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Abdima (Dimi) of Ḥaifa:

A Palestinian amora of the third generation (third and fourth centuries). He was a recognized authority in halakic matters, prominent contemporaries as well as successors citing his views in support of their own; nor was he less distinguished in the field of the Haggadah. According to him, this rule of etiquette should be observed: When a scholar (ḥakam) passes to take his seat at college, one should rise in his honor within a distance of four cubits, and remain standing till he has passed to a like distance. In honor of a vice-president of the Sanhedrin (ab bet din), one should rise as soon as one perceives him coming, and remain standing until he has passed to a distance of four cubits; but when the president of the Sanhedrin (nasi) passes, one should rise as soon as one observes him approaching, and remain standing long enough for him to reach his place and be seated; for thus the Bible (Ex. xxxiii. 8) says, "All the people stood up . . . and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tent" (Ḳid. 33b). Commenting on Eccl. xii. 7, "And the spirit shall return to God who gave it," the famous haggadist, R. Samuel b. Naḥman, remarks that R. Abdima of Ḥaifa thus illustrates this passage: "A priest who belonged to the order known as Ḥaberim [see Ḥaber], the members of which were very strict in all observances of Levitical cleanliness, entrusted a sacred loaf of terumah to one less strict ('Am ha-Areẓ), saying, 'Behold, I am clean, and my house is clean, and my utensils are clean, and this loaf is clean: if thou wilt return it to me in the condition in which I hand it to thee, well and good; if not, I shall burn it in thy presence.' Thus says the Holy One—blessed be He!—to man, 'Behold, I am pure, and My mansion is pure, and My ministers are pure, and the soul which I give into thy keeping is pure: if thou wilt return it to Me as I give it to thee, it shall be well; otherwise, I shall burn it in thy presence'" (Eccl. R. ad loc.). One of Abdima's aphorisms is: "With the destruction of the First Temple the gift of prophecy was taken from the prophets and bestowed upon the learned" (B. B. 12a). Another: "Before man eats and drinks he has two hearts; after he eats and drinks he has but one" (B. B. 12b; Yalḳ., Job, § 906).

Bibliography:
  • Yer. Meg. iii. 74b;
  • Bab. Meg. 29b;
  • Yer. M. Ḳ. iii. 82c;
  • Yer. Niddah, ii. 50a;
  • Lam. R. to i. 1;
  • Midr. Teh. to Ps. xxxi. 6, and lxviii. 10;
  • Yalḳ, Teh. 717;
  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 536-538.
S. M.
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