Ulla (Talmudist)

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Ulla or 'Ulla was a Jewish Talmudist and one of the leading Halakhic amoraim in the Land of Israel during the late 3rd and early 4th centuries CE (the second and third amoraic generations).

Biography[edit]

In his youth he studied under R. Eleazar II,[1] and he transmitted nine of his teacher's halakhic sayings.[2] He was greatly respected for his learning; and during his visits to Babylonia he seems to have been invited frequently by the Resh Galuta to deliver halakhic lectures.[3] He traveled repeatedly to the Talmudic Academies in Babylonia; and on one of his journeys he was in danger of assassination by one of his companions, saving his life only by condoning the murder of another.[4] Ulla rendered important decisions regarding the benedictions and the calculation of the new moon, and was accustomed to promulgate his rulings in Babylonia when he went there.[5]

He was very strict in his interpretation of religious laws.[6] On one occasion, when he heard R. Huna use an expression which he did not approve, he retorted, "As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to eyes,[7] so are the words of R. Huna."[8] Only in the presence of Rav Nachman did Ulla hesitate to pronounce his opinions, generally waiting until Nachman had departed,[9] although he frequently sought Nachman's company.[10]

Of his contemporaries with whom he engaged in controversies may be mentioned, besides R. Nachman, R. Abba,[11] Abimi bar Papa, Hiyya bar Ammi,[12] and R. Judah.[13] But his personal friend, with whom he associated most frequently, was Rabbah bar bar Hana.[14]

In addition to the sayings of his teacher Eleazar, Ulla transmitted those of R. Hoshaiah,[15] Joshua ben Levi,[16] R. Johanan,[17] Rav,[18] and Shimon ben Lakish.[19] His own sayings were transmitted by R. Aha bar Adda,[20] Hamnuna,[21] Hiyya bar Abba,[22] Hiyya bar Ammi,[23] Raba bar Hinena,[24] Rav Chisda,[25] Judah bar Ammi,[26] and Joshua bar Abba.[27]

Raba appears to have been his only son.[28] Ulla died in Babylonia, before his teacher R. Eleazar; but his remains were taken to Palestine for burial.[29]

Quotes[edit]

  • Jerusalem is only redeemed by tzedakah.[30]
  • Since the time of the Temple's destruction, the Holy One, blessed be He, has nothing in His world save only four cubits of halacha! (i.e. the Divine Presence is found wherever Israel observes Jewish law).[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tosafot to Hullin 34a, s.v. "Man Habraya"
  2. ^ Seven of these appear in Bava Kamma 11, one in Eruvin 21b, and one in Ketuvot 74a
  3. ^ Ketuvot 65b; Kiddushin 31a; Shabbat 157b
  4. ^ Nedarim 22a
  5. ^ Berachot 38b; Rosh Hashana 22b; Pesachim 53b, 104b
  6. ^ Shabbat 147a, 157b
  7. ^ Proverbs 10:26
  8. ^ Kiddushin 45b
  9. ^ Gittin 11b, 12a
  10. ^ Ketuvot 53a
  11. ^ Bava Metziah 11a
  12. ^ Ketuvot 53a
  13. ^ Hullin 68b, 70a
  14. ^ Tosafot, Hullin 34a
  15. ^ Hullin 76a
  16. ^ Hullin 122a
  17. ^ Eruvin 67b
  18. ^ Shabbat 143b
  19. ^ Hagigah 8b
  20. ^ Bava Metziah 117b
  21. ^ Shabbat 10b
  22. ^ Hagigah 25b
  23. ^ Berachot 8a
  24. ^ Menachot 30b
  25. ^ Berachot 38b
  26. ^ Mo'ed Katan 5b
  27. ^ Mo'ed Katan 5b
  28. ^ Shabbat 83b
  29. ^ Ketuvot 111a
  30. ^ Sanhedrin 98a
  31. ^ Berakhot 8a
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Ulla". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.