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ABINA (called also Abuna or Buna):

An amora of the third and fourth centuries, always cited without any cognomen. He was a Babylonian by birth, a disciple of Rab Huna I., and befriended by Geniba (Giṭ. 65b; Yer. Giṭ. vi. 48a), in whose name he reports a Halakah (Ḥul. 50b). Most of his knowledge, however, he seems to have acquired from R. Jeremiah b. Abba, who is likewise often cited in the Palestinian Talmud without patronymic (compare Shab. 12b; Yer. Shab. i. 3b); for it is in R. Jeremiah's name that he most frequently transmits decisions (Shab. 137b; Yer. Shab. xix. 17b). In Babylonia he had halakic controversies with Rab Ḥisda and Rab Sheshet (Ket. 24b, 43a); but in his later years he migrated to Palestine, where R. Zeira I. (Zera) and R. Jacob b. Aḥa became his friends. They and other amoraim of the third generation frequently reported Halakot they had learned from him (Yer. Pes. v. 32c; Yer. 'Er. iv. 21d; Yer. Yeb. iii. 4c; Yer. Ket. xiii. 36a; Yer. Shebu. vi. 37a). The rabbinic rule on the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (written YHWH and pronounced Adonai; see Adonai and Tetragrammaton) he bases on the passage in Ex. iii. 15, "This is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations," applying the first to the written form (ketib), and the second to the reading (ḳeri) (Pes. 50a, Ḳid. 71a). A heretic once remarked to R. Abina (a variant reading attributes it to Abbahu): "It is written (II Sam. vii. 23), 'What one nation is like thy people, even like Israel,' an only nation on earth? Wherein consists your distinction? Ye also are included among us; for the Bible says (Isa. xl. 17), 'All nations before him are as nothing.'" To this R. Abina replied: "By one of your own people it has been established concerning us, as it is written (Num. xxiii. 9), 'He [Israel] shall not be reckoned among the nations'" (Sanh. 39a). The assumption that there were two scholars of the name of Abina unaccompanied by a cognomen has resulted from confounding R. Jeremiah b. Abba, when cited without his patronymic, with a later amora.

A R. Abuna Zeira (the younger) is mentioned in connection with his enforced violation of the Sabbath as a consequence of religious persecutions (Yer. Sheb. iv. 35a), but nothing more is known of him.

  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 539, 540.
S. M.
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