(Rabbah the Great)
(2–3rd century)
   Tanna. Born near Sura in Babylonia, Hiya emigrated to Palestine with his wife and twin sons, Judah and Hezekiah. He became a student at the Bet Midrash of JUDAH HA-NASI and was soon esteemed by his master for his piety and learning, and for the energetic way he set about teaching his own pupils. One day he organized a gazelle hunt, and using the skins as parchment, he had the Five Books of the Pentateuch written separately. Next he divided his pupils into five groups and each group learned one of the books by heart. Each pupil then taught a further group. Hiya’s greatest achievement was a compilation of those Mishnayot not accepted into the codex of Judah ha-Nasi. These were known as baraitot. A number of his rulings were later incorporated into the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds.
   Unlike Judah ha-Nasi, Hiya was in favour of centres of Jewish learning arising in the Diaspora independently of the Holy Land. His outstanding pupil was his nephew, RAV (Abba Arikha), whom he encouraged to migrate to Babylonia, where Rav founded the famous academy at Sura.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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