Abba bar Zabdai

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Abba (Ba) bar Zabdai (Hebrew: אבא בר זבדי) was a Palestinian amora who flourished in the 3rd century. He studied in Babylonia, attending the lectures of Rab and Rav Huna, and subsequently settled at Tiberias, where he occupied a respected position by the side of Rav Ammi and Assi. Mention is made of his custom of saying his prayers in a loud voice (Yer. Berachot iv.7a). Of his haggadic productions there exists, among others, a sermon for a public fast-day, on Lamentations iii.41 (Yer. Ta'anit, ii.65a), from which the following may be quoted:

Is it, then, possible to "lift up our heart with our hands"? This verse is intended to advise us "to put our heart—our bad inclinations—in our hands," in order to remove them, and then to turn to God in heaven. As long as a man holds an unclean reptile in his hand, he may bathe in all the waters of creation, but he can not become clean: let him throw it away and he is purified.

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography[edit]

  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii.533, 535;
  • Frankel, Mebo, pp. 66a, 67.