Huna (Huna, Hunya, Nehunya) ben Avin Ha-Kohen

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HUNA (Huna, Hunya, Nehunya) BEN AVIN HA-KOHEN

HUNA (Huna, Hunya, Nehunya) BEN AVIN HA-KOHEN (mid-fourth century c.e.), Palestinian amora. His full name appears in the Pesikta Rabbati (5:15b et al.). Huna was born in Babylon, where he studied under R. Joseph, but immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, and he gives a personal account of this immigration (tj, rh 2:2, 58a). He is seldom mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, but very frequently in the Jerusalem Talmud and Palestinian Midrashim, both in halakhah and aggadah. He transmits in the names of Babylonian scholars, particularly Joseph and also generally, referring to them as "the rabbis there" (tj, Yoma 3:6, 40c; Suk. 1:1, 52b). In Ereẓ Israel he sat before R. Jeremiah and was regarded as his pupil (Zev. 75b). In aggadah he frequently transmits in the name of Aḥa (tj, Ber. 9:3, 13d, and in the Midrashim). It appears that Huna took an active and prominent part in communal affairs of Ereẓ Israel, and was one of its leaders, both in the academic and the daily life of the community (see tj, Suk. 2:5, 53a; Pe'ah 3:9, 17d; et al.) and was accepted as an authority in practical halakhah (tj, Shev. 6:1, 36d; mk 1:2, 80b; bb 52b, 55a; et al.).

Several of Huna's sayings reflect the events of the revolt against Gallus (in 351; see, e.g., tj, Pes. 1:1, 27a; Gen. R. 31:11). It would appear that the decision which he sent to Babylonia informing them that they should fix the leap year themselves (rh 21a), is connected with these persecutions, since it was difficult for the Sanhedrin in Ereẓ Israel to do so. Similarly the letter sent to Babylon from Ereẓ Israel which tells in cryptic language of the intercalation of the year despite interferences by "that Edomite" (Sanh. 12a) was probably sent by Huna. His statements in the aggadah are frequent, and they embrace many aspects of Jewish thought. They are expressed in the form of expositions of Scripture, homilies, parables, proems to homilies, etc. In them too can be detected an echo of the difficult situation in his time – statements warning against forcing the end (of the exile), and the failures of the various attempts to do so (Song R. 2:2 no. 5; et al.).


Hyman, Toledot, 357.

[Shmuel Safrai]