- For the fourth Generation Tanna sage with a similar name, see: R. Judah ben Ilai (his son). For 3rd- and 4th-century, and the third generation Amora sage, with a similar name, see: Rabbi Ilai II."
Rabbi Ilai (Hebrew: רבי אלעאי; sometimes referred to as Ilai the Elder; others: Rabbi Ilai I, or Alternative Hebrew spelling: רבי עילאי ) was a third Generation, and 2nd-century Jewish Tanna sage, father of the well-known Tanna sage, Judah ben Ilai, and disciple of Eliezer ben Hurcanus and Gamaliel II.
Rabbi Ilai is cited once in the Mishnah, and six times in the Tosefta.
He is best known for coining the well-known phrase: "R. Ilai said: By three things one may determine a man's character: By his cup, his capital and his choler;" (Talmud, Eiruvin, 65b)