ABIMI B. ABBAHU:
By: S. Mendelsohn
A scholar of the third century. Abimi's native country and parentage are doubtful. He is always cited as Abimi, the son of R. Abbahu; he was as fond of quoting Baraitot as was R. Abbahu of Cæsarea of collecting them; and once he applied to a R. Abbahu for legal advice (Ket. 85a). These circumstances point to Palestine as his native country and to R. Abbahu of Cæsarea as his father; hence Bacher ("Ag. Pal. Amor." ii. 101) so describes him. On the other hand, it is a remarkable fact that his name does not appear in the Palestinian Talmud, and that even where the latter quotes Abbahu as illustrating filial piety, the filial piety of Abimi, praised by his father in the Babylonian Talmud, is not mentioned. Moreover, Abimi never refers to Abbahu, and settles debts in Babyloniathrough Ḥama b. Rabbah b. Abuha (Ket. l.c.), who never was in Palestine. Frankel (Mebo, p. 60a), holding the two names Abbahu and Abuha to be identical, believes Abimi to have been a Babylonian, and a brother of Rabbah b. Abuha. Abimi is often mentioned as reporting Baraitot. One of these, treating of the honor due to parents, says: "One man feeds his father on pheasants and yet tires him of this world; while another yokes his father to the treadmill and yet prepares him for the enjoyments of the world to come" (Ḳid. 31a). Elsewhere this paradox is thus explained: The first case is that of one who was in the habit of furnishing his father with stuffed birds, and who, when the father once inquired, "Son, whence dost thou get all this?" replied, "Old man, eat and be silent as dogs do." The second is the case of one who was engaged in turning a millstone when his father was drafted to do public service. The son exchanged places with his father, remarking that he was more able to bear the abuses incident to such service than was his aged father (Yer. Peah, i. 15c; Yer. Ḳid. i. 61c.; compare Rashi to Babli Ḳid. l.c.). Abimi himself was cited by his own father as an example of filial piety. Though blessed with five learned sons, all of whom had been found worthy of ordination, he would not permit them to take his place in waiting on their grandfather. Once his father called for water to drink. Abimi hastened to bring it, and, finding his father asleep, remained reverently standing over him until he awoke. It is said that Abimi then and there conceived an ingenious explanation of the Seventy-ninth Psalm (see Lam. R. on iv. 11; Midr. Teh. l.c.). According to another Baraita cited by Abimi, the Messianic epoch of Israel will extend over a period of seven thousand years: for the Scripture says (Isa. lxii. 5), "As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee"; and as the bridal feast lasts seven days, and the Lord's day is equal to a thousand of man's years, it follows that the bridal feast between the Lord and Israel is to continue for seven thousand years (Sanh. 99a, Rashi ad loc.; see Shab. 119b; Ket. 85a; Shebu. 42a; 'Ab. Zarah, 34b; Ḥul. 63b).