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ALEXANDRI (Alexandrah, Alexandrai, Alexandros ; third century), Palestinian amora. He was a leading aggadist of his day. Many of the scholars who quote Alexandri belong to the amoraim who centered around the academy at Lydda. It is therefore probable that Alexandri came from Lydda. It is related that he used to go about the streets of the town urging people to perform good deeds. He once entered the marketplace and called out: "Who wants life?" When the people answered him affirmatively he responded by quoting the verse: "Who is the man that desireth life … Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it" (Ps. 34:13–15; Av. Zar. 19b). Many of Alexandri's homiletical dissertations are based on the book of Psalms. "Break Thou the arm of the wicked" (Ps. 10:15) is quoted by him as an indictment of profiteering. From Psalms 16:10 he derived that whoever hears himself reviled and does not resent it deserves to be called pious (ḥasid). He also said: "When man uses a broken vessel he is ashamed of it, but not so God. All the instruments of His service are broken vessels, as it is said: 'The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart' (Ps. 34:19); or 'Who healeth the broken in heart'" (Ps. 147:3, pr 25:158b).

He customarily concluded his daily prayers: "Sovereign of the Universe, it is known full well to Thee that it is our desire to perform Thy will, and what prevents us? The yeast in the dough (i.e., the evil inclination which acts as a fermenting and corrupting agent) and subjection to foreign rule. May it be Thy will to deliver us from their hand, so that we may be enabled to perform the statutes of Thy will with a perfect heart" (Ber. 17a).

No details of his life are known, except that his statement "The world is darkened for him whose wife has died in his days" (Sanh. 22a) may have had a personal application. Scholars by the name of Alexandri b. Haggai (b. Ḥagra, b. Ḥadrin), Alexandri "Kerovah" ("the hymnologist"), and Alexandri de-Zaddika ("the Just"), are mentioned in isolated talmudic passages and one of these may be identical with this Alexandri.


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Bacher, Pal Amor, index.

[Yitzhak Dov Gilat]

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