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ḤASDAI (Ḥisdai ), name of four Babylonian exilarchs. Ḥasdai ben bustanai lived in the 7th century. Both he and his brother Baradoi served as exilarchs following the death of their father, *Bustanai, in about 670. The two brothers attempted to undermine the position of the sons of their father's Persian wife, alleging that she had the status of a female prisoner of war who had not been manumitted.

Ḥasdai ben baradoi (d. 733?) was exilarch at the beginning of the 8th century. He was the father-in-law of R. Natronai b. Nehemiah, the head of the Pumbedita academy. Various legends are told about him in Arab chronicles. His son Solomon was exilarch from 733 to 759, if not later. His second son, David, was the father of *Anan, founder of the Karaite sect. Ḥasdai ben natronai was exilarch during the first half of the 9th century.

Ḥasdai ben david ben hezekiah (the Second) was exilarch in the 12th century (d. before 1135). During this period the office of exilarch gained in prestige, and its bearers had great influence at the court of the caliph Muhammad al-Muktafi, who appointed him as exilarch. Benjamin of Tudela, the 12th-century traveler, reports that Ḥasdai was one of the teachers of David *Alroy, the false Messiah. His son Daniel took his place as exilarch. Abraham *Ibn Ezra may have met him during his visit to Baghdad in 1139. He died a year before *Pethahiah of Regensburg's visit to Baghdad in about 1175.


M.N. Adler (ed.), Masot Binyamin mi-Tudela, (1907), 54 (Eng. pt.); Pethahiah of Regensburg, Sibbuv, ed. by L. Gruenhut (1905), 9; S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim im nachgaonaeischen Zeitalter (1914), 115–8; Ch. Tykocinski, in: Devir, 1 (1923), 145–79; J. Mann, in: Sefer… S.A. Poznański (1927), 23; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 208–9, 211, 228; S. Abramson, in: ks, 26 (1950), 93–94. add. bibliography: Y. Gil, Be-Malkhut Ishma'el, vol. 1, 95–97, 307, 433–35.

[Abraham David]

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