by Judith Hauptman

In Brief

Yalta is a character mentioned several times in the Babylonian Talmud, the wife of Rabbi Nahman, and the daughter of the exilarch. She is depicted as a strong-willed, free-spirited woman, who broke four hundred jugs of wine when slighted by a misogynistic guest.


Yalta is mentioned several times in the The discussions and elaborations by the amora'im of Babylon on the Mishnah between early 3rd and late 5th c. C.E.; it is the foundation of Jewish Law and has halakhic supremacy over the Jerusalem Talmud.Babylonian Talmud but nowhere else in rabbinic literature. She is identified as the wife of Rabbi Nahman, an oft-cited sage who flourished circa 250 CE. It is possible that her father was an The lay leader of the Jewish community in Babylonia for the first 12 centuries C.E.exilarch (BT Hullin 124a). The scant information we have about her suggests that she had a strong personality. It is reported that she broke four hundred jugs of wine when slighted by a guest whose barbs were directed not only at her but at womankind in general (BT Berakhot 51b).

When her husband was treated with disrespect by a younger colleague, she told her husband how to protect himself (BT Kiddushin 70b). Dissatisfied with an answer given her by one rabbi, she sought out another (BT Menstruation; the menstruant woman; ritual status of the menstruant woman.Niddah 20b). Once, when she told her husband that she wanted to taste the equivalent of meat cooked in milk, he had udders prepared for her, a foodstuff prohibited by many of his colleagues (BT Hullin 109b). Her husband allowed her to be carried in a litter on the Sabbath (BT Bezah 25b), again an act prohibited by many colleagues. She seems to have known the art of healing (BT Writ of (religious) divorceGittin 67b). When read together, these sources suggest that Yalta was relatively free-spirited in word and action.

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How to cite this page

Hauptman, Judy. "Yalta." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 19, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/yalta>.