Rabbi Abba Chalafta

Rabbi Chalafta was a third generation Tana, served as the spiritual leader of Tzipori and father of the well known Tana Rabbi Yossi

Born: unknown
Died: Israel , Kfar Chananya, unknown

Rabbi Chalafta was a third generation Tana, served as the spiritual leader of Tzipori and father of the well known Tana Rabbi Yossi. He was a descendant of Yehonadav ben Rechev and was born before the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Rabbi Chalafta's teachings are quoted a number of times by his son Rabbi Yossi who refers to him as 'Abba Chalafta'. His friends were Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri and Rabbi Chanina ben Tardyon.


Abba Chalafta lived to see both Rabbi Gamliel the Elder as well as his grandson Rabbi Gmliel of Yavneh.

Rebbe Chalafta was one of the Sages who had to deal with the situation created by the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and conform Jewish Halacha and customs to the current circumstances. Once during on a fast day day decreed in Tzipori by Rabbi Chalafta and Rabbi Chanina ben Tardyon, instead of answering Amen following the blessings they continued to answer Baruch Shem Kivod etc. as was customary in the Temple. Although during the rest of the year the congregation would answer Amen, they felt that in the extended fast day services involving 24 blessings and shofar blowings, they should continue with tradition as done in the Temple. When the other Sages heard this they issued a protest on this ruling saying this was only acceptable in prayers taking place by the Eastern gate of Temple Mount where they would pronounce the actual Tetragrammaton.

Rabbi Halafta is buried in the Kfar Chananya area, right after the Chalafta traffic junction that was named in his memory. A few feet away is the Kever of his son Rabbi Yosi. A mistaken tradition also places the tomb of Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta in this courtyard but was rebuffed by the Arizal who placed it in Tzefat in the vicinity of the ancient cemetery. Near these kivarim still stands an ancient large tree that was inscribed in diaries of visitors hundreds of years back.

May the merit of the tzadik Rabbi Abba Chalafta protect us all. Amen

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