Abba Oshaya (Hoshaya) of Tiriah

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ABBA OSHAYA (Hoshaya ) OF TIRIAH (a village in Galilee, near Nazareth), probably lived in Palestine during the fourth century c.e. (Gen. R. 58:2). None of his halakhot or aggadot has been preserved; but he was remembered for his piety. Abba Oshaya was a launderer who was meticulous in his work. According to the law the launderer could keep the few threads which detached themselves during the wash. Abba Oshaya however refrained from this practice (tj, bk 10:11, 7c). Another incident tells of a queen who was bathing where Abba Oshaya worked. She lost her jewelry and relinquished all claim to it. Abba Oshaya, however, found it and insisted on returning it to her (tj, bm 2:5, 8c). Because of his piety he was regarded as being especially beloved of God. The Midrash (Lev. R. 30:1) relates that "When Abba Oshaya died, his bed was seen floating in the air, and the people applied to him the verse 'If a man would give all the substance of his house for love' – the reference being to the love which God bestowed on Abba Oshaya of Tiriah – he would utterly be desposed" (Song 8:7). Abba Oshaya is an example of the influence which some scholars had, not as a result of their teaching, but on account of their exemplary lives. S. Liebermann, however, is of the opinion that Abba Oshaya the launderer is to be identified with the tanna "Isaiah of Tarichae" mentioned in Tosafot (bk 11:14) as a man of exceptional piety and not with the later amora (The Talmud of Caesarea, Musaf le-Tarbiẓ, 2 no. 4, p. 85 note 12).


Hyman, Toledot, 117; S. Klein (ed.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 1 (1939), 73.

[Moshe Beer]