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ARISTAI (abbreviated form of ARISTÆUS):

A Palestinian scholar of the third amoraic generation (third century); colleague of R. Samuel b. NaḦman. The latter, commenting on Gen. xix. 24, "The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven," remarks: "Wo unto the wicked who cause the seat of mercy to become a place of punishment! For in Ps. cxlviii. 1-6, David exhorts, 'Praise ye the Lord from the heavens,' and does not mention either fire or hail or brimstone as included in the heavens. Our colleague, R. Aristai, confirms our view by citing Ps. xcvi. 6, 'Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary'" (Tan., Wayera, ed. Buber, 23). R. Aristai reports the following observation of R. Berechiah in reference to the Hadrianic persecutions: "Isaiah cries unto the Lord, 'Let thy dead live' (Isa. xxvi. 19), meaning 'those who have died for thee.' One man has been crucified; why? because he circumcised his son; another has been burnt; why? because he kept the Sabbath; a third was slain; why? because he was found studying the Torah. God's answer is: (Isa. l.c.) 'My dead shall arise'" (Tan., ed. Buber, p. 19; Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." iii. 660).

J. Sr. S. M.
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