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'UḲBA, MAR:

Exilarch at Bagdad in the first half of the tenth century; the second exilarch to die in banishment. When Kohen Ẓedeḳ II. was appointed gaon of Pumbedita he became involved in a controversy with Mar 'Uḳba over the revenues from Khorasan; and the calif Al-Muḳtadir (908-932) was induced by Ẓedeḳ's friends to depose Mar 'Uḳba. Soon afterward (917) the latter left Bagdad for Karmisin (Kermanshah), but when the young calif went for the summer to his palace at Safran, Mar 'Uḳba devised a scheme to win the royal favor by meeting Al-Muḳtadir's secretary daily in his gardens and greeting him with the recitation of beautiful verses. These pleased the calif's secretary so much that he wrote them down and showed them to his master, who in his turn was so delighted that he sent for Mar 'Uḳba, entered into conversation with him, and asked him to express a wish, whereupon the gaon requested that he might be reinstated. The calif granted this wish, and Mar 'Uḳba soon returned to Bagdad as exilarch. Kohen Ẓedeḳ and his friends, however, again succeeded in securing his deposition and banishment from the country, whereupon he went to Africa, and was received with high honors at Kairwan as a descendant of the royal house. A sort of throne ("bimah") was built for him in the synagogue, near the Ark of the Law, and he was always the third to read the "parashah," the scroll of the Law being brought to him in his seat.

Bibliography:
  • Neubauer, M. J. C. ii. 78-79;
  • Grätz, Gesch. v. 246-248, note 12;
  • Halevi, Dorot ha-Rishonim, iii. 25 et seq.;
  • Weiss, Dor, iv. 134 et seq.
E. C. S. O.
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