Rabbi Tanchuma

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Rabbi Tanchuma bar Abba (רבי תנחומא בר אבא) was a fifth generation Eretz Yisroel Amora and the author of the Midrash Tanchuma. He was a student of Rabbi Huna and Rabbi Yehuda bar Shalom and was well known for his sermons in Aggada.


[edit] Saved From Animals

When the Christian ruler suggested that the two religions mingle and become 'one people', Rabbi Tanchuma responded; "Yes, but since we are circumcised we cannot become like you; however you, by having yourself circumcised, may become like us." The emperor agreed that his answer was correct but sentenced him to ingestion by wild beasts for being victorious over the king. Rabbi Tanchuma was thrown to the wild beasts but they did him no harm, fearing the form of Hashem that rested upon the countenance of this holy man. When a by-standing unbeliever remarked that perhaps the beasts were not hungry, he himself was tossed to them and was instantly torn to pieces.

[edit] Debates

Rabbi Tanchuma often debated with the Christian scholars and once debated disbelievers in Antioch.

[edit] Story of the Rain

In the days of Rabbi Tanchuma there was a drought in Eretz Yisroel. After declaring a few fast days and going unanswered, Rabbi Tanchuma told the people to have mercy one upon the other so Hashem would have mercy on them. They started giving charity to the poor. As they were doing so, they noticed a man giving money to a woman he had divorced. Suspecting him of sin they reported the indecent to Rabbi Tanchuma. Summing the man, Rabbi Tanchuma interrogated him regarding his actions, only to learn that the man had given money to his ex wife simply out of mercy and knowing her dire financial situation. At this point Rabbi Tanchuma raised his hands towards heaven and said, “Master of the Universe, See this man who had no financial obligation to that woman, but as he noticed she's in trouble, had mercy for her; you are known to have Mercy, and we are the children of Abraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. Shouldn't you have mercy for us?” Immediately rain started to fall and the country was supplied with water.

[edit] Midrash Tanchum

Rabbi Tanchuma often gave sermons filled with homiletic / aggadic teachings. There were later organized by his students into the 'Midrash Tanchuma'.

[edit] Kever Rabbi Tanchuma

Rabbi Tanchuma is buried in Kfar Nachum.

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