HUẒAL (or Huzal of Benjamin; Meg. 5b), Babylonian town between Nehardea and Sura, but nearer the latter. There was a Jewish settlement in Huẓal from early times and it was famous for its ancient synagogue, which according to tradition was built by the first exiles from Judah and "the Divine Presence dwelt within it" (Meg. 29a; Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, ed. by B.M. Levin (1921), 72f.). Two great scholars from Huẓal are already known in the middle of the second century C.E.: Josiah, who studied under *Ishmael in Ereẓ Israel (Men. 57b), and Joseph of Huẓal, who studied under *Yose b. Ḥalafta in Sepphoris (Yoma 52b; Ned. 81a). The inhabitants of Huẓal were known for their fastidiousness with regard to food (Ned. 49b). Huẓal came under the spiritual influence of Sura, such scholars as *Ḥisda and *Ashi sending their decisions there (Ḥul. 107a, 132b). Among the amoraim originating from Huẓal were Assi of Huẓal, who was active in the first half of the third century (Ḥul. 26b), and Aḥa of Huẓal of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century (Ker. 13b).
Neubauer, Géogr, 350; A. Berliner, Beitraege zur Geographie und Ethnographie Babyloniens im Talmud und Midrasch (1883), 32; J. Obermeyer, Die Landschaft Babylonien im Zeitalter des Talmuds und des Gaonats (1929), 299–301; Neusner, Babylonia, 2 (1966), 126, 145, 234. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Eshel, Jewish Settlements in Babylonia during Talmudic Times (1979), 105–107.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.