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Ḥanina (Ahonai) Kahana ben Huna


ḤANINA (Ahonai ) KAHANA BEN HUNA (the second half eighth century), gaon of Sura (769–774). A priest belonging to a significant priestly family, he let his nails grow, saying "the Temple will soon be rebuilt and they will require a priest qualified for melikah" (slaughtering the sacrificial bird by pinching the back of its neck; Yev. 1:15). Ḥanina was a student of *Yehudai b. Naḥman Gaon. His interpretations and rulings, found in the Halakhot Gedolot, were highly regarded by succeeding geonim. The value of the sela coin as determined by him has been incorporated in the text of the Talmud (Bek. 50a). Ḥanina was the teacher of Jacob b. Mordecai ha-Kohen, who was known among the geonim for his independent views, and also of Samuel, the first portion of whose Midrash Asefah has been included in the Halakhot Gedolot, in collections of geonic responsa, and also in the Midrashim of Yemen. Some passages of Hanina's works have been included in the Yalkut Shimoni.


B.M. Lewin (ed.), Iggeret R. Sherira Ga'on (1921), 108; idem, Oẓar ha-Ge'onim (Ta'anit), pt. 2 (1932), 30; L. Ginzberg, Geonica, 2 (Eng., 1909), 31, 94, 113; Baron, Social2, 7 (1958), 259f.; J. Mueller, Mafte'aḥ li-Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1891), 72.

[Meir Havazelet]

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