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Aḥa ben Jacob


AḤA BEN JACOB (c. 300 c.e.), Babylonian amora. He was a disciple of Huna and older contemporary of Abbaye and Rava. He taught in the city of Paphunia (Epiphania), near Pumbedita (Kid. 35a). Aḥa held discussions with R. *Naḥman, and although the latter was unable to answer his questions (cf. bk 40a), he often cites Naḥman as his authority (bb 52a). He also held discussions with Abbaye and Rava (Hor. 6b; Ḥul. 10b) and took issue with Ḥisda (cf. Beẓah 33b). His differences of opinion with Rava extended also to the aggadah (Shab. 87b). Nevertheless, Rava had great respect for him and praised him as "a great man" (bk 40a). On one occasion Aḥa asserted that "Satan and Peninnah had as their true intent the service of God." At this point, the talmudic story continues, Satan appeared and in gratitude kissed Aḥa's feet (bb 16a). Several other talmudic stories concerning Aḥa also involve Satan (cf. tj, Shab. 2:3, 5b; Suk. 38a; Men. 62a). A tendency toward mysticism can be detected in several of his statements (Ḥag. 13a; 13b, etc.).

In addition to his reputation as a scholar he was famous for his piety. Miracles are attributed to him and a story is told of his exorcising a demon (Kid. 29b). Miraculous events are also related regarding his death (bb 14a). His son (Kid. 29b) and grandson (Sot. 49a), both named Jacob, were also scholars.


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Bacher, Bab Amor.

[Zvi Kaplan]

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