Bebai ben Abaye


Bebai ben Abaye

Bebai ben Abaye was a Jewish Talmudist who lived in Babylonia, known as an amora of the fourth and fifth amoraic generations (fourth century CE), son of the celebrated Abaye Nahmani, and presiding judge in Pumbedita, ["Yevamot" 75b; "Ketuvim" 85a.] where his father had directed the academy. Some rabbinic chronologists [J. Schorr, "Wa'ad Ḥakamim," 24b; Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." iii. 667, note 5] suggest his identity with Bebai II (Bebai ben Abin), which, however, is chronologically incorrect, the latter having been a fellow-pupil of Rab Joseph, whereas Bebai b. Abaye was a contemporary of Nahman ben Isaac, Kahana III ["Berakhot" 6b; "Eruvin" 90a.] , Pappi, and Huna ben Joshua. As Abaye was a scion of the priestly house of Eli, which was doomed to premature death, ["I Samuel" ii. 33; see "Rosh Hashanna" 18a] both Pappi and Huna ben Joshua frequently taunted Bebai with being descended from frail (short-lived) stock, and therefore with uttering frail, untenable arguments. ["Er." 25b; compare "Diqduqe Soferim" a.l.; B. M. 109a; B. B. 137b, 151a; compare Jastrow, "Dict." 794a, s.v. "Mammulaë".] Bebai b. Abaye seems to have led a contemplative life; and legend relates some curious stories about him. ["Hagiggah" 4b; "Berakhot" 6a and 8b; "Eruvin" 8a; "Shabbatim" 3b, 4a; "Hullin" 43b; "Keruvim" 3b; "Zeb." 107a.]

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