DIMI (also called Abdimi and Abudimi):

Amora of the fourth century who often carried Palestinian doctrinal and exegetical remarks to the Babylonian schools, and Babylonian teachings to Palestine (see Abdima Naḥota). In consequence of a decree of banishment issued by Constantius against the teachers of Judaism in Palestine, he finally settled in Babylonia (Ḥul. 106a; Grätz, "Gesch." 2d ed., iv. 338; against Grätz, however, see I. ha-Levi, "Dorot ha-Rishonim," ii. 468-473). Dimi was a perfect storehouse of diversified knowledge, which he diligently gathered and as freely disseminated; and he made the transmission of the teachings of his most prominent Palestinian predecessors his special mission. He reported in the names of Jannai, Ḥanina, Joshua ben Levi, Simeon ben Laḳish, Isaac, Eleazar, and, most frequently, R. Johanan; and almost as often he reported Palestinian observations with merely the introductory formula ("They say in the West"; Shab. 7a, 8b, 52a, 63b, 72a, 85b, 105a, 108b, 125b; 'Er. 3a; Yoma 55b; Ta'an. 10a; Ḥag. 15b; Meg. 18a; Yer. Ned. ix. 41b; B. Ḳ. 114b; B. M. 58b; B. B. 74b; Sanh. 7b, 56a, 63a; Men. 26b; Tem. 12b, 14a; 'Ar. 16a).

Abaye was the most appreciative recipient of Dimi's information, which ranged along the lines of the Halakah and the Haggadah, occasionally touching also physical geography, history, and ethics (Shab. 108a; Ket. 17a, 111b; Ber. 44a; Ḳid. 31a; 'Ab. Zarah 36b; B. M. 58b). When Abaye once inquired of him, "What do the Westerners [Palestinians] most strenuously avoid in their social intercourse?" Dimi replied, "Putting a neighbor to shame; for R. Ḥanina counts this sin among the three unpardonable ones" (the other two being adultery and calling nicknames) (B. M. 58b). Dimi was also opposed to the bestowal of overmuch praise, and thus illustrated the Biblical proverb (Prov. xxvii. 14), "He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him."

Usually Dimi communicated his knowledge personally; but where circumstances required it, he did so by messages. Thus, when on one occasion, having himself reported in Pumbedita a Halakah as construed by R. Johanan, he discovered on his arrival at Nehardea that he had been mistaken, he sent word to the misinformed, candidly confessing, "What I have told you is founded on an error" (Shab. 63b).

  • Grätz, Gesch. 2d ed., iv., note 29;
  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 691;
  • Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii., s.v.

Babylonian scholar of the fourth century; brother of Rab Safra. According to the testimony of his contemporary, R. Abba, Dimi was not endowed with worldly goods (Ket. 85b), but was blessed with a clear conscience. In his last hours he was visited by his learned brother, to whom he remarked, "May it come home to me ["I deserve God's mercy," Jastrow, "Dict." p. 132a], because I have observed all the rules prescribed by the Rabbis"; and when asked, "Didst thou also refrain from sounding thy neighbor's praises, for in continually talking of one's virtues, a man incidentally refers to his vices?" he replied, "I have never heard of such a precept; and had I heard it, I should have followed it" ['Ar. 16a]. Another version makes Dimi himself the transmitter of that very rule (ib.; B. B. 164b; compare Dimi; "Semag," Prohibition 9; "Diḳduḳe Soferim," in B. B. l.c.).

Dimi of Ḥaifa (Meg. 29b; compare "Sheiltot Ḥanukkah," end): See Abdima of Ḥaifa.Dimi b. Ḥama:

See Abdima Bar Ḥama.

Dimi b. Ḥinena:

Babylonian amora of the fourth century; contemporary of Rab Safra ('Er. 61a) and of Ḥiyya b. Rabbah b. Naḥmani (R. H. 34b); also of Raba, before whom he and his brother Rabbah (Rabbin) b. Ḥinena once appeared as litigants (B. B. 13b). That he was prominent among the scholars of his age may be assumed from the fact that Rab Ḥisda cites a halakic decision of his (Zeb. 36b).

Dimi b. Huna of Damharia:

Babylonian halakist of the sixth amoraic generation (fifth century); contemporary of Rabbina III. (Sanh. 29b; Men. 81a).

Dimi b. Isaac:

Babylonian amora of the fourth generation; junior of Rab Judah b. Ezekiel, who gave him some lessons in comparative anatomy (Ḥul. 45b). Introducing a lecture on the Book of Esther, Dimi cites Ezra ix. 9, "Our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia." "When?" he asks; and answers, "In the days of Haman" (Meg. 10b; the Talmud manuscript in the Munich Library reads "Abudimi b. Isaac"; and instead of "Haman," some versions have "Mordecai and Esther"; see "Diḳduḳe Soferim" ad loc.).

Dimi b. Joseph:

Babylonian scholar of the third amoraic generation (third century); disciple of Mar Samuel (Ket. 60a; Nid. 66a), and senior to Rab Ḥisda and Rab Shesheṭ (B. B. 53b). His sister sued him before Rab Naḥman for the restoration of a parcel of land which she had legally transferred to him in her illness. Probably because of Dimi's age and professional status, he refused to obey Naḥman's summons until he was threatened with excommunication (ib. 151a). When his son had the misfortune to lose a child within thirty days from its birth, and—contrary to the rabbinic rule, which does not impose mourning for an infant under thirty days of age—he had assumed ritualistic mourning, Dimi remonstrated with him, observing, "It is only because thou desirest to be regaled with delicacies that thou indulgest in ritualistic mourning for so young an infant" (Shab. 136a).

Dimi b. Levai:

Babylonian scholar of the fourth century. On one occasion, the skies being overcast, he thought that the sun had set; and as the day was the eve of the Sabbath, he at once inaugurated the Sabbath. Subsequently the skies cleared, and he discovered his mistake. On his application for information on the law under such circumstances, Abaye declared that he might resume his daily occupations (Ber. 27b).

Dimi of Nehardea:

Babylonian scholar of the fourth century; head of the Academy of Pumbedita (385-388). Prior to his elevation to the rectorate he was a produce-merchant; and the Talmud preserves an anecdote of that time which affords an insight into the economic laws of the age as well as an idea of Dimi's standing among the learned even in his youth. The law had provided that—except the dealer in spices or perfumes at any time, and the public generally while fairs were being held—no non-resident merchant might enter his wares in competition with local traders. A notable exception to this rule was the scholar. To him the market was always open; and to facilitate his sales and his return to study, the law gave him the rights of monopoly until he disposed of his goods. Now, Dimi once brought to Maḥuza a shipload of dried figs, when Raba was requested by the resh galuta (exilarch) "to tap Dimi's pitcher", i.e., to examine him ascertain whether he was a scholar and consequently entitled to the special market privileges. Raba deputed Adda b. Abba (Ahaba) to examine Dimi; and Adda propounded to the newcomer a supposititious ritualistic question. Dimi thought that his interlocutor was Raba himself, and deferentially inquired, "Is not my master Raba?" The other, familiarly tapping him on the sandal, replied, "Between me and Raba there is a great difference. At any rate, I am thy superior, and Raba is thy superior's superior." The privileges of the market were not granted to Dimi, and eventually the figs spoiled. He then applied to Rab Joseph for redress; and the latter, provoked at the discomfiture of the scholar, exclaimed, "He who hath not failed to avenge the disgrace of the Edomite king [see II Kings iii. 27; Amos ii. 1] will not fail to avenge thy disgrace." It is added that shortly afterward Rab Adda died suddenly, and several rabbis, including Dimi, who had some grievances against him, reproached themselves with having been indirectly instrumental in his punishment (B. B. 22a).

As an educator Dimi acted on the maxim, "Rivalry among scholars advances scholarship"; therefore he approved Raba's rule not to remove a teacher because his rival makes better progress with his pupils, arguing that rivalry will induce more strenuous efforts and produce better results. On the other hand, Raba, believing that "mistakes will correct themselves," showed preference for the teacher that succeeded in imparting much knowledge, even if not very exact. Dimi opposed this with his maxim, "Where error has once crept in, it stays"; and he therefore looked for precision rather than for quantity (B. B. 21a).

Dimi seems to have confined himself to the cultivation of the Halakah; for in the comparatively few instances where he is cited in the Talmud (besides those quoted see M. Ḳ. 12a; Yeb. 121a; B. B. 138b; Ṃen. 35a; Ḥul. 51b) he appears in connection with some Halakah, while no Haggadah appears to bear his name.

Dimi b. Nehemiah (Nahman) b. Joseph:

Babylonian amora of uncertain age, and but rarely cited in rabbinical literature (Sanh. 23b, 24a). He is probably identical with Abdimi b. Neḥuniah, by whom the Psalmist's effusion (Ps. cxxxix. 14), "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well," is illustrated thus: "Some things are beneficial to the liver and deleterious to the windpipe; others are beneficial to the latter and deleterious to the former. There are ten organs in man: the windpipe [larynx] produces voice; the gullet conducts the food; the liver is the seat of anger; the lungs promote thirst; the gall, jealousy; the stomach, sleep; the first stomach grinds the food; the spleen promotes laughter; the kidneys counsel; and the heart decides—therefore does David glorify, 'I will praise thee,' etc. Therefore, too, does he elsewhere [Ps. ciii. 1] exhort, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name'" (Midr. Teh. ad loc.; compare Eccl. R. vii. 19).

  • Sherira, Letter, ed. Goldberg, 1845. p. 37;
  • Zacuto, Yuḥasin, ed. Filipowski, p. 123;
  • Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii., s.v.;
  • Weiss, Dor, iii. 207.
L. G. S. M.
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