Background: Mar (title of honor, like sir) Ukva: (250 CE) was a scholar and teacher who lived in Babylonia. Known for his wisdom and wealth, he became Exilarch, the leader of the exiled Babylonian Jewish community even without a customary, long-standing lineage of leadership. Head of the court in the city of Kafri, is said to have been a healer.
  1. Mar 'Ukva had a poor person in his neighborhood; every day he would throw four zuz* through his door jamb.
    *A day’s wages.
  2. One day, he said, "I’ll go and see who does this kindness for me."
  3. That day, Mar 'Ukva was late coming home from the study hall, and his wife (literally 'his house') came to meet him.
  4. As soon as he saw them move the door, he ran out after them.
  5. They ran from him, into an oven that had just been raked.
  6. Mar 'Ukva's feet were burning.
  7. His wife (lit. 'his house') said to him, “Lift up your feet and place them on mine."
  8. Mar 'Ukva was upset.
  9. She said to him, “I am [usually] at home, and my support is direct.”
  10. *And what was the point of all this?
  11. ..."It is better for a person to throw themselves into a fiery furnace than to embarrass someone (literally 'whiten someone's face') in public."*