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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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One of the leading halakic amoraim in Palestine during the latter part of the third and in the beginning of the fourth century. In his youth he studied under R. Eleazar II. (Tos. to Ḥ ul. 34a, s.v. "Man Ḥ abraya") and he transmitted nine of his teacher's halakic sayings, seven of which are contained in B. Ḳ . 11, end, one in ' Er. 21b, and one in Ket. 74a. He was greatly respected for his learning and during his visits to Babylonia he seems to have been invited frequently by the "resh galuta" to deliver halakic lectures (Ket. 65b Ḳ id. 31a Shab. 157b). He traveled repeatedly to Babylonia and on one of his journeys he was in danger of assassination by one of his companions, saving his life only by condoning the murder of another (Ned. 22a).

Ulla rendered important decisions regarding the benedictions and the calculation of the new moon, and was accustomed to promulgate his rulings in Babylonia when he went thither (Ber. 38b R. H. 22b Pes. 53b, 104b). He was very strict in his interpretation of religious laws (Shab. 147a, 157b) and on one occasion, when he heard R. Huna use an expression which he did not approve, he retorted, "As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so are the words of R. Huna," applying to him the first half of Proverbs 10:26 (Ḳ id. 45b). Only in the presence of R. Naḥ man did Ulla hesitate to pronounce his opinions, generally waiting until the former had departed (Giṭ . 11b, 12a) although he frequently sought Naḥ man's company (Ket. 53a). Of his contemporaries with whom he engaged in controversies may be mentioned, besides R. Naḥ man, R. Abba (B. M. 11a), Abimi bar Papa, Ḥ iyya bar Ammi (Ket. 53a), and R. Judah (Ḥ ul. 68b, 70a) but his personal friend, with whom he associated most frequently, was Rabbah bar bar Ḥ ana (Tosef., Ḥ ul. 34:1).

In addition to the sayings of his teacher Eleazar, Ulla transmitted those of R. Hoshaiah (Ḥ ul. 76a), Joshua ben Levi (ib. 122a), R. Johanan (' Er. 67b), Rab (Shab. 143b), and Simeon ben Laḳ ish (Ḥ ag. 8b), while his own sayings were transmitted by R. Aḥ a bar Adda (B. M. 117b), Hamnuna (Shab. 10b), Ḥ iyya bar Abba (Ḥ ag. 25b), Ḥ iyya bar Ami (Ber. 8a), Raba bar Ḥ inena (Men. 30b), R. Ḥ isda (Ber. 38b), Judah bar Ammi (M. Ḳ . 5b), and Joshua bar Abba ( ib. 5b). Raba appears to have been his only son (Shab. 83b).

Ulla died in Babylonia, before his teacher R. Eleazar but his remains were taken to Palestine for burial (Ket. 111a).

Bibliography : Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot , pp. 229-230 Bacher, Ag. Bab. Amor. , pp. 93-97.E. C. S. O.

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

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