Tanḥum ben Ḥiyya

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TANḤUM BEN ḤIYYA (end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries c.e.), Palestinian amora. In Babylonian sources he is referred to as Tanḥum "of Kefar Akko" (mk 16b; Yev. 45a), which, according to S. Klein (Ereẓ ha-Galil, 42), is in Lower Galilee. Elsewhere, however (Gen. R. 100:7), his birthplace is given as Kefar Agin (today Umm Jūnī, south of the Sea of Galilee), which was, apparently, not well-known in Babylon and was therefore referred to as Kefar Akko. He also seems to have spent some time in Tiberias, and on one occasion he and Aḥa, the trustee of the local castle, ransomed some captive Jewish women who had been taken there from Armenia, probably by Roman troops (Yev. 45a, see Dik. Sof.). While in Galilee, he was appointed a member of the commission which determined the intercalation of the calendar (tj, Sanh. 1:2, 18c). Tanḥum was wealthy and charitable, and it is related that whenever his mother purchased meat for her household, she would also purchase an equivalent amount for distribution among the poor (Lev. R. 34:5). Among his colleagues was Ḥanina b. *Papa (tj, mk. 3:7, 83c), and he transmitted sayings in the name of Joshua b. Levi (tj, Shek. 3:1, 47b), and Johanan (tj, Ta'an, 2:1, 65b), Three of his explanations of halakhot are recorded (Bek. 57b; tj, Meg. 4:1, 75a twice), and among his many aggadic sayings are: "When one who has learnt, taught, and observed the Law fails to prevent evil when it is in his power to do so, he shall be smitten with the curse: 'cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of the Torah, to do them'" (Deut. 27:26; tj, Sot. 7:4, 21d). The aggadah relates that when he died, "all human statues were dislodged" (mk, 25b).


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 271–2.