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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works


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Hebrew Name(s): רב ששת
Other Names: Rav Sheshet, Shishat
Period: Amoraim — 4th Century
Location: Babylonia
Dates: early 4th Century

Sheshet was a Babylonian Amora of the Third Generation and colleague of R. Naḥman bar Jacob, with whom he had frequent arguments concerning questions of religious law. His teacher's name is not definitely known, but Sheshet was an auditor at Huna's lectures (Yeb. 64b; Ket. 69a).
Sheshet lived at first in Nehardea and later at Maḥuza and Shilhe (near Sura,) where he founded an academy. He was blind and so relied on his retentive memory. He knew the entire body of Tannaic literature by heart and its Amoraic interpretations (Shebu. 41b).
It is said that R. Ḥisda used to tremble before the wealth of knowledge of baraitot and maxims of Sheshet. He transmitted many sayings of the older Tannaim, especially R Eleazer b. Azariah. In his teaching he took tradition as the basis for every question and his answers are often preceded by 'We have learned it in the Mishnah or a baraita" (BM. 90a; Yoma 48a).
His name is sometimes pronounced Shishat.


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