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Nittai of Arbela

NITTAI OF ARBELA (= *Arbel in Lower Galilee; second half of second century B.C.E.), one of the *zugot; a colleague of *Joshua b. Peraḥyah. He was a pupil of *Yose b. Joezer of Zeradah and *Yose b. Johanan of Jerusalem, the first of the zugot, whom he and Joshua succeeded with Nittai serving as avbet din (Ḥag. 2:2; Avot 1:6). All that is known of his teaching is that he took part in the only halakhic dispute of his time: whether the placing of the hands upon a sacrifice (semikhah) during a festival is permitted. Nittai held that it was permitted, in contrast to Joshua b. Perahyah who forbade it (Ḥag. 2:2). His saying preserved in Avot is, "Keep at a distance from an evil neighbor; do not make yourself an associate of a wicked man; do not abandon faith in [divine] retribution" (Avot 1:7).


Hyman, Toledot, S.V.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.