(See also Hai Gaon − The Salvation − English)
(See also Hai Gaon − The Salvation − עברית)
Rav Hai Gaon is significant for a number of reasons.
Hai Ben Shrira האי בן שרירא is a Rav רב , a “Master” Teacher of Tora, and a Gaon גאון , a “Pride” of the Rabanim רבנים (Rabbis). During the Medieval Age, Gaon is the official title for the head of one of the founding Yshivot ישיבות (Academies) of the Talmud, in the region of Bavel (Babylon in today Iraq).
Hai Gaon heads the Yshiva in the town Pumbdita פומבדיתא (today Fallujah in Iraq). An other Yshiva is in the town of Sura סורא , farther south. Together, some centuries earlier at the end of the Classical Age, these two schools produce the Book of the Talmud תלמוד (literally “Study”). They centralize the education and legal authority of the Rabanim, whence all Yhudi (Jewish) cultures today.
(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. Image: “Exile in Pumbdita”. brakha.blogspot.com.)
The opinions of Hai Gaon are authoritative for the Tora tradition. He channels the collective legal authority of Halakha between the Rabanim of the Talmud and the Rabanim of the Rishonim. Rav Hai is the last Gaon and culminates the Era of the Gonim. He enjoys Rabani authority across the Yhudi world from Spain to India. His letters of response are prolific, in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic, to answer the questions on various topics of Tora from other Rabanim.
Hai Gaon heads the Yshiva in Pumbdita that earlier helps compile the Talmud. In a way, he represents the Book of the Talmud itself. His immersion and mastery of Talmud studies, along with its ongoing legal applications in Medieval Bavel, embodies centuries of native Talmud culture. Its nuances, assumptions about the possible and the impossible, intuitions, and values. The letters of response by Hai Gaon express a totality of the worldview of the Talmud.
• (Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. Image: “Pumbdita”. Source of derivation. Google Maps. ©2011. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl, 2011.)