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ABBA BAR MEMEL:

A Palestinian amora, who lived toward the end of the third century. He belonged to the circle of Ammi at Tiberias, and enjoyed the reputation of a great halakist. In three propositions he limited and rendered practically harmless the application of the Gezerah Shawah, the second of the thirteen hermeneutic rules of R. Ismael, which otherwise might easily have led to arbitrary ritual decisions (Yer. Pes. vi. 33a). His proposed reforms were never carried into practise, no other amora having joined him to form a valid legislative body (Yer. M. Ḳ. ii. 81b). Among his haggadic passages the most significant is one on the names of God (Ex. R. iii.):

"God spake to Moses: 'Thou desirest to know My name, I AM THAT I AM (Ex. iii. 14). That is, I am called according to my revealed activities. When I am judging mankind, I am called Elohim; when I am going out to war against the wicked, I am called Zebaot; when I am holding judgment in suspense over the sins of men, I am called El Shaddai; when showing mercy to the world, I am called YHWH, because this name de-notes the quality of mercy in God' (Ex. xxxiv. 6)."

W. B.
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