Ḥovah

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ḤOVAH

ḤOVAH (third century c.e.), wife of R. *Huna, the head of the Sura academy. Ḥovah is mentioned only twice in the Talmud – each case in connection with acts of doubtful halakhic propriety: She shaved her children's heads (Naz. 57b) and she looked after her husband's sheep although sheep were not supposed to be bred in Babylonia (bk 80a). Each time, R. Adda b. Ahavah – who had a reputation for uncompromising piety as well as miraculous powers (Ber. 20a; Ta'an. 20b; et al.) – pronounced a malediction against her: "Ḥovah will [or shall] bury her children." As long as Adda was alive, none of the children she bore to R. Huna survived. Since many of Huna's children are known to have survived, Hyman suggests that Ḥovah was probably his second wife. However, she could equally have been his first or only wife, and the surviving children could have been born after R. Adda's death. The vocalization of Ḥovah's name is uncertain. Since Ḥovah means "guilt" or "debt," it is more likely to have been Ḥubbah or (according to Ms. m in bk 80a) Ḥibbah ("love").

bibliography:

Hyman, Toledot, 1, 343.

[Moses Aberbach]