TIGRIS (Heb. חִדֶּקֶל; from Old Persian, Tigra; Sumerian Idigna; Akk. Idiglat; Aramaic Diglat; Ar. Dijla), a major river of S.W. Asia (c. 1,150 mi. (1,850 km.) long). The Tigris is mentioned twice in the Bible, once in Genesis 2:14, as one of the four rivers flowing out of the Garden of Eden: "and the name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Ashur"; and a second time in Daniel 10:4, as the scene of Daniel's major vision. In the Targum and the Talmud the Tigris is referred to as Diglat, the earlier form of the name, and Neubauer regards the name Ḥiddekel as compounded of ḥad and Dekel, i.e., "the swiftly flowing Diklah." Homiletically R. Ashi interprets it in the Talmud as compounded of ḥad and kal, "sharp and quick." The waters of the Tigris were regarded as healthy both for body and mind (Pes. 59a). Since it is mentioned with regard to creation, it was enjoined that on seeing it one had to recite the blessing "who hath made the work of creation" (Yev. 121a). The Tigris formed the boundary of Babylonia in talmudic times from Baghdad to Apamea (Kid. 71b).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.