MENAHEM THE ESSENE (first century B.C.E.), a contemporary of herod , to whom prophetic powers were attributed. Josephus relates how Menahem "had once observed Herod, then still a boy, going to his teacher, and greeted him as 'king of the Jews.'" The pious Essene added, however, that Herod would abandon justice and piety and thus bring upon himself the wrath of God. When Herod had reached the height of his power, he sent for Menahem and questioned him about the length of his reign. Menahem succeeded in satisfying the king, albeit with an ambiguous answer, and hence (according to Josephus) Herod continued to hold all Essenes in honor. L. Ginzberg suggests that Menahem is to be identified with the Menahem mentioned in the Mishnah (Ḥag. 2:2). This Menahem was, together with hillel , one of the heads of the Sanhedrin, who left his post (presumably to join the Essenes) and was succeeded by shammai . There is little evidence, however, to support his view. Talmudic discussions of the Mishnah tend to describe the mishnaic Menahem in terms far more fitting to menahem son of judah the Galilean, a patriot leader during the uprising of 66–70 C.E. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jos., Ant., 15:373–8; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 3 (19502), 115; 4 (19502), 148; A. Schalit, Koenig Herodes (1969), 459; L. Ginzberg, On Jewish Law and Lore (1955), 101. (Isaiah Gafni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

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