R. Yannai (or R.Jannai; Hebrew: רבי ינאי, read as Rabbi Yannai) was a Jewish sage, living during the first half of the 3rd century, and of the first generation of the Amora sages of the Land of Israel. He was a disciple of R. Judah haNasi - the sealer of the Mishnah. R. Yannai founded a Beth midrash in 'Akbara that was located, at the time, nearby Safed in the Upper Galilee, where he taught the Torah, and at the same time served as a dayan, religious judge, on the Beth din, rabbinacal court in Sepphoris community. Among his disciplinces one can note: Abba Arika - Author of "Sefer" and "Sifri"; Yochanan bar Nafcha - One of the authors of the Jerusalem Talmud, Shimon ben Lakish, and more. R. Yannai is one of the descendants of Eli Ha-Kohen.
His name is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud 176 times, and in the Jerusalem Talmud 254 times.
- YANNAI, jewishencyclopedia.com; Article