Hiyya bar Abba
Hiyya bar Abba or Rabbi Hiyya (ca. 180-230 AD) (Hebrew: רבי חייא בר אבא) was an amoraic sage of priestly descent
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

 of the latter Mishnaic period. Active in Tiberias, Hiyya was the primary compiler of the tosefta
The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...

He was the uncle of Abba Arika
Abba Arika
Abba Arika was a Jewish Talmudist who lived in Babylonia, known as an amora of the 3rd century who established at Sura the systematic study of the rabbinic traditions, which, using the Mishnah as text, led to the compilation of the Talmud...


In the Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

 he is also called Ḥiyya bar Ba or Ḥiyya bar Wa (Yer. Berakhot iii.6a, iv.7d); and in both Talmuds he is frequently mentioned merely as R. Ḥiyya, the context showing that Hiyya bar Abba is meant. Though a native of Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, where, perhaps, for a very short time he came under the influence of Samuel of Nehardea
Samuel of Nehardea
Samuel of Nehardea or Samuel bar Abba was a Jewish Talmudist who lived in Babylonia, known as an Amora of the first generation; son of Abba bar Abba and head of the Yeshiva at Nehardea. He was a teacher of halakha, judge, physician, and astronomer. He was born about 165 at Nehardea, in Babylonia...

 (Weiss, "Dor," iii.94), he migrated to Palestine at a very early age. There he studied under Ḥanina and Joshua ben Levi
Joshua ben Levi
Joshua ben Levi or Yehoshua ben Levi was an amora who lived in the land of Israel of the first half of the third century. He headed the school of Lydda in the southern Land of Israel. He was an elder contemporary of Johanan bar Nappaha and Resh Lakish, who presided over the school in Tiberias...

, and came into very close contact with Simeon bar Laḳish. He is, moreover, known as a disciple of Rabbi Johanan
Yochanan bar Nafcha
Rabbi Yochanan ;...

, after whose death he and his friends Ammi and Assi
Rav Assi
Rav Assi , a Kohen, was a Jewish Amora sage of Babylon, of the first generation of the Amora era. He originated from Hutzal, that was located nearby Nehardea of Babylonia. He was a "Fellow Student" of R. Abba Arika and a teacher of R. Judah ben Ezekiel....

 were the recognized authorities on the Halakah in Palestine.

Ḥiyya was distinguished for the care with which he noted the sayings of his masters (Ber. 38b), and in questions of doubt as to the phraseology of a tradition the version of Ḥiyya was preferred (Ber. 32b, 38b). Though he was the author of many aggadot, he denounced every attempt to collect and commit them to writing, and upon seeing such a collection he cursed the hand that wrote it (Yer. Shab. xvi.15c). His interest was centered in Halakhah, in the knowledge of which he probably excelled all his Palestinian contemporaries. Together with Ammi and Assi, he formed a court of justice before which a certain woman named Tamar was tried. The sentence involved Ḥiyya and his associates in difficulty, and might have had disastrous results had not Abbahu
Abbahu was a Jewish Talmudist, known as an amora, who lived in the Land of Israel, of the 3rd amoraic generation , sometimes cited as R. Abbahu of Caesarea . His rabbinic education was acquired mainly at Tiberias, in the academy presided over by R. Johanan, with whom his relations were almost...

 promptly come to their assistance (Yer. Meg. iii.74a).

Ḥiyya was very poor, and therefore was compelled to go lecturing from town to town in search of a livelihood; he even temporarily left Palestine (Yer. Ma'as. Sh. v.56b). He was greatly annoyed that the lecturer on aggadah drew a larger audience than he (see Jew. Encyc. i.36, s.v. Abbahu). Through stress of poverty he accepted a commission from Judah II
Judah II
Judah II or Nesi'ah I was a famous Jewish sage who lived in Tiberias in the Land of Israel, in the middle of the third century CE. He is mentioned in the classical works of Judaism's oral law, the Mishnah and Talmud....

 to collect money to defray the expenses of the decaying patriarchate
Nāśī’ is a Hebrew title meaning prince in Biblical Hebrew, Prince in Mishnaic Hebrew, or president in Modern Hebrew.-Genesis and Ancient Israel:...

. The esteem in which Ḥiyya was held is manifested in the credentials obtained for him by Eleazar ben Pedath: "Behold, we have sent you a great man, our envoy. Until his return he possesses all the powers that we do." According to another version the introduction ran: "Behold, we have sent you a great man. His greatness consists in this, that he is not ashamed to say 'I know not' " (Yer. Ḥag. i.76d; Yer. Ned. x.42b). At another time Ḥiyya, Ammi, and Assi were appointed by Judah II to visit the various communities in Palestine, with the view of reawakening interest in the study of the Law (Yer. Ḥag. i.76c).

Ḥiyya had several brothers: R. Nathanha-Kohen, also known as R. Kohen (or R. Nathan) b. Abba; Rabbannai, or R. Bannai; and R. Simeon ben Abba. He had several children, among whom were R. Abba, R. Kahanah, and R. Nehemiah.
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