SAMUEL HA-KATAN

SAMUEL HA-KATAN (early second century C.E.), tanna. Some explain that the name ha-Katan ("the small") was given him because of his extreme modesty, while others maintain that he was so called because he was only a little inferior to the prophet Samuel (TJ, Sot. 9:13). His modesty and greatness are best illustrated by the following incidents. When the patriarch gamaliel ii called a conference of seven scholars and eight appeared, he asked the outsider to withdraw. Samuel, not wanting the intruder to be embarrassed, rose and said, "I am the one without invitation." Nevertheless, Gamaliel understood that it could not be he and ordered him to sit, praising him in very high terms (Sanh. 11a). On another occasion, when a heavenly voice proclaimed at an assembly of scholars that "there is one here who is worthy that the Ru'aḥ ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) should descend upon him," everyone understood that the reference was to Samuel (ibid.). Samuel is best known for Birkat ha-Minim, which expressed anathema against Judeo-Christians, sectarians, and informers. It was composed at the request of Gamaliel II and incorporated into the daily amidah (Ber. 28b). He explained the verse, "There is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness" (Eccles. 7:15) as meaning that the Creator of the world knows that the pious sometimes sin, therefore God says, "I will take him away in his righteousness before he has the opportunity to err" (Eccles. R. 7:15). Samuel was childless, and at his funeral Gamaliel   II and Eliezer b. Azariah eulogized him: "For Samuel it is proper to cry and mourn. Kings die and leave their crowns to their sons, wealthy men their riches to their children. Samuel died and took his treasures with him" (Sem. 8). It is told that before his death he prophesied the persecutions of Trajan and the killing of the Ten Martyrs (Sanh. 11a). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hyman, Toledot; Bacher, Tann; I. Konovitz, Ma'arekhot Tanna'im, pt. 4 (1969), 115. (Elliott Hillel Medlov)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Samuel ha-Katan — (fl. 1st cent)    Palestinian tanna. His prayer Birkat ha Minim expresses anathema against Judeo Christians, sectarians and informers. It was written at the request of Gamaliel II and was incorporated into the Amidah …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Samuel der Kleine — (Schmuel ha katan; * nach 90) war ein jüdischer Gelehrter des Altertums und gehörte zu den frühen Tannaiten (2. Generation). Er formulierte vor Gamaliel II., aber in dessen Auftrag, die birkat ha minim (Einfügung der Bitte gegen die Verleumder in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • MIRSKY, SAMUEL KALMAN — (1899–1967), rabbinic scholar, religious Zionist, and Hebraist. Born in Russia, Mirsky emigrated as a child with his parents to Palestine, where he received a thorough talmudic education and semikhah at 16. After teaching for some time at various …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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