Tuesday, March 20, 2007


SINCE the Creation till the Flood 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: 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 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 , ‘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 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 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 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 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 contained 400 chapters. In the chapter Omar lahem hamemune‘ he observed even the rule of holiday cooking, and it is connected to the secret tradition. Why they did not mention another commandment ? 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 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 Creation’. He , may he have peace, taught people , as it is said in Genesis Rabbah, the portion of Melchizedek.
Though in ‘Pesahim’ on Hosea it is said ‘three things are created by The Holy One, blessed be His Name’, there Abraham is not mentioned. Referring to Heaven and Earth, they said ‘Creator of Heaven and Earth’. All that Abraham taught people. The reason for the rule of holiday cooking is well known: it is written, ‘remember Sabbath’. In case of feast, which causes man to forget Sabbath, there comes the rule, so he would choose goodish portion for Sabbath as well. So happened that people forgot 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 the rule of connecting courtyards: he didn’t take from a courtyard of one owner to the public territory. It means that he, , may he have peace, announced that there is One in the world. He read astronomy in cathedra in Egypt in order to prove by movements that there is the first and only Creator in the world Who created them. It is made clear in the Christian chronicles. It is the most important thing in the Torah and miracles.
He , may he have peace, established times for three prayers. The Torah does not explicate whether he established Morning Prayer, while Isaac the Afternoon prayer and Jacob 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 established the prayers, as it is suitable. Abraham observed even the rules 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 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 . 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 Isaac established the Afternoon prayer. So, when people say ‘prayers of Abraham’ they mean ‘after 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, , may he have peace, taught Noah , though he was 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 chaos. Then he started to teach 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 ‘ 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: 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 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 at the age of 36 [Publisher’s note: our forefather Isaac was tied up on the Mount Moriah, and it is well known that is the place where David and Solomon built on the threshing floor of Arawna. That is the place where Abraham built the altar and tied Isaac . That is the place where Noah built 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 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 . 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 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 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 and thus completed 400 years. In the Aramaic translation of Talmud on ‘Leaping across the mountains’ ‘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> 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 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 was year 18 of the cycle, meaning an ordinary 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 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 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 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 ‘his firstborn son Uz’ are explained by R. Jose ben Halafta: he was born as they went <’descended’> to Egypt, and he died as they left Egypt. So he 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 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 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 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 died an easy and sweet death by God’s will in the fortieth year 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 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 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 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 until Jephthah, as Seder Olam counts, Joshua judged 28 years. Seder Olam and Rashi say: 28 years, but does not say explicitly, so it is the tradition.
About the rest 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 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 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 <> system, Othniel ben Kenaz, brother to Caleb, began 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 in AM 2573 and he led Israel for 80 years, which were completed in AM 2653. Shamgar one year. Deborah began in AM 2654 and she led Israel for 40 years. Gideon began 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 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 , 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 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 entered the Land. But R. Abraham Ibn Ezra explicated in his commentary to Ruth, that the old men Salmon, Boaz, Obed and Jesse were alive at David’s birth. And the Gentile Sages explicated: there were some generations between them. It appears they got 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 received from Samuel and his court – and he was the sixth recipient of following Moses, Joshua, Phinehas, Eli, Samuel David. David was taught by Mephibosheth the son of Saul, (see in the beginning of Berachoth), and Ahitophel as well. But main teacher 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 would teach reclining on cushions and carpets, as is mentioned in Moed Katan, and he was a relation . 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 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 said etc. It is not said ‘and semi-incest’, as perhaps he ruled on it after the Divine voice spoke.
The 7th to receive 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 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 from Ahiah the Shilonite, and he was the 8th to receive . 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 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 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 two tribes, and specifically of Benjamin, and the Temple was on their territory. He also said himself: ‘I am one of sons of sons 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 , 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 , a son of Ahab.
It appears Elisha received 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 already departed. We know that because Jehoshaphat, his 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 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 . [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 , as some people think, in AM 2990. But my opinion is that he received 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 , he received from Elisha and his court in 3015. According to my opinion he received 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 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 prophet Hosea received 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 from Hosea.
Isaiah received 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 . 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 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 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 from Hosea in AM 3110, and Isaiah received 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 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. 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 in that order. Joel received 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 Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and Zebulon and Naphtali.
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Nahum the Elkoshite received from Joel in 3240. Habakkuk (he was a son of the Shunammite according to Zohar, beginning of chapter Shalah) received from Nahum in 3254, and he was the 18th to receive . 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 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 her.
Jeremiah the Priest received 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 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 . 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 , and Rashi explicated, ‘duhan’ meaning ‘duhta’ .
Baruch son of Neriah received 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 until his master Baruch died, as it is explained in Megilah. Ezra came 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 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 , 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 of Judah, son of sons of King Jehoiachin.
In Sanhedrin, chapter Mamonoth, it is said that Zerubbabel is Nehemiah 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 , 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: 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 , or the head of a family and not the High Priest. A 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 . 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 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 dating , 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 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. , 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, ‘.
It was he who won the dispute in the seventh year 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’ .
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 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 stood throughout the time of the Temple, for Joshua ben Perahiah fled there, and also in the time of Hillel, and they accepted the authority of the sages of Jerusalem and also brought sacrifices . Furthermore, people 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 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 shall not return until the arrival of ben David.
There are those who claim that Simeon the Righteous were 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 ben Gurion, that the 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 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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