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Hezekiah

HEZEKIAH

HEZEKIAH (early third century c.e.), Palestinian amora; at times referred to as Beribbi (Ḥul. 57a). He was the son of R. *Ḥiyya. He and his brother Judah were praised from youth for their wisdom and were called rovin ("youths"; Ḥul. 19a–20a). Resh Lakish said of them that when Ḥiyya and his sons came to Erez Israel from Babylonia they restored the Torah, which had been forgotten (Suk. 20a). Although they gained their livelihood from agriculture they took care not to forget their learning (Ber. 18b). Hezekiah was more renowned than his brother and his name is more frequently mentioned in the Talmuds. He also compiled a collection of beraitot which are introduced in the Talmud with the words "the school of Hezekiah taught" (Sanh. 37b, et al.). He utilized the existent halakhic Midrashim and added to them. In consequence the Sifrei, and still more the Mekhilta of R. Simeon b. Yoḥai, contain anonymous statements which in the parallel passages in the Talmud and the Midrashim are introduced by "Hezekiah taught," or "the school of Hezekiah taught," or "Hezekiah said." The Talmud cites many halakhic disputes between Hezekiah and Johanan (Ḥag. 8a; Git. 53a, et al.). He also engaged in aggadah and is quoted in the Midrashim (Lev. R. 9:9; Tanh. Niẓẓavim 1, et al.). Among his sayings are: "A man's prayer is not heard unless he makes his heart like flesh" (Sot. 5a) explained by Rashi: "which is soft, and not like stone which is hard"; "Great is peace, for in connection with all other precepts it is written, 'if, thou meet' etc. [Ex. 23:4], 'if thou see' etc. [Ex. 23:5],… i.e., if a precept comes to your hand, you are bound to perform it, but if not, you are not bound to perform it. In this case, however, it says: 'Seek peace and pursue it' [Ps. 34:15], 'seek it in thine own place, and pursue it to another place'" [Lev. R. 9:9]. Hezekiah lived in Tiberias (Meg. 5b) and on his death was buried in the sepulcher of his father (mk 25a).

Another Palestinian amora of the same name lived at the beginning of the fourth century. He was a pupil of Jeremiah (Zev. 75b), many of whose sayings he transmitted (tj, Ber. 5:2, 9c, et al.), as well as those of Abbahu (tj, Bezah 1:2, 60b) who was a fellow citizen of Caesarea (tj, Dem. 1:3, 22b; tj, Shev. 9:7, 39a, et al.). Of his pupils Mana is known (tj, Ned. 5:5, 39b). Some are of the opinion that he moved to Babylon since an amora Hezekiah is referred to as transmitting sayings in the name of the Babylonian amora, Abbaye (Shab. 38b, et al.), but it appears that the reference is to a different sage.

bibliography:

Bacher, Tal Amor, 1; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Epstein, Tanna'im, 708ff.; 730ff.; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 165–6. hezekiah ii: Frankel, Mevo, 81a–b; Halevy, Dorot, 2 (1923), 465–7; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Z.W. Rabinowitz, Sha'arei Torat Bavel (1961), 395–6; H. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 391–2.

[Zvi Kaplan]

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