Scholar of the third amoraic generation (third century). He was probably a Babylonian by birth and a late pupil of Rab, in whose name he reports halakot and haggadot (Yoma 41b; Suk. 15b et seq.; Ned. 7b); and is found associating with Anan, who lived and died in Babylonia (Ḳid. 39a). Frequently, however, he appears in Palestine, where he waged controversies with the foremost scholars of his generation: Ela, Hoshaiah II., Levi (Yer. Dem. vi. 25c; Gen. R. xxix. 4; Num. R. xiii. 8). Hanan teaches: Whoso invokes God's retribution on his neighbor suffers first. Thus, Sarah called on God to judge between her and Abraham (Gen. xvi. 5), and soon thereafter, it is written (Gen. xxiii. 2), "Sarah died . . . and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her" (B. Ḳ. 93a). Israel's enslavement in Egypt was a divine retribution for selling Joseph. "The Holy One, blessed be He! said to the [eponyms of the] tribes, 'Joseph was sold for a servant: as ye live, ye shall annually repeat the statement, "We were servants of Pharaoh in Egypt"'" (Midr. Teh. x 2). The last verse forms part of the Seder service. In the threefold threat conveyed in Deut. xxviii. 66, Hanan finds foreshadowed the mental anguish of him who possesses no land and is obliged to buy provisions by the year or by the week from the markets, or by the day from the shopkeeper (Yer. Shab. viii. 11a; see Bebai I.; comp. Aḥai b. Josiah). Hanan married into the patriarchal family, and for many years had no children. When at last he was blessed with a son, Hanan died. At his funeral this elegy was pronounced: "Happiness to sorrow was changed; mirth and mourning have met; joy was succeeded by wailing; at the first caress died the caresser." The child was named Hanan after its father (M. Ḳ. 25b).

  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 86 et seq.;
  • Frankel, Mebo, p. 86a.
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