Natronai ben Ḥavivai

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NATRONAI BEN ḤAVIVAI (Zavinai ; second half of eighth century), exilarch in Babylonia and pupil of R. *Yehudai Gaon. R. *Sherira relates in his epistle (Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, ed. Lewin (1921), 104) that in the year 1082 of the Seleucid era (771) a conflict over the exilarchate broke out between Natronai and Zakkai b. Aḥunai, who had already occupied this position for a number of years. R. Malkha b. R. Aḥa, the Gaon of Pumbedita, supported Natronai, but both yeshivot supported Zakkai b. Aḥunai. When R. Malkha died, Natronai was compelled to leave Babylonia. He then traveled to the Maghreb (or Spain). According to Spanish tradition, Natronai prepared from memory a copy of the Babylonian Talmud for the Spanish Jews. It is possible that Natronai was the grandfather of Natronai, the exilarch in Babylonia after 857.


L. Ginzberg, Geonica, 1 (1909), 17–20; B.M. Lewin, Oẓar ha-Ge'onim, 1 (1928), 20; S. Abrahamson (ed.), Massekhet Avodah Zarah; Ketav Yad Beit ha-Midrash le-Rabbanim be-New York (1957), introd. 13.

[Avraham David]