Avin

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AVIN

AVIN (Ravin, Avun, Bun ), variations of the same name. Ravin, an elision of R. (or Rav) Avin, occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, Avun and Bun in the Jerusalem Talmud and Avin in both. Many amoraim were called by this name, mostly with the addition of their patronymic but also without it, thus making it at times impossible to identify the author of a halakhic or aggadic statement.

(1) Babylonian amora, c.300. Emigrating to Ereẓ Israel where he met R. Johanan and Resh Lakish, he studied under Abbahu in Caesarea, R. Zeira in Tiberias, and R. Ilai. He was one of the naḥutei, i.e., sages who journeyed from Ereẓ Israel to Babylonia or vice versa, conveying to the scholars of one the teachings of the other. Hence the frequent statement in the Talmud: "When Ravin came" (i.e., from Ereẓ Israel to Baby-lonia). With the increased persecution in Ereẓ Israel after the Edict of Milan, the naḥutei settled in Babylonia. Ravin went to live in Pumbedita where he was a close associate of *Abbaye, the head of the local academy.

(2) Palestinian amora of the fourth century, apparently the son of the above, according to the tradition that "on the day Avin died, Avun his son was born" (Gen. R. 58:2; cf. tj, Kid. 1:7, 61b). He was a colleague of R. Mana, the head of the yeshivah of Sepphoris, with whom he was involved in many halakhic controversies. Once when Avun built gates for a large bet midrash and joyfully showed them to R. Mana, the latter, quoting the verse "For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and builded palaces" (Hos. 8:14), replied that it would be preferable if he had occupied himself with obtaining support for students (tj, Shek. 5:4, 49b). A parable quoted in the name of Avun (either 1 or 2) is directed against the various Christian sects who were then arguing among themselves as to which of them represented the spiritual continuity of Israel. It is to the effect that the straw, the chaff, and the stubble disputed with one another, each contending that on its account the earth was sown. The wheat said to them: "Wait until the harvest, when we shall know on whose account the field was sown." When the crop was harvested and the owner came to winnow it, the chaff was blown away by the wind, the straw was thrown to the ground, the stubble burnt and the wheat heaped up. It is so with the various nations of the world who claim: "We are Israel and on our account the world was created." Israel said to them: "Wait until the coming of the day of the Lord. Then we shall indeed know on whose account the world was created" (Song R. 7:3).

bibliography:

Frankel, Mevo, 60b; Hyman, Toledot, 89–93; Bacher, Pal Amor.

[Yitzhak Dov Gilat]