(1) Third-century Palestinian amora. Bebai studied under R. Johanan (bk 61a), Resh Lakish (tj, Nid. 3:3, 50d), R. Eleazar b. Pedat (Zev. 70b), and R. Joshua b. Levi (Ber. 62b). He was a close associate of Ammi and Assi (Shab. 74a; tj, Ter. 8:5, 45c). He interpreted Deuteronomy 28:66 in terms of his own poverty: "'The life you face shall be precarious' – this refers to him who purchases provisions from one year for the next; 'You shall be in terror night and day' – refers to him who purchases provisions from one Sabbath eve to the next, 'with no assurance of survival' – refers to him who is dependent upon the bakery." Although Bebai engaged chiefly in halakhah, his opinions being frequently cited in both Talmuds, he was also a competent aggadist. Particularly well-known is his application of the commandment, "You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord God" (Ex. 20:7), to hypocrites: "Do not don tefillin, wrap yourself in a tallit, and then commit a sin" (pr, 22:111b).
(2) Fourth-century Babylonian amora. Bebai studied under R. *Naḥman and the Talmud quotes halakhic problems that he discussed with his teacher (bm 23b; bb 36b). He taught beraitot in the school of Naḥman (Ḥag. 22b; Yev. 12b) and sat before Hamnuna (Nid. 27a). He transmitted teachings in the names of Rav and Samuel and was endorsed by R. Joseph: "Adopt the version of Bebai" (Meg. 18b). He was friendly with R. Joseph (Kid. 81a), who placed him in charge of religious affairs in his city (Kid. 76b). The exilarch Isaac was his sister's son (Yev. 115b).
Hyman, Toledot, 264ff.
[Yitzhak Dov Gilat /