Hiyya the Great

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hiyya or Hiyya the Great (ca. 180–230 CE) (Hebrew: רבי חייא, or רבי חייא הגדול) was a Jewish sage of the Land of Israel during the transitional generation between the Tannaic and Amoraic Jewish sages eras (1st Amora generation). He is accounted as one of the notable sages of the times,[1] and was the son of Abba Karsala from Kafri in Babylon.[2]

His full name is Hiyya bar Abba, and so he shares a name with Hiyya b. Abba, the 3rd generation Amora of the Land of Israel. Active in Tiberias, Hiyya was the primary compiler of the Tosefta. He was also an uncle and teacher of Abba Arika.[3]



Rabbi Hiyya was originally from Babylon, from the city of Kapri, and he descended from the family of Shimmi, a brother of King David. Hiyya emigrated when he was young to the Land of Israel, and he studied with the Judah ha-Nasi (the prince), in the city of Seforis. With time he grew older in the knowledge of Torah, and as a disciple he became a study associate of Yehuda HaNasi. He enjoyed his general esteem, and Yehuda HaNasi once said about him: "Great are the deeds of Rabbi Hiyya." At the same time that he was a great wise Torah scholar, he was in charge of his own business.

Rabbi Hiyya is the author of the Tosefta, a compilation of laws that were not included in the Mishna of Judah ha-Nasi. Hiyya, dedicated his entire life to teach the Torah to the children of Israel, constantly traveling to those towns where there were no teachers, in order to teach them the law.

The Talmud tells us how Rabbi Hiyya organized his activities: he sowed linen, with which he formed nets. In the nets he hunted deer, he slaughtered them, and distributed their meat to the orphans, and with the leather, he made parchments, with whom he wrote the five books of the Torah.

In each town where there were no teachers, Hiyya took five children, and taught them a book of the Torah to each one of them. Each well-trained student as well, took another five children from his own village, and taught them the Torah as well. Thus the Torah was propagated throughout the Land of Israel.

Rabbi Hiyya died after Yehuda HaNasi, and he was buried in the Galilee. Due to his holiness, all the Jewish nation came to pray before his tomb.[4]


  1. ^ According to Rashi in the Babylon Talmud, Tractate Kethuboth, 62b, he descended from Jesse, the father of King David and not from King David himself, and thus Judah haNasi did not engage in the arrangements for the marriage with him
  2. ^ Babylon Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, 5a
  3. ^ "ḤIYYA BAR ABBA - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  4. ^ www.judaismohoy.com/