views updated


HAMNUNA , the name of several Babylonian amoraim.

hamnuna saba ("the elder"), a pupil of Rav (bk 106a), mid-third century c.e. He transmitted his teacher's sayings (Er. 16b; et al.). Rav was fond of Hamnuna and taught him a number of apothegms (Er. 54a). He succeeded Rav as the head of the academy of Sura. According to the Talmud, statements of "the school of Rav" emanated from Hamnuna (Sanh. 17b). There are both halakhic and aggadic statements in his name, and many of the latter emphasize the duty of study of the Torah and the gravity of its neglect, e.g., "Jerusalem was destroyed only because they neglected the teaching of schoolchildren" (Shab. 119b); "Man is judged first in respect of study of Torah alone" (Kid. 40b). The Talmud also cites formulae of prayers uttered by him, some apparently composed by him (Ber. 11b; 17a; 58a; et al.). Hamnuna was an associate of Ḥisda (Shab. 97a; et al.) and Ḥisda once became so enthusiastic at his exposition that he said: "Would that we had feet of iron so that we could always run and listen to you" (see Ber. 41b and Rashi ibid.). It is stated that his body was transported for burial to Ereẓ Israel where miraculous events occurred on that occasion (mk 25a–b).

hamnuna, an amora of the beginning of the fourth century c.e. A native of Harpania in Babylonia (Yev. 17a), he resided in Harta of Argiz in the vicinity of Baghdad where he taught (Er. 63a; Shab. 19b). He was a pupil and colleague of Ḥisda (Er. 63a) who praised him highly to *Huna (Kid. 29b). He also studied under R. Judah (Shevu. 34a) and Ulla (Yev. 17a).

hamnuna zuta ("the younger"), fourth century c.e. The formula of the Confession of Sin, which he was accustomed to recite on the Day of Atonement, the opening words of which are "O my God! Before I was formed, I was not worthy," is included in the liturgy of that day. When requested to sing a song at the wedding of Mar, the son of Ravina, he sang: "Woe to us, that we must die!" asking his colleagues to join in with the refrain: "Where is the Torah and where is the Commandment that they may shield us?" (Ber. 31a).

Other amoraim of the same name, some with and some without appellations, who lived in the third and fourth centuries and whom it is difficult to identify, are referred to in the talmudic sources.


Hyman, Toledot, 376–9; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 281–3, 197f.

[Zvi Kaplan]