AḤA (AḤAI) I.:
By: S. Mendelsohn
A tanna of the second century, junior contemporary of Simon ben Yoḥai, with whom, as well as with others of the fourth and fifth tannaitic generations, he appears in halakic disputations. While he is, therefore, best known as a halakist, he is occasionally met also in the field of the Haggadah. Thus, commenting on Ex. xiv. 15, "Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward," he quotes Ps. cvi. 23, "Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses, his chosen, stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them"; and remarks, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Why criest thou unto me? For thy sake I will save Israel. Had it not been for thy prayers I should have destroyed them ere this, because of their idolatry'" (Mek., Beshallaḥ, 3). Elsewhere he derives from Deut. vi. 7 ("And thou shalt talk of them [the commandments] when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way") the duty of man to have set hours for the study of the Torah, and not to make it subject to opportunity (Yoma, 19b; Tosef., Ber. 2, 2; Tosef., Shab. 15, 17; Bab. Shab. 127a; Tosef., Yeb. 14, 4; Tosef., Giṭ. 3, 1; Tosef., Niddah, 6, 13; Bab. Niddah, 21b).