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ḤANA B. ḤANILAI:

Babylonian scholar and philanthropist of the third century; the junior of Huna I. and Ḥisda (Beẓah 21a, 40a). The Talmud relates of him that he was wont to employ scores of bakers in the preparation of bread for the poor, and that his hand was ever in his purse, ready to extend help to the needy. His house was provided with entrances on all sides, that the wayfarer might the easier find entry, and none ever left it hungry or empty-handed. He would leave food outside the house at night, that those who felt shame in soliciting might help themselves under cover of darkness. Eventually his house was destroyed. 'Ula and Ḥisda once saw the ruins; Ḥisda was much moved at the sight, and when 'Ula inquired the cause of his emotion, Ḥisda acquainted him with its former splendor and hospitality, adding, "Is not the sight of its present condition sufficient to force sighs from me?" 'Ula, however, replied, "The servant should not expect to fare better than his master: God's sanctuary was destroyed, and so was Ḥana's house; as the former, so will the latter be: God will restore it" (Ber. 58b; comp. Meg. 27a). Notwithstanding his learning and his wealth, Ḥana was extremely modest and obliging, ready even to lift physical burdens from the shoulders of the worthy. Huna once carried a shovel across the street; Ḥana met him and at once offered to relieve him. Huna, however, would not permit it. "Unless," said he, "thou art accustomed to do such things at home, I can not let thee do it here: I will not be honored through thy degradation" (Meg. 28a).

E. C. S. M.
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