This first English translation of the great Hebrew classic, the medieval history of Jews by Rabbi Abraham Zacuto, made possible by the benevolent generosity of the author’s direct descendant in 25th generation, Dr Vlad Rosenblit of Houston, Texas. As our Sages of Blessed Memory taught: Maasei Avoth siman lebanim, The <great> deeds of ancestors are the guidance for descendants.

Translator

Contents

    1. Introduction by Prof. Joseph Kaplan, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
    2. Rabbi Abraham Zacuto, by Francisco Cantera y Burgos.
    3. Introduction to the 1926 edition.
    4. Sefer Yohassin including recently published complete 6th chapter.
    5. Commentaries by translator and Prof. Kaplan.
    6. Addenda: various documents connected to R. Abraham Zacuto.

 

 

Rabbi Abraham Ben Samuel Zacuto

SEFER YOHASSIN

or

 

BOOK OF LINEAGE

 

 Edited by Prof. Joseph Kaplan (HU)

Translated by Israel Shamir

AD1999-AM5759

 

 

The translation is based on 1926 edition, prepared by Abraham Haim Freimann, published in Frankfurt am Main, incorporating corrections done in the following years.

<The Hebrew title of the first (AM 5326) edition>

 

SEFER YOHASSIN

THE BOOK OF LINEAGE

COMPILED AND RESEARCHED

BY THE PHILOSOPHER SAGE OF PERFECT LEARNING

 

R. ABRAHAM ZACUT CALLED ZACUTO

OF BLESSED MEMORY

In order to present the tradition of the Law

From Moses our master, may he have peace

until the days of the author of blessed memory

Including question and answer by our master Rabbi Sherira

of blessed memory

On tradition of the Law of Torah

and some historical facts

about Kings of Israel and Gentile Kings

And the Prince which is called The Exilarch

And how he judged the people in the court of Sura

and in the court of Pumbeditha

And other things and separate events which occurred to our forefathers

And were found dispersed in various books

First of all in the great book of ben Gurion.

There is also a story of three sects of Israel

at the time of Destruction of the Temple:

One was called Pharisees, another called Essenes, the third was Sadducees,

Including customs and beliefs of the sects

So we can see that the Sadducees were not like Karaites of our days,

As Karaites believe in Paradise and Hell and Resurrection,

while Sadducees did not.

Printed through efforts of

 

The perfect sage and excellent doctor of medicine R. Samuel Sholem

in Constantinople, capital of the great King, our ruler,

mighty Sultan Suleiman,

God will return him peacefully to his capital and will crush all his enemies,

And all his deeds will succeed, amen, by God’s will,

The printing started on Wednesday, 25 Siwan 5326 <=God rose>

From His Holy Dwelling

 

 

 

<The Hebrew title of the 1857 edition>

 

 

SEFER YOHASSIN

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF LINEAGE

COMPILED AND WRITTEN

BY THE WONDERFUL SAGE AND ILLUSTRIOUS SCHOLAR

 

RABBI ABRAHAM ZACUT

OF BLESSED MEMORY

KNOWN ALSO AS ZACUTO

A NATIVE OF SALAMANCA IN THE LAND OF SPAIN

A RESIDENT OF TUNISIA IN THE LAND OF AFRICA

IN THE YEAR 5264 SINCE THE CREATION

THE MEMORIAL TO ALL GENERATIONS

FROM THE DAYS OF OUR MASTER MOSES

MAY HE HAVE PEACE,

TILL THE DAYS OF THE WRITER’S GENERATION

INCORPORATING THE WORDS OF WIZE

RABBI ABRAHAM IBN DAUD

OF BLESSED MEMORY

IN THE BOOK OF QABBALAH

AND BIGGER PART OF SEDER OLAM ZUTA.

HE INCLUDED DESCRIPTION OF DAYS AND RULE

OF GENTILE KINGS

(WHICH ARE NOT OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL)

AND COPIED THEM FROM THE GREEK BOOKS

EVEN FROM THE GREAT BOOK OF JOSEPHUS FLAVIUS

AND BESIDE ALL THAT HE COLLECTED KNOWLEDGE FROM MANY OTHER SOURCES.

The first edition appeared in Constantinople in the year 5326

The second edition appeared in Krakow in the year 5340

The third edition appeared in Amsterdam in the year 5476

The first publisher cut the manuscript to pieces

The second publisher abridged the book mercilessly

The third one decimated what the first two left over

THIS IS THE FIRST COMPLETE PUBLICATION

OF THE WRITER’S MANUSCRIPT

AS FOUND IN OXFORD

Including the marginalia of R. JACOB EMBDEN

As found written on a copy of the first edition of the BOOK OF YOHASSIN

published in Constantinople

And extant in the House of Study in London.

Prepared for the print by the perfect man of knowledge

Rabbi Zwi Herschel Filipowski

 

LONDON AND EDINBURGH

ANNO MUNDI 5617

ANNO 1857

 

 

 

The Latin title of 1857 edition

 

 

THE BOOK OF YOHASSIN

OR

THE BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL LEXICON

INCLUDING LIVES OF

ALL FAMOUS SCHOLARS AND SAGES

MENTIONED IN THE BABYLONIAN AND JT,

IN MIDRASH RABBAH AND SIMILAR BOOKS

COMPILED BY ILLUSTRIOUS

 

RABBI ABRAHAM ZACUTO

Native of Salamanca in Spain (AD1504) who lived in Tunis in Africa.

With additions by the same author of lives of illustrious men

from the histories of Persian, Egyptian, Babylonian and Roman kings

This is the first edition based of the author’s manuscript

Preserved in the Bodleian library in Oxford

Containing marginalia of

RABBI JACOB EMBDEN

On the margins of the Constantinopolitan edition

Edited by Herschel Filipowski

For the Society of Hebrew antiquities

 

 

DEDICATION

TO THE TEACHERS

Pull your bow and shoot your sharp arrows

unto me again

But you will not awake my anger

As flies prefer dead meat

And avoid live and wholesome

So you teachers are similar in your judgment.

You avoid all good and seek all bad things.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

TO THE COMPLETE BOOK OF YOHASSIN

By

Abraham Haim Freimann

 

1. LIFE OF RABBI ABRAHAM ZACUTO

The family of the author of The Book of Yohassin is known under names of Zacut or Zacuto, Zakuto, Zakudo in various spellings. At first Zacut family resided in France. When in the year AM 5066 the Jews were expelled from France, they moved their tents to Spain. The Rabbi Abraham Zacuto the Elder was the descendant of those refugees, and he left his good name to his grandson R. Abraham Zacuto the Second. The latter’s son R. Samuel Zacuto was the father and teacher of the author of the Book of Yohassin.

R. Abraham Zacuto, the author of the Book of Yohassin, refers to his ancestors as to people that ‘withstood the Castilian persecutions for their faith in the Blessed Creator and His Torah’.

In the days of the persecutions in the year AM 5151, there was R. Moses Zakudo. His teacher, R. Judah, son of R. Asher <Ben Yehiel>, The Saint of Toledo, who was martyred for his faith, dispatched R. Moses Zakudo to Rabbi Isaac Ben Sheshet <Barfat>, the author of famous Responsa of that name. His mother’s family was of noble descent as well and ‘never left the study of the Torah since the days of old’.

Among his maternal ancestors there was renowned R. Samuel Balansi <Valenci> the greatest in knowledge and wisdom of the R. Isaac Abuhab’s disciples. He died five years before the Expulsion from Spain, being 52 years of age.

R. Abraham Zacuto ben R. Samuel ben R. Abraham was born in Salamanca in Castile about AM5200. In his youth, he studied Torah under guidance of his father Samuel, who was apparently a rabbi <haham> and received the tradition <of Oral Law> from the late ancestors and rabbis of blessed memory. R. Abraham quotes his father as the source, <for instance> why sons of R. Papa are mentioned after completion of a tractate? His father told him: he heard it is good for memory to invoke their names seven times, as we mention Elijah <the Prophet> of blessed memory following the end of Sabbath.

When R. Abraham was six or seven years old, he saw in person the old R. Isaac Kanfenton, the chief rabbi of the Castilian community, who was called 'Gaon' by his contemporaries (the usage of the title was not common in those days). The outlook of ‘the meek pious man with the Holy Spirit of God’ impressed the child greatly. In the old age he wrote, ‘Whoever saw him saw the face of Divine Presence’. But the real teacher of R. Abraham was R. Isaac Abuhab, ‘the sharp-wit innovator’. He had many disciples and authored a book on the Four Columns, which remained uncompleted. He was the source of R. Abraham Zacuto's knowledge of the Talmud, of Posekim <Rabbinical authority on halachic questions> and of the Qabbalah wisdom. R. Abraham Zacuto knew inside out all Babylonian and JT, as we see in the Sefer Yohassin. His greatness and wit are seen in his own replies in the discussion on Rambam <as quoted by Maharal ben Habib, Responsa 19>.

His native Salamanca was the capital of <mundane> learning of his days. R. Abraham read astronomy and mathematics in the Salamanca University. He succeeded in his studies and became a famous astronomer. The bishop of Salamanca, an adept of astronomy, became aware of his abilities and nominated him a professor of the Salamanca University. R. Abraham taught in the University and many of his disciples, Christians and Jews, became prominent scholars. One of them, Augustine Ricci, gained renown as a famous astronomer.

In those days R. Abraham Zacuto compiled his great work on astronomy by orders of the Bishop of Salamanca. His astronomic tables seemed miraculous to his contemporaries. His first publisher R. Samuel Sholem wrote in his introduction: ‘All preceding tables of Gentiles were as naught, and the Gentiles broke and discarded all previous tables, and adopted his wonderful creation forever and ever’. R. Abraham Zacuto also improved the astrolabe and made it of copper instead of previously used wooden astrolabes that were not precise enough. His innovations and discoveries made him well known.

It seems R. Abraham Zacuto had dealings with Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America. Columbus stayed in Salamanca and apparently, R. Abraham Zacuto showed him some astronomic books including the book supposedly written by R. Abraham Ibn Ezra. R. Abraham Zacuto was among the very few scholars who believed in successful completion of Columbus' journey. The contemporary scholar Gaspar Correa quoted in his book the following opinion of R. Abraham Zacuto: ‘The Land of India is exceedingly remote and seas and lands separate us from it; still whoever will risk the journey unavoidably will reach it’. R. Abraham Zacuto's tables always accompanied Columbus in all his travels and once, during his last voyage to America in the AM 5264 they saved his life.

Columbus visited Veragua, where he found plenty of gold. After leaving Veragua, his fleet suffered from a terrible hurricane, and in terrible plight, he reached Jamaica. Caciques (native chiefs) were hostile and did not want to provide him and his people with food so they were on the edge of starvation. Columbus conceived a trick to save his life. R. Abraham Zacuto's tables told him there would be soon (on 29 of February 1504) a lunar eclipse. Columbus assembled the Caciques and promised he will put a spell on them by withdrawing the moonlight. During the eclipse the Cazics were frightened and prayed to Columbus to remove the spell. Columbus pretended praying to his God, the eclipse passed and since then the Caciques respected him and provided with all he needed. It is written in the book on Columbus' voyages.

The copy of R. Abraham Zacuto's tables with marginalia of Columbus could be found in the Colombian library in Portugal.

Besides his astronomical investigations, R. Abraham Zacuto dealt also with astrology that he trusted and believed in. He was not above belief in demons and other superstitions. In his book, he wrote about a Gentile, whom he met in Salamanca. The Gentile's voice was heard from the roof of the building though he sat quietly inside the house. He also reported that certain Jewish women could prophecy in his presence.

Later R. Abraham Zacuto apparently moved to Saragossa and taught in the University, while his wisdom and knowledge grew.

In AM 5252, the Castilian king Fernando ordered to expel all Jews of Spain. R. Abraham Zacuto was forced to leave his home country. He saw those righteous people who preferred to kill themselves and their children rather then be forced to transgress the commandments of the Lord. R. Abraham Zacuto moved together with his teacher R. Isaac Abuhab to Portugal and settled in Lisbon the capital of the country. Seven months later his teacher died and R. Abraham Zacuto lamented him by quoting the verse ‘See, I am sending an angel ahead of you’ (Ex 23:20).

The fame of R. Abraham Zacuto preceded his arrival to Portugal and King Joao II who was a keen adept of astronomy and engineering provided him with a university cathedra. The king liked R. Abraham Zacuto and gave him the honorable title The Royal Astronomer. When the king visited Turi di Tombo in AM 5254 he presented ‘Abraham the Astrologer’ with ten golden coins.

It is written in the book of Neshmat Haim: once the King Joao came to try R. Abraham Zacuto's wisdom by riddles. He said he intended to travel to Iborra and demanded to read by stars through which gate he will enter Iborra. R. Abraham replied, ‘Whatever I'll say, you will enter by other gate’. The King said, ‘No, put your divination in writing and seal it with your own seal’. He brought clean sheet of paper and wrote, ‘The King will open a new gate and enter through it’. So it was - the king wanted to prove that his fortune telling is false, and broke a new gate into the city and entered through it. As he entered he opened the R. Abraham Zacuto’s letter and read it out loud, and it was a miracle in his eyes.

Another time the King invited R. Abraham Zacuto to his room and enquired what is the distance between earth and heaven. He gave the answer. In a year time the king raised the roof of the room by one and a half amah and asked R. Abraham: tell me, Astronomer, what is the distance between the earth and heaven, as I forgot <your answer>. The wise man replied, <Since then> the earth was raised or the heaven descended.

After demise of Joao II his grandchild, Dom Manuel sat on the throne of Portuguese kings. He nominated R. Abraham Zacuto to be his astronomer and secretary. In AM 5256, the tables of R. Abraham Zacuto were published in Liria, in the printing house of Master Samuel di Ortas. They spread in all lands of East and West, 'in the countries of Edom and in the lands of Ishmael'. R. Abraham Zacuto wrote about it: 'I have been in the kingdom of Spain and in other Christian kingdoms when my books on Astronomy were published, and people said '<it is written by> R. Abraham Zacuto of Salamanca. I am entitled to be proud of it as our Sages of blessed memory said: 'What is the wisdom that the Gentile nations appreciate?' and they meant the calculations of stars of Zodiac and of periods of time. I bear witness to heaven that they glorified <the people of> Israel for it' It was said that R. Abraham Zacuto's advice on wisdom of stars to the Gentile nations and their kings is as good as Ahitophel's advice of old.

During his sojourn in Portugal R. Abraham Zacuto came to new conclusion about the origin of storms and gales in the equinoctial regions. His investigations proved it is possible to reach India by circumventing Africa. In AM 5257, King Manuel equipped the fleet under command of Vasco di Gama to search for the way to India. Before his departure, Vasco di Gama sought R. Abraham Zacuto's advice in presence of his sailors. King Manuel invited R. Abraham Zacuto to the city of Beja and the astronomer told him that India soon would belong to Portugal. It became true, as we know.

In AM 5257, the Jews of Portugal were expelled as well, and R. Abraham Zacuto left the country together with his son Samuel. R. Abraham Zacuto wrote about it: 'God granted me and my son Samuel the privilege (zechut) to glorify and sanctify His Name. We came to Africa, twice we were made prisoners. God in His great mercy to His pious ones will provide me and my offspring's posterity to worship His blessed Name'.

R. Abraham Zacuto went with many other exiles to Africa and settled in Tunis, there was 'a big community, rich people and great believers in the tradition <Qabbalah> of Torah'. Among the Portuguese exiles in Tunis, there was R. Moses Alaskar as well. The troubles and destitution caused by exile wore down the strength of R. Abraham as he admitted: ‘For my sins, for all these destruction and captivity and lack of food I have nor strength, no wisdom, neither sense of distinction’.

In Tunis, R. Abraham Zacuto completed his Sefer Yohassin, but he was short of <reference> books, as there were no books in Tunis but whatever the exiles brought with them. R. Abraham Zacuto stayed in Tunis for a few years, but apparently he could not find peace for his soul and left for the Middle East, to Turkey and in the end of his days to Syria. He settled in Damascus and died there in AM 5275.

Among friends of R. Abraham Zacuto there was the perfect scholar R. Abraham Halevy Bokart, mentioned by R. Abraham Zacuto in Sefer Yohassin. It appears he is identical with R. Abraham ben R. Eleazar Halevy, R. Abraham Zacuto’ brother in law, who wrote a few books on Qabbalah, including Galya Raza (Disclosing Secrets) and Sefer Zikaron (The Book of Memory). Among his better-known disciples, there was R. Joseph Vecinho, the physician to the King Joao III and a member of the Lisbon Junta. The Junta was the group of scientists, astronomers, and navigators. R. Joseph was a friend and an adviser of Columbus. He translated the explanation of R. Abraham Zacuto’s Tables into Latin. R. Abraham Zacuto’s grandson, R. Abraham Luzitanus, was a great physician and a wise man.

2. R. Abraham Zacuto’s books

A. Almanac Perpetuus

B. Tashlum Aruch

C. Otzar Haiim

D. Mishpatei Haetztagnin

 

3. THE BOOK OF YOHASSIN – GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The Hebrew medieval historical literature is rather lean and mean. The historiographers described events and tales, marked years and dates, but they could not present events and personae dramatis within the whole historical and spiritual context of their times. They couldn’t express the rise and fall of spiritual movements, or show us some great historical personage by making him alive through exaltation of their own spirit. They couldn’t integrate the details into a united and live presentation. Such purposes were foreign to the historiographers, as they did not consider history as a separate independent branch of knowledge. The historiography was not writers’ art, they thought. They intentionally limited their scope: some described the miracles to enhance the faith and arouse the spirit of believers, some preferred to dispute with Christians and free thinkers by compiling the traditions of transmission of the Oral Law and Qabbalah. They usually considered their work as subsidiary to the establishment of the Halacha, the Rule of Law. It was necessary to know the lives and times of the sages of Talmud and Mishna in order to determine who preceded whom and whose judgment prevails according to the rule of the oldest decision.

The Book of Yohassin conforms to the rule. The main intention of Rabbi Abraham Zacuto as the author of the book was to help the Talmud scholars, as he states openly in his foreword. That is why R. Abraham Zacuto concentrates his attention and efforts on the first articles in the book dealing with the Talmud personalities. He writes at length about the scholars called The Late Sages of Israel (HaZaL) and tries to establish rules of preferment of Judgment. His second aim was to support the Jewish side in disputes with Christians, and he frequently refers to the opinions of Christian laity and clerics and of Jesus himself. Chapter six of his work is dedicated altogether to the Jews-versus-Christians polemics.

The Book of Yohassin exceeds all previous historiographic writings by its completeness and perfection of the first chapters dealing with the Mishnah and Talmud personae. R Abraham Zacuto invested huge effort in it and succeeded to lay a sound foundation to the structure of the Talmudic history. Rabbi Moses Haggis was right saying, ‘If you wish to quench your thirst and to find the origins and descent of the Sages of Mishnah and Talmud and to learn everything about them, their names and their virtues, keep close to your heart this pleasant book and it will encourage your spirit to study the Oral Law’ (Mishnat Hahamim, 625).

The author named his book Sefer Yohassin – the Book of Lineage, but his provisional title was Sefer Hasidim – the Book of Pious, or Sefer Kedoshim – the Book of Saints. In his Conclusion he writes, ‘That is why I compiled together The Book of Saints and the Book of Lineage, to pay tribute to the wise and holy people of Israel’.

R. Abraham Zacuto invested ‘many labors’, and worked for many years. The scientists are still divided as to the year when the book was written. Zunz presumes the book was completed in the year AM 5262, but the majority of experts prefer the year AM 5264 (Graetz, Keizerling, etc). The author of Zemach David gives the year AM 5263. Lev considers the chapter 6 being written in AM 5264, while previous chapters were written in preceding years. In the chapter 3 there is a reference, which was missed by scholars. On p. 204a, R Zacuto writes, ‘This year is a thousand-year anniversary of the completion of Talmud and 73 years since the demise of R Ashi’. By R Zacuto’s counting, it is the year 5259. Still there is no need to choose a specific year, as it appears that Rabbi Zacuto wrote some chapters in Portugal before the Expulsion, while other chapters were composed in Tunisia.

The best proof can be found on p 22a, where he states that in Tunisia he had just a few books, namely Nezikin of the JT and the Midrash Leviticus Rabbah etc. In his first chapters, he freely quotes all tractates of the JT and all Midrash Rabbah books. It proves that he wrote his book over number of years. Various chapters were composed at different dates. Answer that is more precise we can find by checking his other books. In the introduction to his Astronomical Tables or Perpetual Almanac R Zacuto promises to compose a book on the Sages of Mishna and Talmud. The introduction to the Book of Yohassin also states that he considered the book as a certain supplement to his previous books on astronomy. He writes: ‘This book is similar to the books on wisdom of numbers and stars, and a virtuous deed causes other virtuous deeds.’ It means that R Zacuto started this book after completion of his Opus Magnum in the year 5238. In the year 5270, Rabbi Abraham of Trotial composed his book of Qabbalah, and he uses frequently the Book of Yohassin.

It proves the Book of Yohassin was composed between 5240 and 5270. During those years R Abraham Zacuto collected the vast material for the book and carefully presented it in the first three chapters on the sages of Mishna and Amora. The following chapters were written hastily after the Expulsion and the author had no time to arrange them properly and left it as an uncompleted compilation of various and contradictory sources.

R. Abraham Zacuto tried to correct the errors of preceding scholars on Qabbalah and related topics, and frequently argued with Rambam and with R. Abraham ibn Daud, the author of Qabbalah book. He modestly assesses his efforts in this field: ‘Sometimes a small candle is better to look for holes and cracks than a great luminosity’.

The last chapters of the Book of Yohassin have great historical value, as for instance the narrative on Book of Zohar. The Book of Yohassin is our only primary source on the matter as the other writers just quoted the book of R Zacuto. But the first chapters dealing with the Mishna and Talmud scholars are also important as R Zacuto compared various manuscripts and printed books to present the reader with correct versions. The latter glosses are also important, especially those by the first publisher R. Samuel Sholem, who quoted many old and otherwise lost, books.

For many years, the Book of Yohassin was the most important of historiographic Jewish books. The previous generations of our forefathers in the darkness of the Diaspora read this book to enliven their souls. Despite the reassessment of modernity, the Book of Yohassin remains the important step on the road from the mist of tales and legends to the light of scientific exploration.

D. The sources of Sefer Yohassin.

E. The editions of Sefer Yohassin.

 

 

The Author’s Introduction

Thus says Abraham bar Samuel bar Abraham Zacuto: the people of Israel are compared to stars by name and number, as best gold objects incrusted with precious stones. Even more so the wise and pious men, for it is said, ‘The wise men will shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who lead others to righteousness <will shine> like stars for ever and ever’. That is the great difference between those who provide themselves with merit, and those who lead others to righteousness and provide others with merit. The star in heaven is similar to the soul in the body, being its most important part. They, I mean the sages of Mishna and Talmud, and those who came after them who wrote books to dispense virtues among us, they illuminate our souls.

In order to lead myself and others to virtue and righteousness and to provide with merits I rose to compile this small book and present by name and dates the sages of Mishna and the Babylonian Talmud as we have it, excluding the sages of the Baraitha, as I do not know them and their dates. I shall mention the Gaonim and the authors of books and their dates, whenever I’ll find it. I shall not glorify myself by saying ‘that is great wisdom’ as due to persecutions and captivity and need for food I lost my strength for my sins. I have nor wisdom, neither knowledge, nor taste neither distinction. But in order to obtain merit I shall remember the rules of Law and the important implications of the Law as done and quoted by the sages.

I wrote this book and I deserved to write it, as it maps the generations from the Creation, when the world was created, and it <the Creation> is the most important thing in the Torah, as it contains all miracles which explicate the Creation of the world, and the True Force which alone makes miracles, and it helps in the hard times. It is true, there are angels present, but they are sent by Him and they depend on Him and His presence, and one cannot speak properly of presence but of presence of the Blessed Creator, whose presence is certain. This book is similar to <the one I wrote on> astronomy, as one good deed <mitzvah> causes another good deed.

At first, I contemplated on the title for the book. If I’d call it The Book of Righteous, it would hurt the honor of the Pious, who were wise, and weren’t ignorant natives. Rashi explicated <the Bible> and he was a pious man, and stayed away from sin, but he was a merchant. Even Prophet Samuel is called Samuel the Righteous (in the end of chapter ‘Bame Behema’ in Sabbath). There is also Simeon the Righteous. In the beginning of chapter Techeleth Rashi explained that pious are those who haste to do good deeds (mitzvoth). In Bava Batra in the chapter Hamaniach it is said: ‘Who is Pious? Pious observes the rules of damages’. They asked, and what about <observing the rules of> benedictions? They said, ‘it comes from their fathers’. In the chapter Kol kitvei Rabbah says, ‘Who is God-fearful? One who avoids using others free’. Rashi explicated: Pious men are those who are ready to give away their own in order to avoid even touch of transgression.

 

 

 

P 4

SEFER YOHASSIN

PART ONE

I SHALL START TO DESCRIBE GENERATIONS WITH HELP OF

GOD, THE HEAVEN DWELLER

 

SINCE the Creation till the Flood <passed> 1656 years, as Torah shows (and as we know in detail). Rambam (in the book of Judges, chapter 9 on Rules of Kings and their Wars) wrote: Adam was given six commandments: <to avoid> idolatry, incest, bloodshed, robbery, blasphemy and to do justice etc. [Though all of them we received from Moses our master, it appears these were the commandments to observe. And to Noah it was commanded <do not partake> part of a live animal, as it is said ‘do not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it’. So, it is seven commandments]. In the chapter ‘Gid Hanashe’ end of page 92 <it is said>, ‘Children of Noah were given 30 commandments but only three are observed: a marriage contract (ketubah) is not written for the male, dead meat is not weighted in a slaughterhouse, and the Torah should be respected’ (see the Rashi’s commentary).

So it was till the days of Abraham. Abraham came and received commandments of circumcision and he prayed the Morning Prayer (Shaharit). Isaac gave the tithe and added another prayer, which is the Afternoon Prayer (Mincha). Jacob added <the prohibition of> the thigh sinews and prayed the Evening Prayer (Maariv). In Egypt Amram (father of Moses our master) was given even more commandments. [And then came Moses and the Torah was completed.]

In the chapter Osin Pasin <it is said> Adam was very pious, 130 years he abstained from intercourse with his wife, after that he bore Seth. Before that, only demons and spirits were born from his semen, due to involuntary emission. Methuselah the Righteous was a son of Enoch, who turned into living fire, according to tradition, like Elijah the Prophet of blessed memory. It is written in Tosafoth in chapter Ele Trefoth: God took him <Enoch> and named him Metatron. He died seven days before the Flood, I mean Methuselah the Righteous. Then Noah was 600 years old.

Since the Flood till the birth of our forefather Abraham, beginning of our lineage, ancestor of many nations, 292 years passed. When Abraham was 48 years old, 10 years before Noah’s death came the Generation of Division. They settled in different countries and spoke different languages. It was in the end of days of Peleg, as it is said in first chapter of Sabbath and in Seder Olam. He was called Peleg <=‘division’>, as in his days life of men was divided. Their life span was just half of their ancestors. He <Peleg> died after living half as long as his father Eber, but Shem son of Noah saw change of 12 generations. He lived until Jacob was 50 years old. Eber, great-grandchild of Shem, lived until Jacob was 79 years old. The court of Shem banned the prostitution, as it is said, ‘Judah said: bring her out and have her burned to death’. Thus, it is written in AZ and Sanhedrin.

Noah died 58 years after Abraham’s birth, and R. Abraham Ibn Ezra of blessed memory marked it saying: Our father Abraham was 58 <=Noah> years old, when Noah died. Abraham was circumcised at the age of 99. It coincided with the destruction of Sodom, which happened 51 years after the Generation of Division, almost 52 years. Zoar was established one year later than Sodom, and it is said: ‘let us <=51> escape’, (see first chapter of Sabbath).

Our father Abraham, may he have peace, observed all commandments of the Torah, as it is said: ‘Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws’. His tractate AZ <on idolatry> contained 400 chapters. In the chapter Omar lahem hamemune‘ <it is said that> he observed even the rule of holiday cooking, and it is connected to the secret tradition. Why they did not mention another commandment <but just this one>? In order to imply that he, may he have peace, announced of the Creation of the world, as it is said ‘I have raised my hand to etc … Creator <=owner> of Heaven and Earth’. That is why it is said ‘Abraham is the first property of God’. By saying ‘Creator <=owner> of Heaven and Earth’, he stated that they <Heaven and Earth> are property of God, be His Name blessed. It is similar to saying ‘Whoever says on Sabbath eve 'The heavens were completed' becomes a companion to God, be His Name blessed, as it is <about> Creation’. He <Abraham>, may he have peace, taught people <about Creation>, as it is said in Genesis Rabbah, the portion of Melchizedek.

Though in ‘Pesahim’ on Hosea it is said ‘three things are created by <and belong to> The Holy One, blessed be His Name’, there Abraham is not mentioned. Referring to Heaven and Earth, they said ‘Creator <owner> of Heaven and Earth’. All that Abraham taught people. The reason for the rule of holiday cooking is well known: it is written, ‘remember <observe> Sabbath’. In case of feast, which causes man to forget Sabbath, there comes the rule, so he would choose goodish portion for Sabbath <meal> as well. So happened that people forgot <about> the Creation of the world, and our forefather Abraham, may he have peace, reminded them.

 

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In Genesis Rabbah in the portion of Toledoth Isaac, it is said about <Abraham’s observance of> the rule of connecting courtyards: he didn’t take <move things on Sabbath> from a courtyard of one owner to the public territory. It means that he, <Abraham>, may he have peace, announced that there is One <Owner and Creator> in the world. He read astronomy in cathedra in Egypt in order to prove by <stars and their> movements that there is the first and only Creator in the world Who created them. It is made clear in the Christian chronicles. It <the Creation> is the most important thing in the Torah and miracles.

He <Abraham>, may he have peace, established times for three prayers. The Torah does not explicate whether he established Morning Prayer, while Isaac <established> the Afternoon prayer and Jacob <established the time for> Evening prayer, or each one of them prayed each prayer diligently and early according to his qualities. Though, it is said that Abraham was very diligent and started early the Afternoon prayer, and it is said that each one <of the forefathers> established the <times for> prayers, as it is suitable. Abraham observed even the rules <established> by Sages, so naturally he observed the rules for prayers, which are based on Torah.

In the beginning of the chapter Omar lahem hamemune28 on prayers of Abraham it is said <that he prayed when> shadow darkens the wall. Rashi explained: Afternoon prayer is prayed after noon, but Abraham was very diligent and started the prayer as soon as possible <at high noon>. That is why we know it is more commendable to pray the Big Afternoon Prayer (in early afternoon). Small Afternoon Prayer is always prayed in the dusk, but on the Eve of Passover. Aruch explicated: Isaac learned the Afternoon prayer from Abraham. The words ‘prayers of Abraham’ mean just ‘prayers of forefathers’, and Abraham is mentioned because he is the most important one. It is written in the article on Sunrise. R. Zemach explained: ‘prayers of Abraham’ mean the Additional prayer, as it is also a part of Morning Prayer established by Abraham. This explanation is not valid, as in the chapter Ein Omdin R. Jose Bar Haninah is quoted saying that our forefathers did not establish the Additional prayer. In the beginning of chapter Morning Prayer <it is said that> Isaac established the Afternoon prayer. So, when people say ‘prayers of Abraham’ they mean ‘after <the Afternoon prayer> was established by Isaac’.

It appears our explication is preferable. There is a sign for it: each prayer’s title starts from the second letter of forefathers’ names, so Boker (morning) for ABraham, Sohoraim (Afternoon) for ISaac, Arvit (Evening prayer) for JAcob. He, <Abraham>, may he have peace, taught Noah <the prayer>, though he was <born> 10 generations later and he was 58 <=Noah> years old, when Noah died, as it is written above. He was born 52 years before the completion of second millennium since <the Creation of the world from> chaos. Then he started to teach <and explicate> Torah. It means that he was 52 years old at that time. He was detained in Kuta and Cardo for ten years (as is said in the end of chapter Hamoher et hasfina) and then the king expelled him from his kingdom.

He was only 3 years old when he became aware of his Creator. That is the amount of letters A, K, B in the text ‘shamA aBraham bKoli’, (Abraham obeyed me), as it is explicated in Yoma and Nedarim. Rambam, of blessed memory, says in Mada, that Abraham was 40 years old when he became aware of his Creator. It was already refuted by R. Abraham ibn Daud and by R. Moses HaCohen. It is also said in Genesis Rabbah the portion Vaigash Yehuda and in Midrash Hazit that ‘<Abraham was> three years old’. In Genesis Rabbah the portion Toledoth of Noah and in Midrash Hayut it is said: ‘He was 48 years old, and it was in the year of Division, when he became aware of his Creator’. That is the source of Rambam, but he had a faulty copy.

We explain: <his awareness> began when he was 3 years old and became perfect when he saw the Division and the wonderful deeds of The Holy One, blessed be His Name. Then he was 48 years old. When he was 52 years old, he started to teach <explicate> Torah, as we said previously. So the words ‘and the people they had acquired <=converted> in Harran’ became fulfilled. He was 70 years old at the Covenant between the pieces. He came back to Harran and was punished for it. When he was 75 years old, The Holy One, blessed be His Name, told him to leave Harran and go to the Land of Israel, as it is said in Seder Olam. He was meek, and good willing, and poor of spirit, and broken of heart and a generous giver. Blessing upon him and blessed are his descendants after him.

Our forefather Isaac was born, when Abraham was 100 years old, in the year AM 2048. He was tied up <for sacrifice> at the age of 36 [Publisher’s note: our forefather Isaac was tied up <for sacrifice> on the Mount Moriah, and it is well known that is the place where David and Solomon built <the Temple> on the threshing floor of Arawna. That is the place where Abraham built the altar and tied Isaac <up for sacrifice>. That is the place where Noah built <the altar> as he left his Arc. That is the altar where Cain and Abel brought sacrifices. Adam the first man sacrificed there as he was created. There <or from this earth> he was created. So says Rambam in second part of the Temple Rules. In the chapter Haba al yebemato it is said in Tosafoth, Sifri: Rebecca was 14 years old when she married Isaac, but Seder Olam says: three <years old>. The Midrashim hold various opinions.]

Our forefather Jacob was born when his father Isaac was 60 years old, year AM 2108. He studied in the House of Study of Eber and Shem. We do not know when his children were born, with exclusion of Joseph the Righteous <who was born when> Jacob was 91. How come? Jacob entered Egypt being 130 years old. Then Joseph was 39. It means Jacob was 91, when Joseph was born. Then the 14 years he slaved for Rachel and Leah were completed.

Apparently, Levy was born when Jacob was 86, five years before Joseph’s birth. It follows from the words of our Sages of blessed memory. How come? Joseph was born when Jacob was 91. He worked 6 more years at Laban’s flocks until the age of 96. On the way to Shechem, he tarried a year and a half in Succoth, as explicated Rashi of blessed memory in the corresponding chapter. When Jacob was 99, they came to Shechem. Then Levy was 13, as he is called ‘man with his sword’. It means Levy was born when his father Jacob was 86, in the AM 2194. Levy died in the AM 2331, he was 130. Cohath was 133 years old. Amram lived 130 years, like his grandfather Levy. He was one of four totally sinless men, together with Benjamin, Jesse, and Chileab, who was so similar to his father King David.

Our teacher Moses, may he have peace, was the seventh in the line of our saintly forefathers. He was born on Sabbath, 36 years after Levy’s death, in the AM 2368, on seventh day of Adar in 3d hour of the day, as explicated Rabbi Abraham Bar Hiya of Spain.

 

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We have the tradition that the count of 400 years of captivity in Egypt starts from Isaac’s birth. This is also the opinion of Gentile sages and of their history books. Why starting from Isaac? As it is written: ‘Your <Abraham’s> descendants will be strangers in a country not their own’. It is said also in the Aramaic translation of JT that Children of Israel spent in Egypt 30 seven-year periods <Shemitah> and thus completed 400 years. In the Aramaic translation of Talmud on ‘Leaping across the mountains’ <it is said> ‘due to their fathers’ merit they skipped 190 years’, and then remained 210 <=descent to Egypt> years.

As Isaac was born in AM 2048, Exodus took place in AM 2448 or year 16 of the <19 year calendar> cycle. That is opinion of R. Hiya of Spain and of the Yesod Olam. The second year in the desert was year 17 of the cycle, which is <a Leap year> with two months of Adar. So The Holy One, blessed be His Name commanded: ‘celebrate Passover at its time’ etc. R. Simeon Doran says it was year 17 of the cycle when the Exodus from Egypt took place. Then <the second year> was year 18 of the cycle, meaning an ordinary <not a leap> year. The commentary to Hagadda says, ‘it makes sense that it was year 16, the leap year, as the new moon was on Tuesday’. But according to Rambam it was on evening of Wednesday and on Thursday the new month began, as in Seder Olam. Here is the proof it was a leap year: the springtime was over with the hailstorm, as it is said ‘barley in spring’. In the year 16 the spring was over on the second day of Passover.

Still it is not too difficult even if it was an ordinary year. It is known that in Egypt spring comes one month before it comes in the Land of Israel, as sometimes there is new wheat in Passover, but our explanation works even without stretching too much. In the year 2448 the Salvation and Exodus took place, then Moses was 80 years old. In the 3d month, that is Siwan, on Sabbath, 6th of Siwan they received Torah from The Holy One, blessed be His Name. R. Akiba says it was on Sabbath.

Moses added three rules: blessing of manna, when manna was falling, and the custom of asking questions and expounding the rites of Passover during Passover, and he established the <priestly shifts of> Eleazar and Ithamar as we find in the end of Taaniyot. Rambam of blessed memory wrote in the chapter Aveloth and in the first chapter of Ketuboth in the JT and in Torath Haadam, that Moses also added seven days of mourning and seven days of feast.

He<Moses> wrote his book, and the story of Balaam, and the obscure book of Job (see first chapter of Bava Batra). In this part of Talmud it is also written, that Job lived from the year of arrival of Children of Israel in Egypt and until Exodus, and it is written: 210 years. It is written, that he lived in the days of Jacob. When <Moses> asked: ‘is there a tree or not’ he meant Job. As Job died, his shadow was gone, but God is with us. In Genesis Rabbah chapter 57 <the words> ‘his firstborn son Uz’ are explained by R. Jose ben Halafta: he <Job> was born as they went <’descended’> to Egypt, and he died as they left Egypt. So he <Job> lived 210 years. So it is said in the first chapter of Ketuboth of JT that Moses our master established it (see Torath Adam). It is also written in Christian and Greek historical books, that our master Moses wrote <the Book of Job,> and that Job was Yovav ben Zerach of Basra, one of Edomite kings. It also follows from some words of Ramban of blessed memory that he <Job> and his friends Elipaz, Eldad, Elihu ben Berachel Habuzi were descendants of Abraham, from the Ram family. They were also descendants of Esau, and Job lived in Arabia and in Sabah and in Edom to the south of the Land of Israel. And still the Aramaic translation says: the Land of Uz is Armenia, meaning part of Greece, and some people say his <Job’s> tomb is located in Constantinople.

[Publisher Samuel Sholem says: Job which is buried in Constantinople is Job el Ozari, who came to Constantinople in the first year after death of Hussein ibn Ali, with Abdallah ibn Abbas and Abdallah ibn Zeid, with three thousand men and 500 boats. He was killed at the gate called Igri Kapi. King Constantine son of George made his tomb, and it happened in the year 50AH, check their dates and forget about them.]

In the days of Moses our master, may he have peace, the prophets of those days established the fourth rule, that is the rule of reading from Torah on Monday, Thursday and Sabbath. Our master Moses, may he have peace, received Torah and its explication from One Who gave it at Mount Sinai and in the Tabernacle and in the wilderness of Moab. He <Moses> died an easy and sweet death by God’s will in the fortieth year <since the Exodus> in the month of Adar, on 7th of Adar in the high noon, in the middle (etzem) of the day, as it is said ‘in that very (etzem) day’. It was Sabbath. There is a Midrash saying: in the eve of Sabbath, and it was AM 2488. And so it was.

Joshua received the Torah from Moses at 82. He was born in the year AM 2406. He established ten rules as we see in the chapter Meruba and <he established> the Blessing of the Land. Though we said Moses our master, may he have peace, established just three rules, it is said in the chapter Bame Madlikin, that he established many rules and laws, but Rashi quotes just one of them. There is a Midrash story about an Emperor who forbade to lit fire in Rome just for one day, and his prohibition was broken, and Moses prescribed ‘do not lit fire etc’. It appears they did not distinguish between rules, laws and commandments of Torah.

 

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Joshua belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, as it is said in the Chronicles, and his line ends with him, as he had no son. It is said in Pesahim: he didn’t bless the wine cup, and he was not blessed with son. Wife of Joshua, Rahab did not belong to seven <native Canaanite> nations, see Mizvoth, 112. Among Joshua and Rahab’s descendants, there were 8 prophets, as they had daughters. It is said in the first chapter of Megilah. He judged Israel 28 years, as it is said in the Seder Olam, and he died in AM 2516. R. Simeon bar Zemach Doran in the third part of Magen Avoth concerning prophecy says that Joshua judged 14 years. It does not suit the tradition of Seder Olam according to R. Jose by the opinion of R. Akiba.

It makes sense that the <Holy> Writ says that all spies were equal, not that one was 40, and another one almost sixty. It is said explicitly that Caleb was 40, when Moses sent him to his mission. It makes sense that Joshua was 42, not 57. To achieve the amount of 300 years <of Judges> until Jephthah, as Seder Olam counts, Joshua judged 28 years. Seder Olam and Rashi say: 28 years, but <the Bible> does not say explicitly, so it is the tradition.

About the rest <of the Judges> it is written: Othniel judged 40 years, Ohad – 80 years, Shamgar – 1 year, Deborah – 40 years, Midian captivity – 7 years, Gideon – 40 years, Abimelech – 3 years, Thola – 23 years, Jair – 22 years, Ammonite captivity – 18 years, so it amounts up to 300 years until Jephthah. [Publisher: the sanctuary was 14 years in Gilgal and 369 years in Shiloh, till the death of Eli].

The Elders received <the Law> from Joshua. One of them, and the most important one, was Caleb, as explicated in the chapter Kohen Gadol veNazir. Also the descendants of Itamar, from Phinehas until Eli the High Priest, and the Elders before Eli, they lived longer than Joshua. He <Caleb> judged Israel for 17 years according to Seder Olam, but it is not mentioned by Rashi or by Commentators. It seems Othniel Ben Kenaz, brother of Caleb, was one of the Elders. By his < Seder Olam’s> system, Othniel ben Kenaz, brother to Caleb, began <to judge> in AM 2533, and he led Israel for 40 years. That was ‘the court of Yavetz’, mentioned in Talmud, meaning Othniel ben Kenaz.

Ehud ben Gera began <to judge> in AM 2573 and he led Israel for 80 years, which were completed in AM 2653. Shamgar <judged> one year. Deborah began <to judge> in AM 2654 and she led Israel for 40 years. Gideon began <to judge> in AM 2694 and he led Israel for 40 years. He is Jerub-Baal. His son Abimelech began to rule in AM 2734, and he led for 3 years. Tola ben Puah judged for 23 years, Jair of Gilead judged for 22 years. Two years are lost in the count, it makes 48 years. Jephthah began <to judge> in AM 2779, and he led for 6 years. Since they came into the land they conquered, the land of Sihon and Og, and until Jephthah, passed three hundred years less nine, and that is the meaning of Jephthah’s words to the Ammonite king: ‘for three hundred years Israel occupied Arnon until now’.

After him Ibzan began <to rule>, he is Boaz, as it is said in the end of the chapter Moher et hasfina, and it is said by the Aramaic translation of Ruth: ‘Salmon was the father of Boaz, who is called Ibzan’. All his sons and daughters died. When he was an old man of 80, he took Ruth, 40, the mother of Royalty. In the days of Solomon she sat beside him in the royal throne together with Bathsheba, that is according to Midrash. He began <to judge> in AM 2785 and led Israel for 7 years. Rashi explicated the Chronicles, saying: Boaz was apparently 300 years old as he fathered Obed, and he died immediately after his union with Ruth.

His father Salmon died when <Children of Israel> entered the Land. But R. Abraham Ibn Ezra explicated in his commentary to Ruth, that the old men Salmon, Boaz, Obed and Jesse were <still> alive at David’s birth. And the Gentile Sages explicated: there were some generations <missing unmentioned in the Bible> between them. It appears they got <this knowledge> from the Sages of Israel. As we see in the lineage of Ezra, seven generations are missing from Ahitub till Ahitub in the book of Ezra, but they are mentioned in the Chronicles. But here is a difficulty: they <the missing generations in David’s lineage> are not mentioned anywhere, as opposed to the Ezra’s lineage. It seems it was the holy and miraculous family indeed, as the Traditionalists said that Obed was 400 years old, and Ruth was alive in days of Solomon, as explicated in Tanhuma, portion VaIhi. Then Obed was more then 400 years old, as it is said in Qabbalath Hahassid, and in Genesis Rabbah, chapter VaIhi71.

After Ibzan, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel from AM 2792 for ten years. Abdon son of Hillel from Pirathon began <to judge> in AM 2802, and led for 8 years.

After him, Samson judged. He was the son of Manoah from the tribe of Dan, and his mother was Hazlalphonith from the seed of Judah. He began to judge in 2810 and judged for 20 years. In JT it is said that according to their Writ he led for 40 years, but even they think it was 20 years. They said he judged for 20 years. So why the Writ says ‘for 40 years’? It implies that for 20 years after his death the Philistines still were afraid of him, and he was of <in> Dan <=judge>.

During ‘the Concubine in Gibeah’ crises one thousand Benjamites left for the Roman Isles and until now we do not know where they are. They did not want to fight with their brothers. But at first they were counted with the rest.

Afterwards Eli the High Priest received the Oral Law from Phinehas and began <to judge> in 2830. In that year the prophet Samuel, may he have peace, was born. Eli judged Israel in Shiloh for 40 years and died in 2870. That was the year of great wars, and the Ark was captured.

 

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And immediately Samuel the prophet, of blessed memory, began to judge Israel in the year 3871, at the age of 41, and judged for 11 years, as it is written in Temurah. He died in the year 2885 on the 28th day of the month of Iyar in Ramah, according to the received tradition.

King Saul reigned for two <more> years after Samuel. However, our masters, of blessed memory, claim that Samuel and Saul died in the same year, as it is said ‘when he sat with the ghost-raiser it was the last year of his life’, and ‘Samuel had died four months previously’. Rashi interpreted thus (in Temurah): following Samuel’s death David dwelt with the Philistines for four months, and for one year, Saul and Samuel were together, and after <the war with> Amalek, Samuel separated from Saul for two years, see end of Zebachim. It seems Samuel was 39 years old when Eli died, for Eli started to judge Israel at the time when Hannah came to pray. The Holy Ark came from the Philistines six months after Eli’s death. It came to Bet Shemesh, and immediately afterwards to Kiriat Jearim and remained there for 20 years, as it is said in the scriptures, until King David settled in Jerusalem and ruled over all Israel, and sent for it from Avinadav. Out of these 20 years - seven years and six months King David reigned in Hebron. The remainder is twelve and a half years: add the six months when he stayed with the Philistines. The result is 13 years. Add 39 years of age <at Eli’s death> and it amounts to 52 as Samuel’s age. Then Saul and Samuel died. It does not agree with the opinion of Joseph Ben Gurion, who claimed that Saul reigned for twenty years, eighteen years during the lifetime of Samuel and two years subsequently. This is not possible, as we have said. It does not agree with the calculation of time from Jephthah until the reign of Solomon - 200 years. Our sages, of blessed memory, were always right. It fits even less the version of Jesus and his followers, who wrote that Saul reigned for forty years.

King David commenced his reign in the year AM 3886. 37 years later Absalom reigned. It is written: ‘after 40 years’, but these are counted from the time they requested a king. He <David> received <the Law> from Samuel and his court – and he was the sixth recipient of <the Law> following Moses, Joshua, Phinehas, Eli, Samuel <and then> David. David was taught by Mephibosheth the son of <son of> Saul, (see in the beginning of Berachoth), and Ahitophel as well. But main teacher <of David> was Ira the Jairi the priest, and he gave to him and to no other of his tithes. It was said that this was the cause of the famine, which is mentioned immediately afterwards ‘and there was a famine in David’s days.’ And he <Ira> would teach reclining on cushions and carpets, as is mentioned in Moed Katan, and he <Ira> was a relation <of David>. It is said, ‘May those who fear you turn to me, those who know your statutes, it is written ‘know’ to imply he was a relative (see in the Midrash Samuel).

David reigned for forty years. He forbade ‘yechud’ even with unattached women, after the incident with Amnon and Tamar. The Torah forbids sexual misbehavior. Mothers are excluded. David died in the year 3924, and commenced the reign of King Solomon, may he have peace.

He began to build the Temple on the 4th year of his reign, year AM 3928. Then the 480 years since the Exodus were completed, as they left Egypt in 3448, and so says the Bible: ‘480 years’. Solomon ordained eruvin and purification of hands for kadesh. The schools of Hillel and Shammai ordained it for teruma as well. Hamizvoth says Solomon ordained the statutes, which are not valid in wartime, as in his days there was no war, but peace. He also forbade the semi-incest, and Rashi comments on chapter Osin Pasin, that he forbade semi-incest, see first chapter of Yabemoth. He also ruled that in the summer days a man is allowed to walk the paths in fields under private ownership, as the fruits are over, until the first rain, as Rambam wrote in Nezikin, chapter 5. In chapter Meruba it is said in name of Solomon: Do not withhold the best <fruits> from their owner. In Tosafoth in chapter Keizad Eshet Ahiv, and in second chapter of Eruvin it is said: when Solomon ordered eruvin and purification of hands, Divine voice <Bat Kol> said etc. It is not said ‘and <the ban on> semi-incest’, as perhaps he ruled on it after the Divine voice spoke.

The 7th to receive <the Law> was Ahiah the Shilonite, who was a Levite. It is said: Ahiah takes care of treasures. He participated in Exodus, and knew Amram (see Batra chapter 8). He received <the Law> from David and his court, while R. Abraham ibn Daud of blessed memory wrote that he belonged to the court of David, and he anointed Jeroboam son of Nebat. Then he was more than 500 years old, very old indeed.

 

Elijah of blessed memory received <the Law> from Ahiah the Shilonite, and he was the 8th to receive <the Law>. It reminds of the 8th day - the day of circumcision, when he is present. [Publisher’s note. Samuel Sholem says, he was a priest, see chapter Hamekabel, as Raba bar Avoha said on such occasion, ‘Aren’t you a priest?’]. Our masters of blessed memory said in chapter Esh Nohlin in Batra: seven men embraced the world: Adam, Methuselah, Shem, Jacob, Amram, Ahiah the Shilonite, and Elijah, who is still alive. It means he is not Phinehas. Elijah received <the Law> from Ahiah the Shilonite at the end of King Solomon’s reign, in 3962. There are many opinions and guesses in Midrash, who was Elijah. In BM chapter Hamekabel there are many Tosafoth (additions) on this subject. Some people say: he is of <tribe of> Gad, as it was said by Leah ‘Here is Gad’ meaning to get rid of the evil-doers. So is said in Midrash of Psalms. The proof: he is from Gilead, and that is Gad’s country. Some say: his father is of Gad, while his mother is of Benjamin. And chapter Ki Tisa teaches he was from the tribe of Benjamin, and stayed in the Chamber of Hewn Stones. He was from Jerusalem, and his legacy lay within the legacy of the two tribes.

 

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In Chronicles we find this name <referring to members of> two tribes, and specifically of Benjamin, and the Temple was on their territory. He also said himself: ‘I am one of sons of sons <descendants> of Rachel’. And the Sage R. Levy ben Gershom decided that he is Phinehas, and all Israel used to say that he is Phinehas, so the outcome is drawn <remains secret>, and he will come soon and tell us. Elijah of blessed memory was gone in 3047, the 18th year of Jehoshaphat’s reign, in the days of king Jehoram <Joram>, a son of Ahab.

It appears Elisha received <the Law> from Elijah. It is said in the Chronicles that Elijah sent a letter to Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat about AM 3061, but at that time he <Elijah> already departed. We know that because Jehoshaphat, his <Jehoram’s> father, and Jehoram, son of Ahab, visited the prophet Elisha. [In Seder Olam it is said: the letter of Elijah arrived in the beginning of Jehoshaphat’s reign, after it was hidden for seven years]. It seems it was in the days of Jehu, it was year AM 3055, that Jonah and the High Priest Jehoiada received <the Law> from Elisha of blessed memory. It is seen in the text, that Elisha died in year 37 of Joash king of Judah’s reign, year AM 3098. It means Elisha lived 51 year after the departure of Elijah of blessed memory. In the same year died his disciple the High Priest Jehoiada, in the age 130. It means Elisha lived long life, and he was the ninth to receive <the Law>. [In Seder Olam it is said, it was 10th year of reign of Joash king of Israel, and 7th year after the death of Joash king of Judah, that Elisha died. If it is so, it means Elisha lived 61 year after the departure of Elijah of blessed memory, and then the High Priest Jehoiada and his son Zechariah died before Elisha’s death. In Seder Olam it is also said that Elijah will be revealed at Messiah’s coming, and immediately will be hidden again, and revealed again at Gog and Magog’s coming].

Elisha, his best disciple, was two times more important, and he received <the Law>, as some people think, in AM 2990. But my opinion is that he received <the Law> in AM 3047, as it is seen in the text, as I said. In Pesahim chapter Elu Hadvorim it is said that Elisha was son of a judge in Bashan, of the Gad tribe.

The High Priest Jehoiada was tenth to receive <the Law>, he received <the Law> from Elisha and his court in 3015. According to my opinion he received <the Law> in 3055, as in 3015 Elijah have not departed yet, and the High Priest Jehoiada was 130 years old.

The High Priest and prophet Zechariah, who was killed in the Temple by king Joash, received <the Law> from his father the High Priest Jehoiada. By others’ opinion, it happened in 3047, by my opinion in 3070, despite the fact that his father’s teacher Elisha died in 3098, as maybe the High Priest Jehoiada died before that. He is the 11th to receive <the Law>.

The prophet Hosea received <the Law> from Zechariah in 3090, ten years before his death, as king Joash died in 3101, while Zechariah died one year earlier. Hosea belonged to the tribe of Reuben. As Reuben was the first to repent, he was granted the favor and became the ancestor of the prophet who said ‘Return (Repent), o Israel’. There were four prophets at the same time: Isaiah, Amos, Micah, and Hosea. Amos began with <‘The words of> Amos’, but Hosea was first as he started with ‘The word of the Lord’. All prophets prophesied in his time, as it is said in the Prophets, that Hosea prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Amos prophesied only in the days of Uzziah, and he received <the Law> from Hosea.

Isaiah received <the Law> from Amos. He also prophesied in the days of Uzziah, but Amos prophesied before the earthquake, which remained unequalled until the days of Herod at the end of the Second Temple <period>. Then only in Jerusalem, beside other cities, more than ten thousand men and women died. Isaiah prophesied in the day of the earthquake, as it is said, ‘Whom shall I send’. The pillars and the walls shook when King Uzziah entered to burn incense, and leprous sign shone on his forehead. He was leprous for 25 years, as we read in Tosefta.

Afterwards Micah of Moresheth received <the Law> from Isaiah the prophet during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, all of them in the same time. It means Hosea was the 12th, Amos - the 13th, Isaiah - the 14th, Micah - the 15th. Amos was from Tekoah, from the tribe of Asher, and he was psilusa meaning his tongue was cut off, as it is said in Leviticus Rabbah chapter 96. Father of Isaiah was Amoz, the prophet, and a brother to king Amaziah. Micah was from the city of Morasha, a city in Judah, and though the Midrash refers to Micah the saying ‘Whom shall I send’, he was beaten on his cheek, as it was said ‘the judges of Israel will be beaten by a stick on their cheek’. I <God> sent them Amos, and they called him psilusa. It appears he preceded Isaiah, according to the simple meaning of the text.

It can not be said about Micah, as Micah did not prophesy in the days of Uzziah, unless we consider the Midrash on Miciahu ben Imla, who was beaten on his cheek by Zedekiahu ben Chanaana in days of Ahab. In the commentary to Seder Olam it is said that in the days of Isaiah there were Hosea and Amos and Zechariah, who knew to fear God (see in the end of Sanhedrin, chapter Kol Israel). It means Amos received <the Law> from Hosea in AM 3110, and Isaiah received <the Law> from Amos in AM 3140. Isaiah lived after that at least 90 years, as Manasseh reigned in the year 3228, and he killed him, as it is said in Yabemoth. Micah received <the Law> from Isaiah in AM 3160. That is the order of Rambam of blessed memory.

As for Joel, Nahum the Elkoshite and Habakkuk it is not mentioned when they prophesied. <The Sages> of blessed memory said: they prophesied during the reign of Manasseh, but as he was an evil-doer, his name is not mentioned in their prophesies. He reigned 55 years. For 22 years he was an evil-doer, but during 33 years he repented, as it is said in Sanhedrin. In 55 years after his death (equal to the years of his reign) the First Temple was destroyed. Chapter Chelek says that Manasseh taught R. Ashi in a dream how to break bread for the blessing, and he learned it from King Hezekiah. It stands to reason that as in the Minor Prophets Joel is placed before Nahum, and afterwards Habakkuk, it means they received <the Law> in that order. Joel received <the Law> from Micah in 3190, and the ten tribes were exiled in the 6th year of King Hezekiah’s reign in AM 3206. First were exiled <tribes of> Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and Zebulon and Naphtali.

 

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Nahum the Elkoshite received <the Law> from Joel in 3240. Habakkuk (he was a son of the Shunammite according to Zohar, beginning of chapter Shalah) received <the Law> from Nahum in 3254, and he was the 18th to receive <the Law>. In Tosephta chapter Hamekabel, it is said that the son of Zarephath whom Elijah brought back to life was the Messiah son of Joseph, as it is explicated in Seder Elijah Rabbah.

Zephaniah prophesied in the beginning of king Jashiah’s reign. He received <the Law> from Habakkuk in 3280, and he was 19th. It was in the days of Huldah the Prophetess. In chapter 14 of Semachot it is said that her tomb is in Jerusalem, and nobody ever touched <harmed> her.

 

Jeremiah the Priest received <the Law> from Zephaniah. He prophesied 40 years until the Destruction of the First Temple. He closes the first half of 40 recipients, as he was the 20th recipient. He received <the Law> from Zephaniah about AM 3316. The Temple was destroyed in 3338 <= Shalah = send away>, as in ‘send away’, and they went away. It was on Sunday, 9th day of Ab, first year of Shemitah <seven-year cycle>. And the same in the days of the Second temple, during the shift of Jehoiarib, the verse of damnation got on their lips ‘He will repay them for their sins... God will destroy them‘. It is the verse from the Wednesday psalm, as we learn from Arachin. They were then at pulpit <duhan>, and Rashi explicated, ‘duhan’ meaning ‘duhta’ <place>.

Baruch son of Neriah received <the Law> from Jeremiah in Babylon in 3380, 42 years after the Destruction. Baruch son of Neriah died in Babylon and he was buried there. Ezra could not leave Babylon <for Jerusalem> until his master Baruch died, as it is explained in Megilah. Ezra came <to Jerusalem> in 7th year of the reign of Artaxerxes. Commentators identify him with Darius, son of Esther. After Zerubbabel and Jeshua the High Priest built the Second Temple, the work was completed in the 6th year of Darius’ reign, in the month of Adar. Ezra came to Jerusalem next year, when 70 years since the destruction of Jerusalem were completed, including eight years of construction of the Second Temple. Then Baruch died. It was in 3413, and then Zerubbabel returned to Babylon. They say Ezra the Priest and the Scribe received <the Law> from Baruch in 3470.

Ezra was very pious and meek as Moses, and so they said about Hillel, ‘oh meek, oh pious, the disciple of Ezra’. He was worthy to receive the Torah, but he did not overestimate himself or the good things he did for Israel, as written in chapter Chelek. That is why the Book of Ezra is named after him, and not after Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, called Hatrashta, who was cup-bearer to the King, and he was permitted to taste the King’s cup. In Sanhedrin, in chapter after Mamonoth it is said that Zerubbabel is Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. It is said in the tractate Megilah, chapter 4, that he is Malachi who prophesied about foreign women, meaning he is Ezra. He established ten rules, as it is written in Meruba in Kama. Many other rules were ordained by Ezra and his court, which was called The Great Assembly (Knesseth ha Gdola), and they returned the crown of glory to its old fame. As Moses said: Great and Mighty and Awe-inspiring God. It is written in Yoma and elsewhere.

They ordained holy prayers and Havdalah, and all kinds of good things. Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi belonged to them <the Assembly>, but the rules witnessed in Talmud, for instance ‘the daughter’s rival’ are rather based on words of Haggai, than on the rest of them. There were also Daniel and his friends and above mentioned Nehemiah. He ruled on mukze, but allowed three utensils, as in his days they profaned the Sabbath, as we read in chapter Kol Hakeilim (All utensils). Among other members of the Great Assembly, there were Srayah, Raamiya, Mispereth, Bigwai, Nahum, Baana, Mordecai, Bilshan, and the pious Zerubbabel, the ruler <pasha> of Judah, son of sons of King Jehoiachin.

In Sanhedrin, chapter Mamonoth, it is said that Zerubbabel is Nehemiah <son of> Hacaliah, and they say he is the ancestor of Hillel the Elder, the Prince of Israel. It does not seem so according to Ketuboth. It appears he was a descendant of Shephatiah son of Abital, King David’s wife. In JT, and in Genesis Rabbah, chapter ‘But God remembered Noah’, it is said that Hillel on his mother’s side was a descendent of Judah, and on his father’s side - of Benjamin, and Rabbi is his descendent. It is said that Hippocrates the Physician lived in the days of Mordecai and Esther in 3401. And his son Euclid, creator of engineering (geometry), and Plato the Philosopher.

Mordecai lived more than 400 years. In Mishnah, he is mentioned among 15 pious men as ‘Pethahiah of pigeons’ in the tractate Shekalim. He was called so as he knew 70 languages, and he could explain things even to mutes, apparently by signs and hints, and so it is said in Menachoth, chapter Rabbi Ishmael, in Omer and shnei lehem. It was in the days of Hasmoneans, during rule of Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, in the end of Hasmonean times, over 300 years after the Second Temple was built. Rashi explicated that it was the same Mordecai who lived in the days of Artaxerxes, but in Tosafoth chapter Meruba they doubted it, as so many years passed, and proposed different explanation: whoever was a person of such great understanding, was called ‘Mordecai’ after him.

In Tosafoth, they repeat the story about ‘Pethahiah of the pigeons’. Three women came to him and said: That is for onati, that is for yamati, that is for zivati, and he explicated: the first was endangered by ona <period>, the second one was endangered by the sea, while the third woman’s son was stolen by a wolf. He was the same Mordecai, as proved by JT, tractate Shekalim and Menachoth. Rambam of blessed memory in his commentary to Mishna in chapter 5 of Shekalim gave the same explanation.

 

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They are the Great Assembly who tried to exterminate the Evil Drive (the temptation of flesh) and blinded his eyes. Some people say they blinded one of his eyes, meaning they made him weaker, so he would not tempt them by incestuous proposals (see Yoma, and in chapter 4 Mithoth). Rashi explained: <he would not tempt to enter relations with> mother and sister, but he will tempt to enter relations with a married woman or a niddah. I can support his words, as it is said in chapter Ein Dorshin, that illicit carnal knowledge and lawless acquisition are the main stock of the Evil Drive.

After the demise of Jeshua the High Priest, apparently Ezra became the High Priest and he sacrificed the red heifer. It seems according to the book of Ezra, that his son Joiakim, and Jeshua’s son Eliashib, and Joiada son of Eliashib, and his son Jonathan, and his son Jaddua all were High Priests, while Ezra was not a High Priest. It seems according to the beginning of the book of Mada that Ezra was the High Priest prior to Simeon the Righteous. It is not plausible, as according to Chronicles, as the high priests were descendants of Jeshua, his sons and sons of his sons, that was the lineage of high priests. So explicated Rashi on the book of Ezra, saying that all six High Priests were descendants of Jeshua.

 

Simeon the Righteous was a High Priest in Ezra’s days. Perhaps he was a prefect <deputy High Priest>, or the head of a <priestly> family and not the High Priest. A <red> heifer is accepted as such even on the authority of a regular priest and is given his name, as was the case with the heifer selected by Eleazar the deputy High Priest and called after Moses our master, may he have peace.

However, Ezra was the leader of them all. He was the 22d recipient <of the Oral Law>. His court numbered 120 elders, and the last of them was Simeon the Righteous (who is included within the 120). However, Rashi’s interpretation is that he <Simeon> was of the remnant of the Great Assembly, for at the end of the Second Temple period they were called ‘the remnant of the Great Assembly’. This does not seem plausible, for Simeon the Righteous lived at the beginning of Second Temple period, when Alexander arrived, forty years after the construction of the Second Temple. Then they started <new> dating <of Alexandrine era>, and he was the High Priest long time after the High Priest Joshua.

In the days of Simeon the Righteous, there lived Geviha ben Passissa (called Gevia ben Kosem in the Genesis Rabbah, portion 61 ‘The children of the concubines’). He is also referred to in Aruch as Gevia, who said, ‘I will go to defend our case etc’. At the beginning of the chapter Chelek <of Sanhedrin> his name is spelled Geviha ben Passissa, meaning he was wise and he was a hunchback. A heretic said, I’d kick you and straighten all your deformities. He answered: then you will be called a great doctor, and you will be able to charge a large fee.

Some say that Geviha means ‘tall and of upright posture’ and he guarded the temple. <In contrast>, Gevia ben Kosem is the name of a sage, who stated main principles of the resurrection of the dead, namely, ‘He who wasn’t, now is, how much more so, <therefore, he who was>‘.

It was he who won the dispute in the seventh year <Shemitah> against the Africans, the children of Ishmael, the children of Keturah and the Egyptians, while Alexander the Great judged the case. It also seems that he was a contemporary of Rabbi Dosa ben Horkenos, and he lived for more than four hundred years – until after the Destruction of the Temple in the current exile. It appears that he lived in the time of Rabbi Joshua and his falling out with Rabban Gamliel concerning the appearance of the new moon, and in the time of R. Akiba. Rambam, of blessed memory, wrote it in his commentary on the Mishna in the introduction to chapter four. It seems (the first chapter of Yevamoth) Haggai the Prophet was referring to the case when he spoke of ‘the daughter’s rival’. However, this is difficult to accept since it is written in the chapter Hazorek get that Rabbi Judah ben Ilai held that the early generations are the school of Shammai and the later generations are the school of Rabbi Dosa. He was the son of Horkenos, see chapter 3 of Eduyoth. If he antedated the School of Shammai he would not be referred so. Maybe what he said with regard to the prophet Haggai was a tradition that he had received, for he did not say that he actually saw Haggai.

It is also written in Yevamoth that he had a younger brother who was very sharp-witted. Jonathan ben Horkenos was his name, and he was a disciple of the School of Shammai, and he called him ‘the firstborn son of the Satan’, meaning very sharp-witted. R. Zemach explained this term as ‘the firstborn son of his mother’, probably for the following reason. Talmud calls the firstborn son of his mother ‘the lightheaded (silly) firstborn son’ <the words ‘lightheaded’ (shoteh) and ‘Satan’ (Satan) are similar>.

R. Eleazar ben Azariah and Rabbi Akiba were with him then, but it would seem that he was very old. If this is so, why were the commentators of Tosafoth so surprised that Mordecai live for 300 years? And it was R. Dosa himself, the son of Horkenos, who said in the name of Rabbi Judah ben Ilai who said that the captive may eat of the tithes, see chapter 3 of Eduyoth.

In the time of Simeon the Righteous Alexandria had a lot of people of Israel, twice as many as in the days of Exodus, and there were seventy golden seats with pulpits in the great synagogue, as is brought to us in the tractate of Sukkah. Alexander, who enacted upon them the curse of Jeremiah the Prophet, killed them all: they transgressed the prohibition ‘do not come back <to Egypt> once again’. After that Alexandria was once again settled in the days of Honio son of Simeon the Righteous, who built a large temple and an altar, and all the people of Egypt would go there. Thus was fulfilled the saying ‘...and on that day there will be an altar to the Lord in Egypt and with great glory’. It lasted for two hundred years, according to Rambam. However, it would seem that it <Honio’s temple> stood throughout the time of the <Jerusalem> Temple, for Joshua ben Perahiah fled there, and also <it stood> in the time of Hillel, and they accepted the authority of the sages of Jerusalem and also brought sacrifices <to the Temple>. Furthermore, people <of Alexandria> brought Hillel their wives’ marriage contracts, who were said to be bastards (mamzerim) and he permitted the marriage.

It was a big community, twice as numerous as before the Exodus, until <some time> after the Destruction of the Second Temple, when the emperor Hadrian came and killed them all at the time of the fall of Beithar, as is written in the tractate of Gittin. It is written in the Tosafoth, that Alexandria was settled again, and this is corroborated in the chronicles of the Christians. In the JT, in the chapter ‘Hahalil’, it is written that the story of the seventy golden seats etc took place after the Destruction of the Second Temple during the lifetime of Yorkanus, the father of the wicked Hadrian, and he brought about their destruction, and Alexander is not mentioned, as he is in our Talmud. Then Beithar was crushed, and Israel’s glory <departed and> shall not return until the arrival of <Messiah> ben David.

There are those who claim that Simeon the Righteous were <also called> Iddo ben Joshua, the High Priest, but the book of Joseph ben Gurion does not support it. [Samuel Sholem says: I read in the great <book of> ben Gurion, that the <High> priest who was at the time of Alexander was called Iddo the priest, see there] In the opinion of our rabbis, of blessed memory, he <Simeon the Righteous> was the High Priest during the time of Alexander, the King of Greece who killed Darius. Then the kingdom of Persia and the Media ended, 52 years after the end of the Kingdom of Babylon.

Aristotle was his contemporary. It is stated in the chapter Elu neemarim that the Divine voice (‘bat Kol’) was heard speaking in Aramaic from the Holy of Holies saying that the decree had been made void and that the enemy had been killed.

 

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When Alexander came to Jerusalem <in order> to conquer it, Simeon the Righteous came out to meet him and Alexander bowed down to him to the amazement of his servants. He <Alexander> told them that his <Simeon’s> image appeared to him in battle and made him victorious. In the chronicles of the Gentile kings it is written that he <Alexander> saw on his <Simeon’s> forehead the <ineffable> Name written on his diadem: it is called in Greek ‘tetragrammaton’. This means a name of four letters.

The Cutheans were delivered into his <Simeon’s> hand <by Alexander>, and he <Simeon> killed them. The siege of the city was lifted. He requested that all boys born during that year would be named ‘Alexander’ after him, and that the calendar should be counted from that year. Since then years are counted from the month of Tishrei <instead of Nissan> being coincident with the month of October. Thus it appears in the Talmud, and thus wrote our master Nissim, of blessed memory, that a year begins from Tishrei for this reason. This is how Israel counted the years, according to the Torah, for the purpose of the seven-year cycle <Shemitah> and for the purpose of counting the years since Creation, ‘from the month ‘yerach eitanim’<=Tishrei>. [The Alexandrine era commenced one thousand years after the Exodus of Children of Israel from the land of Egypt.] That year was the year one thousand since the Exodus from Egypt. Ezra the Priest and the Scribe died on the tenth day of the month of Tevet, also Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and from then the prophecy ceased in Israel.

When Alexander traveled from Jerusalem, he met Sanballat the Horonite, with some Israelites and with the sons of Joshua the High Priest, who had intermarried with the Cutheans (they were expelled from The House of the Lord by Ezra the Priest and by Nehemiah). He <Sanballat> requested from Alexander that the priests – his sons-in-law – be permitted to build a temple on the Mount of Gerizim. The King commanded that this should be done and they built the temple.

Then Israel was split into two. Half of the people followed Simeon the Righteous and his disciple Antigonus and their school in accordance with the traditions received from Ezra and from the prophets, and <the other> half followed Sanballat and his sons-in-law who offered peace-offerings and burnt-offerings outside of the House of the Lord <in Jerusalem>. They invented statutes out of their own heart, and in this temple served as priest the son-in-law of Sanballat, Manasseh son of Joshua, son of Jehozadak the High Priest. Then Zaddok and Boethus, the pupils of Antigonus assumed leadership, and this was the beginning of the heresy. They went during the time of Antigonus their teacher, to the temple of the Mount of Gerizim and became the leaders. This temple stood for about two hundred years, for it was built forty years after the Second Temple was built.

In the year 212 after the building of the Second Temple, corresponding to the year AM 3621 Mattathias son of Johanan, the High Priest, who was called Hasmonean, rebelled against Antioch, the King of Greece. He and his sons rose up against the viceroy of the King of Greece, who was ruling in Jerusalem, and killed him and all his army. He was Phillip the minister, who killed one thousand souls of Israel for they observed the Sabbath, by setting fire at the entrance of the cave.

Antioch killed the seven righteous children of Hannah, and she collapsed and died after their death, and the things that these righteous people said were a great praise to Israel. Then the old Eleazar the Pious was severely beaten, and his soul departed.

This Eleazar was one of the 72 elders who translated the Torah for Ptolemy, the King of Egypt and the King of Greece. They altered 18 things, see first chapter of Megillah and in Sofrim, for five elders wrote the Torah for Ptolemy in Greek. He <Ptolemy> later convened seventy elders and they altered 13 things for him. This Ptolemy was a wise and pious man, and he gave many gifts to the elders and to the Temple. In the chronicles of the Christians it is written that there were <in his library> 300,000 philosophical books, and his sages told him ‘all the books you have are <just fiction and> useless stories, and the important thing is to translate the divine Torah of the Jews’. Then he sent immediately to Jerusalem for the old Eleazar and the seventy-two elders and he honored them greatly and he rejoiced greatly.

After the old Eleazar died, Mattathias reigned for one year and then he anointed his son Judah the Warrior, as the anointed commander of the army. In his lifetime, Nikanor came to Jerusalem and was killed, and also Antioch the King of Greece came, and Judah defeated him. He <Antioch> fell from his chariot and broke all his bones, for he was very heavy. The Lord punished him an additional strike, and he stank as a rotting corpse and his own men fled from him. He swore to circumcise his flesh - the oppressor who had banned circumcision – but the Lord did not listen to his prayer. His innards fell to the ground and he died.

Judah and all the pious people came, and they purified the Temple, and they brought wood, but they did not find the sacred fire. They called out to the Lord, and fire came out of the stone on the altar, and they added wood, and this fire lasted until the third exile. The court of the Hasmonean forbade the union with gentile women as they are prostitutes, slaves, and do not observe the laws of purity. The schools of Shammai and of Hillel forbade yechud with a gentile woman in addition to the other statutes. They consecrated the altar in the month of Kislev on the 25th day thereof. They placed the shewbread and lit the light, and a great miracle occurred with the oil, as our rabbis, of blessed memory, received, see chapter Bame Madlikin. They praised the Lord for eight days.

Judah reigned for six years, and he was killed in a holy <ordained> war <and he deserved > the World to Come. After him, his brother Jonathan reigned, for his brother Eleazar had already been killed during the lifetime of Judah in a war. A large elephant fell upon him. He was a great hero. Jonathan ruled for six years. After this, his brother Simeon son of Mattathias reigned for eighteen years. These three brothers ruled for thirty years. They were righteous men, and Zechariah <prophesied> said of them, ‘so they paid me my price: thirty pieces of silver’. However, according to the chronicles of the Romans, Judah reigned for four years, Jonathan for nineteen years, and Simeon for eight years, and so it is according to the book of ben Gurion.

 

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Then the Romans began to conquer Israel and to subjugate it, as Judah befriended and advanced them. Indeed, they are the fourth beast of Daniel’s vision. Since Judah vanquished the Greeks, they <Romans> made a covenant <with Israel> and stood by it for 26 years, and then for 128 years until the Destruction of the Temple, see AZ and the first chapter of Sabbath. Then they broke the covenant and from then onwards they (Israel) were enslaved to the Romans, and then the exile of Edom began.

After this, Johanan son of Simeon son of Mattathias reigned – he is also called Hyrcanus, and in the language of the Sages of blessed memory, Jannaeus. He went up and destroyed the temple of the Cutheans and killed the heretics. Upon his safe return, he made a feast for the sages. It was at that feast that the incident with Eleazar ben Poira occurred, as is mentioned in Kidushin, in the chapter Haomer, and he <the king> killed the sages. The king was extremely old, and after he served as High Priest for eighty years, according to our rabbis of blessed memory, he became a Sadducee.

In the opinion of Rashi, his wife was a sister of Simeon ben Shetach. Joseph ben Gurion disagrees with him. Rabbi Simeon Doran wrote in the third part of ‘Magen Avoth’, in the fourth chapter, as I have written, that the wife of his son Alexander was a sister of Simeon ben Shetach. Johanan died, and in his place reigned his son Alexander, also called Jannaeus by our Sages, of blessed memory. His wife was a sister of Simeon ben Shetach. Maybe she was the Queen Shelzion who is mentioned in the first chapter of Sabbath and in chapter three of Taanith. In the Taanith, it is said that Shelzion, the wife of the wicked Jannaeus, was a righteous woman.

He hated sages. On the Day of the Willow-Tree, he was hit on the forehead with a citron by one of their disciples, as was their custom, and he raised his hand and said ‘A sword!’ and the sages were killed, except for Simeon ben Shetach. Then Joshua son of Perahiah fled to Alexandria in Egypt, until Simeon ben Shetach pleaded with the king for mercy on his behalf and he returned. It was at the time of these kings that the Karaites sect came to being, and they were called ‘Sadducees’ and ‘Boethussians’.

We will return to our matters concerning Simeon the Righteous who was the High Priest for forty years. Five particular things occurred during his lifetime: the shining ribbon was bleached white, the lot fell on the right, the Western light was not extinguished and the altar fire burned well, but in the twilight hours, two logs of wood were added, as it was said ‘Burn wood upon it’. When he died, the strength of the altar fire weakened. Also the blessing of the Omer, and the two loaves of bread, and the shewbread. No Nazirite offering was accepted <in his days>, except for that of the Nazirite with beautiful eyes from the South.

The Midrash Rabbah asks, ‘why didn’t they partake <of the Nazirite offering>? If you should say: ‘For a Nazirite commits sin since he causes himself sorrow by abstaining from wine,’ <we shall reply:> ‘Didn’t Simeon the Righteous ever partake of <forbidden> fat sin offerings or of blood sin offerings?’ <The reason is different >: Simeon the Righteous was of the opinion that people take Nazirite oaths in anger, and since they take the oath in anger, they eventually regret it, and since they regret, they bring offerings as one who slaughters for profane purpose in the temple courtyard. But a Nazirite who vowed after careful consideration, and his mouth and his heart are as one, he is comely, <and his offering is accepted>. We further add that the others brought guilt offerings to release themselves <from the vow> for the mundane joys of drinking and rejoicing. They were holy, as the Holy One said, ‘The sign of his <Nazirite> dedication to God is on his head’. Furthermore, it is said, ‘I also raised up prophets from among your sons and Nazirites from among your young men’.

However, the intention was the opposite, one who swore the Nazirite oath must shave off his beautiful long hair at the end of the period of the Nazirite oath and sacrifice it to God. He should not retain it and be proud of his hair that was dedicated to God. In the Tosephta (chapter four of Nazir) it is written that he <the High Priest> partake of the guilt offering of the defiled Nazirite who came from the South etc. In the chapter Hahovel in the Tosephta <it is said>, Rabbi Eleazar Hakappar said that a sinful Nazirite transgresses the laws of purity, as is the simple meaning of the verse. If he is pure he still sins but to a small degree, and he has to observe as in case of daylong fast on Sabbath, caused by a dream.

He <Simeon> sacrificed two red heifers, while Moses sacrificed the first and Ezra the Priest the second red heifer. Every Day of Atonement an angel would enter <the Holy of Holies> with Simeon the Righteous, and leave with him, but in the year of his death the angel entered with him and did not come out. Then Simeon said immediately that he would die in that year. He fell ill on the seventh day after the Feast of Pilgrimage and died, as written in Yoma. He was the 23d recipient of the Oral Law. He left two sons, Shimei, and Honio. The Gaon spelled Honei, as is explained in Aruch. Honio was the wiser one of two, and his father wished that he should become the next High Priest, and there was an argument between them to such an extent that Honio fled to Alexandria, as we have said, and there he built a temple similar to the Temple. That is the reference to ‘Those who serve in the temple of Honio, etc’ as written at the end of Menachoth, and in longer form in the commentary of Mishna at the end of Menachoth.

The building of the Second Temple commenced in the year AM 3408, and it stood for four hundred and twenty years. In the 40th year after it was built, which was the year AM 3448, exactly 1000 years since the Torah was given <to Moses>, the prophecy ceased in Israel. Alexander came to Jerusalem, and commenced the dating from the month of Tishrei, as we have already said, that was the beginning of Alexander’s reign <in Jerusalem>. We made it known that due to his very good deeds he is remembered as Simeon the Righteous, of blessed memory.

 

Antigonus of Soko received <the Law> from Simeon the Righteous in the year AM 3460. Zaddok and Boethus, his pupils, were the leaders of the heretics who erred regarding the words of their teacher when he said ‘Be not like slaves etc’. The priests who did three things according to the opinions of the Sadducees died a sudden death, as it is written in the JT. The three things were the libation, the day purification by the red heifer, and the incense burning on the Day of Atonement. It should not be prepared outside and then brought inside. In the first chapter of Yoma in the Tosefta, it is expanded upon. There was a Boethussian priest, who told his father that he did so on the Day of Atonement, and he died within three days. In ‘Avoth deRabbi Nathan’ all the deeds of Zaddok and Boethus can be found. They used silver and gold utensils all their days.

 

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In his <Antigonus’> generation lived Rabbi Eleazar ben Harsom. His name is mentioned to condemn the rich who don’t study Torah. Nobody saw him but sitting and studying the Torah day and night. In the chapter ‘Omar lahem hamemune ‘ <it is written that> he was very rich and famous, he owned one thousand cities and one thousand ships. He was a very pious man. He served as High Priest for eleven years, see the first chapter of Yoma.

Antigonus received <the Law> from Simeon the Righteous and his court in the year AM 3460. He was the 24th to receive <the Law>.

Jose b. Joezer of Zeredah and Joseph b. Johanan of Jerusalem received <the Law> from Antigonus, and from Simeon the Righteous. Therefore, it is written in the Mishna, they received from them (in plural). This is also the interpretation of Rabbi Meir the Levite son of Rabbi Todros from Toledo, in his commentary on the Avoth. Alternatively, maybe <Mishna> wished to say ‘From Antigonus and from his court’, like Rabbi Eliezer ben Harsom. Thus says the Rambam at the beginning of Mada.

That was the beginning of ’pairs’, which followed them, until Hillel and Shammai – altogether five pairs. This is what it means ‘received from the pairs’. In each pair, one was the Prince and the other was the Head of the Court. This is with the exception of Simeon ben Shetach and Judah ben Tabai. Regarding them there is a difference of opinion – Rabbi Meir says that Judah ben Tabai was the Prince and Simeon ben Shetach was the Head of the Court, and the sages say the opposite, and it would appear that the sages were right. Although Hagigah and Avoth state, that the Mishna <correct ruling> is in accordance with Rabbi Meir, it means only that an anonymous Mishna <ruling> is attributed to Rabbi Meir.

We see that he <Simeon ben Shetach> acted as the Prince, when he sent for Honi Hameagel. After this, he built the Chamber of Hewn Stones. At the end of Taanioth and in chapter three of Sanhedrin, it is said that he was the Head of the Sanhedrin and judged King Jannaeus. Furthermore, he was the brother of King’ wife, see Berachoth. In addition, he hanged eighty witches in one day in accordance with a special order, and it is unnecessary to expand on this.

The Head of the Court would not rule for judgment before the Prince, but would addend his own opinion, see chapter Ein Dorshin. Alternatively, if the Prince judged before the Head of the Court, as was the case with Rabban Gamliel in the case of his servant Tevi (whose eye he wounded), then he ruled before Rabbi Joshua, the Head of his Court. The Head of the Court was like the viceroy to the King, who was the Prince, I mean the Prince was like the King, and the Head of the Court sat to the right of the Prince and the two passed judgement together.

However, regarding the title of Sage, it is quoted in tractate Horayoth in the name of Rabbi Meir that he did not see the value of it. Maybe this was only with regard to Rabbi Meir. However, at the end of the Moed Katan there is reference to a Sage who performed the rites of Halizah on the right, the Head of the Court to the left and the Prince on either side. Rashi explains that there is a preference to rending on the left, on that day the sage was also <doing it> on the right. The sage of a city is one who is asked for his ruling, but the Head of the Court is better.

In the first chapter of Kidushin, it is said that when a Sage passes by, one stands up and looks up and when he has passed by, one may sit. In the case of the Head of the Court, one remains standing until he has passed by four cubits and only then may one sit. In the case of the Prince, one may only sit when he himself is seated. Our master Asher <bar Yehiel> wrote that this only applies in public places. The order of things given at the end of Horayoth is applicable within the house of study, and likewise wrote the Tosafoth.

All of these pairs were called by their names, like the prophets, and not prefixed with Rabban and Rabbi. This is the first pair, says Mishna in chapter nine of Sotah, when Jose b. Joezer and Joseph b. Johanan died, no many-sided men remained. It means they had all good qualities and wisdom, and Rashi interprets as Torah, the fear of sin and acts of kindness. In Temurah, chapter Esh Korbanoth Rabbi Judah says all the many-sided men which were in Israel from the days of Moses our master until the death of Jose b. Joezer would study the Torah like Moses our master. People say, but he disagreed on semicha, and so he did, and was wrong (see the argument in Mishnat Hagigah).

Jose b. Joezer established rules, see the first chapter of Sabbath. He was the pious of priests, see in the Mishna, chapter Ein Dorshin. It seems to me that in the Midrash of Psalms and in the Genesis Rabbah, chapter <starting> ‘When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes’ I read that Jose b. Joezer was killed in the Greek persecutions. Ioakim of Zerudoth, his sister’s son told him ‘Look at my horse’ and he <Jose> replied, ‘If this is His wish regarding transgressors, how much more so with regard to His adherents’. He <Ioakim> replied ‘Is there an adherent more devout that you?’ He <Jose> replied ‘If it is thus with regard to His adherents, how much more so with those who transgress His will?’ This entered the heart of Ioakim, and he killed himself with four deaths for his atonement and for full repentance. Jose b. Joezer dozed for a while, and saw his <Ioakim> deathbed floating in the air and he said, ‘For a moment this one preceded me to the Paradise etc’.

At that time there was Johanan the High Priest, the father of Mattathias, who laid down many regulations, and ordained two <red> heifers, as did Simeon. See on ‘Johanan’ in the alphabetic order.

These <Jose and Joseph> received <the Law> from Antigonus, in the year AM 3500, which is 92 years after the Second Temple was built. In the chapter Esh Nohlin, it would appear that it was in the days of <king> Jannaeus, he consecrated all his possessions to the Temple, as his son was of poor behavior. They were the 25th recipients.

In the year 126 after the Second Temple was built there was Abrakus <Hipparchus> the astronomer.

Joshua ben Perahiah and Nittai the Arbelite and Mattathias ben Johanan received <the Law> from them <Jose and Joseph> in the year 3560. It was 152 years after the Temple was built, about 60 years before the Hasmonean wars with Greece.

Joshua ben Perahiah lived for many years until the time of Jannaeus, who is called Alexander ben Hyrcanus the First, and who has been mentioned above: he was called Johanan and killed the sages, and also, before that, this is the same Hyrcanus who killed the Cutheans.

 

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In the chapter Tefilath Hashahar, there is a disagreement between Abbaye and Rava, whether Jannaeus was Johanan, and it would appear that both the father and the son were called Jannaeus, according to the Talmud. Hyrcanus was the same Johanan who served as the High Priest and became a Sadducee and killed the sages. His son Alexander was also called Jannaeus, and he was married to the Queen Shelzion, the sister of Simeon ben Shetach. It is found in the chapter Haomer in Kidushin: Jannaeus, who was called Hyrcanus, killed the sages who came to find him unfit to serve as High Priest, for he wished to be both High Priest and King, and he got heretical ideas regarding the Oral Law.

Later Simeon ben Shetach came along and returned the Torah to its old glory during the time of Alexander his son. He was married to the sister of Simeon ben Shetach (see in Berachoth, chapter Shelosha sheochlu), and he said the Grace after Meals for Jannaeus who had killed the sages because of citron, as we have said above. His sister, who was the wife of the King, hid Simeon ben Shetach.

At that time Joshua ben Perahiah fled to Alexandria in Egypt, which is also called ‘Amon Manu’. When they took Simeon ben Shetach out of his hiding, he was well received by the King. Simeon ben Shetach begged the mercy of the King that he should return Joshua. He wrote to him: ‘from <me,> Jerusalem the Holy City to <my sister> Alexandria in Egypt, My husband stays with you and I sit desolate’, and he said, ‘It means I can return in peace’, and he came back (see at the end of Sotah).

Similar story told in Sanhedrin in the JT. Judah ben Tabbai fled to Alexandria so he would not be appointed a Prince. On the way, he had an encounter with his disciple, as happened to Judah ben Perahiah with Jesus the Nazarene.

The true tradition is that the Nazarene was his <Judah ben Perahiah’s> disciple. That was the third heretic sect, the sect of the pupils of Jesus the Nazarene, the Meshuamadim, who entered the teaching of Ma’amudiya and hence the term Meshumadim which really means Meshuamadim. The Ramban wrote, that meshumadim was the term used for those who turned aside to idol-worship, who by their deeds alienated themselves from the ways of their Father in Heaven, translated as ‘every son alienated from Israel’. In the <Aramaic> translation it is clear that the letter ‘ayin’ is missing, it is meshumada’, for meshumad. (This is also the case with the word ‘dorkati’ which is from two words ‘dor katua’) According to the chapter Omar Rabbi Akiba in Sabbath, it seems Ramban is right, and according to the commentary of Rashi, it means ‘every son <of Israel> alienated from his Father in Heaven’. Ma’amudiya is the sect of Jesus who baptized by water: this is the interpretation of our master Hai. In Yavne, they proclaimed the Anathema to Heretics against them.

The truth is that the Nazarene was born in the fourth year of the reign of Jannaeus the Second (Alexander), which is the year 263 after the Temple was built, and the year 51 of the Hasmoneans, which is the year AM 3678. But Christians claim that he was born in the time of Herod, servant of the Hasmoneans, in the year AM 3760, and that he was hanged 35 years before the Destruction of the Temple at the age of thirty two. They say so in order to shame us and to tell us that we were punished for our iniquity immediately and swiftly, within forty years, by the Destruction of the Temple. This is not so, since his birth was 89 years earlier than what they claim.

The truth is that he was born in the year AM 3678, and in the year 299 after the Temple was built he was arrested, and he was 36 years old in the third year of Aristobulus son of Jannaeus. That is why the Sages of Israel wrote in a dispute with the Christians, that there is no reference in the Talmud to the Nazarene to whom they refer. In the chronicles of the Christians, there are a variety of opinions which year he was born. We know about him from Sabbath, Sotah, Sanhedrin, and from his disciples.

At the end of Menachoth we find that Joshua ben Perahiah would not have wished to rise to greatness, or to descend, having ascended. Anyway, Joshua ben Perahiah lived for many years, and came to Jerusalem from Alexandria around the year 296 after the Temple was built, which is the year AM 3704. They <Joshua ben Perahiah and Nittai the Arbelite and Mattathias ben Johanan> are the 26th recipients of the Oral Law.

Then there was the well-known and great astronomer Abrakos <Hipparchus> in the year 205 after the Second Temple was built. He agreed with our rabbis of blessed memory, in the measure of the lunar month as 29 days and 12 hours and 793 parts.

[The court of the Hasmonean forbade intercourse with a gentile woman, even on the sly. This was previously permitted as is brought to us in the Mizvoth, 122]

Judah ben Tabbai and Simeon ben Shetach received from them at the beginning of the reign of the Hasmoneans, in the year AM 3621, the year 213 since the construction of the Temple. We have already said that Simeon ben Shetach was the Prince and Judah ben Tabbai was the Head of the Court. The piousness of Judah ben Tabbai is well known. He killed a false witness to disabuse the Sadducees, but in this case, he erred in judgement. Thenceforth he did not sentence again but with his colleague Simeon. Every day he would cry for the one he had killed until the day of his death. He did not seek honors for himself.

However, Simeon ben Shetach was a very pious man. Once there were two false witnesses against his son and he was sentenced to death. The witnesses retracted and admitted it was out of hatred for the father that they bore false witness, because he killed the witches. Nevertheless, his pious son told him to carry out the sentence rather than overturn a Torah ruling for him (see Sanhedrin in the JT). Rashi explains in the chapter Nigmar Hadin, that he <and he alone> did not pervert the justice for the king. Gabriel <the archangel>came for his sake and hit the members of the Sanhedrin on the ground (see chapter Kohen Gadol).

He returned the Torah to its original glory, and he established regulations, see the first chapter of Sabbath and elsewhere. He made the marriage contract in such a way that all man’s property would be stipulated to the contract.

He hanged eighty women witches on one day in his great wisdom. The Sanhedrin must know witchcraft in order to decide for what witchery the witch must be killed. Rashi explains in the chapter Haomed: if the accused is a sorcerer, and he will make the light, such that he does not have control over it, they <Sanhedrin> will do witchcraft and kill him.

 

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The reader already knows that he was the brother-in-law of the King Jannaeus. In his day lived the great sage and pious man Honi Hameagel, known for his prayers (see the end of Taaniyot). In the book of Joseph ben Gurion the Priest, it is said that he was killed outside of Jerusalem, when the Hasmonean Kings fought each other, meaning Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus, who were brothers, the sons of Alexander, the son of Hyrcanus the First.

Then was decreed: cursed is one who keeps pigs, and cursed is one who teaches his son Hellenistic wisdom. Should you claim that it was already decreed so at the time of Titus, the Tosafoth explained: the ruling was decreed in general, but it was not universally accepted, also there is a difference, <the transgressor of the latter ruling> is amongst the cursed and not simply a transgressor. Finally, there was a ruling by Sages.

This Hyrcanus was the last of the Hasmonean dynasty, as Herod son of Antimatter, his <Hasmonean> servant, killed him. Two rulings were then decreed, see beginning of chapter Meruba, and at the end of Sotah and in Menachoth in the chapter Rabbi Ishmael. At that time lived Mordecai the Jew and he was over four hundred years old. At that time, they brought the wheat sacrifice and the two loaves from afar to Jerusalem.

The Talmud does not mention the killing of Honi Hameagel. It is written that he slept for seventy years, which is the life of man, and the years passed in a dream, as if it was one day. In the third chapter of Magen Avoth concerning the dream, Rabbi Doran says that it is against the nature, (unless it is a miracle) that a man should sleep for seventy years, but <I say> since his body heat would cool, he wouldn’t be worn by time. As the time is connected to the movement, and one who does not move would not sense the passage of time. Indeed, he who says that this does not seem possible other than by a miracle takes it <the story> at face value. Since they did not show respect to Honi Hameagel in his old age, he asked for death, for the World to Come. The Megillath Taanith says, for three consecutive years there was a drought, until Honi Hameagel went down to pray. In those days there was Elihoeini ben Hekeph the High Priest who ordained one red heifer. They <Judah ben Tabbai and Simeon ben Shetach> were the 27th recipients <of Law>.

 

Shemaiah and Avtalion received <the Law> from them, one was the Prince, the other the Head of the Court. Our master Hananel wrote ‘How did it come about that they appointed a Prince over the House of David, for Jose ben Joezer was a Prince and also a Priest’. Although regarding Simeon and Antigonus no Head of Court is mentioned, there always was a Head of Court, just they did not list their names. This was the custom in Israel, and thus was said at the end of Moed Katan concerning Saul – that he was the Prince, while Jonathan was the Head of the Court.

Thus is said in the chapter Hayashan, ‘When is there an eclipse of the sun? When a Head of Court dies and is not eulogized adequately etc’. Although this is a proverb, it contains a <mystical> secret. [Rabbi Isaac Israeli has offered a fine explanation in Yesod Olam, but it remains a secret]. The Prince is called in the Torah ‘King’. This is true whether he descends from King David, or from the Kings of Israel whom did prophets anoint.

Thus we find in the Mishna in chapter three of Horayoth, ‘a Prince is <like> a King, as it is said when a Prince sins, transgressing any commandment of the Lord his God – who is above him but the Lord his God’. This was also the case with the Exilarch in Babylon, who was of royal blood via Jehoiachin, who was called ‘The scepter of the Right, the scepter of your kingdom’. ‘The scepter will not depart from Judah’ – this is <the reference to> the Exilarch in Babylon. However, to Hillel and all his descendants they referred <the verse> ‘nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet’. That is why our saintly master, who was a Prince, is not called Prince, even though he was a descendant of David, of the children of Shephatiah son of Abital, the wife of David. JT and the Genesis Rabbah say, Rabbi was from the tribe [of Judah] on his mother’s side, and from the tribe of Benjamin on his father’s side.

Rabbi Hiyya told him ‘Your rival is in Babylon’. The Exilarch was then one named Rav Huna, and he <the Prince> was his subject. This was not the Rav Huna, the disciple of Rav mentioned in the Talmud, for he died during the lifetime of Rabbi and was buried in the land of Israel. He was of royal blood via Jehoiahin and Zerubbabel. They were Princes mentioned just by name alone, without the title ‘Prince’. Thus Shemaiah was a Prince, but called just by his name alone.

This was not said of these alone because they were proselytes. Shemaiah and Avtalion were the grandchildren of Sennacherib (see Gittin and Sanhedrin), but even Simeon the Righteous and Hillel were as Princes. They were presiding in the Chamber of Hewn Stone over seventy <members> of the Sanhedrin, and there was no king to sit amongst them <and rule>, like Moses for them, who was a King and a Prince, and they had a Prince instead. For in the Second Temple there was only Zerubbabel. In these times, the priests were kings unlawfully. In addition, Herod in the time of Hillel was unlawful <king>, as he was a proselyte or a slave. They <mis>interpreted the verse ‘he <the king> must be from your own brothers’. Even more so should there be a descendant of David in the world.

Both Shemaiah and Avtalion were born of an Israelite mother, so they could judge. A Prince who waived his honor may do so, but the King may not waive his honor. These were surely righteous proselytes performing the deeds of Aaron, see Yoma. Since it is not my intention to be lengthy, for otherwise it would be a very large book, and it will be weighty to copy, I will not quote all the data concerning the sages, but rather one or two things to provide the required benefit.

They < Shemaiah and Avtalion> received <the Law> in the year AM 3722, year 314 since the construction of the Temple. In their time there were Judah ben Dortai, who parted with the Sages, he and Dortai his son. They moved to the South in order to avoid <the duty of> pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He was of the opinion that the feast sacrifice takes precedence over Sabbath, as does the Passover sacrifice. He said, ‘I wonder why two great men of the generation, Shemaiah and Avtalion, who are great sages and great interpreters of the law, did not say to Israel that the feast sacrifice precedence over Sabbath’. In the Gemara, Rav Mari supported his < Judah ben Dortai> opinion, <by verse> ‘sacrifice as the Passover to the Lord your God of sheep and cattle’. It annoyed Rav Ashi, and he said, ‘If you support the schismatic, we can also do a schism’. He meant that it is forbidden to support a schismatic opinion. In the commentary to the chapter Elu dvarim, our master Asher explained the words ‘support the schismatic’ as ‘that is a schismatic explanation’.

 

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In their time, there was Akaviah ben Mehalalel. Rabbi Judah ben Ilai referred to him in the tractate Eduyoth: ‘The Temple court was never closed in the face of a man of Israel of such wisdom and fear of sin as Akaviah’. Since after the death of Shemaiah and Avtalion he spoke <of them> disrespectfully, it is possible he was excommunicated.

He did not intend to malign them when he said, ‘Similar drink’. There are two possible explanations. First, ‘they were proselytes similar to her’, but he wished to say that they did not give her bitter water, but a similar drink in order to frighten her. We know that this was after they died (see Berachoth, chapter Mishemetu), as it is written ‘who tells after the hearse of the scholars’. However, Aruch, in article Acher interprets it as ‘who tells misleading words’ meaning ‘who misled people from the right path’. This is as R. Ishmael taught ‘should you see a scholar sin at night, do not think of it during the day’. Likewise, our master Asher interprets on Berachoth. However, our master Hananel interprets ‘Who maligns them after their death’ and this is the true explanation.

In Sifrei, this story is told, and concluded, he who maligned an Elder after his death should be excommunicated. I also found in the article Dugma <similar> that he retracted, and explained it thus. In the Tosafoth, it is said: ‘when peace reigns in Israel’. That is to say after their death, as then there is no place for polemics, one does not malign dead. So it means ‘after their death’. Rashi explained the above as referring to one who emphasizes their negative points rather than positive to force the negative outcome <of weighing up their deeds>. I, Abraham, received <from my masters> that whether the term is from the meaning ‘hearse’ or misleading’, anyway it refers to ‘speaking of one after his death’. It is said, ‘the rod of the wicked will not rest’, meaning ‘the tongue’, as in the verse ‘he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth’. ‘On the destiny of the righteous’ meaning ‘the destiny of the righteous after their death’, as it is said, ‘you will rise to your destiny at the end of days’. ‘Do good, o Lord, to those who are good, ... but the deceivers he will banish etc’

The son of Akaviah was also a sage, and his father instructed him to obey the sages and to heed their words, in his piousness (see Eduyoth).

Admon and Hanan ben Avishalom, great sages and civil judges in Jerusalem, were mentioned in the last chapter of Ketuboth. Rambam, of blessed memory, wrote, that R. Miasha was of their company, but it does not seem likely. In the tractate of Peah, Nahum the Scribe testified that he received <the Law> from R. Miasha, and R. Miasha received from Abba who received from the pairs etc. It means, that R. Miasha was after Hillel and Shammai, who were among pairs, consequently, that he himself received from pairs like Hillel and Shammai who received from Shemaiah and Avtalion. If Rambam would be right, he would not have mentioned the last pairs. The words of truth are about to follow from the mouth of the sage. It is more likely that he came after Hillel. We see in chapter Kohen Gadol veNazir it is said that they received from the Prophets the tradition given to Moses at Sinai. They do not mention Joshua and the Elders, who are Caleb and his school, for there is no need to mention the intermediary ones, since it was from them that it was known.

This is not R. Miasha the Amora, the grandson of R. Judah ben Levi, the contemporary of Hillel’s sons. If Rambam has no other evidence from the Talmud, and I, myself, have not seen another one, but from the Mishna it seems that he was after Hillel. The words of Nahum the Scribe do not correspond to the time of Hillel (in Peah), but rather to the time of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, his grandson.

Shemaiah and Avtalion were the 28th recipients <of Law>.

In my opinion, the sons of Bethyrah were in the company of Shemaiah and Avtalion, as was Akaviah. Hillel came to be Prince after them. They appointed Hillel as the Prince and out of great humility relinquished the position. Rabbi said, although he himself was humble, he could never compare with the sons of Bethyrah, who gave the princedom to Hillel the Elder. It happened because Hillel knew that Passover sacrifice overrules Sabbath <laws>, see Pesahim, the chapter Elu Hadvorim. This rule escaped the recollection of the sons of Bethyrah, so they appointed him <Hillel> as Prince. After the Destruction they were with Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, when he ruled to blow the shofar on Sabbath in the court in Yavne, see Rosh Hashanah and the JT.

Within two seven-years’ <Shemitah> cycles there should be a Passover falling on Sabbath. Why had the ruling been forgotten, - just to magnify Hillel. Why does one observe respect in the earthly courts – just to minimize the division amongst Israel. Rashi comments on the first chapter of Taanioth, that R. Judah ben Bethyrah and R. Joshua his brother lived in the time of Hillel. This is odd, for it is written in chapter 4 Mithoth in the JT, that R. Joshua and R. Eliezer were the disciples of disciples of Hillel. They gave birth to the father of R. Judah ben Bethyrah.

R. Judah ben Bethyrah lived in Babylon, in Nisibis, at the time of the Temple, see the beginning of Pesahim. Rashbam, of blessed memory, explains why he was in Babylon. He did not make a pilgrimage <to Jerusalem> for he was old and could not make the pilgrimage, and an old person is exempt. He lived for a long time, until the days of Rav and Samuel. He blessed Abba, father of Samuel, that he should have a wise son, see Midrash Samuel on the verse ‘and all Israel from Dan until Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord‘. In Sabbath, chapters Rabbi Eliezer and Kol Basar it appears he lived in the time of Levi that <quoted law> to Rabbi Atariah in the name of R. Judah ben Bethyrah that he interpreted <the Law> like Rabbi Jose the Galilean.

Hillel and Shammai received <the Law> from them. At first, Hillel shared his position with Menahem, but Menahem left for the king’s service. He had eighty men dressed in gold, see Hagigah. It is mentioned in the book of Ben Gurion, that Menahem was a great sage, like a prophet. He made many prophecies, and he prophesied to Herod, when <Herod> was still young, that <Herod> would reign. After <Herod> began to reign, he sent <for Menahem>. <Menahem> told him that he <Herod> would reign for over thirty years. He actually reigned for 36 years. <The King> enriched him.

 

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Indeed, Herod greatly respected Hillel the Elder, for they supported his rule. It is written there that Shammai was the disciple of Hillel. Maybe this was the case in the time of Menahem, but afterwards <Shammai> was a colleague of Hillel. Shammai the Elder also prophesied that Herod would be king. It happened when <Herod> was judged by the Synedrion, and they <bent the justice and> overlooked that he killed a man. Then <Shammai> said that <Herod> would reign, and would kill them <the members of Synedrion>. Herod did not raise his hand against Hillel and Shammai and Menahem and their factions, as he respected them.

Hillel was called ‘The Babylonian’ because he was from Babylon, of high lineage, see chapter Asara Yohassin, where they spoke with Rabbi on lineage. He came from Babylon and there he studied Torah with Shemaiah and Avtalion. They also came to Jerusalem, see Yoma and Avoth deRabbi Nathan that he spoke Babylonian. He said four things in the Mishna. ‘<One who> magnifies his name will lose his name. <One who> doesn’t add <to his knowledge> will lose <his knowledge>. <One who> doesn’t wish to teach <the Law> shall be destroyed. <One who> uses <Torah for mundane purposes> will perish’. <He also said>, he who uses the Ineffable Name has no place in the World to Come’. ‘Read and turn over and over’ they say that it was Hillel who said this. They say so about ‘killed and are killed’ as well, as he was Babylonian. Shemaiah and Avtalion were in Jerusalem when the High Priest came out of the Temple on the Day of Atonement.

Hillel learned Torah in great poverty, see in the chapter Omar Lahem Hamemune. His rich brother Shebna did not assist him, as did Azariah to his brother Simeon, see the end of Sotah. At the end of Netiv Sheni it is written that the brother of Hillel did not take his part, as he did not assist Hillel before he began his studies. This is despite that he did assist him after he studied. <Hillel the Elder> lived for 120 years. He was 40 years old when he came from Babylon, and he studied <Torah> for forty years, and for forty years he led Israel. He was a very humble man, see Sabbath, and in chapter Yom Tov. Out of humility and for the sake of peace, he said the victim for the peace offering was female though it was male.

Shammai was a stringent man, and their disciples followed their masters’ ways. This is why the law is in accordance with the opinion of Hillel school (see the first chapter of Eruvin, and in the first chapter of Berachoth in the JT), that the Divine Voice said in Yavne, ‘the ruling is in accordance with the School of Hillel’. Since then the School of Shammai’s opinion never prevailed but once (see chapter five in Terumoth).

Shammai and Hillel received <the Law> in the year AM 3728, year 320 since the construction of the Temple. Until the time of Hillel, six hundred orders of the Mishna were read, from our master Moses, may he have peace, until the sons of Bethyrah. Hillel arranged six orders of Oral Law, so that the Torah would not be forgotten. This was at the beginning of the reign of Herod, the servant of the Hasmoneans. At that time, in the days of Hillel, Herod built the Temple of a beauty that exceeded that of Solomon. While it was built, there was no daytime rain, so the building work would not cease. In the commentary to the beginning of Sabbath <it is said>, Hillel became the Prince one hundred years before the Destruction of the Temple. Simeon, his son, and Rabban Gamliel the Elder, his grandson, and Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel who was killed at the Destruction of the Second Temple, served as Princes in the Temple for one hundred years, that is to say for a hundred years while the Temple stood. Rashi explains there at length.

<Hillel> was a descendant of David, through Shephatiah son of Abital, see Ketuboth, chapter Hanose, on arranging marriage of R. Hiya’s daughter. She died while engaged to Rabbi’s son. In the chapter Bame Behema Rav says, ‘Rabbi is of David’s blood’. In the Tosafoth on the first chapter of Sanhedrin, it is written ‘the Exilarch in Babylon descended from King David through the male line, and the Prince in the land of Israel - through the female line’.

As we have said, Genesis Rabbah in the portion God remembered Noah states it was from his mother’s side, while his father was a Benjamite. Hillel greatly multiplied Torah in Israel, and Shammai was his colleague. They did not disagree, except for six cases, see the first chapter of Sabbath. Their followers created the disagreement between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai. They decreed many rules and decrees, see Gittin and elsewhere. In the chapter Hasholeah Get the Tosafoth wrote in the JT, that concerning eighteen cases of disagreement between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel, even Elijah could not settle the differences. The disciples of the School of Shammai were killing the disciples of the School of Hillel, and threatened their lives. Hillel had eighty disciples, I mean the outstanding ones, see Sukkah chapter Yashan and Bava Batra chapter Esh Nochlin.

The greatest of them all was Jonathan ben Uzziel, who translated the prophets, see Megillah, and there was no end to his wisdom. Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai the Priest, was the least of them, so one can imagine the rest. Jonathan ben Uzziel was so great, that even Shammai the Elder came to him <for his advice> (see there, chapter Esh Nohlin).

In Hillel’s days Bava ben Buta was a disciple of Shammai the Elder. In Gittin we find of his wisdom. He acquitted a woman who was accused of sexual misbehavior, and said that sperm does not coagulate in fire, while the white of an egg does coagulate. He was blinded by Herod, (see Batra), when <the King> killed the sages. He advised <Herod> to build the temple as atonement for having extinguished the light of the sages. <Herod> was afraid of them, as it is written, ‘you can’t etc’ In Nedarim, R. Eliezer tells that he was a judge and a humble man. He made peace between a man and his wife, and the story is found there. Though he was a Shammai’s disciple, in semicha disagreement he sided with the School of Hillel, see the second chapter of Yom Tov, there it is made clear. In the last chapter of Keritoth in the Mishna we find that Bava ben Buta was a pious man, and would offer a guilt offering every day, but on the day following the Day of Atonement. This is called ‘the guilt offering of pious men’. As for sages whom Rambam, of blessed memory, places in the days of Hillel, we found them living later, in the time of the Schools of Shammai and Hillel the Elders. It was close to the time of the Destruction of the Temple in the days of Rabban Gamliel the Elder.

 

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Among them, there was Rabbi Johanan Hahoranith, whom the elders of the Schools of Shammai and of Hillel went to visit in the tabernacle booth. Sages of the Schools of Shammai and Hillel visited Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon as well. It is written in chapter seven of tractate Semachoth, that he lost a scroll of Torah, which was bought for one hundred measures, and he prayed in the Temple, and it was found. His son was R. Eleazar ben Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon, see in Sifrei in the portion of Ki Tetze. In the chamber of Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon, many rulings were established. There the sages decreed 18 decrees, and not 24 as Rambam claims at the beginning of his commentary to the Mishna of Sabbath, for they forgot but 18 decrees.

From the explanation of Rashi and the Tosafoth it would appear that <disagreement over> the 18 rules of contention between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel was over at that time. Indeed, what were these 18 rules of contention? As for plain meaning of the rules, it appears that Rambam, of blessed memory, was right. The first of them concerns defiled food of the first degree of impurity that defiles the tithe. However, I am not worthy to dispute it with such lions, for it is a deep legal matter, which allows for many explanations.

Anyway, in the chamber of Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon the 18 decrees were established, see the first chapter of Sabbath. This pious man compiled Megillath Taanith for he was fond of miracles. It seems to me that he did not write all of it, as according to the first chapter of Rosh Hashanah, Yehora ben Shamua, a R. Meir’s disciple, succeeded to void the government discrimination measures, and this is in Megillah Taanith.

He <Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon> also explained the contradictions of Ezekiel. <The sages> brought up to his chamber three hundred oil lamps to illuminate his night so he would preach. He is of blessed memory, see the chapter Hatecheleth and the first chapter of Sabbath and the end of Megillath Taaanith, as the group of R. Eleazar ben Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon wrote Megillath Taanith for they did not know troubles.

Also at that time lived Nehuniah ben Hakanah, a great sage and a pious man. This is the great Rabbi Nehuniah who lived for many years, see the chapter Bnei Hair and the chapter Tefilath Hashahar in the Mishna, that he used to pray while entering the House of Study. He is also mentioned in the tractate Avoth. He compiled the Book of Bahir on deep Qabbalah and the names of the Blessed Name. R. Ishmael ben Elisha, the High Priest, received from him the secret knowledge of the Qabbalah. Likewise R. Akiba, see in the Midrash.

R. Ishmael was very good-looking, and R. Joshua ransomed him out from Romans. He was one of the Ten martyrs, killed soon after the Destruction of the Temple. They skinned his face alive, since the daughter of the Caesar coveted his beauty and it <his skin> is on the kings’ head. In the beginning of Berachoth, we find that he saw The Divine Presence in the Temple and God said unto him ‘Ishmael, my son, bless me’.

At that time lived Abba Hilkiah, the grandson of Honi Hameagel. He was meek and retiring, the son of the daughter of Honi Hameagel, well versed in matter of miracles (see Taanioth).

Nahum the Scribe, as we have said it seems he lived a long time after Hillel. He (see Peah) received <the Law> from R. Miasha. We have said that the sons of Bethyrah lived at the time of Shemaiah and at the time of Hillel. They lived for many years after the Destruction of the Temple until our holy master.

R. Pappias witnessed the Destruction of the Temple. In Eduyoth, he disagrees with Rabbi Joshua and R. Johanan ben Bag Bag. It means that he indeed was alive at that time. They were alive after the Destruction as well. Hillel and Shammai were the 29th recipients <of the Law>.

Rabban Simeon, son of Hillel the Elder, and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai the Priest received <the Law> from Hillel and Shammai, and they are the 30th recipients. Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai lived for 120 years. For there were three <sages> who lived for 120 years as did Moses our master, may he have peace, and they saw one another: Hillel, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Akiba. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai was engaged for forty years in business, for forty years he studied, and for a further forty years he taught. He became the Prince at the end of his days, after the Destruction of the Temple, see the end of Rosh Hashanah. He established 9 rules. He was a Priest, see chapter Bame Madlikin. Thus, Rashi explains there. Thus, in Sifrei, he said, ‘atonement! For what my hands have served, I have now forgotten’. He witnessed four Princes, and these are Hillel, from whom he received <the Law>, Rabbi Gamliel the Elder, <Hillel’s> grandson, (in whose day the Torah was learned while standing up), and Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, who was killed during the Destruction.

At that time lived Rabbi Haninah ben Dosa, the pious man, well-versed in miracles, for whom the Divine Voice said, ‘All the world is nourished because of Haninah, my son, but for my son Haninah, one measure of carobs is sufficient from one Sabbath to the next’. In the chapter Aravei Pesahim <it is said> the Heaven proclaim, ‘be careful with my son Haninah’, regarding Igereth bath Mahlat.

Chapter 3 of Taanioth tells of his goats, which brought a bear in their horns. If he was poor, how come he had goats? Rashi explains that he found a lost hen, and the owners did not claim it, and from its chicks, he purchased the goats. He learned Torah from Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, see chapter Ein Omdin.

It was in the time of Rabban Gamliel (see Berachoth). Rabban Gamliel the Elder was the 31st recipient <of the Law>. R. Simeon ben Gamliel, his son, was the 32nd recipient <of the Law>. Since this same Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel was killed, his son Rabban Gamliel (the one who argued with R. Eliezer and R. Joshua) was not yet worthy to be a Prince. R. Johanan ben Zakkai saved him from the Caesar Vespasian, and then R. Johanan ben Zakkai became the Prince at the time of the Destruction, for he found favor in the eyes of the king, see chapter Nezikin and Avoth deRabbi Nathan. He was the Prince at the end of his days, for at least two years, as Rashi explains at the end of Rosh Hashanah.

In the days of Hillel and R. Johanan ben Zakkai there were two High Priests: Hanamel the Egyptian and Ishmael ben Pavi, a very pious man, each of whom sacrificed a <red> heifer. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai the Priest was a very old man, but he was the head of the Sanhedrin. Though our master Hananel wrote, ‘on the day they appointed R. Eleazar ben Azariah, why did they not appoint Rabbi Eliezer? For he was a very old man’.

 

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That is why Rambam, of blessed memory, concluded (in his commentary to Judges, chapter two), one does not appoint to the Sanhedrin an extremely old man. We learn in another chapter in Dinei Memonoth <the laws of property>, one does not appoint to the Sanhedrin an old man, a eunuch, or a man without sons.

When he died, he blessed his disciples that they should fear heaven as they fear flesh and blood <men>. Then he saw the pious King of Judah, Hezekiah, who came to escort him, see chapter Tefilath Hashahar. Rambam says that a sage who was not sufficiently highly thought of in the eyes of Rabbi to be called just by name without any title, was called ‘Rabban’. However, we did not find a Rabban, but a Prince. One is referred to Aruch where the truth may be found, at length, with the help of the Lord, at the end of the alphabetical list of Tanna teachers and on Abaye, as to why the titles Rabbi, Rabban, and Rav were used. The general rule is that the title ‘Rabban’ used for Princes – Rabban Gamliel the Elder, Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel etc. and likewise all until Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi.

<Then it changed, as> there was a doubt as to whether Rabbi Simeon bar Rabbi would be Prince, since he was a greater scholar that Rabban Gamliel, his older brother, see Ketuboth. <Rabbi wished> to avoid the occurrence of what happened with Simeon the Righteous who transferred the High Priesthood to his younger son, Honio, and what happened indeed happened. Rabbi wished that Rabban Gamliel would be Prince. That is why it was necessary to call him ‘Rabban’, as a Prince, prior to his appointment, and to mention him among the Sages of the Mishna in the second chapter of Avoth. It would make it clear to the sages that he was destined to be Prince, equal to Rabbi in fear of sin, fit to take his place.

Since Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai was Prince in place of Rabban Gamliel, he too was called ‘Rabban’. While being Prince, Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai was at Yavne, see the end of Rosh Hashanah. Though Avoth deRabbi Nathan says that his disciples went to Yavne, but he went to Damsit, a spa. They advanced in Torah and he did not, but this was before his Princedom.

It seems that even in the time of the Temple, Rabban Gamliel the Elder, the grandson of Hillel, stayed at Yavne, though he was in Jerusalem <as well>, for the Sanhedrin was exiled forty years before the Destruction of the Temple. <It was> from the time that the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves, and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai admonished them. He said, ‘Thus Zechariah prophesied about you, ‘Open your doors, Lebanon’ etc‘.

As murderers multiplied, and they did not want to judge in matters of life and death, they were exiled from place to place, until they reached Yavne.

There Samuel the Less proclaimed the Anathema to Heretics. It was done in presence of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, not Rabban Gamliel who was the Prince after Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. This is indeed so since Samuel the Less died before the Destruction of the Temple, and also before Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai became Prince, as at his deathbed he predicted the killing of Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Ishmael. Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel was killed in the Destruction, and then Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai became Prince, see Gittin.

This deed of Samuel the Less is brought to us in the first chapter of Sanhedrin. At the end of Sotah, and in chapter four of Semachoth, we learn that he did not have a son. Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah eulogized him. He prophesied in Aramaic at the time of his death. They put his key and his notebook in his coffin, for he had no son.

<It is written> in the same tractate, in chapter five, when Rabban Gamliel the Elder came in to declare the year a leap year, Samuel the Less stood up and said ‘It was I who came without invitation‘. Rabban Gamliel said to him, ‘Sit down, my son, sit down. What do you have to do with Eldad and Medad? All Israel knows would there be two, not seven, you would be one of them’.

Then, in the days of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, Sanhedrin says that Rabban Gamliel said ‘Sit down, my son, sit down. All years deserve to be declared leap years by you’. He did not enter without invitation, he claimed this out of modesty. Rashi explains in Avoth that he was called ‘the Less’ in comparison with Samuel the Prophet. [I, Samuel Sholem, found this in Sotah JT.] It seems <he was called> ‘the Less’ for he was small in his own eyes, and meek, and pious, a true disciple of Hillel in his manners. Likewise Hillel was called ‘a disciple of Ezra’, though he was not literally his disciple as three hundred years separated them.

It seems that even when the Great Court was functioning in Jerusalem, there was the Court in Yavne, see chapter Elu hen hanechnakin in Sanhedrin.

Rabbi Gamliel II, who was saved from the hands of the Emperor, became the Prince immediately after Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, also at Yavne, see chapter 4 of Rosh Hashanah. He disagreed with R. Joshua and the great Rabbi Eliezer, his brother-in-law (he was married to Imma Shalom, the sister of Rabban Gamliel), and he was the grandfather of Rabbi.

Rashi says that Rabban Gamliel the Elder was in Usha and <later> returned to Yavne, and this is plausible. However, what he says (in commentary to the last chapter of Rosh Hashanah) that his son Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel returned to Usha, that’s wrong. For the above-mentioned Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, who was at Usha, is the father of Rabbi. That is clear as he conversed with R. Ishmael, son of R. Johanan ben Barokah, with R. Haninah, son of R. Jose the Galilean, and they were after R. Akiba and Rabbi Johanan ben Nuri. R. Johanan ben Nuri disagreed with Rabban Gamliel, his father, on the matter of the new moon.

This is not Rabban Gamliel the Elder, for he also disagreed with Rabbi Joshua. It means they were in Yavne prior to the Destruction of the Temple, from the days of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, and Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel, his son, who was killed. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai requested <Romans to give him> Yavne, and to preserve lives of its sages, see chapter Hanezikin, it means that prior to the Destruction of the Temple he was there in Yavne. So, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and R. Gamliel of Yavne, who argued with R. Joshua, were there, but Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, his son, the father of Rabbi, was in Usha and in Shefaram. Rabbi stayed with the seventy <members> of the Sanhedrin in Beth Shearim and in Tiberias and in Zippori. Tiberias was the deepest: that was the tenth exile of Sanhedrin.

Three <Princes> were called ‘Rabban Gamliel’. <The first was> the grandson of Hillel, and he is the only one called ‘Rabban Gamliel the Elder’ in every reference. The second was Rabban Gamliel, grandson of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, who disagreed with R. Joshua. The third Rabban Gamliel was the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince.

 

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Likewise, three <Princes> were called ‘Rabban Simeon’: the first was the son of Hillel. The second was Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, his grandson, who was killed, see first chapter of Sabbath. The third was Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel the Meek, the father of Rabbi, who is mentioned in the chapter Hasocher in BM. Should you wish for a fourth, he would be the younger son of Rabbi, who was called Rabbi Simeon the Prince. He was mentioned as doubtful at the end of the first chapter of Gittin, if he was indeed a Prince.

Now the order of lineage of our Holy Master became clear in order to remove mistakes from the commentary on Mishna and from the book of Mada. Rabbi is the seventh in line from Hillel, and he is as sacred as the Sabbath, and as Moses our Master, may he have peace, <who was> the seventh from Abraham our Father. Rabban Gamliel, his grandfather, was the 33d recipient <of Law>. R. Simeon ben Gamliel was the 34th recipient, and he was the father of Rabbi. Our Holy Master, that is R. Judah the Prince, was a descendant of Judah son of Jacob, of royal blood via son of Shephatiah son of Abital, wife of David, the 35th recipient.

All this is lineage of Hillel, but Rambam, of blessed memory, skipped Rabban Gamliel of Yavne and Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel, his father. Maybe they received <the Law> only from Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. Then the correct order would be that Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai was the 30th recipient, R. Eliezer and R. Joshua the 31st, R. Akiba the 32d. Thus, R. Meir and R. Simeon and R. Judah and R. Simeon ben Gamliel, the father of Rabbi were the 33d. Our Holy Master, pure and perfect, was then the 34th

Let us return to Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. His court surely was there before the Destruction, see Sanhedrin, and in Tosephta, chapter two of Maaser Rishon. We shall be brief and refer just to his lineage, as his wisdom is renown. In the chapter Osin Pasin Rashi explains the words ‘by Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai’ as ‘Baraitha by his School’, similar to ‘Tosefta by Rabbi Hiya’. He is called Ben Zakkai in the chapter Bame Madlikin and in the fifth chapter of Sanhedrin. In the time of his teacher Hillel, he was called ‘Ben Zakkai’, and he ruled in his <Hillel’s> presence, and his rulings were accepted as his own. Thus, he ruled on various issues prior to the forty years when he led Israel, see Rosh Hashanah and Sukkah. We see in the Talmud in Rosh Hashanah, that the bigger part of the forty years of his leadership passed while the Temple still stood. He led Israel later as well, in the time of Rabban Gamliel the Elder and Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, his son, who was killed in the Destruction.

Alternatively, he was the Head of Court, while the others were Princes. For at least two years after the Destruction, he was the Prince. That is Rashi’s conclusion (in the end of Rosh Hashanah), as he <Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai> established statutes after the Destruction, but not for long, as far as I have seen. In the Tosafoth in the chapter Bame Behema, we find that Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai reigned for two years after the Destruction, and Rabban Gamliel for three years after him, and then Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah reigned together with him.

In chapter five of Halachoth derech erez there is a story regarding Simeon ben Antiparis. He had guests, and he decreed that they should eat. They swore but faked. On their departure, he lashed them. This was brought to the attention of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, and he said ‘Who will go to him?’ and R. Joshua said ‘I will go’ etc. He ate with him, and said to him when he left, ‘Why do you flog others, and you did not flog me?’ He replied, ‘Rabbi, you are a great sage, and you blessed in good manners. I have decreed upon people who come to me to eat and drink and they swore on the Torah and faked. I have the tradition that one, who takes an oath on the Torah and fails, receives forty lashes etc.’.

This same Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai was called ‘the fund of the peddlers’, and he had a very wise son called Rabbi Judah ben Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. In the chapter Kol Hayad he disagreed with R. Akiba. Maybe this is R. Judah the Priest who testified together with R. Judah ben Abba (chapter 8 of Eduyoth), but this does not seem likely, since a son of a Prince in Israel would be called by the patronymic as well. In Avoth deRabbi Nathan we find that his son died, and his five disciples came to comfort him, but he was not appeased but by R. Eleazar ben Arach, as his son was very wise and sinless, and he was redeemed in due course.

At the end of Sifrei <it is said>, four men lived 120 years. Moses was in Egypt and in Midian for 80 years, and ruled for 40 years. Hillel the Elder came to Israel from Babylon at the age of 40, served the sages for 40 years and led Israel for 40 years. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai was engaged in business for 40 years, served <the Sages> for 40 years and led Israel for 40 years. Likewise, (Sanhedrin, chapter Hayu Bodkin) R. Akiba studied for 40 years, and served <the Sages> for 40 years, and he led Israel for 40 years.

As for R. Akiba, the Talmud differs, <saying that> he went to study Torah after he was married on the advice of his wife, see Nedarim. It is said (Tosafoth, chapter Shoel in Sabbath), that he was 40 years old when he took it upon himself to study Torah, and he did not marry his wife until he was 64. However, it is said (end of Sifrei) that for 40 years he served the sages, and for 40 years he led Israel. In the Avoth deRabbi Nathan, in Mishna of Joseph ben Joezer the whole story is explicated. It says he was 40 years old when he began to study. In the chapter Elu Ovrin <R. Akiba says>, ‘when I was an ignorant native’. In the Midrash, it is said that he was 40 years old when he went to study, and he was ashamed of it. It seems that he studied and served at the same time. It is said (Tosafoth, Ketuboth, chapter Naara) that before his studies he had been an excellent and humble man.

He said (chapter Elu Ovrin) ‘when I was an ignorant native, I would say ‘get me a scholar of law, and I would bite him like a donkey‘. It’s not that he hated scholars, but considered them arrogant and full of hate towards natives. They <scholars> considered the natives untouchable, as is said, ‘clothes of natives are as a stepping stone for Pharisees’. Anyway, he observed the <Torah> commandments. Likewise wrote our master Tam.

I have found (chapter Al af pi) that Kalba Savua said, ‘as he was a humble and excellent man, I betrothed <my daughter> to him’. Resh Lakish <says> that he was a wise scholar from the beginning.

 

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Now I intend, with God’s help, to list the Sages of Mishna to the best of my ability, for I only had access to the four orders of the Babylonian Talmud, that is to say the order of Moed but for Shekalim. It seems (Tosafoth, beginning of Hulin), that Talmud refers to Rabbi Phinehas ben Jair. However, I do have the Shekalim from the JT, and the orders of Yeshuot, Nashim, Kidushin, and Berachoth of the order of Zeraim. It is known that Eduyoth and Avoth in the order of Yeshuoth have no corresponding Gemara. As for the order of Taharoth, there is no Gemara but in the Niddah. No Gemara is found for the Middoth and Kinnim from the order of Kedoshim. However, the JT, which would reveal more of the sages’ lineage, and Midrash Rabbah, Mehilta and Tosefta are not available to me now in Tunis.

I have Safra, the laws of the Priests from Leviticus, and Sifrei, which are the other books of Rav, which are <commentaries to> Numbers and Deuteronomy, hence it is called Sifrei in plural. I have also the book Ilamedenu, and the order of Nezikin from the JT, and the Mehilta of Rabbi Ishmael, and the four orders of the Tosefta. I have Leviticus Rabbah and all the Mishna as well.

However, first I have to cut down the ten chapters, which are at the end of the Key to Mishna, as I find Rav’s reading obscure. Apparently, Rav, of blessed memory, thought that those coming after him would believe him and would not check his sources. Sometimes, the small candle is better to search for cracks and crevices than the great light and the torch, as our sages, of blessed memory, used to say. My forefathers left me space to fence myself within, and maybe another will come and will search more than myself, and he shall receive reward, for all is the labor of heaven.

In the first chapter, he lists 91 sages, and I shall elucidate, with God’s help. After this, in the second chapter, he lists 37 sages referring to a story that was in their time, or to a rule they established, or to a verse they explicated, but it was not a basis for any prohibiting or permitting ruling. In the tenth chapter, he mentions the number of 37 sages, who ruled on the Law, but their names weren’t mentioned. Be aware that these last 37 are included in the 91 that were mentioned in the first chapter, and there remain another fifty-four. It is a clear case, though Rav didn’t say so, but he said only that there were altogether 128. I found additional eighteen sages, and these are: 1. R. Menahem (chapter four of Yoma). 2. Joezer of Bira (chapter two of Orlah). 3. Mattathias ben Samuel (chapter three of Yoma), and he took care of settling differences among the 15 pious men (chapter five of Shekalim). 4. Abba Eleazar ben Dolai (chapter two of Mikvaoth). 5. Abba Jose ben Hanan (second chapter of Memadot). 6. R. Halafta from Zippori, the friend of R. Haninah ben Teradion, father of R. Jose (who is mentioned just by name in chapter two of Taanioth). This is not Rabbi Halafta from the village Kfar Hananiah, for the Gemara states that he was from Zippori. 7. Elah, the expert sage of Yavne (chapter four of Bechoroth). 8. Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, son of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, (first chapter of Avoth). It is said ‘Simeon, his son etc’, but it seems that the sage mentioned after him is Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, father of Rabbi, and he said ‘his son’ for he was in his youth when he said it. 9. R. Eliezer ben Pila (chapter seven of Tehorot) who quotes R. Akiba. 10. R. Eleazar ben Matthias (chapter ten of Yevamoth). 11. R. Johanan ben Matthias (chapter Hasocher, BM). 12. R. Joshua (chapter two of Eduyoth). All these three sons of Matthias were forgotten as if dead by Rambam, of blessed memory. It seems they were sons of R. Matthias ben Heresh, whose court and study-house were in Rome. R. Simeon ben Yohai found him there. However, (chapter eight of Sotah, in the Tosephta) Abba Halafta and Eleazar ben Matthias and Hananiah ben Hachinai stood upon Joshua’s stones. It means he was prior to R. Matthias ben Heresh. Alternatively, R. Matthias was an extremely old man, and Hananiah was ‘The Man from Ono’ mentioned in chapter six of Gittin. Rav mentions him in chapter 6, among the five who were judging before the sages (they were ben Azzai, and ben Zoma, and ben Nanas, and Hanan), but Rav did not list him among 128. If you like, Abtolos (chapter three of Eruvin) will come in his place. 13. R. Judah the Priest (chapter eight in Eduyoth). 14. R. Yishbab, the friend of R. Akiba (chapter 2 of Hulin). 15. R. Hananiah ben Akabiah (first chapter of Ketuboth and the beginning of Arachin). 16. Abba Jose Heli Kopri of Tivin (chapter one of Machshirin). 17-18. Two sages who interpreted verses were R. Simeon Berebbi and R. Hananiah ben Akashiah (the end of Makkoth).

So add 15 to 91 and you get 102 <=a good measure> plus 4. Or, another explanation and sign – it is 106, the numerical value of letters in <Joshua ben> ‘Nun’, of those who taught wisdom. Add 2 plus 37 who did not establish a ruling and they will be 39, the numerical value of ‘dew’ as in ‘blessing of dew’. Should we add to them also Elisha ben Abuya, (even though Rav said that he should not be counted with the others considering what is known of him), they will number 40, like the number of days when the Torah was given. Otherwise include Elah the sage of Yavne, and they will number 146 sages, as in the verse ‘and the old men rose <=146> to their feet’.

As for myself, I am ready to accept him since our holy master, of whose knowledge and qualities we learn mentioned him among the patriarchs of the world. It is said in the Midrash Rabbah of Ruth, ‘the bookcase is saved together with the book’, and ‘son provides merit for his father, and a disciple provides merit for his master’. His disciple was R. Meir, The Great Light of Mishna, and he saved him <Elisha> for the life of the world to come.

 

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They punished him, and the smoke would rise from his grave as atonement for him, for he studied much Torah and taught. In the JT, fire descended from the heavens and burnt his grave. It is not fitting that his disciple should be in Paradise, and he in Hell, see the end of Yoma. We learned that at first Elijah said that the court of heaven would not accept a ruling attributed to R. Meir, since he learned from him <Elisha>, until the sage said to Elijah, ‘He <Meir> found a pomegranate, he ate the inside of it and threw away the peel’. Immediately the court of heaven began to quote the rulings attributed to R. Meir.

So <by grace of> the Merciful One, since the pomegranate juice was together with the peel, they judged him in the heavenly court, and let him enter into the light of <after>life. We know he regained <the World to Come from> R. Jacob the Tanna (chapter four of Negaim), of Baraitha, and of Avoth, I mean R. Jacob the Tanna. (I mean R. Jacob of the chapter Ben Zoma who said ‘this world is like a corridor etc’. and also see the second chapter <of this book> etc.) He revealed to us more regarding the mysteries of the World to Come, than all the sages. See also at the end of Hulin, and in the first chapter of Kidushin, on the verse ‘so that you may live long’.

This is Elisha, known to be one of ‘the four entered the Paradise’ with R. Akiba and Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma. He lived a long life, and he was called Acher, ‘Another’, because of the incident with a woman (she said ‘It is another one’). I think that R. Simeon ben Gamliel, father of Rabbi, ruled to punish <Elisha> (see Horayoth deRabbi Nathan), so that his name should not be mentioned. He ruled to say <while quoting Elisha’s opinion, instead of his name> ‘there are those who say’. <While quoting R. Meir, he ruled to say instead of> R. Meir<’s name> ‘others say’, since R. Meir had three teachers, R. Akiba and R. Ishmael and Elisha Another. His <R. Simeon> attitude was of jealousy and disdain towards his another teacher, whom he called ‘Another’.

Our master Shimshon wrote that when he <Meir> quoted opinions of Elisha, his teacher, who was called Another, they would refer to it as ‘others say’. As for Elisha’s father, Abuya, he was a very wealthy man at the time of the Temple, and for the feast celebrating his <Elisha> circumcision, he invited Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and his disciples, and Nakdimon ben Gurion and Zizit Hakesset and Kalba Savua. After they had eaten, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and his disciples went to a chamber, and they studied <Torah> and expounded it until the fire was scalding around the house, as at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Abuya, his father, was most astonished that so great was the glory of the Torah, that he swore an oath that his son would be dedicated to Torah study, but since this was not for pure motives (for the sake of heaven), his Torah learning did not endure. This is like the words of R. Akiba, ‘the end of a matter is good, if it is good from its inception’.

The full explanation is found in the Midrash of Ruth. R. Meir swore to bring him <Elisha> to the eternal life. He said ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ and he said ‘stay here for the night’, as this sorrow is similar to night, if he will redeem you, good, (meaning the Holy One Blessed be He), for God is good and redeeming, and if not, I will redeem you as surely as Lord lives. Lie down until the morning, which is the World to Come, which is the light’.

You already know from the first chapter of Hagigah, about the encounter of Rabbi with the daughter of Elisha who told him: ‘Remember his learning <of Torah> and do not remember his deeds’, and that fire descended from heaven and surrounded Rabbi etc. R. Johanan said, ‘What praise is there to Rabbi Meir, that he burned his teacher, unless he <Elisha> will be brought to the World to Come without judgement’. R. Johanan did it, and they brought him to the World to Come <eternal life> without any judgement or punishment. The book Qabbalath Hahassid explained the words of R. Meir ‘I shall cause smoke to rise from his grave’. For as long as there burns a fire, there will be no smoke, and when they poured water to extinguish it the smoke rises and the fire is extinguished etc.

The most important thing is that this man <Elisha> never led his disciples astray, but taught them Torah even after he himself had turned to bad ways. He wanted to bring them to righteousness, as he said to Rabbi Meir, ‘until here is the permitted distance of the Sabbath walk’. He did not fully repent, since he was confused by the Divine voice which he heard saying, ‘Return, wayward sons, except for Elisha who saw My glory, and yet rebelled’. He thought they <heavens> would not accept his repentance, so he brought others to righteousness and provided them with merit.

Rav said in chapter ten, there are 37 who were quoted concerning one ruling and were not mentioned again. I found eleven (or at least 10) of them who were mentioned regarding at least one other law. These are: 1. Simeon the Yemenite in chapter one of Yadaim and in the third chapter of Taanioth, and he <Rav> said, <that he is mentioned only> in chapter 4 of Yevamoth. 2. R. Eliezer ben Judah, of Bartuta, <mentioned> in chapter three of Tvol Yom, and he said, only in chapter one of Orlah, where Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel quotes in his name. In addition, there is R. Eliezer ben Judah at the beginning of Zavin. It would seem that he was indeed the man from Bartuta, and if he is another, the Rabbi did not mention him, and he has at least two rulings attributed to him. 3. R. Eleazar bar Simeon in chapter twelve of Negaim. He mentioned only reference in chapter four of Temurah. 4. Nahum the Mede, in the fifth chapter of Nazir, and in the chapter Hamoher et hasfina in Bava Batra, and he mentioned only a reference in the second chapter of Sabbath. 5. R. Simeon ben Judah in the third chapter of Maaser Sheni and in the third chapter of Makkoth and in chapter fourteen of Negaim, while he, of blessed memory, mentions only the reference in the first chapter of Shevuoth. 6. R. Eleazar Hisma in the chapter Hasoher BM and in chapter seven of Negaim, and in chapter thirteen of Negaim, and he only mentioned the reference in chapter three of Terumoth. 7. Rabbi Simeon b. HaSgan, (son of the prefect <priest>) in chapter eleven of Menachoth, and at the end of tractate Shekalim and he only mentions the reference in Ketuboth, in chapter three. 8. R. Jose ben Meshullam in chapter three of Bechoroth, and in the sixth chapter of Bechoroth, and he only mentioned the reference in the chapter 4 of Terumoth. 9. Jose ben Joezer in chapter 8 in Eduyoth gives three rulings, but he mentions only the reference in the second chapter of Hagigah. In jest, I say that he ate joezer (in Rashi’s commentary, Filiot in the foreign tongue). 10. Simeon, the brother of Azariah in chapter one of Tehoroth, and he only mentions the reference in chapter one of Zevachim. 11. Nehemiah, of Bet Deli, in chapter 8 of Eduyoth, and he only mentions the reference at the end of Yevamoth: this one is not so hard to understand, as though there are two references, it is, in fact, only one ruling.

However, should we deduct these 11 from the 37 there remain 26, but instead of those which we deducted, we have in their place other sages, who said just one rule each and whom Rav did not mention. The first ones numbered 106, and the sign is ‘ben nun’ (numerical value of letters ‘n’ ‘u’ ‘n’ sum to 106) which means ‘binah’ (wisdom). Those who determined the law amount to forty one from the total one hundred and six scholars, and this leaves sixty-five scholars who said more than one law – the same numerical value as ‘the Temple of the Lord’. Forty who did not determine any law – like the number of recipients from Moses until Rav Ashi, raise the total to one hundred and forty six, and the sign as in the verse ‘and the old men rose <=146> to their feet’.

 

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Of the ninety-one which he mentioned in the first chapter, they are ninety, and the one is Symmachus, the disciple of Rabbi Meir, who thought to study before Rabbi Judah (see second chapter of Kidushin and in chapter Kohen Gadol veNazir), after R. Meir died, as he wrote in the fifth chapter.

In the chapter 3 he mentions the priests, and it is worthwhile that they should be mentioned separately, as he said, for the rules were returned to Simeon the Righteous to keep, as it is said ‘he teaches your precepts to Jacob’.

Afterwards, it was right to mention the Levites, like R. Joshua ben Hananiah, who was the Head of the Court. Thus it is said in the second chapter of Yoma, that there shouldn’t be teachers but from the tribe of Levi, as it is said about them ‘he teaches your precepts’, or from the children of Issachar, as it is written ‘the children of Issachar know the wisdom of time.

He challenges there ‘how about Judah?’ as is written ‘<Judah is> my lawmaker’? Maybe it is not referring to the judgement of Halachic Law? But what about <King> David <of Judah>? <It is written> ‘the Lord is with him’, and the law <of Halacha> is in accordance with him everywhere. As for Judah, ‘with his own hands he defends’ the Halachic Law, as Moses said while he prayed for his <Judah’s> restless bones.

Maybe it is the question of providence, as with Hillel and all his descendants, the Princes, and R. Hiya and his sons, and Rav, or they said so generally. Rambam, of blessed memory, is of the opinion that the priests are the most important <in transmission of the tradition of Law>, as the verse concludes ‘he offers incense before you’ and he <Moses> said, ‘go to the priests who are Levites’.

<Another possible explanation:> Ezra <the Priest> belonged to the Great Assembly, he was its leader. He established <the Law> and left it in the hands of Simeon the Righteous <the priest>. It is said that it <the Law> was forgotten in Israel and Ezra <the priest> came up from Babylon and established what the Prophets and the Elders forgot.

It is said of Hillel the Babylonian, and Rabbi Hiya and his sons, that they were descendants of Shimei, the brother of David. Maybe there were no priests at their time of greater stature than they were? After the Destruction of the Second Temple, when we came to this long exile, it happened that the tradition of Hillel, who lived 100 years before the Destruction, remained only in the hands of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai the Priest, his disciple. His disciples and disciples of their disciples preserved the Law in Israel.

As for Amora teachers, Rambam, of blessed memory, wrote in his books, that God (the Holy One, Blessed be He) did thus to lead Israel on the path of righteousness, that Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai lived for a long time. It is known that R. Eleazar ben Azariah was a priest, (see chapter Tefilath Hashahar), he was tenth in line from Ezra. Simeon, the brother of Azariah, <was a priest also. He was actually> his uncle, but called ‘his brother’, for he was very rich and he supported Azariah while he studied, and they shared and joined in the <eternal> life of the World to Come (see chapter Haya Notel in Sotah).

<Those were priests: > Boethus ben Zonen, at the time of R. Eleazar ben Azariah (in chapter 3 of Sofrim, at the end of Pesahim in the Tosephta of Rabban Gamliel), the Elders were in his house. R. Eleazar ben Shamua, who lived for a long time, he was the teacher of Rabbi and disciple of R. Akiba (see chapter 6 of Yevamoth, and chapter veilu neemarin, and the chapter Bne hair). He would bless before he blessed Israel <as a priest>, and Rabbi called him ‘the best of the scholars’. R. Haninah was a High priest, he saw the fire (in the Second Temple on the altar) crouched like a dog, while in the First Temple it was like a lion. He says in Sifrei that the fire that descended <from heaven> at the time of Moses was alive on the brass altar until the fire descended at the time of Solomon, when he built the Temple, and then the fire of Moses departed. The fire of Solomon departed at the time of Manasseh, but some of it remained, for Joseph ben Gurion says that Jeremiah hid it and the Men of the Great Assembly found it.

R. Simeon ben HaSgan (the son of prefect) was his son. Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel quoted laws in his name. Ishmael ben Pavi was a pious man, he served as a High Priest for ten years. [I have found in the great Joseph ben Gurion that Ishmael ben Pavi served for one year only]. He was the last to sacrifice a heifer. A Divine voice called him in the inner court of the Temple: Come in, Ishmael, the disciple of Phinehas. With his death the splendor of the priests was gone (see at the end of the chapter Makom shenohagu and elsewhere). Johanan was a High Priest. He is mentioned on Hanukkah, the father of Mattathias, the first of the Hasmoneans, and he established statutes in Israel (see the end of Sotah, and this chapter above).

Joseph ben Joezer (chapter two of Hagigah) was the most pious priest. R. Jose the Priest, the disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, called him ‘my pious master’.

Rabbi Tarphon the rich priest: R. Akiba respected him, and Rabbi Tarphon loved him <R Akiba> as himself. In the chapter Hakotev, a doubt was expressed whether he was a teacher of R. Akiba, or a colleague. Our master Asher determined that he was a colleague, though in Sifrei he was called ‘his teacher’. He said once to R. Akiba, his disciple, ‘to part from you is like to part from life’. He is ‘a heap of nuts’.. In the Tosephta of Ketuboth, chapter eight, we find that in a year of drought he betrothed three hundred women in order to feed them with tithes, since he was a priest – and his mother was a priestess, see Middoth. In the chapter Asara Yohassin, Rashi explains that he was a priest and his mother was a priestess, and he went up after his mother to the podium to bless by the priests’ blessing. In the Mishna he used to swear ‘I’d cut my son off’ as an oath, and he was not survived by a son, but just by a daughter, see the chapter Hasoher Poalim.

Rabbi taught his daughter, and he gave him her hand, but it is not certain whether or not he married her. However, in the chapter Shebuoth Hadayanim a tanna R. Simeon bar R. Tarphon is mentioned. He ruled (chapter Kol Hanishbain) four rulings, but maybe this was in his father’s lifetime.

R. Tarphon used to return the redemption money for the firstborn, which he received as a priest.

In Sifrei, R. Judah says, ‘on Sabbath I went after Rabbi Tarphon to his house. He told me ‘Judah, my son, bring me my sandals’, and I brought him it. He stretched his hand out to the cupboard, took a stick, and gave me. He told me, ‘Judah, my son, with this I purified three lepers, and I learned seven laws. It is from cedar broth, there is a leaf on its head, and its length is a cubit. Its thickness is a quarter of a staff, the staff is divided by two and by four. One dips and sprays with it once and twice and thrice and purifies at the Temple, and not at the Temple, and purifies elsewhere’.

 

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It means that he was a priest, and that he was the High Priest after the Destruction of the Temple. In the sixth chapter of tractate Semachoth, we find that he lived at the time of death of R. Simeon ben Jehozadak, the teacher of R. Johanan. This is remarkable - that he should have lived for over two hundred years. We find in the first chapter of Bechoroth that Rabbi brought to him a <price of a> firstborn donkey. Maybe this was Rabban Gamliel, who was also called Rabbi. All his life he regretted that he <disclosed his identity by saying> ‘Alas, Tarphon’ <in moment of danger>. Thus he was saved from death by using of the crown of the Torah <in mundane purpose> (see Kallah and Nedarim chapter mashehukpelu hamikzooth)

He also gave alms with help of R. Akiba who supported the poor, and (see Kallah) on one day he gave four thousand gold dinars for charity. (In the first chapter of Yevamoth) Rashi comments that R. Tarphon was a disciple of the Shammai School. It also seems (first chapter of Berachoth) that he tended to recite the Shema prayer according to the custom of the Shammai School.

Elioeini ben Hekeph and Hanamel the Egyptian were High Priests, and they sacrificed a <red> heifer each before Ishmael ben Pavi (see chapter 3 in Parah). Rav did not mention Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha the High Priest and R. Eleazar ben Harsum, though they were great sages. Doroth Olam mentions them among The Sages of the Generations in chapter four. It would appear that he listed only the sages mentioned in the Mishna. He listed all the sages of the Mishna, and he did not mention them for this reason.

This R. Ishmael ben Elisha, as we have already said, received <the Law> from Rabbi Nehuniah ben Hakanah. He saw the Holy Presence when he offered up incense (first chapter in Berachoth) <in the inner sanctuary of the Temple>, and He said ‘Ishmael, My son, bless Me’. He was one of the Ten martyrs, and his scalp was placed at the head of kings. However, it would seem that he was not killed on the day of the Destruction <of the Temple>, with Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, the Prince of Israel, in contrast to the Dorot Olam who said this, for in the Talmud it would appear that he survived the Destruction. <The proof:> (at the end of chapter Hazakath Bathim) R. Ishmael ben Elisha said ‘Since the Destruction of the Temple one should not eat meat and drink wine etc’. In addition, (in the chapter Yezioth HaSabbath) we find that he read and turned <the candle to have more light> and said, ‘When the Temple will be rebuilt, I will bring a sin offering’. There he also says ‘I, Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, consider myself a simple man in matters of Torah’.

But in the chapter Mizvoth Halizah (page 104a) the Tosafoth say that there were two sages of the same name, an old man and his grandson, and the one who lived after the Destruction was his grandson, who was much later than R. Akiba. He hated greed and exploitation (see Ketuboth, in the chapter Hanose), and when the man brought him the first fleeces, he refused to try his case – it would seem that he was a judge in Israel. However, the doubt remains concerning the three sages mentioned in the Mishna, who apparently were priests, but Rav did not recall them.

One was R. Ishmael, the friend of R. Akiba and of R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and he was a teacher of R. Meir. This is despite Rambam’s claim (in chapter two of Eduyoth), that R. Ishmael was a disciple of Rabbi Akiba (likewise in Mada). There he determined that the ruling was in accordance with R. Ishmael’s opinion. As for the ruling he was right, for (in the first chapter of Sabbath) R. Haninah ruled as Rabbi Ishmael. Although the ruling is in accordance with R. Akiba’s opinion, his colleague, R. Haninah ruled as R. Ishmael so that we should not think that the ruling is in accordance with R. Akiba. I doubt he was his disciple, and I shall expand on it.

(In the end of Moed Katan) when the sons of Rabbi Ishmael died, four elders came to console him – R. Tarphon and R. Eleazar ben Azariah and R. Jose the Galilean and R. Akiba. He said to them ‘I have twice troubled my teachers’, but this is only a polite speech, for they said at first that he was a very wise sage and well versed in Hagadda, and he would not interrupt the words of another. Had he been his disciple, it would not be fitting to show him such respect, and I will expand on this.

(In chapter five of Zevahim) R. Ishmael said ‘Go out and tell R. Akiba that he is mistaken’. (In the end of Yoma) he said ‘You are mistaken’, but it would seem that he was a priest. In the chapter Elu Trefoth, when R. Ishmael disagrees with R. Akiba he says that it is a tradition from his ancestors regarding the fat of the stomach, and they said ‘Ishmael the priest, and an assistant to the priests’. However, Rashi did not explain there that he was a priest as he did in the chapter Bame madlikin regarding Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai.

Maybe this is a hint, or connection between Ishmael the Priest, and R. Ishmael ben Elisha the High Priest, who is mentioned above as a priest and as one of the martyrs. (In the first chapter of AZ) Rashi explains that he was one of the martyrs, and <Romans> anointed the skin of his face with balsam oil to conserve it. Thus explains Rashi in the chapter Haroe, they flayed off the skin of his face alive, since the Emperor’s daughter was enamoured with his beauty, for he was as beautiful as Joseph son of Jacob, and her father was displeased and flayed the skin of his face. In the chapter Haor varotev <it is said that> the scalp of R. Ishmael is placed at the head of kings. Rashi explains ‘scalp’ as ‘the skin of the head of a man’ and says this is done for war magic. (In the chapter Nezikin) R. Ishmael ben Elisha was taken captive, and he was young and very beautiful, and Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah redeemed him for a large ransom, and he taught Israel. His son and his daughter were taken captive, and they were martyred like their father.

The JT mentions one, whom R. Joshua redeemed, but R. Ishmael is not mentioned, and thus it seems to be in accordance with the period. In Lamentations Rabati it is found that the son and daughter who were taken captive were children of R. Zaddok the Priest, and they recognized each other and died. Maybe it wasn’t R. Zaddok the father of R. Eleazar.

Also (chapter 4, Semachoth) R. Simeon ben Gamliel and R. Ishmael ben Elisha were captured together, and when they were executed, the news reached R. Akiba and R. Judah ben Bava, and they rent their garments, and said etc. In the end of Avoth DeRabbi Nathan, it is discussed at length. As for the general rule, I do not know whether he was a priest, Rabbi Ishmael, a colleague of Rabbi Akiba, and a friend of Ben Nanas, since the Rabbi did not mention him, and this Rabbi Ishmael is frequently mentioned in the Mishna and in Baraitha.

 

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As we read ‘Ishmael was a priest and assisted the priests,’ it seems he was a priest, but it is not certain. After this, I found in the chapter Elu Trefoth in Rashi’s commentaries, that he was a priest, and he was R. Ishmael ben Elisha the High Priest, and it does not appear thus in the Talmud, but that they are two, and much time separates them. The first was killed with Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, before Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai became the Prince, while the second R. Ishmael, the colleague of R. Akiba, taught R. Meir in his youth. He was present when they appointed R. Eleazar ben Azariah as Prince (chapter four of Yadaim).

I also found in the Tosafoth (chapter Mizvoth Halizah), that R. Ishmael bar R. Jose said ‘I saw R. Ishmael ben Elisha’. Likewise is written in Sifrei, and it is puzzling, how could he have seen R. Ishmael who was killed before R. Akiba, while R. Ishmael ben R. Jose lived much later, just before Rabbi. On the day that R. Akiba died, Rabbi was born. R. Isaac explained that there were two persons named R. Ishmael ben Elisha, the one who was martyred was the grandfather of the one whom R. Ishmael bar R. Jose saw, and it may have been long after R. Akiba.

The other two whom Rav did not mention are R. Zaddok and R. Eleazar his son, for Rashi and the Tosafoth claimed that they were priests, while Rambam, of blessed memory, did not mention them. Now I will expand on the matter, bringing evidence for both sides, and thus we will encounter stories and rules of Law.

Know that Rabbi Zaddok and his son lived at the time of the Destruction. I found (in Sanhedrin of the JT), that R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok testified ‘I was a mere babe and I saw the daughter of a priest who was burned’. Then he was no less than ten years old. When he went with Rabbi, he was no less than thirty years old, because a great man wouldn’t walk with a younger person. Rabbi told, ‘I used to come, together with R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok from Beth Shearim and we ate etc’. It puzzles me, for his father R. Zaddok was a very old man at the time of the Destruction, as he fasted for forty years prior to the Destruction of the Temple. How could his son have been thirty years old one hundred years after the Destruction?

R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok studied together with R. Johanan ben Hahoranith, who was very old at the time of the Temple. (At the end of the chapter Bakol Maaravin) R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok was at the time of the Rabban Gamliel who disagreed with R. Joshua. (In the chapter Elu ovrin bapesah and in the Tosephta in the second chapter of Sukkah) he studied together with R. Johanan ben Hahoranith, and the whole story is found at the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth. In the Tosephta (on chapter two of Yom Tov) R. Eleazar bar Zaddok said, ‘Many times did I eat at the house of Rabban Gamliel, and I did not observe that they cleaned between the seats <on holiday>’.

R. Eleazar ben Zaddok said there ‘Once father ate at the house of Rabban Gamliel and they brought before him anigron and upon it broken (powdered) pepper. Father withdrew his hand, but Rabban Gamliel told him, ‘Do not worry, they were powdered on the eve of the feast’.

Also there (in the third chapter of Yom Tov) it is said about him. R. Abba and R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok and Abba Saul ben Botnith were shopkeepers in Jerusalem all their days. They would fill their measures on the eve of a festival, as there were no studies etc. R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok said ‘I am of the sons of Sanoa son of Benjamin etc’ (In the third chapter of Taanioth, in the Tosephta). (At the beginning of the chapter Makom shenohagu our master Asher wrote) R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok said, ‘I am of Sanoa son of Benjamin’, meaning that his ancestors would bring a wood offering on the day of the tenth of Ab.

R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok lived after the Destruction, but, since his ancestors would make an offering during the day of the tenth of Ab, and they made the day a festival, therefore, his family also made it a festive day. In addition (at the end of chapter two of Megillah, in the Tosephta) R. Judah tells about R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok, that he took the synagogue of the Alexandrines in Jerusalem, and used to do in it as he pleased etc. From all this it would appear that he lived earlier and preceded the generation of Rabbi.

I would have thought that maybe they were two persons of the same name. It would suit the JT that it would have been another person at the time of Rabbi, as (in chapter 7 of Kelaim) R. Eleazar bar Zaddok quotes R. Meir, and R. Meir was the teacher of Rabbi. I have found some support for this in Zohar in portion Vayaza Jacob, for he calls R. Zaddok ‘R. Zaddok the Weak’ since he fasted for forty years. His grandson was called ‘R. Zaddok junior’, and he was with R. Simeon ben Yohai, and he had grown-up children who were married at the time of R. Simeon. Maybe one of them was called R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok junior?

However, (in the Tosephta on the second chapter of Sukkah) I found that Rabbi said thus, ‘Once we came, myself and R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok, to R. Johanan ben Nuri at Bet Shearim, and we ate grapes and figs outside the tabernacle booth.’ It is known that R. Johanan ben Nuri was a friend of R. Joshua and of Rabban Gamliel, the grandfather of Rabbi, and he was not alive at the time of Rabbi. However, in truth, both the Tosephta and the JT call Rabban Gamliel just ‘Rabbi’ for he was a great sage and the teacher of R. Akiba (see Berachoth). Likewise, in the Babylonian Talmud, in the chapter Kol Kitvei Hakodesh Rabban Gamliel is called ‘Berebbi’, and Rashi explains that he was not the son of Rabbi, but his grandfather, and he was thus called since he was the great man in his generation.

Likewise (in the first chapter of Kidushin), R. Zaddok says of Rabban Gamliel, ‘Berebbi stood and poured us a drink’. In addition, in the Midrash and in Avoth DeRabbi Nathan Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai is also called just ‘Rabbi’. The conclusion is, now, that he was one and there was not a second.

 

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I wish to explain why R. Zaddok fasted for forty years prior to the Destruction of the Temple - in order that it should not be destroyed. How did he know that it would be destroyed? This was because it is written in the Gemara of Yoma, that forty years prior to the Destruction of the Temple, the gates of the Holy Place opened by themselves. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai reprimanded them and said, ‘Why do you frighten yourself, I know that in the end you will be destroyed, as Zechariah had already prophesied ‘Open your gates, Lebanon’. It was an omen that the Temple will be destroyed.

Likewise (in Sanhedrin and at the beginning of AZ) we find that forty years prior to the Destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin was exiled, and it dwelt in Hanut, for there were many murderers, and they no longer dealt with cases for which there was a death penalty.

He immediately began to fast, and he became so thin that Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai requested from Vespasian that his doctors should treat him etc. (see Nezikin). Also in Lamentations Rabati: there it says ‘R. Eleazar, his son, told him, ‘Father, pay the doctors their fees so that they would not take payment from <your share in> the World to Come’. R. Eleazar, his son, studied Torah with R. Johanan ben Hahoranith, of whom it is said (in Sukkah), that the Elders of the House of Shammai and the Elders of the House of Hillel came to visit him (see at the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth).

The evidence that they were priests is found in Berachoth in the chapter mishemetu where R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok said ‘We used to leap over the coffins of the dead,’ meaning ‘<the ancient> graves of the Kings of Israel’ and Rashi derives from this that he was a priest. Though he said ‘coffin,’ he meant ‘grave’, since (in Ketubboth, at the end of the chapter Hanose) R. Hiya says that he saw the grave of Rabbi and he shed a tear upon it, and Rashi there explains ‘his coffin’, for one is not strict on this matter.

However, Ramban, of blessed memory, said on this passage, that, indeed he meant ‘coffin’, and the tombstone was seen in the field, and it does not cause impurity in a priest.

In the chapter Kol basar, R. Zaddok ate outside of the booth, but it was less than a <permitted> egg-measure. He wrapped his hands in a cloth to eat, and did not wash his hands, for he was a priest, and the cloth rendered the eating permissible for tithe-eaters, according to the rule of R. Ammi and R. Asi, but it is not permitted for those who eat pure food. Our master Asher, of blessed memory, said, in responsa, that this is the ruling: for those who consume profane food it is not permitted, so how much more so is this the case for sacred food. However, Rambam, of blessed memory, allowed to eat profane food with a cloth, and in time of need, the Rambam, of blessed memory, deserves to being regarded a reliable authority.

The Tosafoth explained, as did Rashi, that he was a priest, as for leaping over graves, as I said. (In the chapter Kol Psulei Hamukdashin in Bechoroth, on the first born animal of R. Zaddok, and at the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth), that he would eat profane food as if it were pure tithes.

I’ll tell you two tales (from the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth): R. Eleazar bar Zaddok said ‘When I used to study Torah with R. Johanan ben Hahoranith, I observed him eating bread with a lot of salt in drought years. I came and I told this to father, and he said, ‘Bring him olives’, and I brought him olives. He saw that they were moist, and he told me ‘I will not eat these olives’. I came and told father, and he told me ‘Go and tell him that the vat had a drainage, but the orifice became plugged up with sediment.’ As for a vat of pickled olives the House of Shammai says there is no need to drain, but the House of Hillel say that one should drain, and they endorse that if there was drainage and sediment plugged it up, it still remained pure. This is although it brings the House of Shammai into acting the same way as the House of Hillel.

Likewise, (in the Tosephta on the second chapter of Sukkah) R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok said similarly: ‘When I used to study at R. Johanan ben Hahoranith I observed him eating bread with a lot of salt in drought years. I came and I said this to father and he said, ‘Bring him olives’. He took them and he looked at them and he saw that they were moist, and he said ‘I will not eat these olives.’ I came and told it to father. He told me, ‘Go and tell him, ‘The vat has a drain in accordance with the School of Hillel, but it was plugged up by sediment’, to inform him that it is pure. For even though he was a disciple of the Shammai School, he acted in accordance with the rulings of the Hillel School.

In order to understand this you are referred to the Book of Tahara by Rambam, in chapter 11 relating to the impurity of food. He says that one should drain a vat of pickled olives so that the brine will flow out, and if he did not drain, they can become impure. If one perforated the vat, and sediment deposits blocked the perforation, olives are soaked in brine, but they can not become impure since he did perforate and it is intention that counts.

(In the Book of Taharah in chapter 22) a vat, which is encircled by a rope-hoop, has been perforated at the side, but sediment deposits have blocked the perforation, <still> it is saved <from impurity>. The Tosafoth, in the beginning of the chapter Hagozal, quotes this ruling from the ninth chapter of Keli, in the chapter Veelu Mazilin and says, ‘a perforated van with orifice blocked by sediment is saved <from impurity>’. Rashi explains: it is compared with the blocked chimney, which makes the house impure, for a blockage by sediment is still a blockage. The Tosafoth argued with him and it seems to me that Rashi’s interpretation is a forced one.

Though it is not the case in Ohalot, for at the end of the chapter Hamaznia he explains that through a perforation in a vessel impurity does not enter to contaminate the contents, only through the opening of the vessel. As for a rope-hoop, and a blockage – it is saved <from impurity>, unless it is more than half-empty. However, in the Tosafoth, also in the chapter Hamaznia, they challenged Rashi, and they interpreted in accordance with Rambam, who speaks of a rope-hoop as saving the contents of the vessel. Tosafoth were surprised there that one claims that blockage by sediment deposits are still a blockage. They say (at the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth) regarding a vat of pickled olives that Shammai school says there is no need to perforate (for drainage) and Hillel school says that it is necessary. They admit that if it had been perforated, but sediment deposits had plugged the orifice up, it is ritually pure, as if it had been perforated. Let us conclude regarding the vat of olives. If the owners arranged the drainage and the sediment deposits blocked the orifice, it still saves from impurity. Let us return to matters in hand.

 

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The second tale is recounted in Bechoroth. R. Zaddok had a first-born donkey and he gave him barley in a sharp-edged basket, so he would hurt his lips. R. Joshua was asked whether one should distinguish <in such a case> between a sage priest and an ignorant priest, and R. Joshua said ‘Yes’. He came before Rabban Gamliel and he said ‘No’ etc. Rashi explained, R. Zaddok was a priest, and we have to distinguish between a sage priest and an ignorant priest, as to their knowledge that it is forbidden to maim the first-born animal willingly.

In Nazir, we find a tale concerning the father of R. Zaddok, who died in Ginzak, and they informed him three years later. He came and asked R. Joshua ben Elisha and four elders and they said, ‘yes, if his father<’s body> is complete, no, if he is lacking <part of body>’. Thus, it seems that he was a priest, if this is, indeed, R. Zaddok. I further add that according to the opinion of our teachers in the Mishna, (in the third chapter of Middoth, and in the chapter Gid Hanashe), regarding a golden vine which was in the sanctuary, R. Eleazar bar R. Zaddok said they appointed three hundred priests to remove it. How come he told it, and not somebody else? It means he was a priest.

In Yoma, in chapter two, (we find of) two priests who went up to an altar, and one preceded the other, and he took a knife and stabbed the other in the heart. R. Zaddok stood on the steps of the hall on the Temple Mount and said ‘Our brothers, the House of Israel, listen etc’ and Rashi explains: Herod built many halls there, as it is written in the book of Ben Gurion, about the steps on the Temple Mount. It seems to me that Rashi was cautious, for where else were Israel in a hall, but on the Temple Mount? He explained that there were halls on the Temple Mount – that is his version. However, who determined that he would be the speaker, unless he saw the event, and he was one of the priests. He said to Israel, ‘our brethren, the House of Israel’, for if he had not been a priest, what business of his was it to say ‘our brethren etc’.

In the chapter Lulav vearava R. Eleazar ben Zaddok says, ‘There was a cage (cave) in the altar, and once in seventy years the priests descended there etc’. I also found in the book Menorat Ha’Maor (the one which is not by R. Isaac Abuhav) referring to Avoth DeRabbi Nathan that R. Zaddok was taken captive to Rome. His masters gave him a maidservant to sleep with her, and he did not want to, and he said ‘I am a priest of a great family’. All this is found in Halachoth Teshuva.

Now I shall quote the evidence that they were not priests, as Rambam says, and something of a response to all that is written above. The first is found in the first chapter of Ta’aniot and in Shekalim in the JT, and in the chapter Bakol Mearvin in Eruvin. There we learn that R. Eleazar ben Zaddok said, ‘I was of the sons of Sanoa the son of Benjamin, and the ninth of Ab fell on a Sabbath, and we postponed it until Sunday, and we did not complete it for it was our festive day. Thus it is written in the Mishna, that the family would bring firewood to the Temple on the tenth of Ab, and they would bring an offering and make it a festive day. After the Temple was destroyed, they would perpetuate the festive day, as had been their custom: for the fast of the ninth of Ab did not exist while the Temple stood, as we see in Shekalim of the JT.

Rashi explains at the end of the chapter Bakol Mearvin that R. Eleazar bar Zaddok was of the sons of Sanoa son of Benjamin, a family from the tribe of Benjamin, whose lot fell to bring the wood offering on the tenth of Ab in the times of Ezra. It was a festive day for them for all times (see chapter shlosha halakim in Taanioth), regarding the following Sabbath, which is the tenth of Ab and also their festive day. R. Eleazar bar Zaddok lived in the generation of Rabbi Gamliel, as it is written in Bezah that R. Eleazar bar Zaddok said ‘Many times I followed my father to the house of Rabban Gamliel’. In the chapter Vaeilu ovrin bepasach and in Megillath Taanith I found that R. Eleazar berebbi Zaddok said, ‘I was the leader amongst sons of Sanoa son of Benjamin, and the ninth of Ab fell on a Sabbath. They postponed <the day of mourning> until after the Sabbath and fasted on that day but did not complete it’. However, this is not the version of the Gemara in any place, and not found in the commentators and not in the Tosephta on chapter three of Taanioth – other than ‘I was of the sons of Sanoa, the son of Benjamin’.

The second piece of evidence is found in what is written in Adam veHava in the laws of mourning in Netiv 28, in the JT and also at the end of the Yoreh De’ah. This is the wording, ‘at first one was buried in a kind of dug-out pit. When the flesh disintegrated, they collected the bones and buried them in an ossuary on the same day and they would mourn and the next day was a day of celebration as their fathers were laid at rest until the <day of> judgement’. Likewise was said of the executed <criminals> in the Mishna of Sanhedrin, ‘after the flesh deteriorated they were atoned’.

We will return to our matters. R. Eleazar bar Zaddok said, ‘My father told me at the time of his death, ‘at first bury me in a cave. Later collect my bones and put them in cedar <box>. Do not collect them with your own hands so they would not be contemptible in your eyes.’ I did it. Johanan entered and collected <the bones> and spread over them a bag, and I came in and rent <my garments> and spread over them a sheet, and I placed on them dried Apurin, which are herbs’. Thus is written in the JT and in tractate Semachoth in the end of the chapter. ‘As he did for his father – thus I did for him’.

This story proves that he was not a priest, for, had he been a priest, it would have been forbidden for him, to collect his father’s bones and become ritually impure, so why should his father have warned him ‘that they would not be contemptible’. A priest is not made impure by (touching) his own (dead) father unless he was ‘incomplete’ while alive. The intention here is that had some limb been missing during life, he causes impurity on his death, but if after death some part of him is missing or <the burial cave was> blocked with a stone this would not cause impurity.

He said that he went in and covered him with a sheet, and what Johanan did for his father he also did for him, meaning he collected his bones. If we claim that he was a descendant of Sanoa, the son of Benjamin on his mother’s side, it would be unthinkable that after the Destruction he should make a festive day on the tenth of Ab, just because his mother was descended from that family.

However, this last-mentioned tale from the JT makes it quite explicit that he was not a priest. As for Avoth DeRabbi Nathan, where he said ‘I am of a priestly family’, maybe he said this just to impress his mistress, so she would not impose upon him a maidservant.

 

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As for all the explanations of Rashi and the Tosafoth, we can offer answers - with regard to the leaping over graves and eating profane food in a ritually pure manner. In chapter two of Demai, we find that one who eats profane food in a ritually pure manner should not be defiled by contact with the dead. This is the case with R. Johanan, although he was a descendant of Joseph, not a priest. Rashi explains in the Gemara, that he would eat less than a barley measure. Aruch under the heading ‘Garam’ said, ‘How would a man as holy as R. Johanan have carried a dead bone, unless it was an extracted tooth which does not defile. Alternatively, maybe it was with him only when he went to a mourners’ house to offer condolences, that is to say that his distress was great’. He was not a priest, for Aruch did not say ‘as he was a priest’, but ‘as holy man’.

Alternatively, as Rashi, of blessed memory, and the Ramban, of blessed memory, explained: the priests do not have to avoid the Gollel <gravestone> and Dofek <the frame of Golel>, since a Nazirite does not have to shave hair on their account. They interpreted ‘upon coffins’ as literally upon open graves in the fields at that time, and Gollel as the gravestone, and Dofek as the plank at the head and at the foot within the coffin, which is not how our master Tam interpreted. Those who eat pure food are strict about this, unless it conflicts with a commandment.

As for the passage at the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth regarding the eating of profane food in a ritually pure manner, one may see that R. Johanan ben Hahoranith also did not want to eat, and it is not written that he was a priest. Rambam, who listed him amongst the sages, did not list him amongst the priests. This is the case in chapter two of tractate Eduyoth and in the second chapter of Sukkah in the Tosephta, that he was used to eat profane food in a ritually pure manner.

It is more difficult to interpret the story of R. Zaddok found in Bechoroth, but for this, too, there is an answer. An Israelite was permitted to purchase <a firstborn donkey> from a priest and to keep it until it will acquire blemish, or maybe it was imperfect or was purchased from a priest. Though (at the beginning of Temurah) it appears that then it was forbidden for an Israelite to purchase a perfect firstborn from a priest, maybe <the donkey> was given as a gift. As for the other stories I brought, that they were knowledgeable in matters of the Temple, it can be explained. Since they used to bring wood offerings to the Temple, they were acquainted with these matters, as we find with R. Eliezer ben Jacob who testified about the measurements of the Temple and he was not a priest. In addition, when R. Zaddok preached on the steps of the hall, this was on the Temple Mount as Rashi explains. He was an old man and prestigious and a pious man, so that no priest would preach in his presence. Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai the Priest referred to him, ‘Had there been another man like him in Jerusalem, the Temple would not have been destroyed’.

Also in the chapter in Kidushin ‘heroes of strength who did His will as did R. Zaddok and his colleagues, refused the mistress and saved’. In chapter 3 in Sukkah in the Tosefta, they said, R. Abba and R. Eleazar bar Zaddok and Abba Saul ben Botnit were shopkeepers in Jerusalem. They used to fill the measures of their wares on the eve of the festival, so at not to waste study time.

There is a difficulty for Rambam, who did not list R. Zechariah ben Kabutal and R. Zechariah ben Hakazav, though they both were priests. One said (in Yoma) ‘Many times I read to him from the Book of Daniel’, and the second said (that is R. Zechariah ben Hakazav), ‘by this Dwelling <Temple>, <my wife’s> hand never left etc’. He was called ‘unreliable <witness>. Rashi explains: he was a priest, and she was forbidden for him. Without a doubt these two <are priests>, but our master Moses <Rambam>, of blessed memory, forgot to mention them. I’ll refer, in jest, the words (chapter Esh Nohlin in Batra (page 111a)) ‘Zechariah is naught’ to Rambam, of blessed memory, while I remembered <=zecharty, as in Zechariah> them as their name is Zechariah.

Also (chapter five in Sotah) R. Joshua said ‘R. Zechariah ben Hakazav preached on <an unfaithful wife> who has been made impure twice, once to her husband and once to her fornicator.

R. Haninah ben Antigonus has been forgotten as well, though he was a priest, (see chapter Ad kama). Rashi explained that he was a priest.

 

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Doroth Haolam says, <R. Judah b. Bathyra lived> after the destruction <of the Temple> during the time of the Ten Martyrs, and during the time of B. Azzai, and B. Zoma, and R. Akiba, and R. Hotzfit. He was in Babylon in Nisibis and he was the friend of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, and lived to be very old, and I have written more <about him> above.

Proof that he <lived> during the time of the Second Temple in Nisibis <can be found> in the opening chapter of Pesahim, <in the section> about the gentile who ate of the Passover <lamb>. ‘They said to him ‘You are in Nisibis and your net is spread in Jerusalem’’.

Proof that he lived for a long time after the Destruction is that R. Johanan Hasandlar and R. Eleazar b. Shamua were of the third generation after the destruction <of the Temple>. In Sifri in the portion R’eh <we> see that R. Eleazar b. Shamua and R. Johanan Hasandlar went to Nisibis to R. Judah b. Bathyra to learn from him, and <when they> got to Sidon they yearned for the Land of Israel and wept and went back. <This episode is> also at the end of Ketuboth.

In the chapter Chelek he says that he (I mean Judah b. Bathyra) was one of the descendants of the dead <bones> whom Ezekiel resurrected. He said, ‘These are the phylacteries that my father’s father left me’.

In Sifri, it also says that when R. Judah b. Bathyra, and R. Mathias b. Heresh, and R. Hananiah the nephew of R. Joshua, and R. Jonathan left the Land they rent their garments, as living in the Land of Israel worth all the other commandments. The interpretation that makes sense to me is that they were not all together, but rather each one went abroad separately. R. Judah b. Bathyra went to Babylon, to Nisibis, R. Mathias b. Heresh went to Rome, as mentioned above, and R. Hananiah nephew of R. Joshua went <somewhere else> in the Diaspora.

He <R. Judah b. Bathyra> used to intercalate the year, and then the grandson of Zechariah b. Kvutal and R. Jose b. Kipper said that he shouldn’t do so. He said to them that they were priests, the sons of High Priests who had served in the Temple.

Above, I forgot to question Rambam, why he did not mention <among priests> R. Zechariah b. Kvutal. He is mentioned in the Mishna in Yoma as having read from <the book of> Daniel before the High Priest on the eve of the Day of Atonement, or in chapter 10, at the end of Berachoth, <it is said> that he was a priest. Now it came to my mind. He also didn’t mention <among priests> R. Zechariah b. Hakazav, <who> lived at the time of the Destruction. In chapter two of Ketuboth R. Zechariah b. Hakazav says ‘<I swear> by this Temple that her hand did not move out of my hand from the time the gentiles entered Jerusalem until they departed’. They said to him, ‘No man can testify concerning himself’ and Rashi said it is because he was a priest.

In chapter five of Sotah R. Joshua says, ‘Thus R. Zechariah b. Hakazav preached, ‘the word ‘defiled’ occurs twice in the scriptural portion, one referring <to her being prohibited> to her husband and the other to the fornicator’.

Both of them are named Zechariah, and I remembered <=zecharty, a pun> them that they were certainly priests. There is no way to get an answer from Rambam of blessed memory, as to why he forgot R. Zechariah b. Hakazav and R. Zechariah b. Kvutal.

Let us return to R. Judah b. Bathyra, about whom it was said, in chapter two of Hagiga, ‘Mainstay and support are the masters of the Mishna, like R. Judah b. Bathyra and his colleagues, who knew 600 orders of the Mishna, as handed down from Moses to Hillel. There is a version that says ‘support ... like R. Judah b. Tema and his colleagues’. Perhaps it is for this reason Ramban wrote in Torath Adam that maybe R. Judah b. Tema is R. Judah b. Bathyra, but it does not seem so to me.

R. Jose also was of the third generation after the Destruction. It says in chapter 12 of Yevamoth, ‘R. Jose said, ‘when I went to Nisibis and I found there an old man at whose table R. Judah b. Bathyra always sat, and this old man was always with him’. In the chapter Mizvoth halitza our master Asher wrote that according to the JT, R. Jose went to Nisibis, and (chapter Beth Shammai in Yevamoth), they asked R. Akiba in the prison, and he forbade, and they asked R. Judah b. Bathyra in Nisibis and he forbade, etc.

In Nazir, it says that R. Judah b. Bathyra would pass judgements before R. Meir in Nisibis. In the Tosefta of Nazir, in chapter five, (it is a long time after the Destruction), <it says> that R. Meir was of the third generation after the Destruction, and he went to Babylon near the end of his life, when his wife died.

I have already stated above, when I mentioned Shemaiah and Avtalion, that in Midrash Samuel, on the verse, ‘And all Israel knew’ it is said that R. Judah was in Nisibis and blessed Abba, the father of Samuel that he should have a wise son. We also see in the chapter Kol Basar that was in the time of Levi, who said R. Atariah quotes R. Judah b. Bathyra and he is of the same opinion as R. Jose the Galilean.

Rabbi Pappias (see Eduyoth and Temurah) was after the Destruction. In chapter 4 of Shekalim, he disagrees with R. Eliezer and concurs with R. Joshua. R. Pappias said, ‘I bear witness that we had a cow from the peace-offerings and we ate it on Passover and we ate its calf as the peace-offering in the festival’. If this testimony was at the time of the Temple, they would have asked the priests and the sages, but it was after the Destruction, and he was giving testimony as to what he saw at the time <when> the Temple <still stood>.

Rabbi Johanan b. Bag Bag was called just b. Bag Bag, and it is not known when he lived, except that it was during the time of R. Judah b. Bathyra. In the first chapter of Kidushin, Johanan b. Bag Bag sent to R. Judah b. Bathyra in Nisibis <to rule on> an Israelite girl who was engaged to a priest, whether she was forbidden to eat from <foods that were> tithes <Terumah>. R. Judah said to b. Bag Bag, ‘I know that you are well-versed in the secrets of Torah’. <This is also mentioned> in the fifth chapter of Ketuboth in the Tosefta.

These were seven classes or generations after the time of the Second Temple, from its beginning to its end. The first generation that saw the Destruction are these: R. Eliezer b. Jacob, of whom it is known that he received more information than any of the other sages about the measurements of the Temple, and lived to be very old. In chapter four of Kilaim R. Eliezer b. Jacob quotes Hananiah b. Hachinai, and it is known that R. Hananiah b. Hachinai was a friend of R. Simeon b. Yohai and he was a disciple of R. Akiba. His mother’s brother was a Levite in the Temple <mentioned> in the first chapter of Middoth, and it is perhaps from there that he knew about Temple matters.

His legal rulings are ‘only a kab, but well sifted’, which means they are few <in number> but <decisions on> legal rulings are in accordance with them. But we see in the Talmud and in commentaries on the Mishna, that other laws are not in accordance with his interpretation.

I heard our master Asher said and I have also seen his rulings (in the chapter Mi shehoziuhu) that our master Hananel wrote in accordance with tradition that in those 102 cases, the law is according to him, and nowhere else, in other things laws are not <decided> according to him.

In Yevamoth <it says> that they found a scroll in Jerusalem wherein was written, among the rest, ‘Mishna (teaching) of R. Eliezer b. Jacob, only a kab, but well sifted’. This proves one should not rely on his interpretation.

Rabbi Zaddok, and R. Eleazar his son, and Rabban Johanan b. Zakkai, and R. Ishmael b. Elisha, the High Priest, whom we have mentioned above, and R. Hananiah, the deputy high priest, and R. Simeon, his son, and R. Haninah b. Dosa, who killed the viper, who learned before Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, all of whom we have mentioned above.

We have also mentioned Samuel the Less, who apparently did not witness the Destruction, and was humble and pious, and a Divine Voice was heard from the heavens saying that he was a <true> disciple of Hillel.

R. Eleazar b. Parta who occupied himself with learning Torah and doing good deeds, and was arrested with R. Haninah b. Teradion. He was rescued, and Elijah rescued him, and he was very old, as <it says> in the first chapter of Avodah Zara. (See in the Baraitha) he had a son named R. Simeon b. Eleazar b. Parta. He had a son named the R. Parta the Great, the father of R. Eleazar b. Parta. R. Parta, his son, studied before our holy Rabbi (see chapter three of Gittin).

His colleague R. Haninah b. Teradion was the father of Beruriah, the wife of R. Meir. She was very wise and is mentioned in the Baraitha (Tosefta of Kelim, chapter eleven) that when her words were quoted before R. Joshua, he said, ‘Beruriah spoke well’. She is mentioned among the Tanna. In Pesahim, in the chapter Tamid nishchat it says, ‘If Beruriah, the daughter of R. Haninah b. Teradion, and the wife of R. Meir studied three hundred laws from three hundred teachers in one day, could nevertheless not do it in six years etc.’

As we have written in the introduction, ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue,’ follow R. Haninah b. Teradion to Sichnin. He was burned with a Torah scroll. He is one of the Ten Martyrs, <who was killed> immediately after R. Akiba. He was caught when R. Jose b. Kasma died. He had warned him not to study the Torah because there was a decree not to read the Torah.

R. Jose b. Kasma was in Tiberias, according to the Midrash, and he (see Yevamoth in the chapter Haisha) went with R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. He is also mentioned in the chapter Kinyan Torah. R. Haninah b. Teradion did not listen to him because of his piety.

It can be deduced that <in the time> of severe religious persecution when we are ordered by authorities to avoid a certain action, we may cease to fulfill such <commandments> as prayer, <the laying of> phylacteries or reading the Torah. Thus Elisha Baal Haknafayim hid his phylacteries when a <Roman> officer came, as it was <a time of > severe religious persecution. Reading the Torah <is no longer obligatory in such a case> as R. Jose b. Kasma said to R. Haninah b. Teradion and as b. Papus the Wise <said> to R. Akiba. R. Akiba did not respond that (it was a time of religious persecution) he was obligated to do it. If he wanted to be stringent to himself, to sanctify the Name he is permitted to do so in a time of religious persecution, or even when it is not a time of religious persecution. They were permitted to act like R. Haninah b. Papi and R. Kahana, and like Daniel, who was stringent with himself, and R. Haninah b. Teradion, who occupied himself with <reading> Torah. R. Akiba behaved similarly in order to perpetuate Torah learning, as did Elisha Baal Haknafayim, (lay phylacteries) when the <Roman> officer was not looking.

But one should not act <unlawfully> under duress from a gentile, either in private or in public. One should be prefer to be killed rather than transgress, even by ‘changing one’s shoe-strap’. This means that one should not bend down to fix his sandal in front of an idol. Even if one has no intention <of bowing to the idol>, this is considered idol-worship. So ruled R. Acha Gaon in his Responsa. In opinion of the Tosafoth and the commentators, even <in the case of being forced to> change the color of one’s shoe-straps from white to black, that would make one recognizable as a gentile, one is required to <refuse> and sanctify <the Name of Heaven> in a time of religious persecution. Even more so if one was told to transgress a commandment and eat a forbidden food or <perform> a similar <transgression>.

When there is no religious persecution, <in instances> where <the sages> have said one should transgress rather than be killed, still if one transgresses, one deserves death sentence <for transgressing>. This is opinion of Rambam.

His (R. Haninah b. Teradion’s) wife was killed because she did not object when he was teaching the <Ineffable> Name to his disciples in public. His daughter, who was the sister of Beruriah, the wife of R. Meir, was thrown into a brothel, but the Blessed Lord saved her for sake of R. Meir.

R. Haninah was punished because he was teaching his disciples the <Ineffable> Name in public. Rashi comments that he would use the Name of 42 letters. All around him would be like in a storm. He was the treasurer of the funds for charity, and the monies for Purim were <somehow> mixed with <other> monies for charity. He <therefore> gave from his own pocket for the sake of Heaven, and for this good deed (<God> should bring him salvation), the sage told him that he would merit life in the World to Come, and even more so because he spent all his days <learning> Torah.

It says in the Midrash that when the Emperor Lupinus burned R. Haninah b. Teradion, Emperor Lupinus looked like R. Nehuniah b. Hakanah, and <the Romans> cut off his head. Afterwards he was revived through Divine intervention and he was in the form of R. Haninah b. Teradion, and they burned him like he burned R. Haninah b. Teradion. A miracle happened, and R. Nehuniah b. Hakanah looked like the Emperor Lupinus, and he ruled over the Roman Empire for six months and killed six thousand hegemons. On the 21st of Sivan they burned R. Haninah b. Teradion, and after him the killed R. Jeshebab the Scribe.

Abba Saul was of the house of Marmasha. He was the only one of his generation and was like a colleague of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. Abba Saul speaks in his name, but R. Zemach Gaon comments that ‘in his name’ means ‘in his spirit’. ‘Abba’ is a form of respect, like ‘Rabbi’. In Tractate Semachoth, he commanded his sons to bury him at his father’s feet, that they should bury him and removed the tzitzit (blue) from his applion.

In the chapter Hamaflet it says that he would bury the dead and that he saw <the remains of> Og the King of Bashan and Absalom. It seems that his disciple, R. Tarphon was of a large physique, even though this statement seems strange, it is certainly to do with <the fact that> he was also burying the dead, etc.

 

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This <is what is meant> when they said, ‘Abba Saul is the tallest in his generation and R. Tarphon reaches his shoulders. R. Tarphon is the tallest in his generation and R. Meir reaches his shoulders. R. Meir is the tallest in his generation and Rabbi reaches his shoulders. Rabbi is the tallest in his generation and R. Hiyya reaches his shoulders. R. Hiyya is the tallest in his generation and Rav reaches his shoulders. Rav is tallest in his generation and R. Judah reaches his shoulders. R. Judah is tallest in his generation and Adda Daiala reaches his shoulders’. Daiala means an attendant of sages, and Adda was his name. Parshatbina of Pumbeditha reaches shoulders of Daiala, and the entire world reaches Parshatbina to his waist.

R. Zemach comments that he <Parshatbina> was a man of valor and the tallest among the living. In the Tosafoth Rashi comments that it is a man’s name. The same <is written> in Aruch, and it’s not so. If this were the case, he should have said from Pumbeditha. Rashbam comments that it is a form of language referring to leadership of men.

This passage calls for interpretation, though it’s plain reading (that they were men of size) is also true, as Rashi and Aruch expound. There is a reference to Rav, who was called Abba Aricha (the long one). The real meaning is that wisdom decreases from generation to generation because it comes from a teacher to his disciple. To enlarge upon this, Abba Saul’s wisdom was greater than anyone else’s. He would bury the erroneous explanations, which are dead, just as certainly as it is said of Jonathan b. Uzziel, who was so imaginative, and full of truth that any bird flying above him would immediately be burnt <to cinders>.

Abba Saul b. Botnith was before his time. At the end of Sabbath it is explained that Abba Saul was at the time of the father of R. Zaddok, etc. In the chapter Hakotev it says in the Baraitha, that Abba Saul was the son of Imma Miriam, and law <is interpreted> according to him. <But> this is not Abba Saul, but Abba Gebal of the School of Rabbi <quoted> in the second chapter of Pesahim.

R. Eleazar HaModai was a disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, the colleague of R. Tarphon, although he calls R. Tarphon ‘Rabbi’ and R. Tarphon calls him ‘HaModai’ (in the last chapter of Yoma). R. Eleazar b. Parta quotes him, as does R. Eleazar b. Azariah in the chapter Shvuath Haeduth. R. Hananiah the nephew of R. Joshua quotes R. Eleazar HaModai. King Bar Koziba killed him in Beithar. He was praying that <Emperor> Hadrian would not conquer it, and he couldn’t conquer it. Then a Cuthean came and told ben Koziba a rumor about R. Eleazar HaModai that he wanted to make peace with Emperor Hadrian. When he killed him, a Divine Voice <came out of heaven> and said, ‘You killed God’s shepherd, the strong arm and the right eye‘. He was the strong arm of Israel and his right eye. On that day, Beithar was captured, and that was 52 years after the Destruction of the Second Temple. The Book of Doroth Olam says 73 years. According to his system the kings of Beithar began to rule 52 years after the Destruction – may God rebuild <the Temple> speedily in our days. He was an <aggadic> preacher, and it was said, ‘We still need <aggadic interpretations of R. Eleazar> HaModai’. He was a disciple of Rabban Johanan b. Zakkai.

Great Rabbi Eliezer b. Horkenus is known as the author of Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer. Rabbi Baruch expounded referring to our master Hananel, that the incident of the walls of the House of study proves him right. It all happened when a disciple in the house of study dozed off and dreamed a visionary dream. The entire story was just a dream. They didn’t want to disclose it was a dream, so their opponents wouldn’t say ‘they tell dreams that are false’, and mislead people.

<In the Pesikta <it is related> that when Moses when up to heaven the Holy One, Blessed be He told him ‘In the future a righteous man will explain <about the Red> heifer.’ R. Eliezer says ‘a female calf one year old and a heifer two years old.’ He said to Him, ‘Master of the Universe, may it be your will that <this man> be <one of> my descendants.’ He said to him, ‘By your life, he will be a descendant of yours.’ As it is written, ‘And the name of another <son> was Eliezer’, and the name of that special one was Eliezer’.

In the tenth chapter of Sanhedrin, in the Tosefta, R. Akiba said, ‘R. Eliezer deduces three hundred laws <from the verse> ‘put to death any witch’, and I could deduce but two <from the words> ‘the collectors of gourds’ – one collects and is liable, another collects and is exempt etc.’>

His wife <was> Imma Shalom, the sister of Rabban Gamliel the Prince. His father was very wealthy. This is known in the Talmud and in the Mishna. He was the first who is mentioned by name alone. He was the teacher of R. Akiba, who bled when he (Eliezer) died. Similarly in chapter nine of Semachoth, R. Akiba would strike upon his heart <because of sorrow> and the blood would flow. When the vow (anathema) was nullified, R. Akiba said, ‘My teacher, my teacher, the chariot of Israel and its riders’.

Also in the end of chapter Arba Mithoth <it says> that at the time of R. Eliezer’s death even R. Akiba, his disciple, sat on a distance of four cubits, as he was excommunicated (see BM chapter Hazahav). When he died, R. Joshua said, ‘The ban is lifted. The ban is lifted’. This is also the version of Rashi, but another version says, ‘The vow is nullified’. All his days he never forgot a thing, and was like a cemented cistern that does not lose a drop. He never said anything but what he had heard. His soul expired in purity while he was ruling whether pure or impure. He said ‘Pure’ and <died and> then R. Joshua said, ‘The vow is nullified. The vow is nullified.’

Our master Nissim opines that a ban of excommunication is called a vow. It seems that after his (R. Eliezer’s) death, they lifted the ban, and this is odd. He died on the eve of the Sabbath at twilight, and on the night after the Sabbath, they took him from Caesarea to Lydda to bury him. Then R. Akiba eulogized him, ‘My teacher, my teacher, the chariot of Israel and its riders’.

How did he learn Torah in great poverty after he left his father’s house? He would eat red dirt. You will find this at the end of the Tanna, below.

Our master Hananel wrote <as to> why they didn’t appoint R. Eliezer, <but instead> appointed R. Eleazar b. Azariah to be the prince. <R. Eleazar b. Azariah> was his disciple, but he <R. Eliezer> was very old, and it is written in the chapter ehad dinei mamonoth <that> one doesn’t appoint an old man to the Sanhedrin, or a eunuch or someone who has no sons, or a cruel person. We could then ask, why did they not appoint R. Dosa b. Harkinas in light of his knowledge.

 

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But I say <it was> because of <the> three reasons, that he separated himself from the sages in Lydda, and he held the opinions of the school of Shammai, and he disagreed with Rabban Gamliel, (that was the reason that R. Joshua gave), and also because of his wealth.

In the first chapter of AZ, <it is related> that he was seduced to sin of listening to the words of heresy with pleasure. In the Tosefta, in chapter two of Hulin <it is related> that he was seduced by heresy <as he listened to it> with pleasure. Keep away from ugliness and from anything resembling ugliness, do not go near her door. In the chapter Elu mutarin <it is related> that his sons were very handsome because of <their> modesty in marital relations. This is also in Kallah.

In the chapter Habone, the Tosafoth quoted Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer, that he studied Torah as an adult, in other words, that he didn’t begin to study until he became an adult. Still, his wisdom and his good qualities were uncountable. <It was said that> even if all the sky were parchment, and all the trees of Lebanon quills, and the water of the seas ink, it would not be enough <to record> his wisdom.

He knew three hundred laws <dealing with> the white spot on skin and <with> planting of gourds by <pronouncing magic> words and great secrets, but this did not make him haughty, just as R. Akiba, his disciple <did not become haughty>, and he was very sharp-witted.

You already know of the famous story (see chapter Hazahav), when he was cursed, and he submitted <to them> because of his piety. Then shortly thereafter his brother-in-law Rabban Gamliel died.

They called him Shamuti, and Rashi interpreted that R. Eliezer was cursed. His interpretation is at the beginning of Niddah, and he <Rashi> gave a second interpretation <why he was called shamuti>, as he belonged to Shammai School (see JT, in the first chapter of Terumah). The Tosafoth wrote that R. Eliezer was a disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, he belonged to Hillel school in all his rulings, except for well-known laws, and these are four (see Niddah) which are ruled according to Shammai School. When he disagrees with R. Akiba, his disciple, the right interpretation is that of R. Akiba (see chapter Keizad mevarhin).

His son was named Horkenus as his father. In the chapter Havit, R. Judah relates an incident involving Horkenus, the son of R. Eliezer b. Horkenus. At the end of the chapter Arba mittoth <it is related that> when he approached the hour of his death he removed his phylacteries <as it was> Friday evening at twilight. Then four sages came to him – R. Tarphon, R. Jose the Galilean, R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and R. Akiba. It says in Sifri that they said to him, ‘You are more beneficial to Israel than the sun and the rains, and a father and a mother’. Then he said, at the hour of his death, that R. Akiba would die a violent death. R. Joshua said, ‘One does not reply to the Lion after his death. Blessed be he as he increased greatly Torah in Israel’. In Sanhedrin it says, follow R. Eliezer to Lydda.

R. Joshua b. Hananiah the Levite <was> a cantor in the Temple (see in Arachin and in Sifri). He was esteemed in the house of the emperor (see Elu trefoth). He did three great things for the king. (Also in the first chapter of Bechoroth), he spoke and flew in the air of heaven (see also in chapter Arba Mithoth in Sanhedrin).

The JT relates many things <about> R. Joshua b. Hananiah, and the name that he made for himself, how he prayed for a certain Jew to beget <a child>, and he <the child> merited to become the <famous> R. Judah b. Bathyra.

In the Tosefta in the fifth chapter of Sotah R. Joshua said, ‘Thus did R. Judah b. Petiri expounded’. In the chapter six R. Judah also quotes b. Petiri. R. Joshua was the head of the Court of Rabban Gamliel, as we see in the chapter Meruba.

When Ezra went up <to Jerusalem from Babylon> he fined the Levites, so the people wouldn’t give them their tithes because they did not go up <to Jerusalem from Babylon>, as it says ‘but found no Levites’ (Ezra 8: 15). If they would go up, would the Holy One, Blessed be He, not have done miracles for them? So said Resh Lakish <on the verse> ‘If she is a wall we will build her a silver tower’. Because they were lazy, the Holy One, Blessed be He became angry with Israel and all the things of the second Temple were weak.

It says in Yevamoth, that initially the Levites were officers, as it says, ‘The Levites are officers’, but now even that appointment is not given to them.

For his Torah <knowledge>, Rabban Gamliel used to give R. Joshua b. Hananiah the tithes. Although during that time they used to give it to R. Eleazar b. Azariah who was a priest, (see in the first chapter of Kidushin, and in the fifth chapter of Maaser Sheni, and in the chapter shnaim ohzin). He was the head of the court, as I have stated above.

Afterwards, I found in the commentary of the Mishna, at the end of Ma’aser Sheni which was written by our master Asher, of blessed memory, that they gave him <of> the first tithing, because he was very poor, (see in Horaiyot and also in Berachoth), and they didn’t fine the poor.

Or, in the opinion of R. Akiba, that at first, before the fine, the collection of tithes was specifically for the Levites, and after the fine, also for the priests, and what was not given to him was for the tithing for the poor, because ‘He who gives his gifts to one priest brings famine to the world’. Even if he had 200 zuz, he could take of the first tithing. I have seen a proof that a person who has 200 zuz should not take charity. The proof is ‘<A person who has> 199 <the numerological value of zedaka, the Hebrew word for charity> may take, but not <a person who has> more’.

Because of him the princedom was transferred from Rabban Gamliel to R. Eleazar b. Azariah; because of three things that Rabban Gamliel troubled him with (see Rosh Hashanah, and in Bechoroth, and in the chapter Tefilath Hashahar). He was a pahmi. Our master Hananel said <it means> he made needles and his work involved charcoal (see on peham <charcoal>). R. Simeon Duran, <in his book> Panim Hadashot, wrote that it is inconceivable that he was a charcoal burner because he was the head of the court. Rather, he did not have a nice house. Anyway, JT says specifically, that he worked with coal. I found in the chapter Tamid nishhat that he was a needle maker. But in chapter two of Ma’aser Sheni R. Akiba says, ‘I changed for Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua their monies into golden dinars, from the second tithing’. Apparently, R. Joshua became wealthy. Rashi explained <that he> burned charcoal, and there are others who say <he was> a blacksmith, and <yet> others say that he made needles.

In the opening chapter of AZ Rashi exaggerated his qualities and explained that he was so involved in <learning> Torah that he did not wash his clothes or his body.

 

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He commented that great wisdom <can be found> in an ugly vessel, and he called R. Zerah ‘black pot’, and it does not seem nice to me.

In the fourth chapter of Halachoth Derech Eretz Raba an incident <is related> about four sages who went into the royal inner <chamber> and there was there one philosopher who was their colleague. These were <the four>: Rabban Gamliel, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and R. Akiba. R. Joshua said to Rabban Gamliel, ‘Would you like to go and greet our colleague the philosopher?’ He replied, ‘Yes, etc.’ They came to him and he said to them, ‘Peace be with you, sages of Israel, and to Rabban Gamliel, first etc’.

R. Joshua was great<ly esteemed> in the palace. He was ugly, for the Caesar’s daughter said to him ‘<How come> such wonderful wisdom in such an ugly vessel?’ He responded with the example that wine will not keep in a silver vessel.

Every <place> in the Mishna <where it says> simply R. Joshua, it means R. Joshua b. Hananiah, and likewise <regarding> his colleague, <where it says> simply R. Eliezer, it means R. Eliezer b. Horkenus, for these two alone taught much Torah to Israel, and had many disciples. He was in Pekiin. Go after R. Joshua to Pekiin, and go after R. Eliezer to Lydda. For such sages as the three remaining disciples of R. Johanan ben Zakkai we have not found, who were such sharp thinkers, and who multiplied Torah in Israel.

They were foretold about the World to Come. I mean Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and his five disciples and their disciples, as it says in Hagigah. The law <is interpreted> according to R. Joshua, whenever he disagrees with R. Eliezer. He <R. Joshua> served in the Temple as a Levite (cantor). R. Johanan b. Godgada, his colleague, was a gatekeeper.

It seems that he lived to be very old, because he survived R. Eliezer, as I have said above, and, as we see, survived Rabban Gamliel, his adversary. He <R. Joshua> wanted to invalidate <some> rulings <of Rabban Gamliel> after his death, but R. Johanan b. Nuri would not let him, and stood up against him, as <we> see in the chapter Bakol mearvin.

His nephew was a great sage. His name was R. Hananiah the nephew of R. Joshua, he was named after his grandfather. He is mentioned in all the Baraithas. The Baraitha calls him simply ‘Hananiah’, (see chapter mi shehoziuhu and in Niddah) and he taught in the time of Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua his uncle. At the end of Berachoth <it is said> that he lived for <many> years and did not leave someone like himself in the country. ‘Justice, justice shall you seek’... follow R. Hananiah the nephew of R. Joshua to the Diaspora.

R. Joshua b. Memel expounded <upon the teachings of> R. Joshua b. Hananiah. In the Tosefta, in the fifth chapter miNazir, R. Eleazar said, ‘I found R. Meir and R. Judah b. Bathyra the head <of the court>, who would sit and discuss laws. R. Judah said that for a quarter of blood, a Nazirite does not shave, and he is not guilty of bringing impurity to the temple. R. Meir said to him, ‘Should this be <considered> a lighter <transgression> than an insect? <In the case of> an insect, everyone is considered guilty of bringing impurity to the temple. Is it not the law that a quarter of blood is <a> more serious <violation>?’ B. Bathyra was silent before him. I said to R. Meir, ‘Do not degrade him. You are very familiar with Joshua b. Memel.’ He said ‘Yes. He was a master of the laws’. I told him in the present tense, in the name of R. Joshua, ‘For any <reason> that a Nazir shaves, he is obligated <under the laws of> bringing <impurity to> the Temple’, and I see things his way’.

<Another place where we see> that R. Joshua b. Memel expounded <upon the teachings of> R. Joshua b. Hananiah is in chapter Kohen Gadol veNazir. It is enough to quote the first and last in the chain of transmission of a law, the intermediate do not have to be mentioned. R. Eleazar quoted R. Joshua, but he actually meant R. Joshua b. Memel, who <expounded the teaching of> R. Joshua b. Hananiah.

R. Nahman said, ‘Same thing with quoting Nahum the Scribe, who received <the Law> from R. Miasha, who received from the pairs and from the prophets the laws Moses received on Sinai. Among these <in the chain of tradition> were Caleb, who was <one of> the elders, and Joshua, who received <the Law> from Moses, but they are not mentioned. Apparently, if a sage refers to someone, this doesn’t <necessarily> mean that it was his teacher. Maybe he was his teacher’s teacher, but he remembered <the source>.

Understand, that <sometimes a ruling> was handed down from a teacher who was not his teacher, as was said of R. Johanan and R. Simeon ben Yohai in the chapter Esh Nohalin. As for Joshua it was said, ‘Blessed is she who bore him’. Rashi expounded that <Joshua’s mother> was the cause of his wisdom. While she was pregnant with him, she would pass by the 24 houses of study in her city and would tell them ‘Pray for mercy for this unborn child, that he should become wise’ (see in Yevamoth JT). He had great knowledge in the Chariot <Qabbalah> and a miracle was performed for him.

R. Jose the Priest was very pious and knowledgeable of the holy Chariot, (see in the second chapter of Hagigah). He went with R. Joshua, and a miracle was performed for them, and the ministering angels would come down. He told these things to Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai and he said, ‘You are blessed, and your mothers are blessed, that I and you and your disciples and the disciples of your disciples will sit in the third group’. This means the three groups that sit before the Divine presence. In the Mishna <he is mentioned> in Eduyoth only.

In the sixth chapter of Tractate Semachot, <there is related> an incident about Joseph the priest whose wife died on the eve of Passover, and he became defiled against his will. In this case, Rambam is right, but Doroth Olam is wrong when he said that this is R. Jose the Galilean, because R. Jose the Galilean was a colleague of R. Akiba. Similarly, our master Asher wrote, in the chapter Elu naaroth that the law is <interpreted> according to R. Akiba, as R. Jose the Galilean was his colleague.

<Regarding> R. Simeon b. Netanel who was fearful of sin, I have not seen much to expand upon. He was the son-in-law of Rabban Gamliel the Elder, and it is enough <to mention> that he was blessed to be among the five disciples of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai who were foretold about the World-to-Come.

R. Eleazar b. Arach was <called by R. Johanan ben Zakkai> ‘an overflowing spring’. He was very sharp-witted, and you already know that he <expounded> (in the opening chapter of Hagigah) to his teacher Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, on the Divine Chariot. He was good to preach and good to act properly. ‘Blessed is Abraham our forefather that Eleazar b. Arach is one of his descendants’. In addition to this, his teacher praised him in Avoth. In chapter five of Terumoth, he explained laws (see in the Tosefta). In Sabbath they said (at the end of the chapter Havit) one was drawn after wine and forgot his learning, and afterwards tried to read, and would say instead ‘this month for you’ - ‘their heart will be deaf’, and in this is the secret.’

 

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He is called R. Nehorai, who enlightened sages in <his interpretation of> Law. They quote, ‘R. Nehorai says ‘Be an exile to a place of Torah.’’ It should not happen to another as it happened to him. In the following <sections>, with God’s help, when we get to R. Meir, we will say whether he has the same name. The truth is in accordance with <what> Rashi <said>, that R. Nehemiah is R. Nehorai, and not R. Meir, and not R. Eleazar b. Arach.

Some identify him with R. Eleazar Kalir, the liturgical poet, about whom the Midrash says ‘He is karuy and learned and writes liturgical poetry’. <Meaning> as the Rashba wrote, he was a hazan and, explained Aruch, an exegete and preacher. Our master Asher wrote (in the end of the chapter Ein Omdin), as they used to say zachreinu so they used to say kerovah in the first three.

R. Eleazar Kalir was from the Land of Israel, from Kiriat Sefer. Then they would sanctify <the new month> according to a sighting, for they had not yet set any Kerovah for the second day.

Some identify R. Eleazar b. Simeon with Kalir. Pesikta says, at his death, R. Eleazar b. Simeon was eulogized as ‘all the spices of the merchant’, since he was a scholar of law, and a singer (hazan) and preacher and a liturgical poet, and he established the Kerovoth. Up to this point, these are his <our master Asher’s> words.

[Samuel Sholem says that this is impossible, because I have found, in an Ashkenazi festival prayer book, Kerovoth for the seventh day of Passover initials <acrostic> ‘I <am> Eleazar the son of Jacob Kalir from Kiriat Sefer, and understand it]. In the Aruch, it is explained that Kalir is a derivative of cake, and he was called the Kalir because he ate cake with a wisdom charm.

In Midrash Ruth R. Nehorai quotes R. Nechemiah saying, ‘In the Shema there are 248 words, etc.’ but there are only 245 words, <therefore> the leader of the prayers repeats <the three words meaning> ‘Your God in truth’.

R. Eleazar b. Arach died before his colleagues, as we see in the Tosefta, chapter six of Nedarim. ‘R. Joshua said to R. Akiba, ‘It is a pity that you did not experience Sabbath of Repentance with R. Eleazar b. Arach, when he said the mikveh will prove etc.

In the chapter Kol Basar, our master Tam wrote that R. Eleazar Kalir is R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon b. Yohai.

Rabbi Haninah b. Antigonus the priest is <mentioned> in Sifra. He lived in the days of R. Akiba and R. Ishmael. In the chapter Ad kama in Bechoroth <it says> that R. Judah and R. Jose had some doubt regarding the laws of purity, and they sent to the son of R. Haninah b. Antigonus to ask him, because he was a great sage and observed the laws of purity.

Rav listed R. Haninah b. Hachinai among the sages of the first generation, before the generation of R. Akiba, but it actually is not so. In chapter two of Hagigah we see that he preached in front of R. Akiba, for every disciple would preach in front of his teacher. He was a colleague of R. Simeon, a disciple of R. Akiba. In the chapter Ba siman R. Simeon said, ‘R. Haninah b. Hachinai found me in Sidon. I told him ‘When you’ll come to R. Akiba’ etc.’ Also, <it is> said that the four sages of Yavne <were> b. Azzai and b. Zoma, Eleazar b. Mathias and R. Haninah b. Hachinai.

In chapter Al af pi <it says> that he decided to go and study Torah <though> he was married, and left a little daughter. He came to R. Simeon b. Yohai, at the end of his <R. Simeon> marriage feast. They became friends. R. Simeon had wanted to go together <with R. Haninah b. Hachinai but did not>, and Haninah b. Hachinai went <alone> and sat and learned for 12 years, until he forgot <how to> return to his home. He entered his home suddenly; his wife saw him and savi liva, which means that her heart stopped. In the same chapter <it says> masavi leafa, meaning her soul departed, but he prayed to the Blessed Name and she was healed.

Similarly, in Leviticus Rabbah, in the portion Bazoth Yavo <it says> that R. Haninah b. Hachinai and R. Simeon b. Yohai went to learn Torah with R. Akiba <for> thirteen years. R. Haninah’s wife sent <a message> that his daughter had matured, and R. Akiba prophesied and said to him that he should go and marry off his daughter. He went and entered <his home> suddenly etc.

Anyway, it means that Rav was wrong <in placing him before the days of R. Akiba>.

There are those who say that he was among the Ten Martyrs, and there are those who say that he was not among them, that it was R. Judah the Nachtom, and not R. Haninah b. Hachinai.

R. Judah b. Abba is mentioned in chapter six of Eduyoth together with R. Judah the priest. I did not know who he was, but Rav listed him in the first group of sages, and if not, Rav listed R. Judah ben Abba among the 91 <sages>.

Regarding R. Judah b. Bava <there appear to be referred to as> another person. I would say it is the same one. Bava and Abba are the same. I am very astounded as to why Elu Doroth did not mention him. R. Judah b. Bava was a great and holy sage, <who was> close to the sages, and highly esteemed. You can see that chapter six of Eduyoth says that R. Judah b. Abba gave testimony <regarding> five rules, and in the chapter Tefilath Hashahar in the Gemara <it> says that it was Judah b. Bava, and R. Judah b. Bava was one of the Ten Martyrs. He lived 70 years, and from the age of 8 till <the age of> 70 he did not sleep but the sleep of the horse. In <all> his days he did not pronounce something impure <to be> pure. He fasted for 56 years, and on the day that he was killed there was an old man whose name was R. Reuben b. Estrubali, who wanted to die in his stead, but he did not want <him to> and he was fasting and pure.

The second group after the Destruction <includes> R. Tarphon the priest. In chapter four of Semachot <there is related> an incident involving R. Tarphon, that his wife died and he said to her sister etc. In the Gemara in Moed Katan the same story is related about R. Jose the priest, and both of them are priests etc. and there is no doubt <as to his identity>. We have already expounded most of the matters <concerning him> and his wisdom, when we spoke about priests.

In the chapter Haomer <it says> that R. Judah b. Nehemiah pronounced a law in the presence of R. Tarphon, and he (R. Tarphon) was silent and R. Judah’s face glowed. R. Akiba said to him, ‘Your face glowed because you have retorted an Elder. I will be surprised if you live a long life’. R. Judah b. Ilai said that this <incident took place> just before Passover, and by Azereth (Pentecost) he had already passed away, may his memory be blessed.

R. Akiba b. Joseph was a righteous convert and the greatest among the sages.

 

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(See the first chapter <of Sanhedrin>, Dinei Mamonoth, and in the opening chapter of AZ). In the book Toledoth Adam, which showed generations and their leaders, as he reached the generation of R. Akiba, he rejoiced in his Torah <knowledge> and was saddened by his death, and referred to him the verse, ‘How precious to me are your thoughts’.

He said about the ten tribes that they would never return. R. Johanan said that R. Akiba <b. Joseph> betrayed his usual piousness. At the end of chapter Doroth Olam <it says> he was the head of the academy after Rabban Gamliel died, until his death, and after him Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, the father of Rabbi was the head <of the academy>.

In Sifri <it expounds the verse>, ‘The sons of Aaron, the priests will sound <the ram’s horn>.’ R. Akiba said, ‘<Priests who were> pure-minded and had no <physical> blemishes.’ R. Tarphon said, ‘I’d cut my son off if I have not seen my mother’s brother limp on one leg, and sound the trumpets’. He said to him, ‘Perhaps this was at the assembly on the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee year.’ He said to him, ‘As you did not make up <the rule>, blessed is Abraham our forefather that R. Akiba is one of his descendents. <I,> Tarphon, did see, and forgot, and <you,> R. Akiba, find it out by yourself, and agreed with the Law. To separate from you, is to separate from life’.

It is difficult for me <to understand> how, if R. Akiba was a converted descendent of Sisera, the army commander of the king of Canaan, he could be a descendent of Abraham. Perhaps Joseph, his father, married a daughter of Israel of the seed of Abraham, since he was the head of the academy <of Torah scholarship>. In retrospect, it must have been that his mother was from Israel, in accordance with the Writ, ‘<the leader has to be chosen> from your own brothers’. He lived to be 120 years old, as we have said, and he was the head of the academy. He married the daughter of Kalba Savua during the time of the Temple, and lived until Beithar was conquered, 52 years after the destruction of the Temple, or 73 years, according to Doroth Olam.

At the end of Sifri <it says> that for 40 years he served the sages, and 40 years he was a leader of Israel. The Rambam, of blessed memory, said, at the end of Mishpatim, that he attended to <literally, carried weapons of> ben Koziba, the king of Beithar, and thought he was the Messiah. However, in the Midrash we have not found that he attended the king. Since he <b. Koziba> was of the tribe of Judah, and fought wars and made heroic deeds and was victorious, he <R. Akiba> thought he <b. Koziba> was the Messiah. He referred to him <the verse> ‘A star will come out of Jacob, etc.’ <Then> he noticed that he <b. Koziba> could not smell evildoers, as it says, ‘He <Messiah> will smell the fear of God etc’. He <R. Akiba> despaired of him, as this <the gift of smell> is the great advantage of the Messiah against the gentiles. R. Zemach commented that Kozbian coins are <called so by> the name of the city, as it says, ‘It was at Kezib’ Similarly, it says in the Mishna, ‘From Egypt to Kezib.’ In the beginning of chapter Hagozal, Rashi says that Kozbian <coins> are Jerusalem <coins> that were minted by b. Koziba, but they are <coins> of Jerusalem.

In the chapter Chelek <it says> that he ruled two and a half years. He said that he was the Messiah, and as he had not this sense of smell, he was killed. In Rashi’s commentary to the chapter Haarel in the JT, <it says> that when Beithar was destroyed, the horn of Israel was hewed down, and will not return in the future until the coming of the son of David, and the authorization of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

R. Akiba was called otzar balum, (a hidden treasure), which means to say that he picked up all sorts of learning and then clarified each individual matter separately. The Tosafoth, in the chapter Hamekabel are of the opinion that <he was called otzar> balus, with <the last letter being> ‘S’ as in isah balusa (a mixed dough), and not with <the last letter being> ‘M’, because then it would mean his testimonies must be stopped.

Four were known as his teachers, and the main one was R. Eliezer the Great. He learned Talmud with R. Eliezer and <learned> mountains of deduction from R. Joshua, it seems after the death of R. Eliezer. We have already said that R. Joshua survived R. Eliezer, and said, ‘One does not reply to the Lion after his death.’ In the second chapter of Hagigah, Nahum of Gamzu is <mentioned as being> the teacher of R. Akiba for 22 years, and in BR?? (Genesis Rabbah?), portion 23 (High Priest). He was mentioned in the chapter Seder Taaniyot and in the chapter Chelek in Sanhedrin that he was very learned in miracles and that he was frail and blind because of the incident of the pauper etc. This man was so called because he would always say, ‘This too <gam zu> is for the good.’ Therefore his disciple, R. Akiba, learned from him, for he would say, ‘All the works of heaven are for the good’ (see end of Berachoth). In Aruch in the article on Gamzu there are those who interpret that <it is> the name of a place. In Chronicles, there is a man from the villages of Gamzu. Our master Nissim Gaon commented that it was because he said of every misfortune, ‘This too is for the good.’

His fourth teacher was R. Tarphon, but he was more like a colleague <than a disciple>. Although, in Ketuboth they doubted it, our master Asher ruled ‘as R. Akiba, that R. Tarphon was his colleague’.

In the chapter Keizad mevarhin he calls Rabban Gamliel his teacher, when he said to him, ‘Teach us, our master’. We have already said above, that all his days he was modest and perfect, even before he learned. His prayers were answered (rather than those of R. Eliezer, as he would forbear to retaliate (in Taanioth). In the Zohar, in the <Torah> portion Elu shemot (‘These are the names’)’ <it says> that R. Akiba sought to placate R. Eliezer, and said that he was like a servant whom the king no longer desires to speak with, and <therefore the king> grants him his request immediately. While his teacher, R. Eliezer was like a minister whom the king loves, and does not want him to leave, and therefore does not grant his request immediately.

He was a leader and treasurer for the poor (see the opening chapter of Kidushin and chapter 5 of Maaser Sheni. (In the Mishna, in Sotah, <it says> that R. Joshua called R. Akiba the ‘disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai’, though he was the disciple of R. Eliezer. He <Joshua> called him thus out of respect to R. Akiba. However, he called R. Joshua b. Horkenus the disciple of the disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, which he was.

After he married the daughter of Kalba Savua, he sat for 24 years in the academy, and did not see her. He brought 24,000 disciples (see Ketuboth, in the chapter Al af pi, and in Yevamoth, in chapter six, <which begins> Haba al yebemato’. <About them it is written> that as they did not respect one another, they all died, between Passover and Azereth (Pentecost). There is another version <that says> that <they died> by ‘the approach’ to Azereth (Pentecost), which is 15 days earlier, and that is Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer, the 18th of Iyar, after which it is permitted to marry. The mnemonic for this is ‘18 to the wedding canopy,’ as the Michtam wrote.

[The world was desolate until he taught the Torah to the five elders, R. Meir, R. Simeon, R. Jose, R. Judah, and R. Eleazar B. Shamua. In Genesis Rabbah, in the portion yasaf Abraham <it says>, ‘R. Akiba had twelve thousand pairs of disciples, and all of them died at one time. Why? Because they envied one another. In the end, <R. Akiba> raised up seven – R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Jose, R. Simeon, R. Eleazar b. Shamua, R. Johanan Hasandlar, and R. Eliezer b. Jacob, and the whole land was filled with Torah.

 

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In the Aboth deRabbi Nathan, in the Mishna of Joseph b. Joezer, <it says> that when R. Akiba started to learn he was 40 years old. He saw a stone with a groove in it above a well. He asked, ‘Who carved the groove in it?’ They told him <that it was> the rope of bucket that passed back and forth over it every day. From this he deduced an inference from minor to major regarding himself, that if soft < rope> could cut hard <stone>, words of Torah, which are as strong as iron, all the more so can they engrave themselves on a heart which is flesh. He immediately returned to learn Torah].

In the opening chapter of Yevamoth, R. Dosa b. Harkinas says to him that his fame goes from one end of the world to the other. He lived in Bene Berak (mentioned in the book of Joshua). Follow R. Akiba to Bene Berak. When he left the Land of Israel for Nehardea, there was no one left, who could intercalate Leap year and determine new moon. If we were to relate at length things that were said about him, this book could include only a few of his praises.

Remember this, do not get confused by their martyrdom, and by the laments in the festival prayer books. Though it seems he was a contemporary of <another martyr> Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, this is not the case. Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel was the first <Martyr and he was> killed on the day of the Destruction, and R. Akiba was <martyred> almost 60 years after him. The last five were <martyred> at fall of Beithar, 73 years after the destruction of the Temple. This means to say R. Judah b. Bava, R. Hananiah b. Teradion, R. Simai, R. Hotzfit, and R. Yeshvav the Scribe.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, showed to Moses that R. Akiba would come after several generations. Moses went and sat at the end of the 18 rows <of disciples> and heard him speak. When <disciples> would say, ‘>From whence do you know it?’ he would say, ‘It is a law <given to> Moses, at Sinai.’ Then Moses rejoiced, and He showed him that he was as worthy as Moses, and he said to Him, ‘Who is holding you back?’ That was when The Holy One, Blessed be He was affixing crowns to the letters, and R. Akiba would deduce mountains of laws from each crown. Then He said to Moses, ‘Turn around.’ And He showed him that his <Akiba’s> flesh was weighed at the slaughterhouse. Rashi interprets this <to mean> they combed his flesh with iron combs. He (Moses) said to Him, ‘Such Torah, and such is its reward?’ He said, ‘Such is my plan’. All this is in Menachoth, in the chapter Hakometz on phylacteries.

You will see that he was right, because all the Oral law comes to us from him. The anonymous Mishna opinion is the interpretation of R. Meir. The anonymous opinion in Sifra (that is Torath Hakohanim, <Leviticus> the laws of the priests), is the interpretation of R. Judah. Anonymous opinion in Sifri is that of R. Simeon. <Sifri is the exegesis of> last two books after Leviticus, which is the laws of the priests, <Numbers and Deuteronomy>, and it is called in the Talmud ‘the rest of the books of Rav’. The anonymous Tosefta is by R. Nehemiah. The anonymous opinion in Seder Olam is that of R. Jose. All of this is in accordance with the opinion of R. Akiba, because all of them were his disciples. Whereas the anonymous Mishna is attributed to R. Meir, in case of disagreement between R. Meir and R. Jose the law <is decided in accordance with> R. Jose. The author of Halachoth Olam and the Baraithas did not explained any more. This is not the general rule, because in Sanhedrin, in the chapter Dinei Mamonoth, on bar Hamma who killed a man, R. Papi says, ‘This only applies when the Tana did not quote anonymous rule. When he did quote the Mishna, we rule in accordance with R. Meir’. So wrote the authors.

R. Akiba was humble and accepted reproach, as <we> see in Arachin. In Sifra, in the portion of Kedoshim, R. Johanan b. Nuri said, ‘I testify before the heavens and the earth that more than four or five times R. Akiba was smitten by me in front of Rabban Gamliel, when I would complain to him about him. I would know that he would love me all the more, in order to fulfill the saying, ‘Reprove a sage and he will love you.’

‘The heart of the early <sages> is like the doorway to the hall’ – this is R. Akiba, and ‘of the later <sages> is like the doorway to the sanctuary’ – this is R. Eleazar b. Shamua. Like the eye of a sewing needle – <these are> R. Johanan etc.

R. Akiba entered Paradise, he went in peace, and came out in peace, and he knew 70 languages.

Similarly were R. Joshua and R. Eliezer, as Rashi explained in the opening chapter of Sanhedrin. He became very wealthy due to six occasions, as <we> see in Nedarim, in the chapter Hanoder mihamevushal. He married the daughter of Kalba Savua, and afterwards the wife of Turnus Rufus, the evildoer. He was a great Greek general, who plowed the Temple. She converted and was very beautiful and had great wealth. R. Akiba prophesied this to his disciples before it happened, because he was being watched over by Heaven. He helped his father-in-law to avoid the vow. However, he did not void it, like Mar Zutra who helped to avoid the vow. He did not void it, because he was a party to the matter, (see in the JT, ‘He who is a party to the matter cannot void it, because it is <similar to> a vow he made himself’). They taught (in Negaim), ‘all vows he can void except for vows he made himself,’ as it is said, ‘He must not break his word’, but others can forgive him, even a scholar sage.

Also in Responsa, 47, R. Isaac b. Sheshet says, ‘There are six reasons to avoid the commandment ‘You shall not waive a vow’ because of a future occurrence.’ <Some of these are:> If a person reconsiders the vow on his own, or if he regrets its very essence, or <knows of> a future occurrence etc.

You will see in Aboth a saying that all is anticipated and permission is given. How did he know the secrets of the Torah and it’s basic principles? You will also see his piety in chapter two of Eruvin. He was arrested, and R. Joshua Hagarsi ministered to him, and he did not transgress the rabbinical commandment of washing the hands. He said, ‘Better that I should die rather than transgress the opinion of my colleagues the sages, in my old age and in prison.’

He already knew that he would die a painful death, as we have mentioned above. When R. Eliezer died, and from the curse of R. Eliezer died also his teacher, because of <the matter of> the quibbling over the law regarding the Passover sacrifice. <He said that> the sprinkling is forbidden, and does not supercede the Sabbath. This means to say the sprinkling of the water of cleansing from the heifer on the unclean, for ‘Every thing that is allowed on the eve of the Sabbath etc.’ R. Eliezer replied to him, ‘<R.> Akiba forbade me to slaughter, <therefore> his death will be by slaughtering. R. Eliezer reiterated this at the hour of his own death.

In the fourth chapter of Tractate Semachot, R. Akiba was killed in Caesarea, which was called ‘Little Rome’; there lived R. Abbahu in a narrow tower. When the news <of R. Akiba’s death> came to R. Judah b. Bava and to R. Haninah b. Teradion, they rent their garments. They preached, R. Akiba was not killed because he was suspected of robbery or that he had not striven with all his might in Torah, but to provide a sign <of forthcoming suffering>. It is said, ‘Ezekiel will be a sign to you’, in order that a man should not be afraid of evil.’

 

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Within twelve months, there was not a place in Judah without its dead. When R. Haninah b. Teradion became a heretic, they sentenced him to be burned, and his wife to be killed, etc. Immediately <afterwards> R. Judah b. Bava <was killed> and the whole affair of Beithar.

There is also the story (end of Moed Katan), when the son of R. Akiba died. His name was R. Simeon b. Akiba. He was very learned. All of <the people of> Israel eulogized him. He <R. Akiba> said that he was comforted because he knew that his son is expected in the World-to-Come, because he was very learned and taught Torah and enabled many to gain merit.

In the Aboth deRabbi Nathan, in the Mishna of Jose b. Joezer, <it is related> at length how R. Akiba <began to> learn at the age of forty years and how poor he was. He had sons and daughters, but his wife Rachel supported him. At the end of 16 years after 40 years <of learning> he taught in public, and became wealthy. He had tables of silver and gold and would climb up to his bed on a ladder of silver, and his wife had gold jewelry. One son survived him, in the opinion of Rashi, Rashbam and the Aruch.

He was R. Joshua b. Karcha, who lived to be very old, who was with Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, the father of Rabbi. R. Akiba is the first of the Ten Martyrs, as <we> see in Rosh Hashanah.

In many places I have read that no one can stand in the presence of the Martyrs. Do they mean Ten Martyrs or perhaps R. Akiba and his colleagues? [The Talmud responds], ‘No, that is obvious, rather we refer to the martyrs of Lydda’. At the end of chapter two of Taaniyot <it is said, that> Trajan killed Lullianus and Pappos in Laodicea. Rashi commented that they were perfectly righteous, and Laodicea is Lydda. These are ‘the martyrs of Lydda.’ There are those who say that they were killed because of a daughter of the king, who was found dead. A death sentence was decreed against <all of> Israel. These <two> said, ‘We killed her’ to save Israel, and they alone were killed.

However, in the Aruch, in the article Hereg, it is expounded that Shemaiah and his brother are the martyrs of Lydda, who were killed on the 12th of Adar, which is Trajan’s day, <mentioned> at the end of Taanith. He mentions the story <about which> Rashi wrote, regarding a daughter of the king who was found dead. He does not explain this <in the same way> as Rashi, when he said that Papus and Lullianus were in Laodicea. This supports Rashi’s opinion.

However, from the chapter Kol kitvei Hakodesh it seems that Laodicea1 is outside the Land <of Israel>, and it is not Lydda. In Menachoth Rashi commented on the <Torah> portion ‘Jacob lived’ and <on the Torah portion> ‘This blessing’ on the blessing of Asher. He wrote, ‘There is Lydda that is not in the Land <of Israel>, as was said in the first place, that a food of the Lydians is human flesh’.

Also, Resh Lakish sold himself to a Lydian, and the verse says ‘Libyans and Lydians are famous archers’. R. Eliezer stayed in Lydda that is one day <walk> from Jerusalem. In Gemara, there are supporters of both explanations.

In the article Tzav, the JT said <in the chapter Dinei Mamonoth, that one may transgress all the commandments rather than be killed, except for idol-worship, incest, and murder. That is in private, but in public one must not transgress even a light prohibition, such as Papus and Lullianus, his brother, who were given water in a <red> coloured glass and did not accept it. Even though in this case the Gentiles wanted only to collect taxes, and not to force a Jew to transgress.

In Tractate Sheviith JT, in the fourth chapter, <it says> ‘Papus and Lullianus, who were given water etc.’ as the Tosafoth says, in the chapter Klal Gadol and this is in support of the author of the Aruch.

In Genesis Rabbah, portion 65 <it says that> in the time of R. Joshua b. Hananiah, after the Destrucion, when they wanted to build the Temple, in accordance with <permission from> Emperor Trajan, the father of Emperor Hadrian, Lullianus and Papus brought back ‘trapizin’ from Acre to Antiochia, and they supplied the pilgrims. ‘Trapizin’ are tables.

At the end of Berachoth, <it is related that> they brought him <Akiba> out for execution in time for the recital of Shema. He prepared himself <to recite>. His disciples said to him, ‘Even to this extent?’ He said to them, ‘All my days I have been troubled by this verse, ‘with all your soul,’ <which I interpret> ‘even if He takes your soul.’ Now that I have the opportunity, shall I not fulfil it?’ The ministering angels said, ‘Such Torah, and such a reward?’ <He should> die by Your hand.’ He replied to them ‘Their portion is in life.’ A Divine Voice came out of heaven and proclaimed, ‘Blessed R. Akiba, that your soul has departed with the word Ehad (‘One’)’. This was while they combed his flesh with iron combs.

There, also, is <related> the dispute between Papus b. Judah and R. Akiba, when a death sentence was decreed for reading of the Torah. This Papus was a great man and very learned. Israel was respected because of him. In the chapter Chelek, he is the Tanna in the Baraitha.

You already know that it is <related> in the Midrash that R. Joshua Hagarsi was his <Akiba> disciple. He and Elijah, of blessed memory, buried him when they <the Romans> brought him back to the prison and forbade burying him. Elijah said to him, ‘for his sake, the priesthood is cancelled, as he died the death of commandment’.

Hanan b. Phinehas was his disciple. Joshua b. Kapusai was his son-in-law, in the time of Rabbi. They would proclaim about him in the heavens, ‘Beware of R. Akiba, etc.’

At the end of Kidushin, and in chapter Arba Mithoth, he said to Turnus Rufus, the evil, ‘The Sa<m>batyon river will prove <the Jewish interpretation of> Sabbath’. Rashi explained <that this was> a river of stones and sand that flowed <swiftly> all week and on the Sabbath stood calm. On the day that R. Akiba died, our holy Rabbi was born, and the sun rises.

R. Eleazar b. Azariah, the priest <was> ten <generations> from Ezra. We have already mentioned above that he was wealthy, and would give the king 13 thousand calves from the tithing each year. This was not from the <biblically commanded> tithing of animals, because after the Destruction, it was decreed not to take tithes from among the animals, in order not to make a mistake. He was 18 years old <when he was nominated the Prince, and it was> at least 5 years after the Destruction. <During those 5 years> Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai was the Prince, and after him Rabban Gamliel. The Tosafoth expounded, as he did not object to his neighbor’s taking a cow out on the Sabbath with a rope between its horns, it was named after him, <the cow of R. Eleazar>.

 

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The author of Michtam said <that it happened> on a festival day, and in the JT<it> says <that this story refers to his> wife, who was called, ‘his cow,’ as in <the story of> Samson, <who said>, ‘If you had not ploughed with my cow’. [Editor’s note. In the book, Reshith Chochma, in the section Teshuva (repentance) quotes JT Sabbath, ‘Our sages, of blessed memory quoted R. Haninah, ‘you went out once, and his teeth are black from the fasts.] In the second chapter of Bezah, and at the end of the Mechilta of R. Ishmael, <there is related> a story <involving> a Levite and R. Ishmael, the son of R. Eleazar b. Azariah.

He <R. Eleazar b. Azariah> was 18 years old when he was appointed Prince. There appeared on him signs of old age, and he said ‘I am like a 70 years old man.’ In the JT, in the chapter Tamid nishhat <it says> that he was 13 years old. It seems to me that we should not accept the simple <meaning of the text>, that he was over 70 years old when he said ‘I am like a 70 years old man.’ The JT does not mention <his words> ‘about 70 years old.’

In the opening chapter of Yevamoth, R Dosa b. Harkinas said to him, ‘Azariah our colleague has a son. They refer to him the words, ‘I have not seen a righteous person abandoned’, for his father was very wealthy and wise and righteous and pious. He supported his brother Samson, Samson the brother of Azariah. His son, R. Eleazar was also a great exegete, and his generation was not orphaned, but <benefited from> the merit of its forefathers and their riches. After he <R. Eleazar b. Azariah> was nominated Prince <and after the reconciliation with Rabban Gamliel> he would expound <the law> one Sabbath, and Rabban Gamliel <would expound the law> for the two <following> Sabbaths. In the chapter Tamid nishhat in the JT <it is said that>, after they returned the princedom to Rabban Gamliel, R. Eleazar b. Azariah remained the head of the Court in order that he would not be lowered from his high standing.

His praises and his wisdom are too great to be recounted. He was the indubitable teacher of R. Judah b. Ilai, and is called ‘the Spice box’, meaning that <he knew> tales and laws and every <other> thing. You should be aware that in every place in the Talmud where a person is mentioned as repeating (tani halachta) a law, it is a reference to Mishna: so-and-so repeated Halacha, <the same in> Sifra and Sifri, etc.

The tenth <generation> after R. Eleazar was R. Azariah, who was a sage, and exegete, (see chapter Kol Hamenachoth). The sages said to R. Preidah, ‘R. Azariah (Ezra) who is a grandson of R. Abtolos, who is the tenth <generation> from R. Eleazar b. Azariah, who is the tenth <generation> from Ezra, <is standing by the door’>. Rashi refrained from commenting <that> R. Eleazar b. Azariah was the tenth <generation> from Ezra, and Rashi held that we not deduce that the ten <generations> from Ezra arrive at R. Azariah. This is the version in Responsa 94 of R. Isaac b. Sheshet. Since R. Preidah was a contemporary of R. Ami, he says, ‘R. Preidah said well, If he is learned, it is fine. If he is of good descent and learned, excellent. However, if he descended from noble ancestors, but is not learned, then may a fire consume him. They said to him, he is learned, etc.

(In the chapter Keizad meavrin in Eruvin) 400 years of life were added to R. Preidah, and he and all of his generation <merited> life in the world-to-come, because he repeated a teaching 400 times to his disciple a second time. R. Preidah’s grandfather found a scroll (a scull?) of <King> Jehoiakim, in which is written these <things> and more, and it was in the time of R. Ami. Also in Megillah <it says> that he lived to be very old.

R. Ishmael – we have already <described> at length above, and it remains doubtful whether he was a priest. Our master Hananel said that R. Joshua b. Hananiah redeemed him<from captivity>. It does not seem so, as he redeemed R. Ishmael b. Elisha.

R. Joshua b. Karcha, <is mentioned> in chapter shoel in Sabbath. He himself was bald, as it is explained in the story of eunuch. The author of Aruch, however, comments that he <was called b. Karcha – the son of the bald one> after his father, R. Akiba, who is called the Bald one (Kireah) (see the end of Bechoroth). B. Azzai said, ‘All the sages of Israel are like nothing, except for that bald one.’ Rashi commented similarly at the end of Bechoroth. Rashbam, in the chapter Aravei Pesahim says that in the Gemara in Sotah, he says, ‘except for that bald one.’ In the fourth chapter of Ketuboth, in the Tosefta, <there is related> a story of R. Joshua, the son of R. Akiba, who married in order that she would feed him and provide his needs and teach him Torah. When there were years of drought, they stood around and argued. She started to complain about him to the sages, and when he came to the court, he said to them, ‘She is more trustworthy to me than any man’ She said to them, ‘Of course, these were the conditions of our marriage’. The sages said to her, ‘That means nothing.’

It seems the explanation is in Pesahim and in the opening chapter of Shebuoth, and in every <other> place <where it> says, ‘R. Akiba said to R. Joshua, his son.’ This is also in keeping with the length of time <that he lived>, about which our holy master asked him, ‘By what merit have you lived so long?’ (see in Megillah) He lived as long as his father <had lived>. In the Mishna, in Eduyoth, R. Akiba says that a father gains merit for his sons for life, for pleasantness, and for wealth, according to their nature.

He sat in the academy of Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, Rabbi’s father. Before them sat R. Eleazar b. Simeon and Rabbi (see chapter Hasoher hapoalim). This was because R. Akiba had died, and Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel had taken over the presidency <of the Sanhedrin>. R. Akiba’s son would sit with them. In Sabbath, in the chapter shoel, in Tosafoth, in the name of our master Tam ‘<It is said> simply that stronger creatures live longer.’ R. Akiba was not his father, but rather another man. His name was Karcha, and Karcha is a man’s name, just like Korach. He was born a long time before R. Joshua, the son of R. Akiba.

It seems more plausible to say b. Hakereach (the bald one) – a descriptive name. For one instance if b. Azzai was called this, should his son forever be called this?

In the chapter Chelek there is a R. Judah b. Karcha. Perhaps he was bald, or he was his brother.

Hananiah of Ono – Ono is three miles from Lydda, as <we> see at the end of Ketuboth. We have already mentioned that he was <one> of the five who argued before the sages - b. Azzai, b. Zoma, Hanan, Hananiah, and b. Nanas (in the second chapter of Maaser Sheni, and in the opening chapter of Sanhedrin). There is a version <which says> Hananiah b. Hachinai and Simeon Hateimani, instead of Hananiah of Ono and b. Nanas.

R. Simeon b. Nanas was a colleague of R. Ishmael, who praised him (end of Bava Batra). He was <one> of the five who argued before the sages, and <who were> known by their father’s names. B. Azzai and b. Zoma <were so called> because they died <while they were still> young men, and had not attained rabbinical ordination. <It> says they were so called before they were ordained, and afterwards were called by their first names, <as with> R. Simeon, and as we have said regarding b. Zakkai and b. Bathyra and b. Tima. He was very knowledgeable in judgements and his decisions are as those of R. Akiba.

 

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R. Johanan b. Baroka was the colleague of R. Eleazar Hisma, who went to greet R. Joshua in Pekiin, during the time of R. Eleazar b. Azariah.

R. Ishmael, the son of R. R. Johanan b. Baroka is the colleague of Rabbi, during the time of R. Simeon b. Gamliel. His father <was> with R. Haninah the son of R. Jose the Galilean, and he is mentioned in Aboth.

R. Johanan b. Godgada the Levite and the gatekeeper. At the end of the final chapter of Sukkah it says of the gatekeepers that their wages are from the showbread, and this is not permitted to any but the priests. This is not difficult [to resolve] because there were priests who were also gatekeepers, as [we] see in three places in Tractate Tamid. This Levite was a gatekeeper, and his father’s name was Godgada, as we see in the sixth chapter of Eruvin, about Judah b. Godgada. This was during the time of the Temple, as [we] see in the Tosefta, in the second chapter of Shekalim. He was in charge of locking the gates during the time of the Temple, with R. Joshua b. Hananiah the singer. He was very wise in numbers and in astronomy.

In Horayoth, there is related an incident when Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua went in a boat and lost their way in the sea. Rabban Gamliel’s food ran out, but R. Joshua had a lot of food. Rabban Gamliel asked him why he had so much food. The Levite said, ‘Because there is a star that rises every seventy years and misguides the ships.’ This is true. In astronomy <there is a known concept that> every seventy years the stars move one degree. This is among the writings of R. Abraham b. Ezra. I have seen <this> in the experiments of Batalmius (Ptolemy). Up until now there have been 1,370 years. Even though Batalmius calculated their movements for a hundred years, and he wears a royal crown. I wrote this to show you their true wisdom, as you will see regarding the birth of the new moon. This confounded the sages of all the nations. They said that it is exact since its creation, and until now it has not deviated even one part <of a measure of time in its revolutions>, because this is a divine thing, and is true. In the Beraitha of Samuel <it says> that Issachar went up to the firmament and brought 1,080 parts.

We will return to what we were <discussing>, that he said to him that it (the star) misguides the ships. He said to him, since you are so wise, why did you board this ship, and why are you not wealthy? I am astounded that they who were rich have been reduced <to poverty>. These are R. Gamliel and R. Eleazar b. Azariah. R. Akiba said, ‘Don’t be astounded at me, because there are two sages on dry land, R. Johanan b. Godgada and R. Eleazar Hisma, who can calculate how many drops there are in the sea, but they have no bread to eat or clothes to wear. He said to him, ‘When we disembark on dry land, remind me about them, and I will appoint them to head < the academy> so that they will have a livelihood.’ He sent for them and they didn’t want <to accept>. He said to them, ‘You think that I am giving you authority. I am giving you servitude, as it is said, ‘If you will be a servant to this people etc.’

In Sifri, in the <section relating to the> Torah portion ‘These are the words’ <it> says that R. Gamliel appointed other men to head the academy. It says there that <these men> were R. Johanan b. Nuri and R. Eleazar Hisma, but the version in the Talmud is the important one. R. Johanan b. Nuri was also during this time.

When they were appointed <to high positions> the disciples did not notice. Towards evening they went and sat with the disciples. This was the manner of R. Gamliel - he would enter <the study hall> and pose a question, knowing that there was no one there to provoke <a discussion>. If not, he would pose a question knowing that there was someone to provoke <a discussion. <When he> entered <the study hall> and found R. Johanan b. Nuri and R. Eleazar Hisma, he said, ‘You have notified the public that you seek to take authority over the public that was in the past at your disposal. From now on you are in the service of the public’.

It says <regarding King> Uzziah, that he did not judge <correctly> and became leprous in the cemetery, as is related in Horayoth.

The sons of the daughter of R. Johanan b. Godgada, or the sons of his sister, were in the academy of Rabbi, and would be silent and listen, and Rabbi prayed for them, and they spoke and heard, and knew the whole Talmud, as <we> see at the beginning of Hagigah.

In the JT at the beginning of Terumoth, the Tanna R. Judah says, ‘An incident involving the sons of R. Johanan b. Godgada, who were all deaf’. It means to say, ‘mute’. All the purification in Jerusalem was carried out under their supervision. <The purification> does not require ‘thought’, but when it was their turn, their Terumah was not <considered> Terumah. A deaf person who speaks but does not hear, if he give Terumah, it is <considered> Terumah. In the Tosefta, at the beginning of Terumah, R. Judah says, ‘The sons of R. Johanan b. Godgada are deaf etc’.

Judah b. Godgada is in the Beraitha [and was] a student [of] R. Eliezer.

R. Eleazar Hisma was a disciple of R. Akiba, and a colleague of R. Johanan b. Baroka, about whom it says in the last chapter of Rosh Hashanah, that he descended before the ark. Rashi explains this as referring to the commandment to pray in a low place, so it states the he descended. He was also a colleague of R. Johanan b. Godgada..

This R. Eleazar was an astronomer and a mathematician, as we have said, and the Mishna attests to this, that he would recount the <time> periods and auxiliary numerological explanations to scholarship. In this the commentators were slightly mistaken, in that they thought that the auxiliary numerological explanations that he expounded regarding <Scriptural> verses and deduction <of their meaning>, such as <the question> from whence <do we know that the Children of Israel were in Egypt> 210 <years>, and the like are not true. But this is the body of the Torah, and tradition, and not auxiliary numerological explanations. <Dessert> is not the main part of a meal.

Let us assume that there are other commentaries that contain some words of auxiliary numerological explanation. His colleague testifies that numerology is essential <to the calculation> of the periods, which he said are the revolutions of the heavens. One needs engineering knowledge, and the calculation of measurements, as in the Talmud said of them, that they know to calculate how many drops are there. Gematria is a Greek word, matria is measurement and ge is earth. This means the measurements of the earth, because from here they knew how to calculate measurements of the heavens. You can see this in the secular study of fate, which is called Geminasia. Minisia means prophecy.

He was known as Hisma in accordance with what it says in Leviticus Rabbah, in the section relating to the Torah portion ‘After the death’ (Acharai Mot), when they asked him regarding blessings, such as the seven blessings <recited under a wedding> canopy, and similar things, in which the sages had not trained them. They said, ‘Rabbi calls you a shield.’ For this he was called Hisma (muzzled), from the saying, ‘Do not muzzle an ox’ until he went to learn before R. Akiba, who would teach his disciples to be well-versed in everything, as <we> see in Midrash Hazit.

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There are versions of this incident, how it happened, but they are all <essentially> the same. They told him to say the ‘Shema’, and he did not know <how to>, because he had not been accustomed to <doing so>, until he came to R. Akiba, and he taught him. They also asked him if he was a Keruv, and he said no. Aruch explains, <Keruv to mean> to deduce, as in ‘.’ But in the commentary on prayers (?) it says that the leader of the congregation <in prayer services> is called Keruv because he is like a priest who brings a sacrifice (Makriv). The Midrash of Song of Songs <says in reference to> R. Eleazar b. Simeon, ‘He can read, and review, and deduce, and compose liturgical poetry.’ In the JT R. Zeira <says>, ‘Be close to the Keruv in order to utter the beginning and the end <of the prayers>.’ In Genesis Rabbah, Phinehas and R. Levi and R. Johanan <said> in the name of R. Menahem, ‘(Aramaic) To the person who stands in front of the ark one does not say, ‘Come and pray,’ but rather ‘Come and draw close (Karev).’’ <It is as if> he is offering the public sacrifices, and fulfilling our <spiritual> needs and placating <God> for us.

R. Judah b. Tima says, ‘Be as strong as a leopard.’ He is <one> of the Ten Martyrs. There are those who say that R. Eleazar b. Dama was <one> of the Ten Martyrs, and not R. Judah. R. Judah was mentioned at the end of the chapter Hasoher hapoalim. The law is decided in accordance with (?). His respected words are mentioned in the chapter Aravei Pesahim, regarding a saying of R. Akiba’s – ‘<Rather> make Sabbath like a weekday, and do not rely on people’s charity’. A Tanna of the school of Eliezer, R. Judah b. Tima says, ‘Be as strong as a leopard, etc.’

In <the book> Magen Avoth, R. Duran wrote that the leopard is a bastard. When the she-lion is in heat and goes in search of the lion, and a wild boar finds her and mounts her, and then the lion senses this, he goes to kill the wild boar. The boar makes himself filthy, and the lion, which is a king, out of his fastidiousness, leaves him. Every bastard is insolent.

R. Eleazar b. Dama – there are versions in the commentary of the Mishna that wrote that R. Eleazar b. Dama was also in this group. Perhaps he was the son of the sister of the R. Ishmael who is mentioned in the chapter Haroe and in the second chapter of AZ. B. Dama, the son of the sister of R. Ishmael was pious and respected and wise and died of a snake bite. He did not want to use the <Christian> charms against such a wound, so as not to contravene the words of his colleagues. <They said> that <the prohibition against> allowing a snake to dwell <in your house> is Rabbinical. Because of this same transgression, which is more grievous than snakebite, he died immediately and did not feel a thing. R. Ishmael said of him, ‘Blessed are you, etc.’

In the second chapter of AZ of JT <it says> that the snake did not bite him for unknown reason, but as a lesson for future: do not let a snake to dwell in your house. It also <says> there that a woman can hide herself and say, ‘I am a gentile, and not that man.’

The JT mentions this story. A snake bit R. Joshua b. Dama. Jacob, a disciple of Jesus came to heal him in the name of Jesus, but his uncle, R. Ishmael, would not let him. It means his name was R. Joshua, and not R. Eleazar, because R. Eleazar b. Dama was <one of> the Ten Martyrs, and not R. Judah b. Tama. Rav and this R. Eleazar were brothers.

(In the chapter Shtei Halehem) b. Dama said to R. Ishmael, ‘For instance, I has learned the entire Torah, may I study Greek wisdom?’ He said to him, ‘Find for it the hour that is nor day neither night, as it says, ‘Do not let this Book etc’. In the Tosefta, in the second chapter of Hullin, R. Eleazar b. Dama said that a snake bit him, etc. R. Ishmael replied, ‘Blessed are you, that you departed from this world in peace, and did not break the fences of the sages, as it says, ‘He who breaks a fence etc.’

The third group is R. Meir the righteous convert, like R. Akiba, his main mentor. R. Akiba appointed R. Meir and R. Simeon. At first R. Meir sat <at the head if the academy>, and R. Simeon became upset. R. Akiba said to him, ‘It should be enough for you that I and your Creator know your strength.’

In the chapter <beginning> Hanezikin <it is related> that the Caesar sent Nero, the general of his army, to Jerusalem before he sent Vespasian, and <Nero> asked a child for a verse. He said, ‘I will take vengeance on Edom.’ He said, the Holy One will punish the destroyer of His Temple. He converted <to Judaism> and left the army.

[Samuel Sholem said <that> in my dark days, when my enemies abused me and spoke evil about the righteous, they used to say, how could it be possible that the Caesar Nero could have lived after his enemies in Rome did him in. It was there that he was crowned. He was counseled peacefully until the generals of his army killed him. This is clearly related and summarized in the book of their memoirs ‘Mishle Aphar’. I would reply to them that it is does not say in Gittin ‘Caesar Nero’ but only ‘Nero, the General of the Army’. It is possible that he converted <to Judaism>. Afterwards, I saw in the book of the biographies of the lives of the kings, which was written a long time afterwards, that it says that a few <commentators> say that Caesar Nero died. A few of them say that he fled and his whereabouts was not known. Augustine the archbishop said that Caesar Nero was the Antichrist, which means to say that he changed their religion. You can also see what our sages, of blessed memory, said. One can have no doubts about them, because all their sayings are true and just.]

In the chapter <beginning>, Haya notel in Sotah, <it says that> at first he learned before R. Akiba and did not understand his method of debating <points of the law>. He went and learned before R. Ishmael, and expounded, and afterwards returned <to learn> before R. Akiba, and learned deduction and dialectic debate. This is also <related> in the opening chapter of Erubin.

In addition, he had as a teacher R. Elisha b. Abuya, who is called ‘Other’ (‘Acher’). He digested the content but threw away the outer shell <of his teachings>. R. Johanan was angry with R. Meir when he came to rescue him in this world, in order that he might enter paradise when his judgement was hanging <in the balance> as to whether or not he would enter <paradise>. He made smoke rise from his grave in order that a <favorable> judgement be accepted. R. Johanan said, ‘Why would one burn his teacher, except to have him accepted into eternal life without any judgement, as he did.’ Thus, he <Elisha> is included among the righteous, as we have said, in the merit of the Torah which he learned and taught.

In the Kilayim of JT, <in is related> that <this was> at the beginning of the life of R. Ishmael. This means, when he began to learn <Torah>. He read with R. Meir, and learned at the end of his days with R. Jose b. Hahotef Efrati. R. Meir was a scribe, which means a writer, like Nahum the scribe, and he knew the whole Torah precisely by heart.

 

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Halacha <is decided in accordance with> R. Meir in <matters involving> decrees, but not in <matters involving> fines. It is declared in the heavens, ‘Beware of R. Meir’ as <we> see at the end of Kidushin.

In the JT, in the chapter <beginning>, Haya Kore <it says that> R. Jose b. Halafta would praise (Two words in Aramaic) that R. Meir was a great man, he was holy, he was humble. Also in the Tosefta, in chapter 12 of Sabbath, <it says> that R. Meir fell ill and R. Simeon b. Eleazar, his disciple, would treat him, and he wouldn’t let him. He said to him, ‘Although I allow, in all my days my heart was not moved to transgress the rulings of my colleagues.

In Eruvin <it> says that it is known before the Holy One, Blessed by He, that there was none in his generation like him, but his colleagues did not stand up to his final opinion when he would declare <something> unclean <to be> clean, and they would face him. Likewise <concerning something> clean <that he said was> unclean.

He knew fox parables. When R. Meir died, tellers of parables ceased <to exist>, while he knew 300 fox parables.

It seems that R. Tarphon was his teacher, as we have said above, that he would reach his shoulder <in the stature of his Torah learning>. For all those mentioned there were teacher and disciple <relationships>. He was the son-in-law of R. Haninah b. Teradion. His wife was Beruriah the wise, and all the deeds of Beruriah <are mentioned> at the beginning of AZ. When his wife died, he went down to Babylon, because of the disgrace of his wife. There are those who say <it was> because of the evil decree, when his father-in law was killed. He rescued his <father-in-law’s> daughter, his wife’s sister from a whorehouse. When the Caesar put up pictures of his face, so that he would be recognized, Elijah, of blessed memory, rescued him and he fled to Babylon. He was a very handsome man, as his name <alludes>. His beauty would light up the whole house, as is mentioned in the Midrash.

In the chapter <beginning> Havit and at the beginning of Hullin, it seems that he had another wife. It says that R. Joshua b. Ziron the son of the father-in-law of R. Meir testified etc.

He was the teacher of Rabbi, but it seems that he did not learn so much <from him>. Rabbi said that he saw R. Meir’s back, which was a lot. How much more so <would it have been> had he seen R. Meir’s face. When Rabbi wed his son, R. Meir came and said, ‘<is it> permitted <to transgress> Sabbath?’ Said Rabbi in response, ‘Who is this who has come to command us, etc.’ But most anonymous opinions in the Mishna are attributed to R. Meir.

Even though in the Baraitha R. Meir explicitly argues with R. Judah, we rule like R. Meir, because his anonymous rulings in the Mishna have been accepted. When R. Meir and R. Judah dispute, we rule like R. Judah, as R. Alfasi concludes in the chapter Kol Hakeilim against the opinion of the author of Halachoth Gedoloth’. In Erubin, in the first chapter, <it> says, <that> his <real> name was not R. Meir, but rather R. Miasha, and he is called R. Meir because he would enlighten the eyes of our sages in Halacha. <It is also written, that the real> name of R. Nehorai was R. Nehemiah, but he was called R. Nehorai ‘because he would enlighten the eyes of our sages in Halacha.’ As a result, Rambam wrote in his commentary to chapter six that R. Meir was also named R. Nehorai, and both of the above statements in Erubin are one. His main name was R. Nehemiah.

At the end of the chapter Havit, based on the Mishna of R. Nehorai, <it> says, ‘His <real> name was not R. Nehorai, but rather R. Nechemiah, and some say, R. Eleazar b. Arach. Why was he called R. Nehorai? Because he enlightened the eyes of our sages in Halacha’. The matter <of R. Nehorai’s identity> is doubtful. Furthermore, it <Rambam’s interpretation> is difficult because we know that R. Nechemiah is a different person from R. Meir, as we find in the first chapter of Sanhedrin. <It says there> that R. Akiba ordained R. Meir but they did not accept him because he was young. Then R. Judah b. Bava ordained him, together with five elders who were friends of R. Meir. These included R. Meir, R. Jose, R. Eleazar b. Shamua, R. Judah b. Ilai, and R. Simeon. R. Avya added that <he> ordained R. Nechemiah. Therefore, R. Nechemiah is <obviously> not R. Meir.

Furthermore, we find <that> an anonymous Mishna <is attributed to> R. Meir, and an anonymous Tosefta is <attributed to> R. Nechemiah. I would explain what it says in the first chapter of Erubin is that since R. Meir’s name was also R. Miasha, he added a name because there is another sage who is called R. Nehorai and R. Nechemiah.

Also, in the chapter Aravei Pesahim <it> mentions who had a lot of names, and the mention others who have such names: Issi b. Gamliel, Joseph Ish Hutzel, and R. Isaac Nafacha. In addition, in Sabbath, in the chapter Havit <I would explain that way>, except that in Sabbath, I must explain it according to R. Nechemiah, because it appears that R. Eleazar b. Arach was called R. Nehorai, but what it says there <it states>, ‘His name was not R. Nehorai, but R. Nechemiah …’ It can be explained easily, because, some explain there that his name was R. Eleazar b. Arach, but why was he called R. Nehorai? Etc.

Afterwards I found that R. Hananel explained as I did, that R. Meir is called R. Miyasha, and R. Nechemiah is called R. Nehorai, and also R. Eleazar b. Arach is called R. Nehorai. In the Mishna at the end of Nazir, R. Jose argues with R. Nehorai, and from there it appears that it wasn’t R. Eleazar b. Arach, who did not live during that time. Similarly the end of Kidushin, R. Meir and R. Judah. Rashi explains that in the second chapter of Sanhedrin, in the chapter <beginning>, Hakohen hagadol there is a phrase of a Beraitha, ‘R. Nechemiah says, and R. Nehorai says, etc.’ Rashi explains <that> ‘R. Nehorai says’ is not be written in the Tosefta, and it is a mistake in the books, because we learned in Erubin that R. Nechemiah is R. Nehorai.

[Samuel Sholem says there is another question to one who identifies R. Meir with R. Nehorai, because, if his name was R. Meir, why would they change <his name> to Nehorai, since Meir is derived from ‘light’ and his presence was shining with light].

The rule which is derived from this is that there was a R. Nechemiah who was a colleague of R. Meir, as opposed to <the opinion of> the Rambam, <the name> R. Nehorai was not <used in reference to> R. Meir, but rather <in reference to> R. Nechemiah or R. Eleazar b. Arach. What surprised me more about the Rambam’s <explanation> is that the name which is unanimously accepted for R. Meir is R. Miyasha. Why does he not mention this? Especially, R. Meir was very careful about names of people since he was a scholar and a scribe.

At the end of Horayoth, <it says> that R. Meir was a Sage, and R. Nathan, was the head of the court, as menioned above. Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, the humble, the father of Rabbi, changed their names, because they wanted to embarrass him. He referred to R. Meir’s opinion as to ‘others’ opinion.

 

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They referred to R. Meir as ‘Others’. Sometimes, in the Talmud, ‘others’ does not refer to R. Meir, since R. Meir argues with ‘others’, but in most cases after ‘that incident,’ it is so, while before that his interpretation is quoted in his name. We also mentioned (above), that whenever it is written ‘one disciple quoted R. Ishmael to R. Akiba’ it refers to R. Meir, who served them both.

Even B. Azzai, who was prior to R. Meir, says, ‘It is a pity that I did not serve R. Ishmael’. You already know (from Bava Batra) that Ben Azzai was disciple-colleague of R. Akiba. This indicates that R. Ishmael was not a disciple of R. Akiba. R. Meir died before R. Judah and R. Jose, his colleagues, as <we> see in the second chapter of Kidushin, and in Nazir, chapter (Kohen Gadol) seven. <It is related there that> Symmachus came to learn before R. Judah, and R. Jose died prior <to R. Judah>, as we see in the opening chapter of Sukkah, and in the opening chapter of Rosh Hashanah. R. Meir was a disciple of R. Akiba, a few generations after the Destruction. R. Akiba is a disciple of R. Eliezer, and R. Eliezer was a disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, who lived at the Destruction. Nevertheless we saw that he <R. Meir> was at the time of the early sages, as R. Joshua says, ‘Beruriah <R. Meir’s wife> spoke well.’ Rashi, (in the seventh chapter of Sanhedrin), said that R. Meir was the disciple of R. Eliezer the Great and R. Akiba, and he learned from both.

R. Eleazar b. Shamua the priest lived a long life. Rabbi learned before him for a short period of time, as mentioned at the end of the <eighth> chapter Haarel of Yebamoth: ‘Rabbi says, when I went to learn Torah with R. Eleazar b. Shamua, his disciples surrounded me like the roosters of Beth Bakia. They did not let me to learn Torah, but one issue in our Mishna. <Namely, the opinion of> R. Eliezer, saying that a <condemned to death> androgine should be punished by stoning, as a male. Rashi explains there, that the residents of Bakia were experts sharp-witted and would not allow any rooster to be between them.

In the third chapter of Menachoth, Rabbi says, ‘I was teaching in front of R. Eleazar b. Shamua, and I found Joseph the Babylonian sitting with him, and he was very fond of him. In Zebachim, Rabbi says that when we were sitting in front of R. Eleazar, and Issi the Babylonian was sitting with him, he was also very fond of him. R. Judah b. Shamua was R. Meir’s disciple. He cancelled the decree of religious persecution <against learning Torah> as we see in the opening chapter of Rosh Hashanah that <the Jews> should not study Torah, not circumcise their sons, should desecrate the Sabbath. It may be that he was the younger brother of R. Eleazar, or his relative. <Simply> R. Eleazar in the Mishna refers to him.

R. Judah b. Ilai, who wrapped himself with fringed sheets, like an angel of God every Sabbath Eve. He was the leading spokesman everywhere, as the Caesar mentioned in the second chapter of Sabbath. Anywhere that it says ‘a story of a pious man’, it refers to him or to R. Judah b. Bava who was pious like him, and whom he had ordained, as we mentioned above, in reference to R. Meir.

His leading mentors were R. Eleazar b. Azariah, R. Akiba, and R. Jose the Galilean, and he lived longer than his colleagues. From the time of his birth, till he died, he did not sin except for one incident mentioned in Bava Kama, when he was groaning in pain, and they gave him goat’s milk. The goat was tied to the side of the bed, and he unintentionally transgressed his colleagues’ opinion that one must not keep goats etc.

He testified that during his entire life he did not sin except for this. In this incident, it was him, or R. Judah b. Bava, as mentioned in Temurah, and in the ninth chapter of Bava Kama. He was not called pious, except that he was like this his entire life. In the beginning of the ninth chapter of Berachoth, <it is related> that a gentile woman said to him that his face resembled that of a usurer, and one who raises pigs. He replied to her, ‘Both things are forbidden. Rather, I have 24 toilets.’

The JT, in the last chapter of Pesahim it says that R. Judah b. Ilai would drink four cups of wine on the eve of Passover, and suffer from a headache until the festival of Tabernacles. The gentile woman saw that his face shone. She said to him, ‘My dear elderly man, one of three things occupies your time. Either you drink wine, or you are a usurer, or you raise pigs.’ He said to her, ‘Let that lady’s spirit expire. None of these three things occupy me. Rather, my learning enlightens me, as it states, ‘The wisdom of a person makes his face shine.’

In the third chapter of Menachoth, it says <that> R. Judah was also a disciple of R. Eliezer, maybe because R. Ilai, his father, was a disciple of R. Eleazar. In the seventh chapter of Nedarim it says, ‘when he went to the study hall he carried a barrel on his shoulders. He said, ‘Great is labor, for in grants respect to its worker.’’ His wife made him a coat of good wool. When he wore it he said, ‘Blessed is He for covering me with a coat.’ R. Simeon b. Gamliel <once> declared a <public> fast. R. Judah did not come, because they would say that he had no clothes. They sent him a garment, but he refused to wear it. He lifted the floor-mat from under him and showed him riches. He was not happy, however, to derive <physical> benefit from this world. This (his wealth) all came to him through miracles.

At the end of Moed Katan, <it is related> that R. Judah b. Ilai’s son died. R. Hananiah b. Akavia was his translator (‘turgeman’). This is also mentioned in the tenth chapter of Tractate Semachoth. R. Ilai’s father was a colleague of R. Ishmael. In the opening chapter of Gittin, <it is related> that a <person> came before R. Ishmael and R. Ilai. When we speak about him (R. Ishmael), with God’s help I well explain more <about this>.

What is more difficult for me to understand is how could R. Ilai, who is the father of R. Judah, , ask a question of a Mishna of Rabbi from a statement of R. Meir, who lived after R. Ishmael , while R. Judah was the teacher of Rabbi. Furthermore, R. Meir was R. Ishmael’s disciple, as we mentioned <in the section> about R. Meir. It also seems from there thatR. Ishmael was greater than R. Ilai, as he calls him ‘my teacher’, while R. Ishmael calls R. Ilai ‘my son.’

Afterwards, I found in the Tosefta <to Tractate> Gittin <that> this incident <is related>, but it didn’t mention <the part about> R. Ilai and R. Meir. This <version> appears to be correct.’

When simply R. Judah argues with R. Simeon his colleague, it is difficult to understand the Rambam, of blessed memory, who brings together R. Meir, R. Jose, R. Judah, and R. Nathan, who was after R. Simeon b. Yohai. He brings in the fourth group of Rabbis, including R. Simeon together with Rabbi, which is certainly a mistake ...

 

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As it appears from the Talmud, and so I will, please God, bring it immediately after dealing with this Sage.

In the opening chapter of AZ <it is related> that R. Judah b. Bava ordained him. R. Judah is called ‘A wise man when he wishes to be’ – when his mind would be at peace, for his sons died during his lifetime. Some say that he was the main spokesman. At the end of the sixth chapter of Gittin, the Tosefoth says, ‘A wise man when he wishes’ – even more than R. Meir. Maybe R. Meir was sharp, asking questions, <but not concluding>. R. Judah was moderate and reached conclusions. The same idea is found at the end of Horayoth. Rashi explains that when he wanted to be moderate, to clarify his statements – he was wise. This is found before R. Tarphon in Megillah, and in the sixth chapter of Nedarim. You already know that an anonymous Sifre is attributed to R. Judah (b. Ilai), according to R. Akiba.

‘A God-fearing woman should be praised’ – this is the generation of R. Judah b. Ilai, when six Sages would wrap <themselves> together in one garment and study Torah. This is R. Judah, who read the Megillah when he was <still> a minor. This <was> before R. Tarphon, who permitted the reading by a minor. He also learned before Rabban Gamliel and Hananiah b. Akavia, in the eighth chapte of Ketuboth and in the twelfth chapter of Sabbath. Rabban Gamliel, <was> the teacher of R. Judah. He also mentions the name of R. Jose the Galilean, mentioned in the eighth chapte of Bava Kama.

R. Simeon b. Yohai is the ordinary R. Simeon, as we see in Pesachim. R. simeon asked R. Akiba while he was in jail, to teach him Torah, <saying>, ‘If you will not, I will tell Yohai, my father, and you will be handed over to the authorities.’ He responded, ‘Even more that the calf wants to nurse, the cow is happy to feed <it>.’ He was known everywhere as a staunch disciple of R. Akiba. He was also a disciple during the time of R. Joshua and Rabban Gamliel <as related> in the fourth chapter of Berachoth.

Anonymous opinions in the Sifri are <attributed to> him (R. Simeon) and also the Zohar, which enlightens the entire world. It (the Zohar) is called ‘Midrash Yehi Ohr’, which includes the secrets of the Torah and the Kabbalah. It is named after him even though he did not write it, since his disciples and his sons and his disciples’ disciples wrote it <based> on what they learned from him. As we have mentioned, the Mishna, Sifra, Sifri, and the Tosefta were all written according to R. Akiba. Even though these books were completed more than sixty years after his death. Therefore the Zohar’s message is more accurate, because they were the last to see the Mishna and the legal rulings and articles of the various Amoraim. This book (the Zohar) was revealed after Rambam and the Rosh, who had never seen it. It is quite accepted in the Jewish legal system, that nothing should be in disagreement with the Talmud. It is mentioned there explicitly that we accept him in the same manner as we answer ‘Amen’ after <the last words of the blessing> ‘Ga’al Yisrael’

Even though Rashi and our master Jacob (Our master Tam, Rashi’s grandson) mentioned him, in Tosefot and the Rambam he is not mentioned. In Piskei Berachoth, <of the Rosh> it is mentioned that the Rosh ruled like Rashi. Likewise, <regarding the recitation of> Kiddush on wine prior to the third meal of Sabbath (which is not mentioned in the Talmud). Rambam says it should be said, even though the Rosh says not to say it. He says that just as at night one <recitation of> Kiddush is sufficient, so too during the day. This is a weak justification, as there is only one meal at night, but during the day there is an obligation to eat two meals, based on deduction from the verse. The Zohar agrees with the opinion of the Rambam of blessed memory

Regarding the <practice of not laying> phylacteries on the intermediate days of a festival, because they were not worn by Gaon, or the Ra’avad, or by the Rambam – they did not forbid it, except for the author of Sefer Hamitzvot, and the Rosh. In the Babylonian Talmud there is no direct reference to the issue. We therefore follow the Zohar’s opinion that it is forbiddent to wear <them on Sabbath>.

Regarding Grace after Meals (Birkat Hamazon) – Rambam ruled that it does not requie a cup of wine. The Rosh rules that a cup <of wine> is required. We find in the Zohar that an individual is not required to recite <Grace> with a cup of wine. <It is required> only after <at least three> people participate in a joint recitation, resembling the three Patriarchs. The same ruling the <editors> wrote in the name of the Rashba, of blessed memory He learned Torah with R. Johanan b. Nuri as well.

In the opening chapter of Erubin, and in Gittin it says that he read a lot and forgot all the things which are not legal rulings. He said to his disciples, ‘Learn my character traits, which are a fraction of a fraction of those of R. Akiba.’ It says that it is known that in the sixth chapter of Yebamoth, after the death of <R. Akiba’s> 24,000 disciples, R. Akiba came to teach them, meaning the five elders, who are R. Judah, R. Jose, R. Simeon, R. Meir and R. Eleazar b. Shamua. They raised up the Torah (restored Torah knowledge to the nation). He also was ordained by R. Judah b. Bava, and he was the teacher of Rabbi.

In the fourth chapter of Sukkah <it says>, ‘I have seen special people and the are <merely> a few etc.’ until he says that if there are only two such people, they are himself and his son, R. Eleazar, because he and his son could spare the entire world from the Divine judgement. If Yotam b. Uziahu was with them, they could spare <its judgement> from <the time of> the creation of the world.

The author of Aruch, in the section ‘Peter’ writes that it was clear to R. Simeon that these three, meaning himself, his son, and Yotam b. Uziahu, did not receive reward in this world from what was allocated for then in the world to come. Their merit was therefore greater than that of other sages, protecting their generation. In Genesis Rabbah, R. Simeon mentions Ahiah the Shilonite. The Zohar also mentions this, perhaps to mention those who were very respectful of their father.

It is well-known that R. Simeon performed miracles, as is mentioned in Megillah, that he came from the Land of Israel to Rome together with R. Eliezer, the son of R. Jose his colleague, and cancelled the decree of religious persecution that had been reinstated after R. Reuben b. Itztrubil had had it cancelled.

 

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Rabbi Shimon ben Azzai: We have already mentioned that they were called <only> Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma due to the fact that they were not ordained. Ben Azzai set his heart on the Torah .He was engaged to the daughter of Rabbi Akiva, but did not marry her, as mentioned in Sotah, and in Midrash Proverbs on the verse "and she rises while it is yet night". When he entered the "orchard" he died at a young age and of him it is said ‘‘ precious in the eyes of God is the death". He was a student-colleague of Rabbi Akiva as mentioned in chapter Me shemet. R. Simlai said: "that means Ben Azzai was a student-colleague of Rabbi Akiva, because he said [of Rabbi Akiva] ‘that you came’ [and not ‘that our Rabbi came’] . He was among the five who discussed halacha before the scholars, as we mentioned before. At the end of the second chapter of Bechorot [it states] " Ben Azzai said all the scholars of Israel are worthless [literaly:they are like the peel of garlic] in my eyes , except for the bald one" which is Rabbi Akiva. At the beginning of the Sifri, he said " I am not challenging the words of Rabbi Akiva, but adding to his words." When Shimon Ben Azzai died it was the end of the diligent scholars and it was said of Ben Azzai that it is a pity that he did not study by Rabbi Ishmael. He is mentioned in he Talmud in association to any issue of exhibiting wisdom; "Abaye said: I am like Ben Azzai in the market place of Tiberias", for Ben Azzai lived in Tiberias. Rashi said of him in Chapter Bakol Mearvin, that throughout the lifetime of Ben Azzai, there was nobody as sharply analytic [literally: a mountain mover] as he was, and in the first chapter of Kiddushin Abbaye said etc.

 

Ben Zoma is Rabbi Simeon Ben Zoma as in Ben Azzai (see above), however Ben Zoma is greater than him and he disagrees with Rabbi Yehoshua. He is one of the four who entered the "orchard". He peeked, and he became insane and of him it is said " Have you found honey? Eat what is sufficient for you <lest you consume too much of it and have to vomit it">. He was a great expounder of the Torah for they have said " Since Ben Zoma has died there are no more expounders". He saw a population of 600,000 on the Temple Mount and said : " Blessed is He who created all these to serve me". As opposed to Babylon of which he had a tradition from his forefathers that there would not be such population of Israel there as we find in Chapter Haroeh.

R Chutzpit the reciter <Lit. interpreter> served before R. Gamliel at the time R. Eleazar Ben Azariah was appointed <prince>. He was one of the Ten Martyrs. In certain texts, at the end of Chullin, it states that Elisha -Acher saw R. Chutzpit’s tongue lying in the trash and exclaimed " the mouth which spoke forth gems shall lick the dust?" and he then turned to heresy. There is another text which states that it was the tongue of R. Judah the baker etc. R. Chutzpit was equal to Jonathan Ben Uziel and he would expound Torat Kohanim in 170 ways. He is mentioned at the end of Shevi’it and in the first chapter of Hagigah as the "leader of fifty". "R. Abahu said: A reciter is not to be appointed for less than fifty years. R. Judah the baker is also in the Baraitha and is also one of the Ten Martyrs.

The fourth group: R. Judah the Prince, was a humble man as mentioned at the end of Horayoth and was also sin fearing as mentioned at the end of Sotah. He was the son of R. Simeon Ben Gamliel the humble one, who is mentioned throughout the entire Mishna that "the law follows his opinion in the Mishna", excluding the instances of Arev, Tzaidan, and Re’eyah Achrona. Although there other laws that the commentators have brought which do not follow his opinion, however these are sufficient for those who understand/ for the scholarly. In Piskei Harosh chapter Ve’elu migalchin it states that the law is according to Rebbe <R. Judah the Prince> even when it opposes the opinion of RaShBag <R. Simeon Ben Gamliel> his father and teacher, since it is the opinion of an individual. RaShBag, was the son of Rav Gamliel of Yavneh, the rival of R. Yehoshua. I did not find any sayings in the Mishnah of R. Gamliel, the son of RaShBag, who was killed in the destruction of the Temple. There are those who say that he is the one mentioned in the first chapter of Avoth "Shimon his son says", and this seems to be the correct opinion since that afterwards it is mentioned "RaShBag says…". He <Simeon> is the son of R. Gamliel Hazaken/the Elder, the son of Simeon, the son of Hillel the Elder as mentioned in the first chapter of Sabbath "Hillel and Simeon his son". Gamliel and Simeon his son served as princes during the time of the Temple. R. Judah the Prince is called Rebbe throughout the Mishna. In chapter Elu Trefot, Rebbe is called Rabbah and in my opinion R. Johanan is called the same in the very same chapter. He is the seventh generation from Hillel and he is of royal lineage from Hillel’s mother’s side, from descending from Shephatiah the son of Abital who was the wife of King David. In chapter Bameh Behema "Rav Said: Rebbe who descends from David speaks in his favor. In chapter Elu Kesharim (Sabbath 113b) "and left some over" (Ruth 2:14)- in the days of Rebbe, as Mar said: The person in charge of Rebbe’s horses was richer than, Shvor Malka. In chapter Hasocher HaPoalim it also states that he descends from the seed of David. His son was Rabban Gamliel and his son’s son was Judahh Nesiah <the Prince> {In Hebrew called "Judah Nesiah" as opposed to "Judah Hanasi" what his grandfather was called.}, who lived at the time of R. Ammi and R. Assi. The son of R. Judah Nesiah was Hillel the prince, who before the ordination was annulled, fixed the Jewish calendar until the days of the Messiah for all of Israel. This makes up ten generations, which began with Hillel and ended with Hillel. You already know that already at the time of Isaac and Abraham our forefathers and Shem and Ever, they prophesied of him and King Antoninus his friend. It is said that Rebbe converted him secretly and the king sent him sacks containing shredded gold covered with wheat. Antoninus died before Rebbe as mentioned in the beginning of Avoda Zara, referred to by saying "the ‘parcel’ has been separated". When Rebbe, may he rest in peace, considered the length of the exile and the forgetfulness being so prevalent, He said that it is time to do for God even though we must violate the Torah. The reason it is considered a violation is because the Oral Law was not meant to be written as it written "it is through these words".(Exodus 24:37)<see Gittin 60b> He then wrote the Mishna. His honor and wealth did not cause him to pursue worldly pleasures as he said " I did not derive pleasure even of the smallest measure. <literally: even with my smallest finger> He is called Rabeinu Hakadosh,

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'Our Holy Teacher'. According to the Talmud, this was because he did not put his hand below his girdle even though he was married (ch. Kol Kitvei, ch. Kol Hayad - Tosafot). How is this possible? The Aruch (under entry ) quotes the explanation of Rabbeinu Hai, that when cleansing himself [in the toilet] he used a stone and at other times he covered his hand with a thick cloth. Or, according to the Jerusalem Talmud, he was called 'holy' because at the time of his birth there was a decree against circumcision and his father sanctified him by circumcising him. This would appear to be true for so they said: On the day that Rabbi Akivah died, Rabbi was born and they said of him: "The sun rises and the sun goes down". In the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin), [however], it says that he did not look at his penis all his days. The book Livnat Hasapir and the Zohar both say that he was called 'holy' because his father sanctified him by circumcising him, as I said.

Elijah frequented his academy (ch. Hasocher) and his colleague was Rabbi El'azar son of Rabbi Shim'on,. After he died, Rabbi wished to marry Rabbi El'azar's wife, but she refused (ch. Hasocher).

From the time of Moses until Rabbi there did not exist Torah learning and greatness combined in one person (ch. Hanizakin, ch. Echad Dinei Mamonot). That is to say, in the Land of Israel, where Rabbi lived, for in Babylon the Exilarch had greater authority than he concerning the authorisation of judges, for the Exilarch is designated 'sceptre' whereas he was designated 'lawgiver'. Rashi, [however], explains that there was nobody amongst the Jewish People as learned or as wealthy as he.

For thirteen years he suffered from illness and he also contracted an eye disease. His physician was Shmuel. None paralleled the extent to which he taught and spread the Torah in Israel; his academy was filled with holy sages without number.

Rabbi once opened his storehouse in a year of scarcity to give food to the Torah scholars. Yonatan ben Amram, Rabbi's student, pushed his way in and said: 'Feed me as the dog is fed'. Rabbi said: Woe is me that I have given bread to the ignorant. Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yossei said that it was Yonatan ben Amram, who did not wish to derive material benefit, whereupon he said that all may now enter. (Baba Batra, ch. one)

Just as we said that he was seven generations from Hillel, so was he twelve generations from the beginning of the Tana'im on two sides: Shim'on the righteous, Antignos, Yossei ben Yo'ezer, Yehoshua ben Perachyah, Shim'on ben Shatach, Shmayah, Hillel - Hillel being six generations from the beginning; his son- Shim'on, Rabban Gamliel the elder, Rabban Shim'on ben Gamliel, Rabban Gamliel, Rabban Shim'on ben Gamliel, Rabbi. On another side: till Hillel are six generations, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai - eight, Rabbi Eliezer - nine, Rabbi Akiva - ten, Rabbi Shim'on and Rabbi Meir - eleven, Rabbi - twelve, wherefore he is seven generations from Hillel, who was six from the beginning. So was he twelve generations from the beginning of the Tana'im, like the number of stars and signs of the zodiac, the days and the months.

Rabbi asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha: In virtue of what have you had such a long life? He said to him: Do you begrudge me my life? Said Rabbi: This is [a point of] Torah, and I need to learn. When he was dying, Rabbi said to him: Bless me. He said to him: May it be Heaven's will that you attain to half my days. He said to him: Not to their whole length? He replied: Shall those who succeed you pasture cattle?! {If you live as long as I have, when will your children succeed to a position of greatness, their princehood being delayed?!} (ch. Bnei Ha'ir)

Sometimes the righteous attain two worlds, each according to their degree, such as Avraham, Yitzhak, Ya'akov, Moshe, Aharon, Miryam and David. Even their bodies did not decompose, both during their life and after their death. This is although they said: From the time of Moses until Rabbi we do not find Torah learning and greatness combined in one person (ch. Hanizakin). They alluded to this when they said: Not everybody has the privilege to enjoy two tables,. That is to say that they are few, as Rabbi Shim'on said: I saw people of excellence, and they are few. This means those who attain both worlds, for they are opposites. (candle 4, section 2, part 2, ch. 3)

According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Beitsah, ch. Meshilin) Rabbi attained the Torah because he saw Rabbi Meir at the wedding of Rabbi Shim'on, Rabbi's son. They were clapping on the backs of their hands on Shabbat. Rabbi Meir passed by and heard them. He said: My teachers, has Shabbat been permitted?! Rabbi heard him and said: Who is it who comes to rebuke us in our home? Rabbi Meir heard Rabbi's voice and ran away. They came out after him {variant: came out and ran after him (Sefer Hamitzvot Mitzvah 75, 32, end of 19)}, and the wind blew Rabbi Meir's hat of his head. He looked out of the window and saw the back of Rabbi Meir's head62. Rabbi said: The only reason I gained the Torah was because [I saw] the back of Rabbi Meir's head62.

I find a difficulty in this, for Rabbi Meir died before Rabbi Jose and Rabbi Judah, and after he died Rabbi Judah was still the head of the academy, the first to speak, when Sumachos entered. If so, how was he still alive at Rabbi Shim'on, Rabbi's son's, wedding?!

Also in the Jerusalem Talmud: Rabbi Shim'on, Rabbi's son, was eating in the marketplace. Rabbi Meir saw him and said to him: It is not fitting for a scholar to do so. I have heard say that it was an angel in the form of Rabbi Meir.

In our Talmud, however, it says that Rabbi declared: The fact that I am sharper than my colleagues is because I saw the back of Rabbi Meir, {Rashi: When I studied under him my seat was in the row behind him} and had I had a front view of him I would have been sharper still, for it is written: "Your eyes shall see your teacher". (Eiruvin, ch. one)

He gave authorisation to Rabbah bar Chanah to judge and to declare firstborn animals permissible [for slaughter], and also to Rav, except that he did not give him permission to declare firstborn animals permissible. The reason he did not was either because of his sharpness, or in order to accord respect to Rabbah bar Chanah. (Sanhedrin ch. one)

If they are learned,why must they obtain authorisation? This is because of an incident that occurred, as related in the beraita: Rabbi once went to a certain place, and [found that] they had misunderstood what one student had taught them, for they said that pond water [Hebrew: Mei Betsa'im] does not prepare food do become impure, whereas what he had said was the liquid of eggs [Hebrew: Mei Beitsim]. {The Tosafot write that this mistake occurred because they thought he said Mei Bitsim, as in "[Can] the rush [grow up] without mire [Hebrew: Bitsah]?".} A tanah taught: At that time they decreed: A student shall not rule unless he has obtained authorisation from his teacher. (Talmud Sanhedrin)

Although we said above that there were years of drought during Rabbi's life, during the thirteen years that he suffered from illness the world did not need rain, and the dampness of the earth was such that when they pulled up a radish the hole filled with water.

During the years that Rabbi Eleazar, son of Rabbi Shim'on, suffered from illness nobody died prematurely and he accepted the suffering with love. Rabbi's suffering came about by an incident, and when he went to the toilet his screams could be heard above the noise of the mules, even by the seafarers.

Rabbi's daughter died in Beit Shearim, and despite this he did not abstain from teaching all day.

Rabbi Chanina was visited by Yehudah the Prince and he came outside wearing a linen cloak. He said to him: Go back and put on your woolen cloak because of "Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty." (Jerusalem Talmud)

 

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Now I will go on at length about the teachers of Our Saintly Master, beside Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, his father, and Rabbi Jacob ben Korsai. They were the five disciples of the mentioned above R. Akiba, who were ordained by R. Judah ben Bava as mentioned above. Perhaps as they were his teachers, he wrote just their names generally in the respectful way, that is, without their fathers’ nameslineage, in order to not call his teachers by their name, but only in an indirect way.

Perhaps R Jacob who is mentioned just by name in the Mishna, is his teacher and not R Jacob the father of R Eliezer, nor R Jacob the son of the daughter of Elisha nor R Jacob Chati mentioned at the end of Hagigah. The five are: R Jacob, mentioned just by name in Sabbath and in Eruvin: "Our Saintly Master said: When I went to study to R Simeon in Tekoa…" and also in the chapter of Kol gagot This makes sense since R Eleazar ben R Simeon was his friend.

The second is Rabbi Eleazar mentioned just by name, who is Rabbi Eleazar ben Shamua the priest. In chapter yom hakipurim Our Saintly Master said: "When we went up to learn Torah by R Eleazar ben Shamua…" So too in the end of chapter he-arel in Yevamoth, as I said above, it is R Eleazar., Tthough you will find that the Rabbi Eleazar mentioned just by name in the second chapter of Avoth is Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach, but that is clear from the context.

In Zevachim: "Our Saintly Master said: When we sat in front of Rabbi Eleazar ben Shamua, Isi the Babylonian was before him and he loved him one <lachath>, meaning as his soul which is called the only <one>."

In chapter "hakometz" : "Our Saintly Master said: When I spoke about my methodology before Rabbi Eleazar ben Shamua, Joseph the Babylonian sat before him and he loved him lechad, meaning very much in Aramaic. Lechada’ means very much." In Gitin: "Isi ben Judah was a sage and R Meir was a scholar and a scribe." And in the Aruch, entry "chav" he explains "lachath <the only> one- everything that he would respond to him ?? was beloved except for one thing??.

Joseph the Babylonian’s face glowed of the great joy, as he liked his explanation." In the Magentza commentary it is written: Achath <"one"> without the lamed, and in the gemara: his eyes flowed with tears for Rabbi Eleazar ben Shamua. He said: Fortunate are you wise scholars, that the words of Torah are so much loved by you. He applied to him <the verse> "How I love your Torah!"

The third one mentioned just by name is R Judah . He is Rabbi Judah bar Ilai, who read with him when he was a youth. Our Saintly Master said: When I was young, I read the Megillah before Rabbi Judah, and that was in Usha. So too in the end of the first chapter of Shvuot: "Our Saintly Master, the disciple of Rabbi Judah, said…" In chapter hamenachot: "Rabbi Judah was the teacher of the house of Our Saintly Master." Rashi explains: He taught the house of Our Saintly Master legal rulings and by his word, they would do. Also "Since Rabbi Judah is the first of the speakers in every place, even Our Saintly Master will learn from him." In the talmud, there are many questions that he would ask from him and so too in the ways. Sometimes, just R Judah is ben Betaira, but that is immediately discernable from the context.

The fourth one mentioned just by name is R Meir, the son of a great prince of the Caesar who converted at the time of Vespasian, as I already have explained above. When he would learn from him, he could not see his face as it appears in Eruvin. Rashi explains there in the first chapter: "When I learned in front of him, I sat in the row behind him… and he received all his Mishna from him."

The fifth one mentioned just by name was R Jose, who is R Jose ben Halafta. In chapter Ttinokot: "Our Saintly Master asked R Jose and R Simeon…" So too the author of "Seder Olam" wrote that he was the teacher of Our Saintly Master. This is clear from chapter "ein tomnin": "If Rabbi Yose were alive, he would bow before Our Saintly Master." In the Tosafoth, Rabbi Samuel explains that this is because of his princehood, for Rabbi Yose was greater than Our Saintly Master, as it is proven in the second chapter of Nidah, when R Ishmael ben R Yose says to R Hama ben Bisna, the father of the great Rabbi Oshaya who lived in the time of Our Saintly Master and arranged the Baraitot : "He puts aside the words of the teacher, who is Rabbi Yose, and listens to the words of the disciple, who is Our Saintly Master."

Our master Tam explains that certainly at first Our Saintly Master was the disciple of Rabbi Yose, but afterwards Our Saintly Master became wiser. Rabbi Hama ben Bisna thought that the head of the yeshiva, who was Our Saintly Master, had many rabbis by him, to review his statements. From this it seems even according to Our master Tam that Rabbi Yose was the teacher of Our Saintly Master. Similar to this is written in Tosafoth on chapter "kol hayad" in Nidah, where it seems that Rabbi Yose was the teacher of Our Saintly Master. Rashi explains that if Rabbi Yose were alive, he would bow before Our Saintly Master because of the princehood, which is like the kingship. So too it seems from the third chapter of Sanhedrin and from chapter "reishit hagez": "Our Saintly Master said about Rabbi Yose: If the words of Berebbi, that is, Rabbi Yose, were based on tradition, and the words of others were words of Torah, I would take the words of Berebbi. How much more so since his words are of the Torah, as it says "And four sheep," who are called sheep, and the words of the others are based on tradition" , that is, on words of the prophets. Berebbi, you already know, is the name by which the greatest of the generation is called, as Rashi explained in many places. So too Rabban Gamliel, grandfather of Our Saintly Master is called "Berebbi."

What I have written disagrees with the author of the "Dorot Olam" who said that the sons of Our Saintly Master were Rabbi Oshaya and Rabbi Simeon and Rabbi Gamliel and Rabbi Hiya Berebbi and Rabbi Eleazar Hakapar Berebbi. This is a great error, for both these and many others that are mentioned in the talmud, as Rashi explained, that is, a great man in his generation, for Rabbi Oshaya was the son of Rabbi Hama ben Bisna. In the JT, those that are called in the Babylonian Talmud "berebbi," are called "raba," and thus it says "Rabbi Oshaya raba" and "Rabbi Hiya raba," who was the friend of Our Saintly Master and the uncle of Rav. Also, Rabbi Hiya’s father’s name was Aba bar Aha. So too, we have found in the Talmud another Rabbi Hiya, the disciple of Rabbi Johanan, whose father’s name was Aba. So too, referring to Rabbi Eleazar Hakapar berebbi in chapter "hashochet" Rashi explains "the greatest of his generation", He is mentioned in the chapters of Avoth and in the Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer. He was the greatest Tana in his generation. But of this Rabban Gamliel, it is stated clearly in Avoth that he was the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince, and so to in Ketuboth, chapter "hanoseh": "Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Simeon, his sons, by whom Elijah would regularly sit, as we said, that he was late on the first of the month" as it says in chapter "hasocher poalim."

For seventeen years he was in Zippori, just like Jacob was in Egypt, as it is written in Genesis Rabbah. For thirteen years he had pains in his teeth, and he would always worry and was sad about the exile of Israel.

 

 

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... and to make him rejoice ?? Levy, and R. Hiyya bowed to him. And to the same matter, when Rashi wrote in the end of Succa and in Yoma, ____? Meaning he was saint, as written in chapter Hanoder. And bar Kapra made him rejoice___ and it is already known about the long Aroch ?? story brought in Kethuboth, in chapter "HaNose al Inyan Ptirato ------. And Joseph Hafni and Simeon Efrathi served him in his lifetime, and died before him in order to serve him in the future world. He ordered to appoint Rabban Gamaliel as the Prince, though Simeon was wiser, and he was younger, but in modesty Rabban Gamaliel was fit to take place of his fathers. He was called Levy?? They said that R. Haninah bar Hama --- became the leader, though he did not wish to take the place while R. Efes is alive, as R. Efes was older than R. Haninah. So it happened that only later R. Haninah became the head of the academy, though he was a nassi in their times. R. Johanan was the head of the academy, and he was called ‘king’. In his days there were patriarchs Rabban Gamaliel and R Judah the Prince. All those present at his funeral gained eternal life <in the next world>.

And here it is right to mention the righteous men who killed themselves and their children in order not to be forced to part with the God’s Torah. It was a permitted and holy action, as we see in Talmud. When the boats took the captive boys and girls to their shame to Rome, they said, "Is it not enough that we angered <God> in the Land, now we must anger him abroad?". And they said, "If we throw ourselves into the sea, we shall gain eternal life <in the next world>". An old man explicated them the verse: God says, I shall return you from Bashan etc. The girls threw themselves into the sea and married 106 men ??? etc, and threw themselves into the sea. In chapter Nezikin in Tosafoth <it is said> in the time of persecution it is permitted to commit suicide, if one is worried of sufferings, and the proof - <it is written> "all of them jumped and fell etc". R. Haninah b. Hardion is quoted in AZ.

 

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And the Tosafoth wrote on the JT of Berachoth, chapter mi shemeto, that this was the issue regarding our master, that <they entered> a field of possible impurity, <which is forbidden> by rabbinic ordinance. They render there: When our master died, they said, "There is no priesthood." This is also not satisfactory because for any mourner who passes there, a priest may walk behind him to comfort him.

Therefore, it seems that because of his holiness and wisdom, <they violated even> a Torah prohibition. R. Haim HaKohen would say, "If I were present when our master Tam, my teacher, passed away, I would have become impure for him."

There are some who say that "holiness was nullified" means humility and fear of sin, as in the end of Sotah. Another explanation of holiness nullified is because they called him "Our holy master," all on account of his holiness: "When his soul departed, they sent to Bar Kapara… and he said: ‘The angels have defeated the mortals, and the Holy Ark has been captured.’ At the hour of his death, he raised his ten fingers to the heavens and said: ‘Master of the world, it is revealed and known to you that I have labored with my ten fingers, and I have not enjoyed even with my little finger. (Rashi explains: ‘I have not enjoyed even corresponding to the effort that I labored with my little finger), and I never intended for my own benefit in any of the actions that I did, rather all of them were for in name of Heaven. May it be Your will that there be peace upon my death.’ A heavenly voice cried out and said: ‘Let him come with peace. Let him rest in peace with the other righteous who come out to greet him and say: Let him come in peace.’"

In the JT, chapter kohen gadol: "May a priest become impure in honor of a prince? When R. Yudan died, R. Jannaeus proclaimed: There is no priesthood today! When R. Yudan the prince died, R.Hiya Raba pushed R. Zeira, head of the community in Zippori and impurified him." From this section, it seems that the law is that even on a Torah level <the priest may become impure>.

We have gone at length about this holy and fully complete one, even though we have said only some of his praise, because we have learned laws and holiness from all this, and he was the last of the Tanaim.

Our master Hananel wrote that the princehood is not set aside specifically for the House of David, since Jose b. Joezer was a prince and he was a priest, as we have said.

Our master died in Zippori and was buried in Beit Shearim as is clear in chapter ha-nosei et ha-isha in Ketuboth: "His resting place was ready in Beit Shearim." So too explained Rashi in chapter nigmar ha-din, that they took him from Zippori to Beit Shearim by way of the cities to honor him. On the day that our master died, R. Judah in Babylonia was born, about whom they said: "And the sun has risen, and the sun set."

 

Rabban Gamliel son of Rabbi Judah the prince above, has already been mentioned. We said that since it was that desire of his father that he be prince after him, he was established in the Mishna with the term "Rabban." You can see that this is so because the elders do not call the youths, who are younger than them in years, "Rabbi" or "Rabban" as we said in chapter hotziu lo in Yoma, on the topic of R. Hananiah and R. Yehoshua b. Levi who were elders and called those younger than them "Rabbi" for he had greatness upon him. And we have explained that he filled his father’s place in modesty.

I have seen in the Tosefta that all those who have disciples, they call him Rabbi. When his disciples have been forgotten and his disciple’s disciples… they call him Rabban. But we have already said that this is only for princes as the Aruch explained. In chapter kol ha-basar <it says> that he only ate pure items. In chapter shoel: It is learned: Rabban Gamliel berebbi said: "and he will give you mercy and have mercy on you." (Deuteronomy 13:18) All those who have mercy on the creations, they have mercy on him. This is what we refer to when we said that he filled his father’s place in modesty.

 

Rabbi Simeon Berebbi. We have already said above that he was very wise and that our holy master passed on to him the orders of wisdom. Also R. Meir was present at this wedding. In chapter ha-noder min hamevushal <it says> that Bar Kapara wrote about his wedding house: twenty-four thousand ten-thousand dinars were spent on this wedding house and Bar Kapara was not invited. If to those who do his will, this happens, how much more so to those who violate his will! He invited him and he said: For those who do his will, this happens. In the wold to come, how much more so!

He is mention in the end of Makkoth, by the exegesis of a verse, and he was not mentioned amongst the sages in the second chapter, while he is mentioned here. The Tosafoth at the end of Gitin <say> that he was the teacher of R. Hiya and greater than him, as is said in the first chapter of Kidushin. R. Simeon Berebbi’s voice was deep, as R. Hiya said to him in chapter ha-kore et ha-Megillah omed, and later by the amoraim, we will speak of him. R. Simeon bar Yohai who the rav mentioned here, was already spoken about above.

 

Rabbi Eleazar bar Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai was a friend of Rebbi, before R. Simeon b. Gamliel the father of Rebbi and R. Joshua b. Karha. You already know that he was his father for thirteen years in the pain of the cave, and that he was equal to his father, and comfortable with miracles that we have not heard of their likes, for he lived for twenty years after Dan died in his house. He was the friend of R. Ishamel b. R. Jose and fat like him. He suffered for many years because of a doubt that he had when he was a guard of the king, if he had killed a man for no fault, even though it was more likely that he had never done anything improper. Also, when the shipowners gave him a lot of money because they were saved in his merit. He was a lion the son of a lion.

He left a son after him who was taught by R. Simeon b. Isi b .Lakunia who took him as his teacher, and was as smart as his fathers and equal to them, but was not buried with them because he had not been in the suffering of the cave. R. Eleazar was buried on the day before Yom HaKipurim, and afterwards Rebbi asked his wife if she would marry him. She did not want to because she was a vessel of a greater holiness than his.

His words are more numerous than can be counted in the Talmud and the Zohar – he is fortunate! Most of his words are found in chapter bameh madlikin and in chapter ha-socher poalim. At the end of chapter ein omdin, our master Asher writes that he was R. Eleazar HaKalir, based on the Pesikta: When R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon died, his whole generation called out about him from the dust of the peddler, that he was a krovan, an orator and a poet, and that he instituted the Kerovot. Also in Tosafoth in chapterkol ha-basar, Our master Tam wrote that he was

 

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R. Eleazar HaKalir in Tosafoth Tuch.

{footnote in text- The author has written this words above (pg.36?) and repeated them here. However, I have not found the place of the Tosafoth that he is hinting to, unless we say that it is in Hulin 109b, starting words nidah dam tohar. There it is mentioned that R. Eleazar HaKalir who wrote the siluk of parshat parah min hadam hat’hol…, but that one is not called by the name of our master Tam. Also, how does he prove that the Tosafoth referred to R. Eleazar bar R. Simeon. The editor}

[Samuel Sholem said: I have written above that I have found in one kerova of the seventh day of Passover, an acrostic for: I am Eleazar son of Rabbi Jacob HaKalir from Kiriat Sefer. Understand>

 

Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar, the friend of Rebbi and the disciple of R. Meir. In chapter arusah in Sotah, in chapter R. Eleazar in Sabbath, in the first chapter of Kidushin, and in the first chapter of Hulin: R. Meir sent to bring him beer from the Bei Kutai… and R. Simeon b. Eleazar came and told R. Meir. Also R. Judah was his teacher and he says things in his name. In the third chapter of Taanit: When he came from Migdal Eder, from the house of his teacher, there was great happiness for he had learned much Torah. On the way, he met a very ugly man. Rashi explains that this was Elijah, may his memory be for good, and Elijah came to rebuke him so that he would not do this often. He (R. Simeon) said to him: Ugly creature! Are all your countrymen like this? He responded: Go to the craftsman who created him, and ask him why he made him like this! When all the people in the country came out to greet R. Simeon b. Eleazar, this man did not want to forgive him, until they appeased him a lot and said: Forgive him, so that he will not do this again. He went out and proclaimed: A man should always be as soft as a reed, for this is why the reed merited that we make from it a quill for the Torah. He disagreed with R. Jose b. Hameshulam about a skull that was pierced, and it seems that he was R. Eleazar ben Parta.

 

R. Ishmael ben R. Jose ben Halafta. The author of Halichot Olam erred by stating that he is R. Jose HaGlili, and this is not so as is found in chapter kol kitvei and many other places. We have already said that this son was the greatest of his five brothers in Bava Metzia, in chapter ha-socher ha-poalim. He was a guard of the king and Elijah, may his memory be for good, said to him that he should leave this craft. He also said to him: Until when are you submitting His nation for death? He said to him: What should I do? He said that he should flee to Ludkia, like his father had fled to Asiya. This is said in Sabbath in the story of R. Simeon, that the king decreed upon R. Jose that he must be exiled to Zippori since he was silent.

He was the friend of Rebbi, who loved him much, and filled the place of his father. He was also the friend of R. Eleazar ben R. Simeon, fatter and heavier than R. Eleazar, until they said that his organ <’eivarei’> was like a sack weighing nine kavin. The Tosafoth said that these things were written so that we should not speak ill against other people who are like that. The apostates wrote this to the Christians to make fun of us, and thus it is good to know the reason. Our master Baruch explained: "eivarei" as his forearm, as is said in the beginning of Berachoth: She revealed her forearm <eivareha> and R. Jochanan darkened. We do not have the word "darei" there.

He would occasionally come late and enter the study hall, after our master had entered he was stepping forward. Avdan said to him: Who is this one who is stepping on the heads of the holy nation? He said: I am Ishmael b. R. Jose who has come to learn from our master. He said to him: are you worthy of learning Torah from Rebbi? He said to him: Was Moses worthy of learning Torah from the mouth of the Omninpotent! He said to him: But are you Moses? He said to him: Is your teacher God?

Rav Joseph said: Our master received his punishment in this world, when he said to him "your teacher" and not "my teacher." Explanation – Our master received his punishment for hearing and not protesting. The author of the Aruch explained: "his judgement was taken from him." There are those who say that he took his portion and his lot from the punishment, according to his debt.

As this was happening, a yevama came to do halitza. Our master said to Avdan: Go and check her. He went to check her. When he left, R. Ishmael b. R. Jose said to him: This is what father said: "man" <ish> is written in that section but a woman <isha> whether she is a minor or an adult – no. Our master said to Avdan: Return to your place. The Elder has already ruled. Avdan was stepping forward. R. Ishmael b. R. Jose said to him: He who is needed by a holy nation may step on the heads of a holy nation. He who is not needed by a holy nation, how can he step on the heads of a holy nation? Our master said to Avdan: Sit in your place. It is learned that at that hour, Avdan became leprous, his two sons drowned and his two daughters-in-law refused. R. Nachman bar Isaac said: Blessed is the Lord who embarrassed Avdan in this world. All this is in chapter mitzvat halitza. It seems to me that the law here is not according to R. Ishmael as is written in the mishna in chapter ba siman in Niddah.

Rabbi Jonathan ben Joseph. I am unsure whether he was a priest. Since he was a Tanna, he was a friend of R. Yoshiya in the Baraitha and the teacher of R. Samuel bar Nahmani, as said in chapter ha-shoel and by Rashi in this matter: R. Eleazar b. Pdat said to R. Yoshiya of his generation, that he was an amora like him. We can understand from this that R. Yoshaya, thecontemporary of R. Jonathan, was still alive in the days of R. Eleazar. Thus, it needs to write "R. Yoshaya of his generation," to exclude the Elder R. Yoshaya. This is why the Rambam lists him at the end of the tanaim.

When I said that I was unsure if he was a priest, this was because in chapter ha-socher poalim: R. Jonathan asked from R. Simai: If he muzzled the cow from the outside, what is the law? He said to him: From your father’s house, you learned "Do not drink wine or strong drink…. when you enter." (Leviticus 10:9) When you enter you may not drink?! But to drink and then enter is permitted?! Rashi explained: From your father’s house – he was a priest.

But in Berachoth, in chapter mi shemeto: R. Hiya and R. Jonathan were walking in a cemetery and he put on his tekhelet… and he said to him: Take it off. It seems from there that he was not a priest and it seems that this is the same R. Jonathan,

 

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since he was one of the last of the tanaim and R. Hiya was in his generation, for both of them lived in the days of Rebbi and he was the contemporary of R. Yoshaya. Thus, a different R. Jonathan was the priest.

In chatper behema shemekasha: R. Jonathan said to Ben Azai… He was in the generation of R. Akiba and maybe he is the one who is mentioned in the chapters of Avoth.

{Editor’s footnote: Also in Sanhedrin 71, it seems that he was not a priest, for it says there: R. Jonathan said: I saw him and sat on his grave. The Editor}

There is a version: R. Hiya and R. Nathan were walking… in Berachoth, and not R. Jonathan.

So too in the days of Rambam in Lunil, lived R. Jonathan the priest that explained the laws of Rav Alfas.

You should also know that in the days of Rebbi, was his disciple Jonathan b. Amram who we have mentioned above, who did not want to enjoy from the honor of Torah. Also in the days of Rebbi was R. Pdat, father of R. Eleazar. In chapter bnei ha-ir, it sayd that he lived long because no man ever came earlier than him to the study hall, and he did not eat from any animal whose priestly portion had not been separated, and he did not bless before a priest. The gemara asked: Is this such a high level? Didn’t Raba bar bar Hana say that R. Johanan said: Any scholar who allows an ignorant priest to bless before him, that scholar is deserving death as it says: "All those who hate me <misanai>, love death" (Proverbs 8:36) Do not read this as misanai, but as "mashiniai." (those who make me second) What was said about R. Pda, was when they were equal. But the proper version, which the authors took, was that this was R. Preida.

The rabbi said in the fifth chapter that every place that you find "R. Ploni in the name of R. Ploni," you know that he was his disciple. We have already said above in the matter of R. Joshua b. Hananiah, that sometimes he may not be his disciple and you may have to place another name between them. You may see that R. Eleazar said in the name of R. Joshua b. Hananiah, and he only learned from R. Joshua bar Memel and he learned from R. Joshua b. Hananiah.

It seems to me to be the opposite by the amoraim. Usually, if it says: R. Johanan said in the name of Simeon b. Yohai, he was not his disciple and did not hear it from him, rather he heard it from someone who received the information from him. But in the Mishna, R. Judah said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah – he is his teacher. In the Talmud: R. Judah said: Samuel said – he was his teacher, usually. This needs further analysis, as we will explain later.

In the first chapter of Niddah, in the Tosafoth: R. Johanan said: R. Simeon b. Jehozadak said… this is his, this is his teacher’s. It would seem from here that the teacher of R. Johanan was R. Simeon b. Jehozadak. But I, Abraham, think, that though this is the truth, it is not always the case. For in chapter yesh nohalin: R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai… about the issue of sons. It answers there: this is his, this is his teacher’s, despite the fact that R. Simeon bar Yohai was not his teacher, and he had never even seen hi, for even in the days of Rebbi, R. Johanan was still a child.

Also in chapter kol habasar: Samuel said in the name of R. Eliezer…this is his, this is his teacher’s. Rashi explains that wherever it says "in the name of Ploni," he did not hear it from his mouth but from the mouths of others that said it from his mouth. Samuel had never seen R. Eliezer at all, for R. Eliezar who lived during the Destruction was of the disciple’s of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, and Samuel, of the later generations lived at the end of the days of our master. It also says in the last chapter of Hulin: Ravina said to R. Ashi: You said in the name of Rava. Rashi explains that in every place that it says "in the name of Ploni," he did not hear it from him but from others who received it from him. For R. Ashi never saw Rava at all, as it says in chapter asarah yuchasin, the day that Rava died, R. Ashi was born.

The Rambam said further in chapter six, that any time it says in the Mishna "In truth, they said," this is a law directly given to Moses at Sinai. He learned this from what it says in chapter ha-zahav: In truth they said about wine, that it is permissible to mix the rough with the soft, because it improves it. R. Eleazar said: About this <ada> was said: all "In truth, they said"s are the law. Rashi explains: This means <ada> is like <hada>. In truth, it is a law, because it gives a reason for the matter – because it improves it – and there is no reason to quibble over it. Therefore in the mishna it says "In truth," to teach that any place that it says "In truth," it is the law and you can not doubt or quibble on the matter. From this it seems that it is not a law given to Moses at Sinai.

So too wrote our master Asher in Niddah, at the beginning of Mikvaoth, in the name of our master Tam. Just like "In truth, the cantor may see from where the children are reading" in the first chapter of Sabbath, which is a rabbinic decree. Also other laws which he brings up there and explains like Rashi, that it is the law and no one disagrees with it. Rashi also comments on the first chapter in Gitin, where it says that there are three laws without reason: what a father gives to his eldest son at the time of his wedding… which are like laws given to Moses at Sinai, from which you can not move. Even according to the Rambam, the explanation must be that it is clear like a law given to Moses at Sinai. The author of the Aruch explains that anytime you find "In truth, they said," it is giving a practical ruling.

The rabbi said in the seventh chapter that the term "Rabban" is greater than that of "Rabbi." I have already explained that this is the name for the princes. According to his opinion that Rabbi is less than Rabban, if so then R. Eliezer and R. Joshua and R. Akiba and R. Eleazar b. Arach were below Rabban Gamliel the son of R. Judah The Prince. This is obviously a mistake, unless we say the reasoning of the princehood.

He also said that the highest term of all is saying just his name, like Hillel and Shammai. Sometimes it will use a term, and not be bothered by that either. Even though this principle is partially true, I do not know how Simeon brother of Azariah, and Eleazar, man of Bartuta sinned. For Simeon brother of Azariah was a priest, ninth generation after Ezra and very wise. A heavenly voice called out that he will split his portion in the world to come with his brother who helped him become very wise. You also know from above that his brother Azariah was also very wise as is mentioned in the end of Sotah, where it says about the heavenly voice.

Elazar, man of Bartuta – you already know of his piousness, and he was also the teacher of R. Simeon b. R. Gamliel, the father of Rebbi. He would do great charity

 

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and miracles were done for him and he would always read the Torah as is mentioned in chapter seder taaniyot. Perhaps the rabbi has another proof. But it seems true for the most part, like Simeon b. Azai and Simeon b. Zoma and Ben Zakai, who were not yet ordained, as it says about Ben Azai: How could this be? He was a disciple ready to give rulings, and other reasons similar to this. It could also be because his teacher called him by his name. We have now finished what he set out to explain according to our introduction, on the matter of the ten chapters and their correctness and we have explained the seven groups <kitot> and the four assemblages <havurot>.

Should also know that most of the third assemblage and the fourth lived in the time of the first assemblage, for they saw the destruction of the Temple. For R. Simeon bar Yohai was a disciple at the time of R. Joshua and R. Eliezer and Rabban Gamliel in chapter tefilat ha-shachar, and also Hananiah b. Hachinai, the friend of R. Simeon. R. Eliezer b. Jacob said in his name in chapter ha-mapelet and in chapter ein dorshin: R. Jose said: Father Eliezer told me that he offered a sacrifice in Jerusalem as it is said in Hagigah. Also in the year before the story of Rabban Gamliel in chapter tefilat ha-shahar was R. Simeon {editor’s note: In my opinion, it should say R. Joshua. For in Bechoroth 27and in Bechoroth 36, R. Simeon is not mentioned in the story of R. Zaddok, but rather R. Joshua. The Editor} and by R. Zaddok in Bechoroth. So too, R. Meir said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Zaddok {editor’s note: The father of R. Zaddok was a tana although his name is not mentioned. Aba Saul b. Bitnit was his friend in the end of Sabbath and the end of chapter ein tzadin. Yaavetz} in the seventh chapter of Kilayim and R. Joshua said : Well did Beruriah speak. So too, R. Judah and R. Ilayi, his father, learned with R. Eliezer the Great as is says in Menachoth and in Sukkah and also from the rest and from this we can deduce the length of their lives.

 

 

And Now We Will Begin With the Alef-Bet

So That You Will Be Able to Find Them All Readily

 

{Aba Shaul – comes up many times in the mishna and gemara.

 

 

Aba Shaul bar Nash, and some say bar Rosh – in chapter ha-mapelet by the checking of a formed fetus. I am surprised at the author of a comprehensive treasury of the Talmud, for not mentioning this name at all. Yaavetz }

{The editor said: Aba Shaul is already mentioned on pgs. 32-33}

 

Avtolos (i.e. Avtalion) – We have already said that he was the head of the judicial court, from the descendants of Sennacherib, friend of Shemaiah the prince, teacher of Hillel and Shammai during the time of the second Temple, approximately 120 years before the second Temple’s destruction, from the sixth assemblage.

 

Avtolmos. In the third chapter of Eruvin: R. Jose said: Avtolmos testified in the name of the five elders that an eruv in doubt is usable. In the gemara it says that he was the teacher of R. Jose. There are versions that say "Avsholim" or "Avtolas" and there is a version "Ben Avtolmos" {Above (p. 22) the author brought up a doubt whether he was one of the 18 sages who were missed by the Rambam at the end of his guide to the mishna. The Editor}

In tractate meila: Before R. Simeon bar Yohai and R. Eleazar b. R. Jose went to Rome, three harsh decrees had been nullified since he was close to the king and they did not realize that he was a Jew. At that time, R. Mathias b. Heresh and his court were in Rome. After they realized that he was a Jew, they decreed again what they had decreed until R. Simeon bar Yohai went to Rome and had them nullified.

In the Baraitha, there is a tannah who is his son, R. Nathan bar Avtolmos. In the first chapter of Rosh Hashanah: R. Jose said: Avtolmos testified in the name of the five sages about an etrog, after it is picked in terms of tithing… At the end of Sotah and at the end of chapter hameruba: Avtolmos ben Reuben- they permitted him to get a haircut <hamesper> "komi" since he was close to the king. Rashi explains at the end of merubah: To get one’s hair cut "komi", in the front of one’s forehead is from the ways of the Amorites, who cut of their hair in the front and leave tresses behind them. Another interpretation: The ways of the Romans is to shave off the hair above the ear, thus it is written in the responsa of the Geonim. The Tosafoth explains there that we find in tractate meila that Avtolmos b. Reuben went and got his hair cut "komi" so that they would not realize that he was a Jew. But I only saw in the gemara the name R. Reuben Ha-itztarbuli, who was perhaps his father.

R. Zemach in his Aruch, under letter "hey" explains that "hamesaper komi" is one who talks in the language of royalty, using curses. They did not permit the house of Rabban Gamliel to talk in that language if not out of respect for the kingship. This does not seem correct for there in the gemara it says that they permitted Rabban Gamliel to speak about Greek wisdom because they were close to the royalty, and it does not mention "komi," except by Avtolmos b. Reuben, when it is dealing with the ways of the Emorites, as it says

 

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in the gemara. But the Greek wisdom is because they decreed in the days of the Hasmonean kings, Hyrkanos and Aristobulus, when they fought with one another in Jerusalem, as was mentioned above. Afterwards I saw under letter "samech" that Rav Zemach had changed his mind and explained like Rashi.

 

Aba Jose ben Dostai. In the beginning of the second chapter of Yoma, Rebbi says something in his name. Yaavetz

Admon was also a judge during the time of Avtalion. At the end of Ketuboth it says that Admon ben Gedai and Hana Absalom were the two civil judges in Jerusalem. R. Johanan b. Zakai said: I agree with the words of Admon ben Gedai and Hanan because they were great sages. (side 17a)

 

Ila was a great sage in Yavneh who knew how to ascertain the permissibility of first-born animals. They permitted him to take reward for the time he wasted, which is four issarim for a small animal and six for a large animal. Also amongst the amoraim is R. Ila. This must certainly be a sage who did not know how to permit first-borns, but merely a sage. For it is more stringent than undoing vows, for in a place where there is one expert, three ordinary people who have learned and understood may undo it, which is not true by first-borns – unless there is a missing limb, in which case permission was given to three ordinary people, as is written in the first chapter of Hulin and chapter kira in Sabbath. In these days, the Rosh said that there is no expert on undoing vows, and even Rav was not given permission to permit first-borns. (side 22b) {He was one of the 18 sages that the author added onto the Rambam; see there. The editor}

 

Elyoeinai ben Ha-kof, the high priest who sacrificed a red heifer during the times of Honi Hameagel, and in the times of Judah b. Tabai and Simeon b. Shetach. (side 16a and side 25a)

 

Rabbi Eleazar ben Diglai was left out by the author, and he is found in tractate Tamid 30b (Prague printing): R. Eleazar b. Diglai said: My father had goats in the cities on the border and they would faint from the scent of the incense. The editor.

Rabbi Eliezer HaModai. We have already spoken of him above, that he was killed in Beithar. He was a friend of R. Tarphon, but he would call R. Tarphon "Rabbi". He was a great orator and R. Eleazar b. Prata would quote in his name, and Hananiah ben achi R. Joshua and R. Eleazar b.Azariah would say in the name of R. Eleazar HaModai. In chapter shevuat ha-edut: We still need the Modai. (side 33a)

 

Rabbi Eleazar HaKapar in chapter kol ha-tzelamim: R. Joshua b. Levi was walking behind R. Eleazar HaKapar Berebbi. But in the Tosefta in the seventh chapter of Hulin: R. Eliezer the son of R. Eleazar HaKapar answered: if by circumcision… In the fifth chapter of Ketuboth: R. Menhem b. Nafah said in the name of R. Eleazar HaKapar: A story of R. Tarphon who married 300 women so that they could eat terumah in a year of famine… and maybe there are two. In chapter eilu treifot: R. Joshua b. Levi sent a chicken to R. Eleazar HaKappar Berebbi, i.e. the greatest in his generation. In chapter kisui ha-dam, we see R. Eleazar HaKapar with R. Hiya and in chapter Rabbi Eliezer dimilah – with R. Simeon b. Eleazar. It seems that he was one of the latter ones, even though he is brought up in the Chapters of R. Eliezer, for it is already known that even though it is called after R. Eliezer, the later ones wrote those chapters. Just like the Zohar which is ascribed to R. Simeon, and the Sefer HaYetzirah which is ascribed ot Abraham our forefather, as the Ibn Ezra writes. Or there maybe two and he is called Berebbi. Rashi explains in chapter kol hatzelamim that he was great in his generation and that he explained in Nazir "From what he sinned to his spirit." (Numbers 6:11) There are versions of the beginning of the explanation of the Mishna, chapter four where he is mentioned in the second generation .

{Above (side 13b) the author brought up R. Eleazar Hakappar from the Tosefta on the fourth chapter in Nazir, who ate the guilt offering of a Nazirite from the South…What the author said here "There are versions of the fourth chapter of the explanation of the Mishna," it seems to me that he did not know whether his name was Eliezer or Eleazar. For even in the Gemara we have found both versions, and in place of "the fourth chapter," it should read "the second chapter." It is appropriate to testify here that the author, by the way, decided upon something known, that both the Pirkei R. Eliezer and the Zohar were printed by people other than their authors. The editor}

 

Rabbi Eliezer the Great ben Hyrkenos. He was also the greatest disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, and he wrote the Chapters of R. Eliezer. His father, Hyrkenos, vowed not to give him any of his money, and he was a wealthy man, until he came and undid it when he found out that his son had learned to read. In Avoth DeRabbi Nathan in the mishna of Jose b. Joezer, at length it tells how R. Eliezer learned from R. Johanan b. Zakkai. When Rabban Gamliel the Elder died, R. Eliezer was old, and he also saw the death of Rabban Gamliel his grandson. His face shone, as they said "The face of Moses is like the face of the sun, and the face of Joshua is like the face of the moon- so too R. Eliezer when he speaks." We have already explained his matters above. (side 33b) Our master Bachya said: The ones name was Eliezer for it says in the midrash that he was descended from Moses, perhaps from his mother’s side.

 

Rabbi Eliezer Hisma. We have already gone at length about him (side 41b). He had a great knowledge of content, and of numbers of mathematics, for he was in engineering, as it is said in Horayoth. He was the disciple of R. Akiba and the friend of R. Johanan b. Gorgerah and from R. Eliezer b. Jacob in the second chapter of Pesahim and from R. Johanan b. Broka and R. Johanan b. Nuri. Why was he called "Hisma"? Because he was muzzled <nechsam> as it is written in parashat Acharei Mot in Vayikra Rabbah, and he also taught a ruling about muzzling in chapter ha-socher et ha-poalim. He also appointed to the yeshiva and to judge – Reish Lakish and R. Johanan b. Gorgerah and R. Eliezer b. Hisma.

 

Rabbi Eliezer ben Judah , man of Kfar Bartuta said in the name of

 

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R. Joshua (side 23b) In the first chapter of Arlah: Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel said in his name. In the first chapter of Pesahim he said a ruling on the name of R. Joshua. He was a friend of R. Akiba and his piousness and the miracle that was done for him – all this is in chapter seder taaniyoth, that his whole house became filled with wheat. The charity collectors would flee from him because he would give them everything he had. These people who are called by the name of their land, which were listed and known in that palce, like "man of Zeredah" or "man of Jerusalem," "man of Kfar Hananiah." This is similar to when I was in the land of Spain or other lands of the Christians, in the books I had written about mechanics, it would say "Rabbi Abraham Zechut, man of Salamanca." I have reason to be proud of this, as our sages said: What is the wisdom by which the sages were thought of as wise in the eyes of the nations? This must be said to be mathematics and seasons and astrology. I can testify to heaven that they would greatly praise Israel about this. All my intention was only to understand the words of our sages and the laws they had written about this. In the Tosefta, R. Eliezer b. Judah, man of Ovlim in the first chapter of Maaser Sheni and in chapter ha-or veharotev in the gemara.

 

Rabbi Eliezer son of R. Jose HaGlili (above 47b) who wrote the 32 methods for the Torah. Thirty-two, a wise man by his right… Every place that you hear is words of Agada, make your ears like a sponge: from chapter kisui hadam. He lived in the time of R. Akiba, R. Eleazar b. Azariah and those after them, as it appears in the Talmud.

{R. Eliezer b. R. Judah. The third chapter of Ohalot: We had a dream of three friends: R. Simeon, R. Judah and R. ???, each one with a som named R. Eliezer. See above what I wrote there. Yaavetz}

 

R. Eliezer b. Jacob – his rulings and clear and straightforward. He lived a long time, from the times of the Temple until the later generations. His mother’s brother was a Levite in the Temple and by his words was tractate Middoth written, i.e. by the words of R. Eliezer b. Jacob. We have already seen this above (31b)

In chapter ve-elu kesharim: We rule according to R. Eliezer b. Jacob. It seems that this principle is not absolute since he needed this "vehilchotav k"v". As the Rosh wrote in chapter mishehotziuhu in the name of R. Hananel: and there are many more sages of the Mishna about whom it says "Halacha," and there are some places where the ruling is not according to him. However, all of his rulings are clear and he knew all the measurements of the Temple and lived a long time. In the fourth chapter of Kilayim it says that we rule according to R. Hananiah b. Hachinai, and not according to him.

 

R. Eleazar b. Mathias. In the tenth chapter of Yevamoth, he was of the four scholars of Yavne: Ben azai, Ben Zoma and Hananiah b. Hachinai. He appears in the first chapter of Kidushin in a Baraitha about honoring fathers and mothers, and in the Tosefta in the sixth chapter of Pesahim, R. Eleazar b. Mathias disagrees with R. Judah. In the second chapter of Sotah: R. Judah said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Mathias… In the eigth chapter: Eleazar b. Mathias and Aba Halafta and Hananiah b. Hachinai weighed the stones of Joshua. (side 22b)

 

R. Eleazar b. Azariah the priest, tenth generation descended from Ezra and a prince in Israel. We have already explained his matters and his wisdom (above 39b). R. Hananiah said that his teacher was R. Eliezer. In Eleh Mishpatim Rabbah: that Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua and R. Eleazar b. Azariah and R. Akiba went to Rome. R. Azariah , his father was wise and wealthy and helped his brother Simeon to learn. R. Dosa b. Hyrkanos said that Azariah, our friend, had a son, "and we have not seen a righeous man abandoned" (Psalms 37:25) It may be that R. Azariah b. Avtolmos was his father , for he was very wise and the tenth generation from Ezra the priest and he learned before R. Preida, as is writen in Menachoth, in chapter kol hamenahot. However, there is a version that says that R. Azariah was the tenth generation after R. Eleazar b. Azariah, for this R. Preida lived at the time of R. Ami. About this Rashi comments that the tenth after Ezra was R. Eleazar b. Azariah. It seems to me that Rashi had to interpret that way because in chapter tefilat hashachar, it says "tenth to Ezra."

You also know about R. Preida from chapter keitzad ma’avrin, that he would read 400 times to his disciple. Then, because his disciple forgot the halacha, he taught him again 400 times, until a heavenly voice called out: Either you will live 400 years or you and your generation will merit the world to come. He chose the world to come and they said to him: this and this will occur, and he lived 400 years. The grandfather of R. Preida found the skull of Jehoiakim and kept it. His wife found it and burned because she thought it belonged to another woman who had been married to her husband and died. Written open it was "This and another one." We have already written at length about this above and by the amoraim we will speak of this. In the JT of Bava Batra: R. Preida gave R. Yudan the prince two radishes that were sown on the year after the Sabbatical year, in between the new Year and the Day of Atonement. He was surprised about this at that time: Did Rebbi permit the produce of the year after the Sabbatical year?

 

R. Eleazar ben Arach, the disciple of Rabban Johanan b. Zakkai, the sharpest of them all who is called R. Nehorai in tractate Sabbath. We have already explained his words (above 35b), but the truth is that R. Nehemiah was R. Nehorai.

 

R. Eleazar ben Fila at the end of chapter seven of Taharoth. There are versions that say "ben Fabi." He responded to the words of R. Akiba. (side 22b)

 

R. Eleazar ben Prata and his son R. Simeon ben R. Eleazar b. Prata, and R. Prata the friend of Rebbi, and R. Prata who lived at the time of Rebbi who was the grandson of R. Prata the Great. We have already explained above (side 32a) that he was very old and was caught for learning Torah with R. Hananiah b. Teradion and was saved, as is written in the first chapter of Avodah Zarah, that he was saved by Elijah, may his memory be for blessing. His teacher was R. Eleazar HaModai, in chapter kohen gadol.

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R. Eleazar bar Zaddok. In the Great Book of Commandments in the negative commandment number 235 it explains that he was a priest, and we have already explained all his matters. He saw the destruction of the Temple and lived in the time of R. Meir. It remains a doubt to us whether or not he was a priest. He spoke in the name of R. Meir in the seventh chapter of Kilayim. This is surprising because R.Elazar saw the destruction of the Temple and he was an early tana, and he saw the daughter of Nakdimon b. Guryon… as is written in chapter metziat ha-isha. In chapter dalet mitot it says that he was great before the destruction of the Temple and he testified that he saw the daughter of a priest who had commited adultery, who was burned who ropes of branches. It would seem that he lived at least forty years before the destruction, for afterwards they did not judge capital crimes. (side 27a)

 

R. Eleazar ben Shamua the priest who spoke at length in chapter bnei ha-ir. He was the teacher of Rebbi and we have already explained his matters. (above 44a) Rav called him "the greatest of the wise" and Rav Tzemach explained that he was extraordinary in his wisdom, and Rashi explained that he was the happiest of the sages. They said that he was the last of the ten martyrs, killed by the kingdom, and that he was killed on the Sabbath eve, as he was beginning to say the kiddush of the day. He said: Leave me until my soul departs. When he got up to "asher bara elokim la’asot," a heavenly voice cried out: You are fortunate, Eleazar, my son! In this world your soul was like God’s and your soul has departed with the word "God." I am surprised about this because he was the teacher of Rebbi, as we have said. It seems that there was no oppression during the time of Rebbi even though at the end of chapter im einan makirin, Rashi explains in the name of his teacher that during the sanctification of the new moon there was oppressio, when he sent a message to R. Hiya. This does not seem to be correct, rather like the first explanation that Rashi gave.

 

Rabbi Eleazar, son of R. Simeon bar Yohai. You already know all his matters, that he was I a cave thirteen years with his father and received pains of love. All his holy words are in chapter hasocher et hapoalim. He was a friend of Rebbi but died many years before Rebbi. (side 52b)

 

Elisha ben Avuyah {Elisha ben Avuyah is mentioned in a mishna in the fourth chapter of Avoth and in a Baraitha in Moed Katan 20a. But in Nazir 44a the peoper version is R. Ishmael b. Elisha. Yaavetz}

We have already spoken of hi above, for he was called "aher." (other) He was the teacher of R. Meir and was of the four who enterred the orchard. He merited life I the world to come because of his Torah and his disciples. He did not cause others to sin, for he said to R. Meir "Until here is the boundary <of travel> for the Sabbath. Fire from the sky came to surround his grave and he merited that R. Jacob the tana was the son of his daughter, who told us the secrets of the world to come in the chapters of Avoth and at the end of Hulin and in Kidushin. Rebbi also placed Elisha into tractate Avoth of our holy fathers. He saw the destruction and praised R. Akiba and lived many years after him (side 23a)

 

R. Ilayei, father of R. Judah was the disciple of R. Eliezar in the second chapter of Sukah and in chapter ha-kometz Rabbah and in the second chapter of Eruvin. He was like a friend to R. Ishmael and he called R. Ishmael "my teacher" and R. Ishmael called him "my son." In the first chapter of Gitin, he was riding a donkey behind Rabban Gamliel. In the second chapter of Pesahim, he orated before R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. He was very old as it says: R. Ilayei the Elder said: If you see a man whose passion is taking hold of him… (side 44b)

 

Aba Eleazar ben Dolai. In the second chapter of Mikvaoth. It seems that he was in the time of the disciplte of R. Akiba: R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Simeon and R. Eleazar b. Shamua. In chapter kol haget we learn in a Baraitha: Aba Eleazar ben Gamla. (side 22b)

 

R. Eleazar ben Dama. We have already said that he was the son of the sister of R. Ishamel and that he died from a snakebite and died in holiness. There are those who say that he was of the ten martyrs killed by the government and not R. Judah b. Teima. Perhaps the one who died from snakebite was Joshua ben Dama, the son of the sister of R. Ishmael. R. Eleazar b. Dama was killed for wearing tefilin, and there were still on his head when the killed him in holiness and purity. (side 42a)

 

R. Eleazar b. R. Jannaeus was left out by the author. He is found in Beitzah 34a: R. Eleazar b. R. Jannaeus said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Antigonus, and in Hulin 45 and 55: R. Eleazar b. Anitigonus said in the name of R. Eleazar b. R. Jannaeus. The editor.

{Amtalai. The name of the mother of Abraham our forefather, may he have peace at the end of chapter hasfina. Yaavetz}

 

Antigonus, man of Socho who received his wisdom from Simeon the Righteous. Because of what he said in the Mishna, Zaddok and Baytos, his evil disciples strayed. They went to heresy as we have already mentioned. He pious disciples were Joseph b. Yoezer and Joseph b. Johanan – he was the prince and the other was the head of the court. (side 13b)

 

Unkelos the convert {See the first chapter of Avodah Zarah the words of one who said there. If it is not an error of a copyist, it seems that there must have been two Unkelos the converts. Yaavetz} the son of the sister of Titus was a tana in a Baraitha in chapter hamocher peirot. We learned: Unkelos the convert said: the cherubim were like youths. He received from R. Eliezer and from R. Joshua and translated the five books of the Torah according to their words, but that is not in the Mishna. In Tosefta in the fifth chapter of Dmai, it says that he was stringent with himself in terms of what he inherited and split with his brothers, for they were non-Jews. He threw it into the Dead Sea.

{Afkashyon. Yoma 25b. Yaavetz}

 

Letter Bet

 

 

Bava ben Buta. We have already talked of him above. (side 18b) He was the disciple of Shammai the Elder. He is in chapter hanezakin where he says that the seed does not improve from the fire and the white of the egg

 

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improves. They found that this was correct and he was a great sage and Elder. King Herod colored his eyes, i.e. he blinded his eyes when he killed the sages at the beginning of his reign. He gave advice to Herod the king to build the Temple for his penance for extinguishing the light of the world, which is its sages. He should deal with the light of the world which is the Temple. At the end of Keritot in the mishna it says that he Bava ben Buta would offer a conditional asham sacrifice every day, except for one day, the day after the Day of Atonement. This is called the asham of the pious, and he swore: Upon this place!… even though the law is not such , that one may offer one voluntarily. Also in Nedarim, at the end of chapter R. Eliezer, he was a judge and modest and would make peace.

 

Ben BagBag is R. Johanan ben Bag Bag. I have already noted that when someone’s words were stated before Rebbi, and they agreed to them, they were written according to what was then their name: Ben Bag Bag, Ben Zakai… We have already explained that he sent to R. Judah b. Bethyrah in Nisibis, as is mentioned in the Sifrei and the second chapter of Kidushin. The Rambam said that he was from the assemblage of Hillel and Shammai, and that he did not see the destruction of the Temple, but I do not know.

{Bitnit father of Aba Shaul, and this was also the name of his son in Nazir 23a.

 

Ben Gamla, Ben Tziyon, Ben Katin were high priests. Baytos ben Zugin.

R. Benjamin Menahot 71a and in Nidah , beginning of hamapelet 21b. The Elder R. Brayas.

Ben Zuza Rosh Hashanah 25a. Ben Yassin chapter ein nosin.

 

Ben Stada. End of chapter dinei mamonot. Further discussion is required about when he lived. See entry "Papus."

 

Bethyrah father of R. Judah.

 

Beruriah wife of R. Meir, daughter of R. Haninah b. Teradiyon, who learned three hundred… <mentioned> in Torat Kohanim, and in many other places in praise, and in one place in shame.

 

Beluria the convert . Rosh Hashanah 17b. Yaavetz}

 

Ben Bethyrah in the first chapter of Taanith: Ben Bethyrah is R. Joshua b. Bethyrah, and before he was ordained he was called by his name. This is not R. Judah b. Bethyrah. From here the Rambam learned that when it says just "Ben Bethyrah" it is R. Joshua, as he wrote in the sixth chapter. He disagreed with R. Joshua b. Haninah in the first chapter of Zevachim. It seems from there that there were always the seventy, the Sanhedrin during the days of the princes, after the Destruction, for Ben Azai said: I received this from the seventy elders on the day that they seated R. Eleazar b. Azariah in the hall. Bu this is even more apparent from the first chapter of Rosh Hashanah, that the Sanhedrin was exiled ten times from the inner sanctum to the Temple Mount… and to Usha in the days of Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel, father of Rebbi, And to Zippori and Tiberias in the days of Rebbi. This must be the seventy of the Sanhedrin, for the twenty-three who were the lesser Sanhedrin were not in the inner sanctum5 but in the courtyard on the Temple Mount. So too when R. Johanan wanted to ordain two of his disciples and did not succeed because they were descended from Eli, he said: to make them part of the seventy. So too by Samuel with Rebbi.

You already know that all the sons of Bethyrah were descended form the princes that were in Jerusalem before Hillel and Shammai, and that they were of the dead that Ezekiel resurrected. If so in this letter, there is really only oe, and he is Bava ben Buta for the other two should really be in letter "Dalet."

 

Letter Gimel

 

 

Rabban Gamliel the Elder. He was the grandson of Hillel the Elder, son of Rabban Simeon b. Hillel. In the second chapter of Orlah: Yoezer, man of the capital was of the disciples of Shammai. He asked Rabban Gamliel who was by the Eastern gate. Also in the last chapter of Yevamoth: Nehemiah, man of Beit Deli who was in Nehardea learned from the mouth of Rabban Gamliel that one can marry a woman by the testimony of one witness. So too said R. Yehuda b. Bava. At the end of Sotah: When Rabban Gamliel the Elder died, the honor of Torah disappeared <"batel">. The Aruch, in entry Batel explains "People that respect those who are men of Torah." There are those who explain that in his days they would learn Torah standing, and after he died, weakness came to the world and we learn seated. So it appears from chapter hakorei et hamegila: From the days of Moses until Rabban Gamliel the Elder, they would learn standing. His son was Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel the first who was killed with the ten martyrs killed by the government and the son of Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel was Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh who remained after the destruction of the Temple. Only he was called "the Elder," perheps because he lived many years.

 

Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh was the prince after the destruction of the Temple, after Rabban Johanan b. Zakai. He was the grandson of Rabban Gamliel the Elder and he saw his grandfather and saw the Temple as it seems from the end of Yevamoth where he remembers from an occasion when he saw his grandfather Rabban Gamliel. Also in chapter keitzad tzolin: R. Tzdok said: A story of Rabban Gamliel who said to his slave, Tabi: Go and roast us the Paschal sacrifice on the grill. Rashi explains there: Rabban Gamliel lived in the times of the Second Temple, as we have said in Gitin, that R. Joshua was on of the disciples if Rabban Johanan b. Zakai who took him out in a coffin during the times of the destruction, and he was a contemporary of Rabban Gamliel. You can also see so from Bava Kama, chapter hamerubah, that Rabban Gamliel was the contemporary of R. Joshua and R. Eliezer, when he blinded his slave, Tabi. He met R. Joshua and said to him with joy: I have blinded his eye and now he is free. Because R. Joshua was the head of the court in his court, Tabi did not go free because one who admits to a fine is exempt. The Tosafoth in the beginning of Niddah: Rashbam said that the maidservant of Rabban Gamliel belonged to Rabban Gamliel the Elder. However, it is unusual to refer as just Rabban Gamliel the Elder as just Rabban Gamliel. That is usually Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh. In Berachoth, he received comforting upon the death of Tabi, who was proper.

You already know that Rabban Johanan b. Zakai saved him from the hands of the Caesar when the Temple was destroyed. Also when Turnus Rufus plowed the Temple, he was sentenced to death and the governor came to the study hall and said: The one with the nose is requested, Rabban Gamliel hid. The governor came to Rabban Gamliel in secret and asked

 

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him if he will bring him to the world to come if he saves him, and he swore to him: yes. The governor killed himself in secret and a heavenly voice called out that he was worthy of life in the world to come. In the end of Taaniyot, Rashi explained: "the one with the nose" is the one with form, meaning the greatest of the generation. I understand that it is because it makes the face beautiful, and so I saw in the Aruch.

R. Eliezer, his brother-in-law married Ima Shalom, sister of Rabban Gamliel. Because R. Eliezer fell on his face when he was blessed, Rabban Gamliel died before his friends, i.e. R. Eliezer and R. Joshua, as is written in chapter hazahav. After he died, R. Joshua wanted to nullify all the rulings that were according to him, and R. Johanan b. Nuri opposed him and did not permit him, as is in chapter bechol mearvin.

He is called "Berebbi," meaning great in Torah. In chapter kol kitvei: R. Jose said: A story about Aba Halafta who went to Rabban Gamliel Berebbi in Tiberias and found him sitting at the table with Johanan the excommunicated, and in his hand was a translation of the Book of Job and he was reading it. He said: I remember Rabban Gamliel your grandfather, who was standing on the heights of the Temple Mount and they brought him the translation of the Book of Job and he said to the builder: Sink it into the building. Rashi explaind: Aba Halafta was the father of R. Jose Halafta. Rabban Gamliel Berebbi was called that, not because he was the son of Rebbi but because he was great in his generation. Rabban Gamliel, your grandfather, refers to Rabban Gamliel the Elder, and this Rabban Gamliel was the grandfather of Rabeinu HaKadosh. I am going at length about this issue in order to prevent confusion.

In chapter hakoreh et hamegilah: the megilah <can be read> even with ten readers and ten translators. Rashi explains: We do not have the words "translators" because there is no translation to the Writings. That does not seem correct because we saw that at the time of the Temple, Rabban Gamliel the Elder had a translation of Job. Also in chapter kol kitvei, Tosafoth said that it seems that even in the days of the tanaim, there was already a translation of the Writings. It is also learned in the first chapter of Megilah: For Hallel, even ten readers and ten translators, which is not true for the megilah. Even though Jonathan did not write it, it was later written in the days of the tanaim, and not like those who say that Rav Joseph wrote it.

Also I, the writer, say that even the translation of Unkelos who lived close to the destruction of the Temple, was written much earlier in the days of Ezra, as it says in the fourth chapter of Nedarim: "And they read from the book of the Torah of God" (Nehemiah 8:8) – this is the text, "clear" – this is the translation, "with wisdom" – this is the verses, "and they understood the reading" – this is the cantillation notes, and some say this is the tradition. Also in Yoma it says similarly. Even the time of Ezra was not the beginning of them, rather they forgot them and reinstituted them, as in the days of Moses.

In the second chapter of Kidushin, Rashi wrote: Unkelos, when he added information, did not add on his own, for it was given at Sinai. Rather, it was forgotten and reinstituted as it says "with wisdom" – this is the translation. Also in the beginning of tractate Megilah it says that Jonathan b. Uziel heard it from the mouths of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and that Unkelos heard it from the mouths of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. They asked in the gemara: But were they not in the days of Ezra and Moses… rather, they forgot them and then reinstituted them.

Similar to what they said: Simeon the Pakuli arranged the eighteen blessings in order in Yavneh. And you already know that the men of the Great Assembly instituted them and arranged them, as it says clearly there in the gemara.

What it says in the gemara "When Rav Joseph translated" about a verse that Jonathan b. Uziel had translated, which is "On that day, the eulogy in Jerusalem…" is not <a translation written by> Rav Joseph. Rather, just as we refer to someone one knows the Torah as "Man of the Verse," or one who knows the translation, they say that he is a "tranlsator," since he knows it precisely even though he did not write it, so too Rav Joseph knew it precisely because he needed it because it was a euphemistic phrase. Rashi wrote in chapter kol kitvei that the translation of the prophets was said by Jonathan but not written, because they are not given to writing, and things that are given to writing, you may not say by heart.

In the beginning of Bava Kama, the Tosafoth give the first reason that I said above about Rav Joseph, that he knew the translations precisely, but not because of euphemism, for it was already written because of "A time to do for God."

I say that even though the Mishna was written, the amoraim tried to be careful as much as possible not to say and not even to write what was said by heart. R. Johanan and Reish Lakish and all the amoraim <knew?> the translation by heart. You can see that this is so because the authors brought how we say the verses of the Torah in the prayers by heart, which seems to be forbidden, if it is possible to be said written, and they gave many solutions.

Perhaps Jonathan and Unkelos explained more than the translation was before, and that is why it is ascribed to them. But the translation of the Writings, which existed before Jonathan b. Uziel, God did not want him to elucidate it further. You can already see that in his time, Rabban Gamliel the Elder had a translation of Job and the five scrolls (megilot), even though they are part of the Writings. It is a tradition in our hands that Jonathan b. Uziel wrote them and maybe he translated Job and Proverbs too for the real fear was that he would translate too much in the Psalms of David, for this is what is written in the book of R. David Abudraham in his explanation of "Uva LeTziyon Goel", and this is his language:

"I have heard in the name of the Rosh who said about the translation of a verse "May his name reign forever…" (Psalms 146: 10) A heavenly voice called out to Jonathan b. Uziel: Who is this who is revealing the hidden of the Torah to people, for it contains the End of the Messiah. I have seen the translation of the Writings except for Daniel and Ezra and Chronicles."

Let us return to the issue. You already know of the miracle that was done for him when Turnus Rufus the Evil plowed the Temple. At the end of Moed Katan: that R. Eliezer and R. Joshua were at the death of Rabban Gamliel the Elder and commanded that the beds be overturned. They were also at the death of Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh, their contemporary, and afterwards too, as we have said. If so, they saw the deaths of a grandfather and grandson.

You already know that because of three disagreements with R. Joshua, even though he loved him and gave him his tithes, the princehood was given to R. Eleazar b. Azariah. The piousness and love of Torah of Rabban Gamliel were so great that he did not absent himself from the study hall then, as it says clearly in the Mishna. Afterwards, he returned the princehood to him, and Rabban Gamliel would speak on two Sabbaths and R. Eleazar would speak on one; Whose Sabbath was it?…

Know that it is appropriate to treat all the princes with as much respect as a king, as it says in the first chapter of Avodah Zarah and in the seventh chapter of Sabbath in the Tosefta: Just like we burn upon the death of a king, so too we burn upon the death of a prince. A story about the death of Rabban Gamliel and Unkelos the convert burned his bed and his vessels worth seventy, in Tzorean maneh, i.e. their worth was like seventy maneh from the city of Tyre, where the silver in each maneh was worth twenty-five shekalim of the Torah. There are some who interpret "seventy maneh" as seventy times one hundred which is seven thousand dinarim of pure silver, and it is all the same.

This Rabban Gamliel the Elder died eighteen years before the Destruction, and then his son, Rabban Simeon b. Gamliel reigned. Despite this, Rabban Gamliel treated himself lightly and they brought him <to be buried> in clothes of flax. So too in the JT, in the last testament of Rebbi, he said: Do not give me too much shrouds and may my coffin be punctured open to the ground. So too is the language of the Rambam: The shrouds were of white flax and were not costly. It is forbidden to bury in shrouds of silk and embroidered clothing, even a prince in Israel, for this is arrogance and wasteful and the ways of the gentiles. (side 20b)

 

Rabban Gamliel the Great was the son of R. Judah the Prince, who was Our holy master. We have already gone at length above (side 52b) about him and his modesty. This eldest son filled his place and was the last of the tanaim. Every time that Rav Safra learned from "one of the house of Rebbi" it refers to Rabban Gamliel , the son of R. Judah the Prince.

 

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Gardiyim. In Eduyoth: Two weaver <gardiyim> that came from the dung gate testified about three log of drawn water, that disqualify a ritual bath, in the name of Shemaiah and Avtalion. The sages accepted their words above those of Hillel and Shammai. These sages did not give their names, but it comes to teach us that the crown of Torah is above them all. For they lived in the lowliest place in Jerusalem, the Dung gate, and they were of a lowly profession, weaving – that we do not give rulership or kingship to one of that profession. So too wrote Rashi in the first chapter of Sabbath, as is written in Kidushin, but at the end of Kidushin it does not say the name "weaver" and perhaps it has the name "Gardei." In the Tosefta of Eduyoth: There is no profession as lowly as weaving, and it does not mention kingship there. The law is according to them in all of Israel and they are mentioned in the Mishna and were not counted.

Thus letter Gimel is completed with three names of princes who shared the same name: Rabban Gamliel the Elder, Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh , his grandson, and Rabban Gamliel the son of the grandson of Rabban Gamliel, the brother-in-law of R. Eliezer, and he was the son of Our saintly master.

 

Letter Dalet

 

 

R. Dosa b. Hyrkanos lived a long time, all the days of the Second Tample until the days of Rabban Gamliel and R. Akiba after the Destruction. In the first chapter of Yevamoth he testified that at this bonfire, Haggai the prophet sat, and his eyes were dimmed. This is the opinion of Rambam but in chapter hazorek get: R. Judah b. Ilayei said: The earlier generations refer to the House of Shammai and the later generations refers to R. Dosa who said that a captive woman may eat terumah. Also in the third chapter of Eduyoth it says that this was R. Dosa b. Hyrkanos. And if he lived before the House of Shammai, how can he be called "later?" Also, he said in Yevamoth that he had an first-born brother "Satan" who was of the disciples of the House of Shammai, and it seems to be impossible that he had another brother who also lived over 400 years. Perhaps what he testified about the bonfire where Haggai sat, was a tradition he had, or perhaps Haggai lived a long time, around 200 years. And also R. Dosa lived a long time for he was very ol. His brother’s name was Jonathan, firstborn of Satan, i.e. the sharpest of the disciples of the House of Shammai. R. Dosa was by the testimony about the new moon, in the case of R. Joshua and Rabban Gamliel. (side 11a)

 

Dostai, man of Kfar Dmai. There is a version: man of Kfar Yatma. He was of the disciples of the House of Shammai and lived at his time as it says in the second chapter of Orlah.

 

R. Dostai son of R. Jannaeus. He was the disciple of R. Meir, as he quotes in Avoth in the name of R. Meir. At the end of the first chapter of Gitin, he is a friend of R. Jose, man of Kfar. This R. Jose was at the time of R. Hananiah, nephew of R. Joshua, as it says at the end of Berachoth and in the fifth chapter of Eruvin

 

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at the end of chapter hamapelet: He spoke: Why does a man chase after a woman… If so, this is not the R. Jannaeus, teacher of R. Johanan after Rebbi, since his son R. Dostai was a tana and in the fifth chapter of Eruvin, he gives a ruling. In the first chapter of Kidushi: An Italian isar – R. Dostai son of R. Jannaeus and R. Oshaya evaluated… At the end of the first chapter of Gitin: that they went to Nehardea – him and R. Jose ben Kefar to R. Ahai bar Josiah. In the "Yelamdenu" of parashat "vayeshev yaakov,": that Senacherib sent the Kutiyim to Samaria to R. Dostai bar Jannaeus to learn Torah. You should not think that this R. Dostai was the disciple of R. Meir for there are a thousand years between them. In the Baraitha: R. Dostai bar Judah in the name of R. Simeon and also Aba Jose ben Dostai in chapter arba mitot in Sanhedrin and in chapter ein dorshin: Rebbi said in the name of Aba Jose ben Dostai, and perhaps he is his son.

Letter Heh

 

 

Ben Hey Hey says. I have heard that he is also "Ben Bag Bag," for they have the same mathematical value, i.e. for "bet" and "gimel" equals five, like the value of "Hey." –five, five: hey, hey. We have already explained (59a) that he is R. Johanan ben Bag Bag who lived at the time of Hillel. I, the writer, have heard from the sages who told me that he was the son of two converts. The Rambam, though, counted them as two people. It seems though, that they lived at the same time for by the Mishna of Ben Bag Bag, Ben Hey Hey is brought. There are also amoraim who are called similarly: Bar Hey Hey said to Hillel… Elijah said to Bar Hey Hey. Or perhaps he was a tana who lived at the time of Hillel in the first chapter of Hagigah.

Hillel the Elder, prince of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin from his father’s side. In the sixteenth chapter of tractate Sofrim: Hillel did not leavean wisdom unlearned, even all the languages, even the speech of the mountains and the valleys and the hills, the speech of the trees and the grass, even the speech of the beasts and the animals, the speech of the demons, parables of washers and parables of wolves – he learned them all. Why so much? Because "the purpose of God shall prosper in his hand," (Isaiah 53:10) and it says "God was well-pleased for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify Torah and make it glorious." (Isaiah 42:21)

He was the head of the family of princes and was from a descendant of Shefatiah ben Abital, David’s wife, from his mother’s side. So too R. Doran brought from the JT, and I also found it in the Berishit Rabbah in parasha "Vayizkor Elokim et Noah." This is surprising. Since one’s mother’s family is not called one’s family, why did R. Hiya, who was from the family of Shama, brother of David, not as well-born as Rebbi, that his daughter, engaged to Rebbi’s son died?

Hillel lived 120 years, as we have said, and when he was forty he moved to Israel from Babylonia. About him the phrase, "All those who fulfill the Torah in poverty, will end up fulfilling it in wealth," came true. In the second chapter of Beizah, Rashi explained that from the great modesty of Hillel, he would change his words for the sake of peace. At the end of Shvuoth, it says that Hillel established the pruzbul for the Sabbatical year which is on a rabbinic level in this exile, for he knew by prophecy that the Temple would be destroyed. So too explained our master Tam.

In Yoma, chapter hamemuneh, all his dealings with Shmayah and Avtalyon <are found>, and in Pesahim, chapter tamid nishchat, the issue of his princehood. In Sotah, chapter hanotel, it says that he had a brother named Shevna. We have mentioned that every "Shevna" is really "Shechna," spelled with a "kaf" in the first chapter of Sabbath, as by Shevna, the wise man of Jerusalem, to keep from being remembered by the name of the evil Shevna, who was in charge of the Temple. However, there he answers that there was also Shevna the scribe who was righteous, and they can be remembered by his name. This Shevna was wealthy, but did not help his brother Hillel, as Azariah did for Simeon, brother of Azariah. He was not given a portion with Hillel because he despised him.

A heavenly voice called out about Hillel that he was worthy of having the Divine presence rest upon him, and he was also called a disciple of Ezra. At the end of the first chapter of Sukah: Reish Lakish said that when the Torah was forgotten from Israel, Ezra came and established it. When it was forgotten again, Hillel the Babylonian came and established it. When it was forgotten again, R. Hiya and his sons came and established it. From this saying is a response to the gentiles who say that the whole Torah was forgotten and that Ezra wrote what he wished. For you already know that in the days of Ezra, before he came to Israel, the elders who had seen the First Temple came to Israel with more than half of the nation that would come to Israel. With them were Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Nehemiah, who knew Torah. Ezra did not come to Israel until after the building of the Second Temple, and he found all these there. However, they did not teach it as much, nor strengthen its learners as much as Ezra did, who was a quick scribe. Also some of the laws of which they were unsure, He did not know from the Written Torah, but from Baruch ben Neriyah, from whom he had learned. He devoted himself more than all the 120 elders, the men of the Great Assembly, to causing Israel to keep the Torah. This is the point.

So too, when R. Hiya and his sons came to Israel and established it again. Was there not Our holy master who had learned from his father and from his teachers, the five disciples of R. Akiba, and many more unbelievable sages? Rather, R. Hiya devoted himself more, as it says in chapter hasocher, that he would teach the children Mishnayot and the Torah, and would write it for them, as they said: Great are the deeds of R. Hiya.

So too by Hillel, there were great sages there, the sons of Bethyrah, but they had forgotten one ruling. Also there were R. Dosa b. Hyrkanos, Shammai and the disciples of Shmaya and Avtalyon. From the days of Moses until Hillel, there were 600 orders of Mishna, and from then they instituted six orders. (side 18a)

 

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R. Hyrkanos (above 16a) This is the son of R. Eliezer b. Hykanos, as is mentioned in Sanhedrin. His grandfather and father were also great sages as we have said. In chapter havit: R. Y. said: A story of Hyrkanos, son of R. Eliezer b. Hyrkanos who went out with a kerchief on his shoulder on the Sabbath, but with a string wrapped around his finger. Also in the Tosefta, in chapter five of Sabbath, and in the Mishna in the book of mitzvot chalitza, when we arrive there, God willing, to R. Joshua b. Hyrkanos, we will explain more.

 

In letter "vav," there is no sage, except in the Baraitha Verdimos, son of R. Jose. He is R. Menahem, son of R. Jose, and was called that because he face was as beautiful as a rose <vered>, in chapter kol kitvei.

 

Letter Zayin

 

 

Ben Zoma. He is R. Simeon ben Zoma, the orator who entered the orchard, and because there are trees in an orchard, they said of Elisha after he srayed that he "chopped down the plantings." He was injured, i.e. he delved into the wisdom if the divine more than his ability and went insane. He said the prohibition of castration if a male is even for a dog, and also in the matter of a virgin who is pregnant… He saw Ichlusa and gave praise to God, the Blessed. We have already said (side 40b) that when they are not yet ordained and are still youths, they are called by the names of their fathers, like Ben Bethyrah, who was not ordained, and after he was ordained was R. Joshua b. Bethyrah, as in the first chapter of Taaniyoth. Ben Zoma was very wealthy and all would come to him for business. Rashi in Berachoth, chapter haroeh.

 

Ben Zakai. In the Mishna he is Rabban Johanan ben Zakai. We have already gone at length about him (side 19b) – that he was a priest and when he was a disciple before his teacher, Hillel, he was called this, and also after his death. In chapter bameh madlikin: They said to R. Simeon: Here Ben Zakai cut down the legumes of terumah. In the Baraitha in chapter bnei hair: His disciples asked R. Zakai: Why have you lived so long? It seems that he was the father of R. Johanan, and his son, R. Johanan, also lived long, 120 years. Similarly, R. Joshua b. Karcha lived long like his father, R. Akiba, for the father bequethed his nature of years to his righteous son. (side 31b).

 

R. Zachariah ben HaKatzav, the priest. It seems that he lived at the time of the Destruction, from the second chapter of Ketuboth: R. Zachariah b. HaKatzav said: This Place! Her hand did not leave my hand from the time that the gentiles entered Jerusalem until we left. They said to him: A man can not testify about himself… Rav Zemach Gaon explained that because he saw the Destruction, he swore "This Place!," from the language of "You are a dwelling place…" (Psalms 90:1) This is not true though, for Bava ben Buta at the end of Keritut swore like that , and so too Rabban Gamliel at the beginning of Keritut, and this is the custom of Israel.

It seems that he was the friend of R. Jose the priest for both of them testified. In the fifth chapter of Sotah: R. Joshua said: This is how R. Zachariah b. HaKatzav would explain - "she is impure" two times, to both her husband and her adulterer, she is forbidden. I have already expressed surprise why did the Rabbi not bring these two priests, these two sons of Yitzhar and forgot to he whose name is a good memory? You should not think that the witnesses there in Eduyoth all were there on the day that they appointed R. Eleazar b. Azariah, for it says that R. Jose b. Joezer testified, and he lived more than three hundred years earlier. Also Akavia ben Mahalalel lived before the Destruction of the Temple. May God rebuild it speedily in our days. See above side 29a and 31a

 

Zechariah ben Kavutal the priest. In Yoma, he would read on the eve of the Day of Atonement from the Book of Daniel to the high priest. He lived close to the time of the Destruction, and Rav reads "Kavutal" with a "bet" and not with a "pey," and so too his great son. In chapter yotzei dofen he says in the name of R. Eliezer. At the end of Berachoth, they sent him and R. Jose ben Kipar after R. Haninah, nephew of R. Joshua, who would add a leap month to the year , outside the land of Israel. You already know of the wisdom of R. Haninah above (side 32b): "Justice, Justice though shalt pursue – go after R. Haninah, nephew of R. Joshua to the exile. He also answered them that they did not leave one like him in the land of Israel when they left. Even so these are great sages, i.e. the grandson of R. Zachariah and R. Jose ben Kipar. He said to them that they were the descendants of high priests and sages. In chapter hamapelet: at the time of Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua, his uncle, he was old, R. Haninah, his nephew, and R. Haninah had a married son who then gave rulings.. (see above side 29a, 31a)

 

Letter Het

 

 

Honi Hameagel. We have already explained above (15b) his wisdom and piety. In the entry "mem kaba megelona," Rav Zemach Gaon explained: a city named Meglo, and in it lived Honi Hameagel, may his memory be for good. In the third chapter of Taaniyot, it states that he lived at the time of Simeon ben Shetah, and also there about his sleep of seventy years, like the life of a man and the exile of Babylonia. Above, I have gone at length about this, if it is possible and there it says that he was a great sage in Torah. Also his family: his grandson Aba Hilkiyah

<pg. 64>

and his daughter Hanan the hidden – all of them were learned in miracles and sage during the Second Temple.

 

Rabbi Hutzpit the Translator, at the end of tractate Sheviit. We have spoken of him above (48a), that he lived at the time of Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Joshua, and that he was a translator, i.e. he explained to the nation what the prince would say to him. He was of the ten martyrs, killed by the government at the end of Hulin, even though there is a version there of R. Judah the baker, who saw Elisha the "other" in the garbage. He was the translator when they appointed R. Eleazar b. Azariah.

 

Rabbi Halafta, father of R. Jose who was at the building of the Temple after its destruction. R. Haninah b. Teradyon was his friend in the second chapter of Taaniyoth, in the Mishna and the Gemara, too. It says there that he lived in Zippori. At the end of Rosh Hashanah: R. Halafta in Zippori and R. Haninah b. Teradyon in Sichni. This is to disagree with the one who said in Avoth that R. Halafta, man of Kfar Hananiah was the father of R. Jose, for that is an error, for his father lived at the time of the Temple, as it says in chapter kol kitvei. The man of Kfar Hananiah lived in the fourth generation after the Destruction, a disciple of R. Meir. Also, this one was a man of Zippori, and the other was a man of Kfar Hananiah, and R. Halafta, father of R. Jose lived in Zippori, as it says in the second chapter of Taaniyot. So too, Rashi explained: father of R. Jose in Zippori, and R. Haninah b. Teradyon in Sichni. If so these are two separate men, and even the Rambam forgot this and only mentioned one of them.

In chapter R. Eliezer d’oreg: It was learned: R. Simeon b. Eleazar from R. Halafta bar Agra that said from R. Johanan b. Nuri. In the Tosefta of the first chapter of Kilayim, R. Simeon b. Gamliel said in the name of R. Judah b. Agra, man of Kfar Akko, but in chapter hazorea, R. Judah b. Agra in the name of R. Meir. Perhaps they were brothers, disciples of R. Meir. He is also called Aba Halaft the Early, father of just R. Jose, and from R. Simeon b. Halafta and his grandsons, R. Jose, five cedars in Israel, as we have mentioned above. The friends of Aba Halafta, father of R. Jose were Eleazar ben Mathias and Hananiah ben Hachinai, and he is also called Aba Halafta in chapter ve’elu ne’emarin. (side 46a)

 

Rabbi Halafta, man of Kfar Hananiah. At the end of chapter hasocher et hapoalim: It was learned: Aba Halafta, man of Kfar Hananiah said in the name of R. Meir. It seems to me that Kfar Hananiah is Kfar Kanah, as it seems in the ninth chapter of Sheviit, for there is the beginning of the lower Galilee. It seems that he was a disciple of R. Meir, and he is mentioned in the third chapter of Avoth. But Aba Halafta, friend of R. Haninah b. Teradyon, who was the father of R. Jose, friend of R. Meir, is not mentioned in the Mishna, except for in the third chapter of Taaniyoth, he and R. Haninah b. Teradyon his friend in the story of one who came before the ark… as is written in the Mishna. The father of R. Jose lived in Zippori and lived at the time of the Temple, for he saw Rabban Gamliel the Elder, as is written in chapter kol kitvei, as is written above by Rabban Gamliel. He also lived after the Destruction, at the time of Rabban Gamliel of Yavne, grandfather of Rebbi. Rabbi Halafta, father of R. Jose also learned under R. Johanan b. Nuri, or R. Johanan b. Nuri learned under him, he who lived at the time of Rabban Gamliel and R. Joshua by the sanctification of the new moon. It is unclear in the Talmud who learned under whom. So too we have seen by R. Eliezer bar R. Zaddok, who was early, saying in the name of R. Meir.

 

R. Haninah ben Gamliel, was the son of Rabban Gamliel of Yavne. At the end of Moed Katan, <it says> that he would give over tradition and Aggada in a house of mourning. In the first chapter of Gitin, that he placed excessive fear on his household, and his servants meant to feed him from the limb of a live animal, if not for the fact that God does not allow a mishap to befall the righteous, to eat something impermissible to all, for this is a disgusting thing, as Tosafoth said. But in another matter we have found: "No evil <aven> shall happen to the just," (Proverbs 12:21) "aven" in gematriya is food ("ochel"). In the Tosefta: R. Judah son of Rabban Gamliel said in the name of R. Haninah ben Gamliel. It seems that he was his brother and that he was a great sage. In the Sifra and in the Tosefta, first chapter of Yoma: " and the high priest of his brothers" (Leviticus 21:10) – Phinehas, man of the capital was chosen to be the high priest. The treasurers and counselors went after him and found him mining stones, and they fill up the mine with golden dinars. R. Haninah b. Gamliel said: Was he a miner? Was he not our friend? Rather he was a plowman, as it says that twelve pairs were before him. It seems to me that if so, R. Haninah lived at the time of the Temple, and he lived a long time, for we have also seen that he lived at the time of R. Meir and R. Simeon, and in chapter haomer in Kidushin, he argued with R. Meir. But afterwards I found in the first chapter of Niddah: But he was much older than him? Rashi explains that R. Eleazar lived in the days of Rabban Gamliel, son of R. Simeon ben Gamliel who was killed with the ten martyrs killed by the government, and that he was the son of his sister, as it says in hazahav. R. Haninah was the son of this Rabban Gamliel. Tosafoth aske: But he was much older than him – R. Eliezer than R. Haninah. Rashi explained that R. Haninah was the son of Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh, and so it seems, for in chapter hamapelet: R. Haninah sais: The words of R. Meir are logical by an animal and a beast. If you will say: But in Torat Kohanim, by Phinehas the miner who was chosen to be high priest…and R. Haninah ben Gamliel said : But our father-in-law was the high priest! If Rabban Gamliel of Yavne was his father, how could he have had a father-in-law who was a high priest, for he lived after the Destruction! One can say that this does not refer to his actual father-in-law, but the father-in-law of his fathers, and this is logical, for he did not say "my father-in-law," but "our father-in-law."

 

Hananiah, man of Ono. (above 40b) In chapter haomer

 

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in Gitin, that he brought up a law from the jailhouse, and disagreed with R. Meir and R. Jose. He was of the five who judged before the sages in chapter two of Maaser Sheni and in other places, and they are: Ben Azai, Ben Zoma, Ben Nanas, Hanan and Hananiah, man of Ono. But in the first chapter of Sanhedrin, there is a version: Simeon the Teimani, Hanan the Egyptian and Hananiah ben Hachinai, and not, man of Ono, and not Ben Nanas, Ben Azai or Ben Zoma.

 

Rabbi Haninah ben Antigonus the priest. (above 36a) In the Tosefta it says: Haninah b. Anitgonus said: I remembers those who used to play the flute. In Bechoroth, chapter ad kamah, that R. Judah and R. Jose were unsure about something in the laws of purity. The Rabbis sent to the son of R. Haninah ben Antigonus. They said to him: Look into it. They found him sitting and guarding the pure items. The Rabbis gave him sonething of theirs, and he went to look at it. They came and said to R. Judah. He said: This one’s father ridiculed sages and even he ridicules sages. R. Jose said: The honor of the Elder should stay in its place. For from the days of the Destruction of the Temple, the priests have held a stringency for themselves, that they do not give it over to anyone. Rashi explained: He said this in his anger, and it was not true. It was in honor of the father and son to act in this stringency. R. Haninah b. Antigonus was a priest, and it seems in the Sifra and the Talmud that he lived in the time of R. Akiba and R. Ishmael. He also says in tractate Niddah, in chapter hamapelet: R. Meir’s words seem true.

 

R. Haninah ben Dosa, who was well-versed in miracles, for every day a heavenly voice would cry out saying: The whole world is fed for the good of Haninah, my son, and Haninah, my son is satisfied with a kav of carobs from the Sabbath eve to the Sabbath eve. The whole world is fed in their merit and they were not fed in their merit. Just like R. Hiya, that staleness left the world and evil winds, but in his flak was a moldy worm, as it says in chapter kisui hadam. R. Haninah already asked for sustenance and was given a leg of gold, but his wife, who was well-versed in miracles like him, did not want it. In all there this there are lofty secrets of the wisdom of God, and most of these matters are in Taaniyot. In Berachoth, that he wold pray for the ill, and that he killed the viper, when a well opened up beneath it, as it says in chapter ein omdin in the JT, and in the Aruch, entry havarvar, at length. Also in the beginning of "Midrash Hazit," a wondrous statement of R. Haninah b. Dosa. He learned Torah with Rabban Johanan ben Zakai, as it says in Berachoth, and he also saw the Destruction and was in the times of Rabban Gamliel. (side 19b).

 

Hanamel the Egyptian, a high priest during the Second Temple who sacrificed a red heifer, in the third chapter of Parah. We have already spoken of him (side 19b) by the priests, at his time, and he was before Ishmael ben Pabi.

 

Hanan ben Absalom and Admon, two judges of decrees in the times of the Temple, great sages. Rabban Johanan ben Zakai said: Hanan said well… at the end of Ketuboth. Hanan the Egyptian, his friend was a judge. (side 17a)

 

Hananiah ben Hizkiyah ben Garon. We have already explained his matter before. (18b). He lived at the time of the Temple, and explained the book of Ezekiel, and wrote the "Scroll of Fasts." (Megillath Taanith) In his home, the house of Hillel and the house of Shami decreed eighteen things as it says in the first chapter of Sabbath. He had a wise son and his name was R. Eleazar b. Hananiah, as it says in the Sifrei, parashat Ki Tavo, and the end, and he is remembered well. Also Joshua ben Gamla who married Marta bat Baytos who was a very wealthy widow, and before he married her, she gave to Jannaeus the king a tarkav of dinars, i.e. three kavs, for the word "tarkav" is a contraction of "trei" (two) and "kav" which is three in total, which is a half of a seah of dinars, when three are made from an eifah. This is seen from the first chapter in Keritut, in the matter of the young doves: Rabban Gamliel said: We will not stop until they are for only dinars, and in Bava Batra, chapter get pashut. She gave this money so that her husband would be made a high priest, and this happened. He married her and did good for Israel, for he instituted techers for the children in the first chapter of Bava Batra and he is remembered well. Also in the Mishna, chapter amar lahem hamemuneh, that they were of wood or eshkiroa (a type of wood that we call boso) and he made them of gold, and they used to mention him for praise.

 

Rabbi Haninah ben Hachinai. We have already spoken of him above (36a). He went to learn Torah immediately after he got married and remained there for twelve years, in chapter af al pi. He was a disciple of R. Akiba and a friend of R. Simeon bar Yohai. In chapter four of Kilayim: R. Eliezer ben Jacob said in the name of Haninah b. Hachinai. He spoke before R. Akiba in Hagigah and at the time of the wedding of R. Simeon, he went to learn. In chapter ba siman: R. Simeon said: Haninah ben Hachinai found me in Sidon and said to me: When you get to R. Akiba… He was one of the four wise men of Yavne: Ben Azai, Ben Zoma, Eleazar ben Mathias and R. Haninah ben Hachinai. He was also one of the five who judged before the sages, and he is also found with R. Jose the Galilean in Sanhedrin, chapter arba mitot, and also in the Sifra.

 

Rabbi Haninah, Sgan Hakohanim. They said that he was kille on the 25th of Sivan with R. Simeon b. Gamliel and R. Ishmael, as I have explained by the priests. (side 32a). "Sgan" means second to the high priest. "And the second to the priests" (Kings II 23:4) is translated as "sgan kohanaya." He is the future high priest, like the second to the king and his army chief – thus wrote the Rambam. In the second chapter of Sanhedrin, "sgan" is the appointed one, and also in chapter amar lahem, Rashi explains "the sgan." It seems that according to the Rambam, that he was not appointed to serve under the high priest, but that he was the next in line. This seems to be correct, for on the eve of the Day of Atonement, they would appoint another priest, in case a problem was found with the high priest, this one would serve in his place. If the sgan was ready to serve in place of the high priest, why did they appoint another high priest

 

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on the eve of the Day of Atonement? But at the end of Taaniyot, Rashi explains that the "sgan kohen" was appointed under the high priest to serve under him if he was disqualified. This does not seem to be the case from the words of the Rambam in the Book of Avodah, and perhaps, as a special stringency, on the Day of Atonement they would appoint another high priest. In the JT: There are five laws about the sgan: 1) He stand by the high priest’s right,2) He says to the high priest: Pick up the thigh, 3) By the daily sacrifice, the sgan would pick hold his right and sacrifice it, 4) The sgan would wave the kerchiefs, 5) No one could be appointed high priest unless he had served as sgan. The opinion of Rashi is that of the Rosh, for in the Responsa, principle 13, he wrote that the sgan is one appointed to serve in place of the high priest if he becomes impure, as we say in Nazir, chapter kohen gadol. In terms of impurity, the sgan is preferrable, as we learned: R. Haninah said: Why did they appoint a sgan to the high priest? So that is he has an seminal emission, he can enter and serve in his place. We say in Horiot that the sgan would serve with all eight articles of clothing, and then he is called "The annointed one who passed." If you think that he serves only when the high priest is disqualified and they go in and serve in his place, for "We go up in holiness, and not down," as is proven there, then why by Nadav, who was the sgan, since he never served in place of Aaron, did R. Levi say: They were missing the coat (me’il)? Isn’t the meil one of the garments of the high priest only? Also, this is fine by Nadav, but what of Avihu? But since they sacrificed in the innermost sanctum, which is only for a high priest, Levi said in an Agadic fashion that they transgressed "And it sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy," (Exodus 28:35) which was said by the me’il, as a reminder.

He and his son , R. Simeon son of the Sgan also lived after the Destruction, for in the first chapter of Yoma, this R. Haninah argued with R. Meir and R. Jose. At the end of the first chapter of Yoma, it says that he saw the fire on the altar, crouching like a dog, but not assisting for its strength was nullified, for five things were missing in the Second Temple, and in the First Temple it was like a lion. Also the father of R. Haninah, Sgan HaKohanim was a sage, for they brought a ruling in his name in the ninth chapter of Zevachim, and the law is according to him.

 

Rabbi Hananiah ben Akavya (above 44b). Another verson: ben Akiba. In the beginning of Erchina and in chapter eight of Ketuboth, he and R. Judah were before Rabban Gamliel. Also in the Baraitha in chapter Yud"dalet of Yevamoth. In Sabbath, chapter ein tomnin, with Rebbi and R. Judah and at the end of Moed Katan, when the son of R. Judah died, he was the translator before Rebbi.

 

Rabbi Haninah ben Akashya> he was at the end of tractate Makot, and there is his wondrous statement, that God wished to bring merit to Israel. All the sages have already explained this statement, that it is similar to what R. Jose b. Kisma said to R. Haninah b. Teradyon, that for one commandment done "lishmah," he merits life in the world to come. This statement was also brought at the end of tractate Avoth, but that is not its place, as the Rambam said, but in tractate Makoth. His statement is brought at the end of Avoth for we do not recite the Kadish for Mishna, but for Agada, as it says "Amen, Yehi shmei of Agada." The Rambam also wrote there: This is the custom of Israel, but it has not yet come to hands, when that is said. In three places in the Tosefta, Hananiah b. Akshya comments on the words of R. Akiba, and also in Keritut, on three other great sages:

The first was mentioned above, R. Hananiah, son of R. Jose HaGalili in the fifth chapter of Hulin. Hananiah, the nephew of R. Joshua b. Hananiah, who went out of the land of Israel to Babylonia and to the river P’kod and added leap months there, and with him were R. Isaac and R. Nathan. Rabban Gamliel sent him letters telling him not to add leap months outside of Israel, in the JT. Also Hananiah, nephew of R. Judah, in chapter amar lahem hamemuneh. In chapter hamepelet in Niddah, the law is taught according to Hananiah, nephew of R. Joshua, and R. Jose came and told Rabban Gamliel. Rabban Gamliel sent to R. Joshua: Bring your nephew… and the matter went out on the road, by means of the daughter-in-law of R. Haninah, that he had said it in the name of R. Joshua, and R. Joshua sent to Rabban Gamliel: In my name, Hananiah taught. Abaye said: We learn from this that a young Rabbi who makes a statement, should give the reason, so that it is remembered. He said that One who miscarries in the form of a snake: the mother is impure, since its eyes are round like the eyes of a man.

Letter Tet

 

 

Rabbi Tarphon – the wealthy priest, teacher of R. Jose HaGlili (above 36b) and also of R. Akiba. But in Yevamoth, chapter haisha and in chapter hakotev, we rule according to R. Akiba, for he was a friend of R. Tarphon, and so too writes the Rambam. In the first chapter of Bechoroth: R. Judah Nesiah had a firstborn donkey. He sent it to R. Tarphon. I am surprised about this, for on the day that R. Akiba died, Rebbi was born, and R. Tarphon was earlier than R. Akiba, for he was like his teacher, and thus must have lived many years. Also in chapter six of tractate Semachoth: When R. Simeon b. Jehozadak died, they came and asked R. Tarphon, and he was the teacher of R. Johanan. We have already gone at length about this by the priests.

In chapter ad kamah in Bechoroth: Your donkey is lost, Tarphon! Rashi explains: You lost your donkey, for it must be given to the owner of the cow, in place of the cow. In the Tosafoth at the end of Hagigah <it says> that he ate terumah and in the first chapter of Yevamoth, Rashi explains that he was from the house of Shammai. A proof to the words of Rashi is in the first chapter of Berachoth: He leaned towards the words of the House of Shammai.

 

Letter Yud

 

In this letter and in the latter Shin are most of the names of the sages, and a mnemonic for that is "That I may cause those who love me to inherit substance <’yesh’>" (Proverbs 8:21), or "I have <’yesh’> much." (Genesis 33:9) It is also

 

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the number of the worlds that the righteous inherit, as is mentioned at the end of tractate Uktzin, which was said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi. Even though he was an amora, they brought his sweet statement there. And maybe because he said it before Rebbi and it was written in his name, for R. Joshua b. Levi was older than R. Johanan and R. Johanan read before Rebbi.

 

Rabbi Yedoa the Babylonian. In chapter hasocher et hapoalim, he is the disciple of R. Meir.

 

R. Judah ben Aba. He was the friend of R. Judah the priest, from the first assemblage after the Destruction. I am unsure whether he is R. Judah ben Bava, for it is a similar name in the same time period.

 

R. Judah bar Ilayei. He is the plain "R. Judah," major teacher of R. Eleazar ben Azariah. It is also said of him: A story of a pious man, head of the speakers. A plain Sifra, which is Torat Hakohanim, is him. We have already spoken of him above. (side 44a, 50a) At the end of Rosh Hashanah, we have the version: R. Judah said , and not R. Judah said to him, for he never saw R. Johanan ben Zakai in his life.

 

R. Judah ben Bava the ordainer (above 36b, 44a), without whom the judging of fines would have disappeared from Israel. Ordaining is not done specifically with the hand, as Moses did to Joshua, but even by speech alone - it is enough to say "I ordain you," or "You are ordained." This sage, his one matter was how he ordained five elders, i.e. R. Meir, R. Eleazar b. Shamua, R. Judah , R. Simeon and R .Jose. There are those who say that he ordained R. Nehemiah also and that he ordained R. Judah bar Ilayei, who we have said was pious like him, and never sinned his whole life. Whenever it says "A story of a pious man," it is R. Judah b. Bava or R. Judah bar Ilayei. This R. Judah ben Bava was killed by three hundred arrows in between Usha and Shfaram. This is told at length in the first chapter of Sanhedrin and in Avodah Zarah. That he did not sin is found in Bava Kama in chapter hagozel kama and in Temurah. He was one of the ten martyrs of the governement, and his memory is for the good.

 

R. Judah ben Bethyrah lived in Nisibis in Babylonia and lived at the time of the Temple and after the Destruction. We have already gone well at length about him. (side 17b) In chapter arba mitot in the JT: R. Eliezer and R. Joshua ben Hananiah prayed for one man to have a chold and he merited to produce R. Judah ben Bethyrah. This said: If we had come here only to produce that righteous man, it would have been enough. In chapter nine of Negaim he spoke words and judged before R. Eliezer, who said to R. Judah ben Bethyrah: You are a very wise man. This is also mentioned in chapter eleven.

The Ramban in Torat Ha-adam was unsure if R. Judah ben Bethyrah is R. Judah ben Teima, for they said the same thing. This is not clear to me, for the JT often quotes in the name of a tana that the Babylonian Talmud does not quote. Similarly, in the story of R. Jose the priest whose wife died… In the JT, it says R. Tarphon, as is written in the Book of Commandments. Also in chapter mi shehaya tamei oh biderech rechokah, the Mishna mentions R. Jose who is the son of Halafta, and the Baraitha there mentions R. Jose HaGlili, for both of them were of the same opinion. Maybe from this, the author of Dorot Olam erred when he said that R. Jose the priest, disciple of R. Johanan ben Zakai, was R. Joe Haglile and also just "R. Jose" who was the son of Halafta from Zippori which is in the Galilee. However, R. Jose HaGlili is not R. Jose the priest, nor just "R. Jose."

 

R. Judah the priest, friend of R. Judah ben Aba in chapter six of Eduyoth. He was of the first assemblage after the Destruction. I am unsure if he was the son of R. Johanan ben Zakai the priest, for you already know above (side 21b) that R. Judah was the name of the son of R. Johanan ben Zakai.

 

R. Judah the Prince, the holy, the modest and the fearer of sin. The prince was from the tribe of Judah from his mother’s side, and from his father’s side from the tribe of Benjamin, as is said in Genesis Rabbah, parashat Vayizkor Elokim et Noah. He is the plain "Rebbi" who we have spoken of above, (side 48a) what is necessary for the purpose of this book. He made the Mishna and spread Torah in Israel. About him Daniel said that in the days when them of understanding "fall by sword and by flame," (Daniel 11:33) which refers to the tens martyrs killed by the government, he also said that when they fall "they shall receive a little help." (11:34) This refers to Rebbi, who raised the Torah and did good for Israel as we have said. He is the western candle, the seventh for praise that we have spoken of above, and his memory is for good. At the end of Terumoth, the Rosh writes that most of the sages ate at the table of Rebbi, as it said in chapter keitzad meavrin: The eagles feed their nests, and in the first chapter of Bava Batra, that he opened his treasure houses.

 

R. Judah ben Tabai, friend of R. Simeon ben Shetach of the pairs. Whether he was the head of the court or the prince is unclear. He was very pious as we have mentioned above. (side 15b)

R. Judah ben Teima was already mentioned above. (side 42a). He was of the ten martyrs killed by the government, and that he said of the words of R. Akiba: Be as bold as a leopard… There are some who say that he was not of the ten martyrs, but rather R. Eleazar ben Dama, who is called Ben Dama.

 

R. Joshua ben Bethyrah. (above 17b) He is just "Ben Bethyrah." There were three sons of Bethyrah, and they are all in Eduyoth

 

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and they were from the family of the princes that lived in the time of Hillel. They all saw the Temple and after the Temple, in chapter twelve of Sabbath.

 

R. Joshua ben Hyrkanos. (above 37a) Perhaps he was the younger brother of R. Eliezer ben Hyrkanos, for he was present on the day that they appointed R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and on that day R. Eliezer was in Lydda. He was before R. Joshua in chapter five of Sotah, him and R. Akiba, and R. Joshua called for R. Joshua ben Hyrkanos, disciple of the disciple of R. Johanan ben Zakai, and R. Akiba, because of his honor, was called the disciple of R. Johanan ben Zakai, even though he was his disciple’s disciple.

 

R. Joshua ben Hananiah. (side 25b, 34a) Fortunate is the one who gave birth to him. He have already said in the name of the JT in Yevamoth, the first chapter that when his mother was pregnant, she would go to 24 study halls to ask that they pray for the fetus that he should be wise, and this is "Fortunate is she who gave birth to him." He was the disciple of R. Johanan ben Zakai, and the head of the court of Rabban Gamliel the prince. He was a Levite and sang in the Temple – we have already mentioned all this. In the beginning of Niddah, after the death of R. Eliezer, he kept up the words of R. Eliezer. Also, he said at the end of Gitin: One can not respond to the lion after his death, about R. Eliezer. At the end of Hagigah he said: We are embarrassed by your words, House of Shammai… and he prostrated on the graves of the House of Shammai and said: I was answered by you, House of Shammai. It says that his whole life his face was darkened because of his fasts.

 

R. Joshua ben Levi was one of the amoraim, as Rashi also wrote in chapter kol hayad. However, the Rabbi counted him with the tanaim, for he was at the end of the period of the Mishna. Also in chapter shanu hahamim, which is made up of the Baraitas. Even though I wish to speak of him by the amoraim, we will say here something of him, for he was very wise and pious. At the end of chapter hamadir, there is a story of how he entered the Garden of Eden alive, how he never swore and went back on it, that he was in the Land of Israel with Bar Kapara, and that he stood before Rebbi. He was a Levite, as we say in Hulin, chapter hazeroa, that R. Miyasha, grandson of R. Joshua ben Levi, was a Levite. He was very great in Aggadoth, and we rule according to him, even against R. Johanan, about which I will later go at length. In chapter hagolin, for one man who was eaten by a lion three parsaot from the place of R. Joshua b. Levi, who did not protect him in his merit, Elijah did not speak to him for three days.

 

R. Joshua ben Mathias. (above 22a) he lived at the time of R. Ishmael and explained three things in front of R. Ishmael. If so, he was present at the time they appointed R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and they were three brothers who were tanaim: R. Eleazar ben Mathias of the four wise men of Yavne and R. Johanan ben Mathias in chapter hasocher.

 

Joshua ben Perahiah the prince who fled to Alexandria in Egypt. The teacher of R. Simeon ben Shetah, about whom we have gone at length above. (side 14b) He lived at the time of the Hasmoneans.

 

R. Joshua ben Karcha, the bald, teacher of Rebbi, son of R. Akiba who lived very long, twice as long as Rebbi. He lived long like R. Akiba and sat with R. Simeon ben Gamliel, father of Rebbi. We have already explained his matters above by the generations. (40b) In chapter hashoel, the Tosafoth in the name of our master Tam go at length with strong proofs that R. Akiba was not his father, rather another man whose name was Karcha, and that Karcha was the name of a person, like Korach. He was born long before R. Joshua son of R. Akiba. This seem sto be true for it should say "ben keireiach," the adjective. But Rashi and Rashbam and the author of the Aruch said that he was the son of R. Akiba. In the Baraitha, there is R. Judah ben Karcha.

 

R. Johanan ben Bag Bag is just "Ben Bag Bag." We have already explained him (side 31b) and in letter bet (59b).

 

R. Johanan ben Berokah. (above 41a) He was the friend of R. Eleazar Hisma, who went to receive R. Joshua in Peki’in, in the time of R. Eleazar ben Azariah. He was the faher of R. Ishmael, son of R. Johanan ben Berokah, friend of Rebbi.

 

R. Johanan ben Gudguda the Levite and guard at the Temple. (above 41a) Al his days he ate his normal food with the purity level of holy food, which is even more stringent than eating normal food in purity, as is mentioned in chapter ein dorshin. He was a great sage in numbers and engineering and was in the Temple with R. Joshua ben Hananiah, the singer. He was a friend of R. Eleazar ben Hisma, and Rabban Gamliel appointed them to the study hall so that they would have food. Even though it says in the Sifrei that this happened to R. Johanan ben Nuri, in Horayoth, this seems to be the case. The sons of his daughter or sons of his sister were mutes, but could listen. Rebbi prayed for them and they spoke and knew the whole Torah. Also in the Baraitha: R. Judah ben Gudguda, was the disciple of R. Eliezer.

 

R. Johanan ben Hahoranith. (above 37a, 18b) He lived at the time of the Temple and the elders of the House of Shammai and the elders of the House of Hillel went to visit him in his sukkah. His disciple was R. Eleazar ben Zaddok, as is mentioned in the end of the first chapter of Yevamoth.

 

R. Johanan HaSandlar, friend of R. Meir and R. Judah. In chapter mi shemeto, R. Johanan HaSandlar was the disciple of R. Akiba and would make sandals. R. Akiba ordained him in his youth as we explained. (side 47a)

 

R. Johanan ben Zakai, the priest, who lived for 120 years and was great with the Caeser and asked for Yavne and its wise men and the doctors to heal R. Zaddok. He was a prince in Israel , disciple of Hillel the Elder and Shammai. His son was called R. Judah

 

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and he had five disciples. In chapter osin pasin, is mentioned a Baraitha that was organized in his study hall, similar to the Tosefta of R. Hiya. We have already gone at length about him above. (21b) When he died, the shine of wisdom disappeared.

 

R. Johanan ben Joshua, son of the father-in-law of R. Akiba. In the third chapter of Yadayim, he said like the words of Ben Azai, and this was known at the times of R. Akiba. If so, R. Akiba must have married another woman, for he lived many years and if so, he had at least three wives: daughter of Kalba Savua, the wife of Turnus Rufus, minister of the Greeks, who converted.

 

Johanan, high priest who made many edicts and is mentioned in the prayers – ‘Johanan ben Mattathias.’ He is mentioned thus by the Rambam in chapter six, but in his prayers, he says "Mattathias ben Johanan, the high priest, Hasmonean and his sons… that is to say that Johanan was called the Hasmonean, and if so, he was the father of Mattathias, and this is what it says in the Yesod Olam, like my words.

Also in the first chapter of Megillah: Simeon the Righteous and Mattathias the high priest, Hasmonean and his sons, who stood up for Israel during the times of the Greeks. He was righteous and institued d’mai, for he sent throughout Israel and they were careful with terumah, which is at least one-sixtieth, as it says, "And you shall give the sixth part of an efa of a homer of wheat." (Ezekiel 45:13) A homer, which is a kur, is ten efas. If so, it is one sixtieth. An average amount of terumah is two from one hundred. Since this is punishable by death, they were careful about it, but the first maaser, he did not decree, for one who is cooing to take money from his friend must bring the proof. So too, by the maaser of the poor. But by the maaser of the maaser, which belongs to the priest is like terumah. Thus he commanded everyone to separate one percent, and this is the d’mai for the food which is a doubt whether or not the maaser was taken, even though most of the common people did take maaser. Also, from the second maaser, he did not excuse them, for its owners must eat in Jerusalem and they must separate the second maaser. Also he got rid of the confession about the second maaser, for how can one say "I have done all that you commanded me," if he has not done properly? He also eliminated the sound of the hammer on Hol HaMoed from Jerusalem. The commentators did not bring this up because I seemed to them according to what is said in Moed Katan that it is permissible, if he has nothing to eat. But Johanan that served in the high priesthood, and was very old, and in the end became a Sadducee, was the grandson of Mattathias.

 

Johanan ben Simeon ben Mattathias, who is Hyrkanos the First. He is called Jannaeus. At the end of the section of the tanaim, I will go at length about this, God willing. This is the Johanan the Righteous who sacrificed two red heifers, as is mentioned in chapter three of Parah. He also eliminated the "awakers," who would say "Awaken, why do you sleep?" (Psalms 44:24) He also eliminated the "bruisers," for he instituted the iron rings to pull the bulls down to the ground in order to slaughter them as sacrifices. (13a)

 

Rabbi Johanan ben Mathias. We have already said (side 22a) that there were three brothers. This one is in chapter hasocher in the Mishna, where he said to his son, that even if you make for them a feast like that of Soloman… They all lived at the time of R. Akiba and Ben Azai and Ben Zoma.

 

Rabbi Johanan ben Nuri. (side 38b, 45b) He lived at the time of R. Joshua and R. Eliezer and disagreed with Rabban Gamliel about the sanctification of the new moon. However, after Rabban Gamliel died, R. Joshua tried to nullify his words and this one stood against him and decided laws according to Rabban Gamliel, as is mentioned in chapter bakol mearvin. In chapter seven of Terumoth in the Tosefta, it says that R. Johanan ben Berokah walked to R. Johanan ben Nuri in Beit Shearim. He was also a friend to R. Akiba, before R. Gamliel who was beaten by him, as is says in Arachin.

 

Rabbi Jonathan who is in chapter four of Avoth. In the Avoth DeRabbi Nathan, he is Rabbi Jonathan b. Joseph and also in the Tosefta. There is a version of R. Johanan, but this is certainly a mistake. In chapter hamekashe, it seems that R. Jonathan lived at the time of R. Akiba and Ben Azai. I have already spoken of him (side 5b), that he lived at the time of our master, frien of R. Yoshaya. There is also in a Baraitha, R. Jonathan ben Bethyrah, who the elders of the House of Shammai and the elders of the House of Hillel went up to.

 

R. Jose, man of Durmaskit, disciple of R. Eliezer the Great, who was from Damascus – the translation of Damascus is "Durmaskit." On the day that they appointed R. Eleazar ben Azariah to be the prince, he was there and went to his teacher in Lydda, for he was not there because of the "blessing" with which the sages had "blessed" him, that he was distanced ftom the sages until the day of his death. After his death, R. Joshua permitted him. When this R. Jose walked to Lydda, he told him the story of how they agreed that in Amon and Moab, they should separate the second maaser in the seventh year, and he said that this was a law given to Moses at Sinai, "A secret of God to those who fear Him," (Psalms 25:14) as it says in the Mishna in chapter four of Yadayim.

R. Jose HaGlili, we have already commented on him. (side 47b) R. Eliezer, his son, made the 34 methods for the Torah- "The heart <lev> of a wise man is to his right." The teacher of R. Jose was R. Tarphon, and he was one of the four elders who entered on the day that R. Eliezer died, and they are: R. Eleazar ben Azariah, R. Tarphon and R. Akiba. He had three sons; the notable one is R. Eliezer, his son, in the Agada, R. Haninah and R. Ishmael, sons of R. Jose HaGlili in the Baraitha. In chapter eilu na’arot, our master Asher said that he was the friend of R. Akiba. In Genesis Rabbah, chapter eigteend, it says that R. Jose HaGlili married the daughter of his sister and she would insult him and he divorced her, and she married another man and was poor and R. Jose supported her – "From your flesh, do not disappear." (Isaiah 58:7)

 

R. Jose, son of the Hotef, Efrati. (above 42b) In chapter three of Kilayim:he was a disciple of R. Ishmael, and it says in the JT

 

<pg.70>

that R. Meir read with R. Ishmael at the beginning of the life of R. Ishmael and R. Jose, son of the Hotef, at the end of his life, and he knew the truth better. So too did the author of the Halichot Olam bring in the end of his book.

 

R. Jose, the pious priest, disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakai, who knew the secrets of the chariot. We have already commented about him (side 24b, 35b) We have said that this is not R. Jose HaGlili, as the author of Dorot Olam thought. At the end of Moed Katan, his wife died and he said to her sister in the cemetery: Go and support the children of your sister, i.e. he married her immediately on that day, even though she was a mourner like him, and was not commanded to have children, since he was obligated… but he did not sleep with her until thiry days, a full month. In the JT though, the version states : R. Tarphon and not R. Jose the pious priest as we have said, and both of them were priests. In the first chapter of Sabbath R. Jose the pious priest’s handwriting was not found in the hands of a non-Jew ever. SO too in chapter thirteen of the Tosefta.

 

Jose ben Honi, in the first chapter of Zevahim. Simeon, brother of Azariah argues with him., and if so, he must be from the end of the period of the Temple.

 

Rabbi Jose ben Halukah, an important and wise man, at the time of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua, who is not in the Mishna.

 

Aba Jose Halikofri, man of Tivin. ‘Halikofri’ – The Aruch explains that this is a term for the name of his place, but the Rambam explains that this is his nickname, and Tivin is the name of his place. He was from the House of Hillel, and explained the law according to the House of Hillel : "And when water is placed on seed…" (Leviticus 11:38) - until he intends to place. R. Joshua said this in his name. You already know that "Aba" is a term of respect, like "Rabbi" and more, just like "Aba Shaul." In the Sifrei, he is R. Haninah, man of Tivin. (side 22b)

 

Aba Jose ben Hanan, in chapter two of Middoth. It seems that he was from the time of R. Eliezer ben Jacob Aba Shaul ben Bitnit quotes in his name at the end of chapter makon shenahagu. At the end of chapter five of Yevamoth, he says in the name of R. Meir, Aba Jose ben Hanan, and the Rabbi did not mention it. He said in chapter six of Shekalim in the name of the JT, the name of tanan that said that there were thirteen gates to the Temple, and the Rabbi did not mention that Aba Jose ben Hanan said this in chapter two of Middoth, and that is where the JT learned this from.

 

Rabbi Jose bar Judah, friend of our master, the son of Rabbi Judah bar Ilayei, as is mentioned at the end of the first chapter of Eruvin. In chapter eight of Nedarim: Our master and R. Jose, son of R. Judah… and he commanded Rav three things.

 

Rabbi Jose bar Judah, man of Kfar HaBavli is mentioned in chapter four of Avoth on the words of Elisha ben Avuyah. Now, I do not knowhow to clear this up any more, and I may say that he is the R. Jose bar Judah mentioned above, although the Rambam brought them both. In the Baraitha: R. Jose ben Judah is Jose the Babylonian <HaBavli>, friend of our master, who is also Jose Katonta of the pious from the JT.

 

Jose ben Johanan, man of Jerusalem, friend of Jose b. Joezer the priest. He, though, is not mentioned as a priest, even though when the Rabbi wrote the names of the sages whose reputations were greater than that of their teacher’s, he listed: Jose ben Joezer, Jose ben Johanan, the high priest. It seems to me that that was an error in the books, and it should have said: Jose ben Johanan and also Johanan the high priest, and the copyist skipped from "Johanan" to "Johanan."

You already know there greatness, that it says that the "eshkolot" were nullified, i.e. a man who had it all. From them began the argument in the Mishna, at the end of their days, to lay one’s hands on a sacrifice on a festival or not to lay hands. This was an argument on a Rabbinic issue, but I have tarried in writing it because when I wrotet about Jose ben Joezer the priest and the pious, I continued writing about R. Jose the pious priestand thus I had to write about R. Jose HaGlili.

 

Jose ben Joezer, man of Zeredah, friend of Jose ben Johanan, man of Jerusalem. He was a prince, and a priest and pious, and lived at the beginning of the time of the pairs until the time of Jannaeus the king, at the end of chapter esh nohalin, which is a wonder. He learned from Antigonus and from Simeon the Righteous, as I explained above. (side 14a, 39a) He donated all his possessions to God, for his sons did not act properly, in chapter esh nohalin. That is not the law though, for even towards God, it is forbidden to avoid the standard bequeathment.

 

Rabbi Jose ben Meshulam. (above 23b) In chapter four of Terumoth, he comments on the words of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. It seems that he was very old, and in chapter eilu treifot, he argues with R. Simeon ben Eliezer, disciple of R. Meir about a skull. He testified in the name of his brother Jonathan, who said in the name of R. Eliezer Hisma, at the end of chapter hanizakin and in chapter five of D’mai in the Tosefta. They said about him that he was from the holy community, and lived before our master. It was called the holy community because they would toil in Torah in the winter, and in their work in the summer. Some say that they would divide up the day: One third to prayer, one third to Torah and One third to work. But the early pious ones spent nine hours at prayer. But R. Simeon ben Menasya was not from the holy community, as is seen in chapter ein tzadin b’yom tov, from the words of Rashi and his questions and how he decided the law. But in the end of Sefer Keritut it seems that he was not much older than, but to R. Meir. R. Simeon ben Menasya and his friends quoted the law like R. Meir and they were older, i.e. than R. Meir. According to the JT, this is fine for in the JT, in chapter two of Maaser Sheni it says that R. Simeon ben Menasya and R. Jose ben Meshulam were the holy group. But the proofs from Rashi are strong, for R.

 

<pg. 71>

Simeon ben Mansya lived at the time of our master, and argues with him about a first-born. Also in Avoth, They said that the seven attributes of the righteous that the sages described, all existed in our master and his sons. Also R. Jose ben Meshulam argues with R. Simeon ben Eleazar, disciple of R. Meir, as they said, but according to the Jerulsalem Talmud, these two are the holy group and R. Meir was older than them.

Just R. Jose is the son of Halafta, as in chapter kol kitvei. He was the friend of R. Simeon and R. Judah and from R. Meir and R. Eleazar ben Shamua. In chapter two of Yevamoth: R. Jose said to Elijah… He was very pious and had five wise sons. One of his sons died in his lifetime and his name was R. Halafta. We have already spoken above (side 43a, 46a, 50b) of what is necessary for the direction of the book.

 

Rabbi Jose ben Kisma, (above 32a) live Torah and not silver and gold. He was respected byy the ministers of the king and died very old andwas well honored upon his death. He lived at the time of the Temple and afterwards, and gave a sign for the coming of the Messiah. On the day he died, he said to R. Haninah ben Teradyon: Because of the good deed which you have done with the Purim money that came into your hand, you will receive your portion in the world to come. He said to him: You already know that this nation of Rome, was made ruler from the Heavens, and you should not learn Torah while there still is a decree. He did not listen to him and he said: I am telling you logical things and you tell me: "The heavens will grant mercy." I will be surprised if they do not burn you and the Torah scroll in the fire. And this happened in the days of our master; They caught R. Haninah ben Teradyon.

 

Joseph Katnuta. At the end of Sotah: When Joseph Katnuta died, who was the essence of the pious. Rambam explained that the smallness of the pious includes their roots, because the root and beginnig of something is small. If so, he lived after R. Jose the priest and R. Judah ben Bava and R. Judah bar Ilayei, for they were pious. He is not included in the sages of the Mishna because we have no story of his, nor any exegesis or ruling, but it is good to mention him to remember, and it is a merit for us.

In the JT, chapter hameiniach: that Joseph Katnuta is Joseph the Babylonian is Joseph ben Judah , friend of our master. If so, he was of the Mishna: R. Joseph ben Judah, man of Kfar Bavli. He is also Joseph, man of Hutzal and Isi ben Gur Aryeh and Isi ben Gamliel and Isi ben Mahalalel. What is his name? Isi ben Akaviah is his name, as in chapter arvei pesahim, and thus explained Tosafoth in chapter bnot kutim.

 

Rabbi Jannaeus was an early one and his sons were tanaim: R. Dostai ben Jannaeus and R. Eleazar ben Jannaeus. You should not think that this is R. Jannaeus, teacher of R. Johanan, for he was one of the early amoraim, and this one lived at the time of R. Akiba and R. Meir. In the Talmud, the grandson of the Elder R. Jannaeus came before R. Jannaeus Rabbah – and this R. Jannaeus Rabbah was the teacher of R. Jonathan. In chapter four of Nedarim: The son of the daughter of the Elder R. Jannaeus came before R. Jannaeus Rabbah, and that R. Jannaeus Rabbah was the teacher of R. Johanan.

 

Joezer man of the capital. (above 22a) He was of the disciples of the House of Shammai and said: I asked Rabban Gamliel the Elder, standing in the Eastern Gate, in chapter two of Orlah.

 

Rabbi Jacob. We have already said (side 23a) that he was the son of the daughter of Elisha, the "other." He at all times, grasped the life in the world to come, at the end of Hulin and Kidushin. It seems, thus, that he is the one in Avoth who spoke of this, that is, of the life in the world to come. Some say that he was the father of R. Eliezer ben Jacob, but that is incorrect for we have not found this and it does not say R. Eliezer bar (son of Rabbi) Jacob. I am still unsure if he is R. Jacob of Kfay Hitaya. Also in the Baraitha, he is a great wise man and holy, disciple of R. Akiba and teacher of our master.

 

Rabbi Jacob ben Kedoshai. Another version: ben Korshai. He is mentioned in Horayoth, in the story of R. Simeon ben Gamliel, with R. Meir and R. Nathan and just R. Jacob. He is the teacher of R> Judah the prince, at the end of the first chapter of Gitin.

 

Rabbi Yakim, man of Hadid. At the time of R. Joshua and he is in Eduyoth.

 

Rabbi Yeshvav the scribe in chapter two of Hulin in the Mishna and in Ketuboth, that he is the friend of R. Akiba. Also in other places about the issue of one fifth for charity. In the Tosefta, chapter two of Hulin: R. Yeshvav said to R. Akiba: Do you not remember that R. Joshua taught that anything that was killed during slaughtering is a neveilah and makes things impure when carried – But if before slaughtering, it is a treifah and its slaughtering makes it pure? R. Akiba recanted to agree to the words of R. Yeshvav. Rashi in chapter two of Hulin writes "Yeshvav" (yud, shin, bet, bet) and so too in Rosh Hashanah, by the guard duties. If so, Yeshvav is the name of the fourteenth group of guards. He was of the ten martyrs killed by the government – very wise and he was killed at the time of the recitation of the Shema, when he was saying "and then shall make fringes…" (Numbers 15:38) He was fasting at the time and they threw him to the dogs and he was not eulogized and was not buried and was like Moses, except for the prophecy – He is fortunate. (side 22b)

 

R. Ishmael ben Elisha, the high priest, wise and pious and one who sees him in a dream should expect wisdom. He was of the martyrs of the government and the skinned his skull while he was living because of his beauty. R. Joshua redeemed when he was young in Rome. He would give rulings in Israel, and was a judge who hated bribery and the oppressing of the first shearing, as in Ketuboth. We have already mentioned him (side 19a, 23a, 32a) but he is not one of the counted even though the Rambam brought him in chapter four of his writings, since we have not found him in the Mishna.

 

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R. Ishmael son of R. Johanan ben Berokah. He was the friend of our holy master at the time of Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel, his father, with R. Haninah, son of R. Jose HaGlili. (side 41a, 47b)

 

R. Ishmael ben R. Jose, the beloved friend of our master and his court. He was fat and very heavy, friend of R. Eliezer ben R. Simeon, who was fat and heavy like him. We have already gone at length about this above. (side 26a, 46b) In chapter twelve of Yevamoth, he says: I saw R. Ishmael ben Elisha. This is surprising, even for R. Jose his father. I found there in the Tosafoth that he was the grandson of R. Ishmael ben Elisha, named after his grandfather. In chapter eilu metziot, it says that he acted beyond the letter of the law about "lift them up again." (Deutoronomy 22:4)

 

Rabbi Ishmael bar Nehemiah. You already know that R. Nehemiah was the friend of R. Meir who was ordained by R. Judah ben Bava, according to Rav Aviya. Let us ignore for now the argument whether or not R. Nehemiah was R. Nehorai… This R. Ishmael lived in the generation of our master.

 

Rabbi Ishmael ben Pabi, high priest and pious. When he died, the radiance of the priesthood disappeared, and a heavenly voice called out about him: Let the disciple of Phinehas enter! He was the high priest for ten years, and prepared one red heifer. (side 19b, 24b)

 

Letter Kaf

 

 

You have already seen that there were approximately fifty sages listed under letter yud. Under this letter there is only one, and he is-

 

Ben Kuvri. He is in the first chapter of Shekalim, during the time of R. Johanan ben Zakai in the city of Yavne. "Ben Kuvri" is explained in the Aruch as the name of man who makes sifts. <kevara> In chapter techeleth, there is a version in a Baraitha of: Buchri testified… If so, there are no sages on this side of the balance.

 

Letter Lamed

 

 

Rabbi Levitas, man of Yavne. In chapter four of Avoth, he is a notable man in Yavne, the city of sages – how much more so outside of it! I don’t know even now when he lived. He is in the Chapters of R. Eliezer, chapter 51.

 

Letter Mem

 

 

Rabbi Meir, who is also called Rabbi Miyasha. (above 42b, 49b) He was a descendant of Nero, the great minister of the Caesar, that the Caesar sent to destroy Jerusalem before he sent Vespasian. He asked a child and he said: "And I will place my vengeance on Edom in the hands of my nation, Israel"

(Ezekial 25:14) He said: God wants to redeem the hands of that man. He converted and from him came this pious man, light of the world. His disciple was the light of the world, our holy master. W have already gone at length about him above, and our master saw him from behind, and so too our holy master. <Shin"Shin said: I have already written above what I found in the book "Lives of the Kings" about the matter of the Caesar Nero.> He is also called "others" and the mnemonic for that is "Behind him, a path will be lit" <Aharav, yair netiv> (Job 41:24), about the matter of the Leviathan. He married another woman, other than Beruriah, as is mentioned in the beginning of Hulin. <Shin"Shin said: By the matter of: R. Joshua ben Zaruz testified… about the issue of Beit Shean.> He was R. Meir, even though he is of the third assemblage, <this was> at the time of the first assemblage, when R. Joshua said: Beruriah has spoken well.

<Shin"Shin said Munbaz was a tana in the third chapter of Shevuoth.>

 

Rabbi Miyasha. We have already said (side 43a) that he lived at the time of the later ones during the Second Temple. Nahum the Scribe received his wisdom from him. In the Talmud, they call R. Meir: R. Miyasha, like the sage the I wrote about above.

 

Menahem ben Signai, in chapter six of Eduyoth. It seems that he lived at the time of Rabban Gamliel and R. Johanan Ben Gudguda. In the Tosefta at the end of Eduyoth, it says that they seated R. Menahem ben Signai at the head of the study hall because he testified about laws, and they all were surprised about him…

 

Rabbi Menahem. (above 46b) He is mentioned in Yoma. It seems that he is that son of R. Jose, and was called "Vardimus," as we said in chapter kol kitvei: Vardimus is Menahem. He adds on to the words of R. Jose there. But there are those who disagree with this, for it should have said: R. Menahem, his son. In Megillah, it says that the Mishna is the words of R. Menahem bar Jose "Stimta", which makes it seems like he was a tana. Or the R. Menahem mentioned in Yoma is a different R. Menahem or R. Menahem ben Signai. Therefore we have not mentioned him, and neither has the Rambam. But it seems that he is not R. Menahem ben Signai, for it would have mentioned him with that name, and thus it seems that it is the son of R. Jose. Also in the Tosefta: R. Jose said: My son Menahem says. If you want, you may count him in

 

<pg.73>

the 40 or 106 sages that we are unsure about.

 

Menahem, colleague of Hillel. He went out to work for the king and Shammai entered in his place as head of the court. This Menahem prophesized about Herod, that he would rule, and also prophesized that he would rule for thirty-seven years, and he was given great wealth. (side 17b)

 

Rabbi Mathias ben Heresh. His study hall and court were in Rome. "Justice, Justice you shall pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20) – Go after R. Mathias to Rome. There he found R. Simeon bar Yohai, in Rome. It seems that he was older than him. In the Midrash in the Yalkut on the verse "Joseph is a fruitful bow" (Genesis 49:22), that he did not look at a woman his whole life, and the Satan appeared to him in the image of a woman and R. Mathias blinded his eyes with fire, and God sent Raphael to heal his eyes. We have already said above (side 46a) that he lived in the land of Israel and when he went out of the land, he ripped his clothes, as is in the Sifrei. R. Eliezer the Great was his teacher, as is in Meilah and the end of Yoma: R. Mathias ben Heresh sent to R. Eleazar ben Azariah.

 

Mathias ben Samuel. Another version: Mattathias. At the beginning of chapter three of Yoma and in chapter three of Tamid, he disagrees with the first tana who said that it is enough for the light of the morning to shine, in order to slaughter the daily sacrifice, for it is called "day.’ And he said: Not until the whole Eastern sky is lit more than it is lit in Hebron, and the law is according to him. They mentioned Hebron even though to that side it was also East, in order to remember the merit of the ones buried in Hebron, at the time of the daily sacrifice. I don’t know at which time he lived within the Second Temple period, but it seems that he lived at the end of the Temple. He was is charge of the lotteries, that is, the lots drawn in the Temple, as is mentioned in Yoma, and in chapter five of Shekalim. He was one of the fifteen pious ones who were appointed workers in the Temple, and we do not know if he was a priest, for also Mordecai, who is called Petachiah, was one of them , for he was in charge of the birds. Also the pious R. Nehuniah, digger of pits and wells for those who come up for the Festivals, was one of them. A miracle occurred to his daughter, when she fell into a well and was saved, for she saw a male sheep with an old man, who was Abraham, our forefather, who was then R. Haninah ben Dosa, when this happened to her. But even so, his son died of thirst, as is says: "And it I very tempestuous about him," (Psalms 50:3) as is mentioned in Bava Kama and in Yevamoth.

 

Letter Nun

 

 

Rabbi Nehorai. We have already explained (side 36a) that R. Eleazar ben Arach was called by this name, as is mentioned in Sabbath, chapter havit at the end. Or it is R. Meir, according to the Rambam. But the true explanation is that this is R. Nehemiah. So too Rashi explained in chapter kohen gadol, that we believe that R. Nehorai is R. Nehemiah, and this is the truth. So it seems from the end of Nazir, where he argues with R. Jose, and then at the end of Kidushin, R. Nehorai argues with R. Meir and R. Judah. Also in the beginning of chapter two of Rosh Hashanah, he walks to Usha on Sabbath , when he saw the moon, and this was before the father of our holy master.

 

P 74

Nahum the Writer, i.e. the scribe, disciple of R. Miyasha in the last generation of the Second Temple. In chapter two of Peah, it says that he lived at the times of R. Gamliel the Elder, in the Stone Room, which must have been at least forty years before the Destruction of the Temple, for the Stone Room was cancelled forty years before the Destruction of the Temple. Then they built a shp on the Temple Mount, as is mentioned in chapter hayu bodkin in Sanhedrin. In the Baraira, it says Nahum the Elder and we do not know if it is him, or Nahum the Medean, because just Nahum refers to Nahum the Medean. (side 19a)

 

Nahum the Medean. (above 23b) In chapter hamocher et hasfinah and in chpater two of Sabbath and in chapter five of Nazir it says in the Mishnathat he lived at the time of the Temple and after its Destruction. He permitted the Nazirites who came from the exileand found the Temple destroyed. He said: If you would have known this, you would have vowed… There is someone who says in the Gemara that he was one of the three civil judges in Jerusalem.

 

Rabbi Nehunia ben Elnatan, man of Kfar HaBavli. In chapter six of Eduyoth, he argues with R. Eliezer and with R. Joshua. Another version: R. Nehemiah. At the end of chpater haor veharotev, it says R. Nehunia ben Hakanah about this, and it seems that this is a copyists’ error. In the Baraitha, it quotes R. Nehunia, in the name of R. Nehunia the Great.

 

R. Nehunia ben Gudguda, in chapter seven of Eduyoth. He is the same man a R. Johanan ben Gudguda, for that same testimony was said by him in Gitin, chapter five. Therefore, the Rambam did not list him. And there is no suspicion about the switch of letters here, for "Nehunia" includes "Johanan," as we found in the verse: Yechaniya, Kenayah, Yehoyachin. We have already explained above (side 41a) that he was a Levite and a guard in the Temple.

 

Rabbi Nehuniah ben Hakanah. We have already written above (side 19a) that he lived at the time of the Temple, and he was a disciple of Rabban Johanan ben Zakai, who was asked by R. Akiba: In what merit did you live a long life? He said that he never received gifts, and was never too obstinate. He was generous with his money, for he would leave a perutah with the storekeeper. But then the Talmud returns to say in chapter bnei hair: His disciples asked R. Nehunia ben Hakanah: Why did you live a long life? He said that I did not receive honor due to my friend’s shame, and no friend’s curse came to me and I was generous with my money. These two attributes are like the first. Perhaps he did not receive gifts as it says "He who hates gifts, shall live," (Proverbs 15:27) is not to receive honor through the shame of his friend, that they would give him honor and not his friends. He is in chapter four of Berachoth and in chapter three of Avoth, and he was the teacher of R. Ishmael ben Elisha, the high priest.

 

Rabbi Nehemiah, man of Beit Dli. (above 23b) R. Akiba found him when he went to Nehardea to add a leap month. He said to him that he had heard from Rabban Gamliel the Elder that in the time of the Temple, that one witness was acceptable

 

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for testimony about a woman. Then he said to him that R. Judah ben Bava said like him. R. Akiba came and testified about this in his name, and Rabban Gamliel, the grandson of Rabban Gamliel the Elder was glad. He is also mentioned at the time of Rabban Gamliel, the grandfather, as is clear at the end of Yevamoth and in Eduyoth chapter eight, that R. Akiba testified in his name.

 

Rabbi Nehemiah. In chapter five of Terumoth and in chapter three of Maaseroth and in chapter eight of Sabbath and in chapter four of Nedarim, he was a friend of R. Meir. Even though we have said according tot he Rambam that R. Meir was called R. Nehemiah, we have already explained that this is because he was a friend of R. Meir and was ordained by R. Judah ben Bava, as is mentioned in the first chapter of Sanhedrin. Rashi explains there that he is R. Nehorai as we see in Eruvin. <Shin"Shin says: There are two versions in the Talmud. One is the version of the first Talmud that was printed first and there is written the version which misled the Rambam and those who came after him. But in the Talmud that was printed second, it says in these words: R. Meir is not his name, but R. Miyasha is his name, and why was he called R. Meir? For he lit up…R. Nehorai was not his name, but R. Meir was his name, and why was he called R. Nehorai? For he would illuminate. And some say that his name was R. Eleazar ben Arach. This is the explanation: There were two great sages in the study hall, and each one had a nickname related to light. One’s name was R. Miyasha, and he was called R. Meir. The other’s name was R. Nehemiah and he was called R. Nehorai. The one that was R. Eleazar ben Arach, who said: Exile yourself to a place of Torah, who came to him and said: Were there hearts deaf? R. Meir and R. Nehorai were the same thing, for "Meir" is from the root of light and he had light <nehora> with him. Now understand.> In the explanation to Avoth, he explained that R. Nehorai is R. Eleazar ben Arach, and he is mentioned as our holy master and Nehemiah in chapter eilu hanehenakim. An anonymous Mishna is R. Meir, and an anonymous Tosefta is R. Nehemiah, and they are all according to R. Akiba, for they were his disciples.

 

Nikanor lived at the time of the Second Temple. I am surprised at the Rav: Why did he not mention him among men of famous deeds? At the beginning of Sabbath he mentions Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon in whose chamber the sages of the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel came. Abba Saul ben Bitnit is mentioned at the end of Sabbath. This Nikanor is mentioned in the Mishna many times. He was one of the pious, and not a pious native. He is mentioned in chapter one of Middoth and in chapter two. There was one eastern gate of the courtyard <of the Temple> and this was the Gate of Nikanor. It had two smaller openings, to the right and to the left. It (see chapter six of Shekalim), was aligned with the Holy of Holies due West, where the Divine presence was. A person should not treat lightly the Gate of Nikanor, which is in the East (end of Berachoth). At the Gate of Nikanor the adulterous women (sotah) were <tried by> drink. It was the purification place for women who just gave birth and for the lepers (first chapter of Sotah). At the end of chapter keitzad tzolin, it says that the gates of Nikanor were not sanctified because the lepers would stand there and would put their hands inside. In chapter three of Yoma and in the Tosefta in chapter two: Miracles occurred to gates of Nikanor, and he is mentioned for praise, and if so, it is appropriate to mention him. The explanation says that Nikanor was a pious man who went to Alexandria of Egypt and made two doors of bronze there and made them of very high quality. It was his thought to put them up in the courtyard <of the Temple> and he brought them to the sea. When there was a storm at sea for the sailors, they threw one of the doors into the sea to make their work and the boat lighter. They wanted to throw the second and when he saw this, he tied himself to the door and said to them: If you want to throw this door, you can not throw it without me. Then the sea calmed from its anger. When he disembarked in Acre, he was upset about the door that sunk and God appeased him and the sea threw out the other door that had sunk to the exact spot where the pious man disembarked. Some say that a big fish threw it up and this is the miracle that was done with his doors. They put them up on the Eastern wall, opposite the Temple. In the second chapter of Middoth: All the doors were of gold except for the doors of Nikanor, because of the miracles done to them, and some say they polished them with gold.

In the book of Joseph ben Guryon, he writes that the Gate of Nikanor was also called his because of the miracle that Nikanor, prince of the Greeks was killed there in the days of the Hasmoneans, and this seems so from the end of the second chapter of Taaniyot.

Also on the Temple Mount, there was an Eastern gate upon which was drawn Shushan the capital. According to the Rambam, this was so that they would have the fear of the king of Persia on them. But this was only for a short time, for thirty-four years, the Kingdom of Shushan and Persia, and why was it there all the days of the Second Temple? There are those who explain that the exiled did this to remember the miracle of Purim which occurred in Shushan, and that is a good explanation. By this gate to the Temple Mount, the high priest would see them burning the red cow, for the Mount of Olives is to the East of Jerusalem, and there they burned the cow. According to R. Meir, the high priest would burn the cow, but the law is not according to him. Also, the fourth-year vines must come to Jerusalem from a one-day’s walk in all directions: Eilat from the South, Akrava from the North, Lydda from the West and the Jordan from the East. In chapter five of Maaser Sheni.

 

Nittai the Arbelite (above 14b). The colleague of Joshua ben Perahiah; he was the head of the court and one of the pairs. Arbel is the name of a place like "Shod Shalman, Beit Arbel," (Hosea 10:14) which is in Samaria. Some say that it is the name of a place near Nineveh which is called that, and his name is greater than most. At the end of Hallah, there is Nittai, man of Tekoa, brought halah from Baythor and they did not accept them from him for it is outside the land of Israel. In the JT, it says that he was a great man and it is appropriate to rely on him. They did not accept hallah from him, so it would not be considered an obligation. Also there Ben Atitas (some have: Ben Antinos), Joseph the Priest and Ariston who were all men of note,

 

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and pious and therefore I have mentioned him. Nittai the Arbelite is buried in Arbel, between Zippori and Tiberias.

 

Ben Nanas is at the end of Bava Batra: A case came before Rabbi Ishmael and Ben Nanas said to him etc. R. Ishmael said: one who wants to deal with pecuniary cases, should learn under Simeon ben Nanas, and this happened before he was ordained. In chapter three of Bikkurim R. Simeon ben Nanas argues with R. Akiba. If so he was a colleague of R. Ishmael and R. Akiba, and after he was ordained he was called by his name, R. Simeon. (side 40b)

 

Rabbi Nathan the Babylonian. He was the head of the court, a colleague of R. Meir – "R. Nathan the Judge" who delved to the heart of the judgement. All his forefathers were Exilarchs in Babylonia, and he is sometimes called "Some say" because of the story that we mentioned above. (47a) The mnemonic is ‘And all that he had, he gave <=nathan, in Hebrew>’. Elijah spoke with him. He and our master were <at> the end of the Mishna. He told a woman not to circumcise her third son immediately, and he lived, and they called him "Nathan the Babylonian" in his name.

 

Letter Samech

 

 

Symmachus. Chapter oto v’et bno: Symmachus said in the name of R. Meir, and he was his top disciple. In the first chapter of Eruvin, he could give 48 reasons for anything impure, and 48 reasons for anything pure. He wished to read with R. Judah after the death of R. Meir, but it did not occur (see Kidushin and elsewhere). He was very sharp, like his teacher. Baraitha says, Symmachus ben Joseph said, and we have spoken of him above. (side 24a).

 

Letter Ayin

 

 

Ben Azzai is Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai. He was the disciple/colleague of R. Akiba, and we have already spoken of him. (side 40b) We will speak again by letter Shin in his name.

 

Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, the righteous convert, a descendant of Sisera, whose name was known throughout the world. He served Nahum of Gamzu, for 22 years. We have already explained that "Gamzu" is (a) the name of a place or (b) because he would say "This too <gam zu> is for the good." R. Eliezer was his main teacher, and also R. Joshua. He also learned a little from R. Tarphon, but is called his colleague. The law is according to R. Akiba, in case of disagreement with his teacher R. Eliezer, as is in chapter keitzad mevarchin. He lived 120 years like Moses and Hillel and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. His disciple was Hanan ben Phinehas and R. Joshua Hagarsi, not to mention the five well-known ones: R. Jose and R. Meir etc. He lived at the time of the Temple and after its Destruction for fifty years and no book could tell all about him. We have already mentioned above (side 36b) a little about him. He was one of the Ten Martyrs, and he was the most important one, as it says "Akiba and his colleagues." He died while accepting the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven, at ehad like Jacob with his sons. At the end of Moed Katan, it speaks of how his son died, and all of Israel eulogized for him. In tractate Semachoth, it says that his <son> name was Simeon and he was very wise. On the day that R. Akiba died, our master was born, as it says in Midrash Samuel and in Kidushin.

 

Akaviah ben Mehalalel, lived at the time of Hillel, as we said (side 17a). R. Judah ben Ilai, faithful of spirit, keeper of secrets testified about him that The Temple court was never closed on the Eve of Passover in the face of a man of Israel of such wisdom and fear of sin as Akaviah. This is also shown in Eduyoth. They told him to recant and promised to make him the head of the court in Israel. He said in his piousness that he would not be evil before God for one moment, that they should say that he recanted to receive power. In tractate Avoth, he taught us modesty and lowliness. At the time of his death, he commanded his son to submit to the logic of the sages and not to his father’s opinion. He gave an explanation why he did not do so in three rulings, for he had heard them from the majority, like the sages, but his son had only heard them from him. Then his son told him to command him to submit to the sages, but he did not want to. He said to him: Your deeds will bring you closer, and your deeds will bring you farther. Since we covered the story of what had happened to him with the female convert that was given the similar drink, R. Judah bar Ilai the Pious, it is enough for us.



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