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ben Pappa, Chanina

by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis
A Talmudic sage. Demonic forces periodically tormented him. He was once confronted by evil spirits while delivering charity at night, but drove them away with words of Scripture. On another occasion, his body erupted into sores to fend off a seduction. When witchcraft was used to cure them, he was forced to flee to maintain his modesty, only to end up in a haunted bathhouse (P. Peah 8; Kid. 39b, 81a). He also received dreams that guided him in his teaching of the Torah. He was a close acquaintance of the Angel of Death, who he was able to outfox for a month. Before he died, he was shielded by a pillar of fire and only died when he willingly acquiesced (Ket. 77b).

Article copyright 2004 Geoffrey Dennis.

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