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BEN KALBA SABBUA':

A rich and prominent man of Jerusalem who flourished about the year 70. According to the Talmud (Giṭ. 56a), he obtained his name from the fact that any one that came to his house hungry as a dog (Kalba), went away satisfied (Sabbua'). He was one of the three rich men of Jerusalem (the other two being Naḳdimon ben Goryon and Ben Ẓiẓit ha-Keset), each of whom had in his storehouses enough to provide the besieged city with all the necessaries of life for ten years. But as these three favored peace with Rome, the Zealots burned their hoards of grain, oil, and wood, thus causing a dreadful famine in Jerusalem (Giṭ. ib.; Lam. R. i. 5; Eccl. R. vii. 11; Ab. R. N., ed. Schechter, vi. 31, 32, in which Ben Kalba Sabbua''s wealth is described as still greater).

Although the details of this account are hardly supported by historical evidence, there is no reason to doubt the existence of the three rich men. But the account in the Babylonian Talmud, according to which Akiba ben Joseph was the son-in-law of Ben Kalba Sabbu'a, is probably without any historicalfoundation; nor is there any reference to it in the Palestinian sources. It tells of the secret marriage of Ben Kalba's daughter; that she was turned away by her father; and that he finally became reconciled to her (Ned. 50a; Ket. 62b et seq.). Compare Akiba in Legend.

A grave, alleged to be that of Ben Kalba Sabbua', to which the Jews pay great respect, is pointed out about half a mile north of Jerusalem. It is mentioned by Benjamin b. Elijah, a Karaite who traveled in Palestine (compare T. Gurland, "Ginze Yisrael," i. 53). Recent excavations show that there actually are graves on this spot; but the statement that an inscription bearing Ben Kalba Sabbua's name was found there has not been proved (Gurland, ib. p. 68; "Ha-Maggid," viii. 28).

Bibliography:
  • Derenbourg, Essai sur l'Histoire de la Palestine, p. 281, note;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 3d ed., iii. 527, 528;
  • Luncz, Jerusalem, pp. 92, 93.
J. Sr. L. G.
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