Abba bar Zemina

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Abba bar Zemina (Hebrew: אבא בר זמינא‎‎) or bar Zebina (Hebrew: בר זבינא‎‎) was a Jewish Amora (scholar) of the fourth century. He was a pupil of Rav Zeira, in whose name he transmitted many sayings. He was employed in Rome as a tailor in the house of a Gentile who, under the threat of death, tried to force him to break the dietary laws. Abba, however, steadfastly refused to yield to this, and showed so much courage that the Roman admiringly exclaimed: "If you had eaten, I should have killed you. If you be a Jew, be a Jew; if a heathen, a heathen!" (Yer. Sheb. iv. 35a et seq.).

Tanhuma bar Abba relates another anecdote concerning a pious tailor at Rome (Gen. R. xi.), who bought the most expensive fish; this anecdote may refer to Abba bar Zemina.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBacher, Wilhelm (1901). "Abba Bar Zebina (or Zemina)". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. pp. 35–36.