BE-ḤOZAI, a district extending E. of *Mesene, S.E. of Babylon, and N. of the Persian Gulf. Geographically, Be-Ḥozai did not belong to Babylonia, but to Persia. Despite the great distance between them (Ta'an, 21b; BK 104b), very close ties (including commercial) existed between the Jews of Babylonia and those of Be-Ḥozai. The district had a plentiful supply of water, and rice, extensively grown there, was used for bread by its inhabitants (Pes. 50b). It was an important station for goods in transit between Babylonia and Persia (Shab. 51b; BK 104b; Ket. 85a). Many problems were addressed to the Babylonian scholars by its sages, the names of some of whom are known, e.g., Avimi (Nid. 5b), Aḥa (BM 39b), Beroka (Ta'an. 22a), Avram Ḥoza'ah (Git. 50a), Ḥanina (Shab. 130b). The Babylonians had a generally poor opinion of the common people of Be-Ḥozai (Ned. 22a). The Babylonian Talmud mentions, among other localities in the region, Be Lapet (Syriac for Be Shafat), where many Jews lived (Ta'an, 22a), and Shushan (Meg. 2b), or "Sus," its widely used Syriac abbreviation (Sanh. 94a).
J. Obermeyer, Landschaft Babylonien (1929), 204–14. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Eshel, Jewish Settlements in Babylonia during Talmudic Times (1979), 58–59.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.