ḤALAFTA (ḤILFAI) B. ḲARUYA, ABBA (also known as ḤALFA):
E. C. S. M.
- 1. Tanna of the second century, contemporary of Gamaliel II. Gamaliel once visited him at Ḳaruya (Kiryava; see Neubauer, "G. T." p. 277), and solicited his prayers; whereupon Ḥalafta pronounced over him the blessing of Psalm xx. 5 (A. V. 4) (Midr. Teh. ad loc.). As "Ḥilfa" or "Ḥilfai" he is cited in connection with some halakot (Tosef., Ma'as. Sh. iv. 5; Yer. Ma'as. Sh. iv. 54d), and it appears that one of his halakot was taught and practised in Rome (ib.).
- 2. Palestinian amora of the third century, contemporary of Ḥiyya b. Abba (B. B. 123a). They both endeavored to reconcile the apparent discrepancy between the statement of Gen. xlvi. 27, "All the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten," and the list preceding it (8-26), which contains one less. Ḥiyya would have it that the person unnamed in the list was a twin sister of Dinah. This view Ḥalafta rejects, arguing that a twin sister might as well be ascribed to Benjamin. Finally, Ḥiyya quotes Ḥama b. Ḥanina as authority for the assumption that Jochebed was born soon after Jacob and his party entered Egypt, and is therefore reckoned among the souls that originally came with Jacob; with her the full count of seventy is completed (B. B. 123a; see also Gen. R. lxxxii. 8). Bacher ("Ag. Pal. Amor." ii. 177) locates the meeting of these rabbis in Rome. It is nowhere shown, however, that the younger Ḥalafta ever visited Rome, and the context from which Bacher draws the inference speaks of Ḥalafta the elder. As to the prænomen, it appears variously as "Ilfa," "Ḥilfai," "Ḥalifa," "Taḥlifa." Once it is altogether omitted, leaving only the title and cognomen (Gen. R. xix. 3; comp. Pesiḳ. Zuṭarta to Gen. iii. 1). It is probable that to Ḥalafta b. Ḳaruya belongs the remark headed with the curious name of R. Barḳirya. Seeing a procession of coffins containing the remains of people who had died in foreign lands, R. Barḳirya remarked to Eleazar: "What benefit can they derive from being buried here? To them I apply the words: 'Ye made mine heritage an abomination [since ye did not choose to live here],' and 'when ye entered, ye defiled my land [since ye entered as corpses]'" (Jer. ii. 7). Eleazar, however, told him that as soon as such processions reach Palestine, clods of Palestinian earth are laid on the coffins, and that that makes atonement, as the Bible says, "His earth will atone for His people" (Deut. xxxii. 43, Hebr.; Yer. Kil. ix. 32d; comp. Pesiḳ. R. i. 3; Tan., Wayeḥi, 6 [ed. Buber, p. 214], where "Ḳaẓrah" occurs in place of "Barḳirya"). The custom of sprinkling Palestinian earth on the dead is still common (see Burial).