Rav Mari

רַב מ רִָי ב רְֵּיה דְבּתַ שְׁמ ואּלֵ – Rav Mari, son of Raḥel, the daughter of the amora Shmuel. A fourth-generation Babylonian amora, his unconventional appellation is explained by the history of that family. Shmuel’s were taken into captivity, and one of them, Raḥel, was captured by a gentile soldier, who later
converted and married her. He became known as Issur Giyora, that is, Issur the Convert, and he served as a confidant of the prominent Jewish leaders of the generation in Babylonia.

Even though his father had already converted before he was born, Rav Mari is generally mentioned without a patronymic because his mother came from a very prestigious family. There are several instances in the Talmud where Sages are called by the names of their famous mothers who hail from distinguished
families, even when their father’s identity would cast no aspersion on their lineage. Rav Mari was apparently wealthy and engaged in commerce. He was also a significant Torah scholar and was appointed to a lofty position in the court in Babylonia. Rav Mari had three sons, all of whom were Torah scholars: Rav Aḥa Sava, Mar Zutra, and Rava bar Rav Mari.

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