Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava

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Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava was a third generation Tana and a friend of Rabbi Akiva. He sacrificed his life at age 70 to ordain five of his students and continue the Smicha tradition. Rabbi Yehuda ben Baba is considered one of the Asara Hargay Malchus.

[edit] Smicha

Following the Bar Kochva revolt, the Hedrianic Roman government issued many cruel, ruthless decrees against the Jews. Realizing the continuity of the Jewish Nation was depended on the chain of Smicha, they decreed that any individual that ordains or is ordained will be executed and the entire city that housed the ceremony will be demolished. Despite the grave danger, Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava then age 70, went ahead and ordained the leading elders of the forthcoming generation; Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yossi ben Chalafta, Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua and possibly Rabbi Nichemya.

In order to prevent the destruction of the hosting city, the Smicha was performed in between two large cities Usha and Shafram but outside their city limits. Ordaining the students was a lengthy process that required handing down various mysteries as well as Halachic rules and conclusion. In middle of the ceremony, they were discovered by a legion of Roman soldiers. Despite his students protests, Rabbi Yehuda ben Baba chose to remain and block the enemy so the newly ordained Rabbis could flee and continue the chain of Jewish survival. Using intense Kabbalistic meditations he wedged himself with stone like force in the narrow pathway, preventing the Roman soldiers from budging him although they pierced his body with 300 spears, giving his students a chance to escape.

[edit] Chasid

Whenever the Talmud relates a story about an anonymous 'Chasid' it is either referring to Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava or Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai.

[edit] Kever Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava

Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava is buried in the arab occupied city of Shfar'am.

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