'Awira

Rav Avira (Hebrew: רב עוירא) was an Amora of the Land of Israel of the third and fourth generation of the Amoraic era.

Biography[]

He was a pupil of R. Yochanan bar Nafcha, and a colleague of R. Abbahu. He is cited in the Talmud debating halakha with R. Yochanan bar Nafcha, and as a colleague of R. Abbahu and R. Helbo, he was also the pupil of R. Yochanan bar Nafcha.

He was a contemporary of Abaye and Safra—the latter speaking of him as of "a scholar coming from the West" (Palestine). Avira had emigrated to Palestine, where he officiated as usher at a college of "the great teacher" (probably Ammi); but he returned to his native land,[1] bringing with him many halakhot and aggadot of Rabbi Ammi and of Rabbi Assi, in transmitting which he frequently interchanged the names of the authors.[2]

One should distinguish between him and R. Avira who transmitted teachings in the name of Rava.[3]

Teachings[]

Besides those which he reported in the names of others, there are some original homilies by Rav Avira.[4]

Once he said (some ascribe this to R. Eleazar): "Come and see how unlike human nature is the nature of the Holy One. The man of high standing looks up with respect to a man higher placed than himself, but does not respect his inferior; not so the Holy One: He is supreme and yet respects the lowly, as Scripture says,[5] 'Though the Lord is high, yet has He respect for the lowly'".[6]

According to Avira (some ascribe the remark to R. Joshua ben Levi): "The tempter [evil inclination] is called by seven different names. The Holy One—blessed be He!—calls him simply 'Evil,' as it is said,[7] 'The inclination of man's heart is evil'. Moses calls him 'The uncircumcised,' for he says,[8] 'You shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart'. David calls him 'impure,' for he prays,[9] 'Create in me a pure heart,' from which it appears that there is an impure one. Solomon calls him 'Enemy,' for he says,[10] 'If your enemy be hungry, give him bread [religious nourishment] to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water [spiritual refreshment] to drink...'[11] Isaiah calls him 'Stumbling-block,' for he cries,[12] 'Remove the stumbling-block out of the way of my people'. Ezekiel calls him 'Stone,' for he says,[13] 'I will remove the heart of stone out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh'. Joel calls him 'Lurker,' for he says,[14] 'I will remove far off from you the tzefoni' (which, in aggadah, is taken as a symbolic name of the tempter who lies hidden (tzafun) in the heart of man)."[15]

References[]

  1. ^ Hullin 51a
  2. ^ Berachot 20b; Pesachim 119b [correct version in MSS.]; Sotah 4b; Gittin 7a; Hullin 84b; see Rabbi Ammi
  3. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 42b, Bava Batra 131b
  4. ^ Pesachim 110b; Ketubot 112a; Bava Batra 131b; Menachot 43a; Hullin 42b, 55a.
  5. ^ Psalms 138:6
  6. ^ Sotah 5a
  7. ^ Genesis 8:21
  8. ^ Deuteronomy 10:16
  9. ^ Psalms 51:12
  10. ^ Proverbs 25:21,22
  11. ^ Compare Isaiah 55:1,2
  12. ^ Isaiah 57:14
  13. ^ Ezekiel 36:26
  14. ^ Joel 2:20
  15. ^ Sukkah 52a

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "'Awira, Rab". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.