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Abba Saul ben Batnit


ABBA SAUL BEN BATNIT (first century c.e.), mentioned a number of times in tannaitic sources. According to Beẓah 3:8, Abba Saul was a shopkeeper in Jerusalem who had the custom of filling his measuring vessels with oil and wine before a festival for the convenience of his customers. Praised for his honesty, the Tosefta (ibid., 3:8) reports that he once brought as a gift to the Temple three hundred jars of oil which had accumulated from the drops left in the measuring vessels, to which he had no right. When he was ill and the sages came to visit him, he showed them his right hand, and exclaimed: "See this right hand which always gave honest measure" (tj, Beẓah 3:9, 62b). His name is associated with a halakhic precedent at the end of Mishnah Shabbat (24:5), and Tosefta Menaḥot (13:21, Pes. 57a) mentions him in connection with a series of criticisms of the conduct of the high priestly class in the last decades of the Second Temple.


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; A. Buechler, Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety (1922), 203.

[Abraham Goldberg]

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