Judah ben Naḥamani

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JUDAH BEN NAḤAMANI (Nahman; third century c.e.), Palestinian amora. Judah was the meturgeman ("interpreter"; see *amora) of *Simeon b. Lakish in the bet ha-midrash of Tiberias. He was also known as a preacher and preached in the bet ha-midrash of Johanan (tj, Suk. 5:1, 55a). Many of his homilies are cited in the Talmud (Ḥag. 16a; Ket. 8b, et al.). On one occasion he was acting as a meturgeman for one who had been appointed dayyan by the nasi. Although the dayyan was not a scholar, Judah bent down, as it was the custom for the meturgeman, to listen to what the dayyan said to him in a low voice, and then explain and convey it to the audience audibly. The dayyan, however, was incapable of saying anything to him. Thereupon Judah delivered his own address, taking as his text the verse Habbakuk 2:19: "Woe unto him who sayeth unto wood: Awake! – to the dumb stone: Arise! Can this teach? Behold it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it" (Sanh. 7b), a patent allusion to the circumstances.


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 245.

[Zvi Kaplan]