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210 BARAITOT

(Also called apocryphal Mishnayot) were compiled. They are included in the overall term Talmud (Gemara), which embraces both the Jerusalem Talmud and the more famous Babylonian Talmud.


212 EMPEROR CRACALLA (Roman Empire)

Allowed all free men including Jews within the empire to become full Roman citizens. Cracalla (188-217) the son of Septimius Severus, was evidently friendly to the Jews. Also named Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, he is considered by some to be the "Antoninus" mentioned in the Talmud as a friend and benefactor of the patriarch Judah I.


212 - 297 RAV HUNA (Babylon)

Succeeded Rav as Resh Metivta (director of the academy) at Sura and served for 40 years. He was instrumental in declaring intellectual independence from Eretz Israel. Successful yet modest, he was a philanthropist in all spheres of Jewish life. In addition to serving as the Resh Metivta, who was the spiritual and intellectual ruler, he was also the Exilarch (Greek for "Prince of Captivity" - Resh Galuta, who usually could trace his liniage from King David through Zerubavel). He was received by the Court and was responsible as Chief Justice for criminal and civil matters, including the appointment of judges, police and civil administrators.


219 ABBA ARIKA (RAV) (175-247) (Babylon)

The word "Rav" means master. He was a student of Judah HaNasi and after his death, he opened the Torah academy at Sura, which became one of the pillars of Babylonian Jewry. At its peak, over 1,200 students studied there. The beginning of the third century saw a rise in Jewish activities and a decline in the supremacy of Israel. The decline was due to the constant despoiling of Israel by the weakened Roman army and the rise of another ruler in Palmyra (ancient city of central Syria), who heavily taxed the inhabitants of Israel, reducing them to poverty. This directly affected support for schools of learning, which soon migrated to quieter, more tolerant, and more affluent shores. Rav was noted for improving moral and intellectual positions through his responsa (ordinances), including a ban on marriage without courtship and forbidding fathers to betroth a daughter without her consent. These responsa came in the form of questions. They became a popular way of maintaining contact with dispersed communities and, in various contexts, they still continue today.




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