The Cutheans were delivered into his
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Midrash Rabbah asks, ‘why didn’t they partake
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 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
Antigonus of Soko received
Jose b. Joezer of Zeredah and Joseph b. Johanan of Jerusalem received
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
We see that he
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
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
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
At that time there was Johanan the High Priest, the father of Mattathias, who laid down many regulations, and ordained two
In the year 126 after the Second Temple was built there was Abrakus
Joshua ben Perahiah and Nittai the Arbelite and Mattathias ben Johanan received
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.
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
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
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
Then there was the well-known and great astronomer Abrakos
[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
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
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,
This Hyrcanus was the last of the Hasmonean dynasty, as Herod son of Antimatter, his
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 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
Shemaiah and Avtalion received
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
Thus we find in the Mishna in chapter three of Horayoth, ‘a Prince is
Rabbi Hiyya told him ‘Your rival is in Babylon’. The Exilarch was then one named Rav Huna, and he
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
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 <> received
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
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
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
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
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
Within two seven-years’
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
Hillel and Shammai received
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
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. ‘
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.
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
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
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