' Er. 26a). He was a pupil of Rab (Abba Arika), whom he frequently cited as an authority (Sanh. 63a Shab. 129b, 130b ' Er. 75b, 85a, 86a Giṭ . 62b and many other passages).

Rabbah was not a prominent teacher and he himself admitted that he was not thoroughly versed even in the four orders of the Mishnah, which were generally studied in the schools (B. M. 114b). Some of his interpretations of various mishnaic passages have been preserved (e.g. , Ber. 53b Shab. 57a Sheb. 49b), as well as confirmations of earlier halakot (e.g. , B. Ḳ . 46b Shab. 149a), and halakic decisions of his own (e.g. , Ber. 21b Shab. 76b B. M. 91b). The following haggadic maxim by him may be cited here: "The commandment to love one's neighbor [Leviticus 19:18 ] must be observed even in the execution of a criminal, since he should be granted as easy a death as possible" (Ket. 37b). According to a legend, Rabbah was a friend of the prophet Elijah (Meg. 15b B. M. 114a, b), who gave him leaves from paradise, so that he became rich (B. M. l.c. ).

Bibliography : Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot , 2:335-336, Warsaw, 1882 Weiss, Dor , 3:176-177 Bacher, Ag. Bab. Amor. pp. 46,81 Halevy, Dorot ha-Rishonim , 2:206a-207b.W. B. J. Z. L.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Rabbah b. Abuha'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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