Dear Rabbi Kornfeld:
When the gemara brings a mayse of HAHU GAVRA, who is the gavra? Is it simply a homiletic device for teaching an ethical or halachic point, or was there really a person who this happened to? Thanks.
From the words of the Gemara, it seems that this was an event that actually occurred, but that the Gemara saw no need to mention the name of the person involved.
We know that when the Gemara says "Chasid Achad" it refers to either Rebbi Yehudah Bar Ila'ai or Rebbi Yehudah Ben Bava (Bava Kama 103b). Nevertheless, it is not always one of those Tana'im.
Similarly, "Ha'Hu Saba" generally refers to Eliyahu ha'Navi (Tosfos), but again, it does not always refer to him.