R' Acha Sar HaBirah is mentioned in a few places in shas. Rashi tells us that 'Sar HaBirah' was his nickname. However, in some places his title is רב, while in other places he is mentioned as רבי. This post states that רבי means the person received semicha and thus lived in Eretz Yisroel, and רב meant someone from Bavel. However, when I was looking through the sources, I found R' Acha Sar HaBirah brought up as both.

Kesubos 88a

אמר רב אחא שר הבירה מעשה בא לפני רבי יצחק באנטוכיא ואמר לא שנו אלא לכתובת אשה משום חינא אבל בעל חוב לא

Kesubos 22a

וזו הלכה העלה רב אחא שר הבירה לפני חכמי' באושא ואמרו אם נתנה אמתל' לדבריה נאמנת

Bava Basra 146a

וזו הלכה העלה רבי אחא שר הבירה לפני חכמים לאושא ואמרו סבלונות העשוין ליבלות אין נגבין ושאין עשוין ליבלות נגבין

Yevamos 45a

רבי אחא שר הבירה ור' תנחום בריה דרבי חייא איש כפר עכו פרוק הנהו שבוייתא דאתו מארמון לטבריא

So why is he referred to as both? Did he live in Eretz Yisroel, Bavel, or maybe both? I'd appreciate sources on the matter.

  • Perhaps the Gemaras calling him רב were from before he received Semicha, and רבי is from after?
    – DonielF
    Mar 14, 2019 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


This book (text) says that there is a possibility that there were two individuals of the same name. He references a lost reference in tosefta which cites a man of this name. He also says that per Rashbam, the Usha incident mentioned, occurred during the times of Sanhedrin. However, he himself leaves it as unclear.

  • Even if there were 2 R' Acha's, why would one with the yud & without both be mentioned in Usha?
    – Rafael
    Mar 15, 2019 at 2:44

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