Teacher of the Law at the time of Herod. According to a tradition preserved in the Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 3), Bava ben Buṭa was the only teacher of the Law who was spared by Herod when he killed all of the Sages at the time. According to this tradition it was Bava ben Buṭa, deprived of his eyesight by Herod, who advised the latter to rebuild the Temple in expiation of his great crimes.
In halakhic tradition Bava ben Buṭa is recorded as a disciple of Shammai, although his rulings followed Hillel in important cases. Bava was so scrupulous in his religious observances that he brought a free-will offering every day, for fear that he might have committed a sin requiring atonement. Bava was a member of the beit din and always saw that justice was done, particularly to women (Giṭṭin 57a; Nedarim 66b).« Back to Glossary Index