Rabbi Chanina was a third generation Tana. He lived in Sichnin, in the Lower Galilee. His colleague was R' Chalafta. He was one of the Ten Martyrs (Asarah Harugei Malchut).
He was the rosh yeshivah and head of the beit din in Sichnin.
R' Chanina was punished for pronouncing the Tetragrammaton in public, and his wife was punished for not preventing him for doing so.
R' Chanina had two sons and two daughters. One son associated with robbers and was put to death (Eicha Rabah 3:16, 6; Semachot 12:13), and the other was a Torah scholar (Tosefta Kelim 4:9). His well known daughter was Beruriah. His other daughter was sentenced to a brothel when R' Chanina was killed, because she was once walking in front of Roman notables who remarked "How beautiful are this maiden's steps," hereupon she was particular about how she stepped. She was later saved from the brothel by R' Meir Baal HaNes, who was married to her sister, Beruriah.(Avoda Zara 18a)
R' Chanina was a charity overseer. He was well known fir his reliability, and R' Eliezer Ben Yaacov said of him, "A person should not give his money to the charity purse unless it is supervised by a Torah scholar such as Chanina ben Teradion" (Avoda Zara 17b). When he once mistook Purim money for ordinary charity money and distributed it without specifying the purpose, he took his own money and distributed it as Purim money. Thus he did practice charity, says the Talmud, but not as much as he could have done(Avoda Zara 17b).
R' Chanina used a ram's horn and trumpets in Sichnin on Rosh HaShanah, but the Sages objected, stating that this was strictly a Temple practice. (Rosh HaShanah 27a)
He taught: If two people sit together and there are no words of Torah between them, it is a session of mockers...But if two people sit together and there are words of Torah between them, the Divine Presence rests between them...(Avot 3:2)
The Ten Martyrs
Lupinus the Roman Emperor at the time was studying Torah and asked the ten great sages of that time: "What is the law according to your Torah, for a Jew who sells another into captivity?" (referring to the sale of Joseph by his brothers) "Capital Punishment," answered Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues. "But, Yosef's brothers were never punished for their crime!" the Roman protested, and then began to set his deadly trap. "Justice must be done, and there has been no leaders to take their places until the ten of you!". When R' Nechunya ben HaKana heard of this decree, he told R' Yishmael Ben Elisha to asend to Heaven to ascertain whether this was the result of heavenly decree. R' Yishmael purified himself, uttered God's secret name, and ascended to Heaven. He asked the angel Gavriel about the decree, and Gavriel responded, "Accept it upon yourselves, righteous and beloved men, for I have heard behind the partition that this is to be your destiny," and R' Yishmael was told that the ten sages would be given to the evil angel Samael as a
punishment for the selling of Yoseph. R' Yishmael reported to his colleagues what he had been told, and they accepted the heavenly decree.
Rabbi Chanina was sentenced to death by the Romans, for teaching Torah and holding public gatherings despite the government's prohibition against it. He was burnt at the stake on the 27 of Sivan, wrapped in the Torah scroll that he had been holding when he was arrested. Tufts of wool soaked in water were placed over his heart so that his death should be prolonged. His daughter Beruriah cried out, "Father, that I should see you like this!" He answered, "Had I been burnt alone, it would have been difficult for me. Since I am
being burnt with a Torah scroll with me, He who avenges the plight of the Torah scroll will avenge my plight." His students said to him, "Rabbi, what do you see?" He responded "The parchments are burning, but the letters are soaring on high." He was told to open his mouth to allow the fire in to hasten his death, but he said, "It is better that He who gave [my life] should take it." The executioner offered to remove the tufts of wool in exchange for a portion in the World to Come. R' Chanina agreed, and when he died, the executioner jumped into the flames, whereupon a heavenly voice proclaimed that the two were assigned to the World to Come. At the conclusion of the famous story of the death of Rabbi Chanina ben Teradyon, Rebbi wept and stated that "there are those that acquire the Future World in a moment while others must work for it for many years" (Avoda Zara 17b-18a; Sifra Devarim 307;Semachot 8:12) .
According to the Ari (R' Yitzchak Luria), R' Chanina was the reincarnation of one of the brothers of Yosef HaTzaddik (Joseph) who sold him. R' Chanina's painful death was an atonement for that sin.
The Ari also adds that another part of the soul of R' Chanina was captured by the negative side after the sin of Adam and was inside Shchem ben Chamor who raped Dina (the daughter of Yaacov). The brothel story mentioned before is also related to the story of Shchem and Dina.(Shaar HaPsukim p. 83)
May the merit of The Tana Rabbi Chanina Ben Tradion protect us all, Amen.