By: Louis Ginzberg
A Gentile sage and astrologer in Babylonia. The close friendship which existed between him and Mar Samuel (died 254) shows that the legal restrictions of their religion did not prevent the Babylonian Jews from social communication with their heathen neighbors. An anecdote given in 'Ab. Zarah (30a) illustrates the kind consideration and courtesy which prevailed on both sides. Ablat was a guest in the house of Mar Samuel on an occasion when wine was usually served. The rabbinic law forbids Jews to use wine that has come in contact with idolaters. Knowing this, Ablat declined to take his wine before Mar Samuel, whom he called "the wisest of the Jews." But Mar Samuel, anticipating this very difficulty, had met it by ordering mulled wine, which was not under the ban; and he thus overcame a restriction that practically prevented his friend from partaking of his hospitality (Shab. 129a).
Ablat enjoyed great popularity among the Jews, as is shown by the fact that the Jerusalem Talmud (Shab. iii. 6a) cites a question respecting a rabbinical precept put by him to a Jewish scholar and the latter's answer.