BEN AZZAI, SIMEON

BEN AZZAI, SIMEON (early second century C.E.), tanna, generally referred to in talmudic literature simply as "Ben Azzai." In three places in the Mishnah (Zev. 1:3, Yad. 3:5, 4:2) he is referred to by his full name: Rabbi Shimon ben Azzai (according to Parma de Rossi 128 and others). Presumably a disciple of joshua b. hananiah , he transmitted rulings in his name (Yoma 2:3), brought a proof in support of R. Joshua's position (Yev 4:13), and interpreted an obscure tradition before   R. Joshua (Par. 1:1). He is found disagreeing with R. Akiva (Shek. 3:1, 4:5) and he transmitted a tradition in the name of R. Joshua in the presence of R. Akiva, who changed his ruling in line with this tradition (Taan 4:4). In the Bavli he is called a "disciple-colleague" of R. Akiva (BB 158b). It was said of him: "With the passing of Ben Azzai, diligent scholars passed from the earth" (Sot. 9:15). According to tradition Ben Azzai was one of the four "who entered the Garden" (pardes). According to Tosefta Ḥag. 2:3, "he caught a glimpse and died," while his companion Beb Zoma went mad as a result of this mystical experience. In the Jerusalem Talmud (Ḥag. 2:1 77b) their roles are reversed. Although he declared that whoever abstains from procreation is regarded as though he had shed blood (Tos. Yev 8:7), he himself never married so as not to be distracted from his studies. When accused of not practicing what he preached, he answered: "What shall I do if my soul yearns for Torah? The world can be perpetuated by others" (ibid.). The Bavli, nevertheless, reports in one place that he married, but separated from his wife (Sot. 4b), and according to another tradition he was betrothed to Akiva's daughter who, as her mother had done, made it a condition of marriage that her husband devote himself to the study of the Torah (Ket. 63a, but cf. S. Friedman, JSIJ, 3 (2004) 1–39, and Tosefot to Ket. 63a). His aphorisms included: "Be quick in carrying out a minor commandment as in the case of a major one, and flee from transgression; for one good deed leads to another good deed and one transgression leads to another transgression; for the reward for a good deed is another good deed and the reward for a transgression is another transgression" (Avot 4:2). While R. Akiva said that the verse "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Lev. 19:18) is a great principle of the Torah, Ben Azzai declared that the verse "This is the book of the generations of man" (Gen. 5:1) embodied an even greater principle, i.e., of the common origin of mankind (Sifra 7:4 and parallel passages). Ben Azzai was not referred to as "rabbi" and was not described as one of the "sages," but rather as one of the "disciples" who argued in the presence of the sages (Sanh. 17b). Because of his reputation, later generations of scholars used to underscore their own scholarship by claiming: "I am like Ben Azzai in the marketplace of Tiberias" (Kid. 20a). Ben Azzai was renowned for his saintliness; it was said: "He who sees Ben Azzai in his dreams may look forward to achieving saintliness" (Ber. 57b). He is numbered by some among the ten martyrs (Lam. R. 2:2, no. 4). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bacher, Tann; Hyman, Toledot, 1206–09. (Zvi Kaplan)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ben Azzai, Simeon — (fl. early 2nd cent)    Palestinian rabbinic scholar. He lived in Tiberias. He was one of the four sages who engaged in esoteric speculation (thereby entering Pardes); according to tradition he was one of the ten martyrs who died during the… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • BEN ZOMA, SIMEON — (second century), tanna. A contemporary of akiva , he appears to have studied under joshua b. hananiah (Naz. 8:1, and cf. Tos. Ḥag. 2:6). The Mishnah says that he was the last of the authoritative biblical expositors (Sot. 9:15). According to… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Simeon ben Azzai — or simply Ben Azzai (Hebrew: שמעון בן עזאי) was a distinguished tanna of the first third of the 2nd century. His full name was Simon ben Azzai, to which sometimes the title Rabbi is prefixed. But, in spite of his great learning, this title did… …   Wikipedia

  • SIMEON HA-TIMNI — (second century C.E.), tanna, a member of the Sanhedrin in the era of jabneh . His name derives from the town of Timnat near Beth Shemesh (Judg. 15:6; cf. Rashi to Beẓah 21a) and has no connection with Yemen (Heb. Teiman). According to R. Naḥman… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ben Assai — Schim on ben Assai, meist nur Ben Assai genannt (hebr. בן עזאי bzw. בן עזיי, Namensvarianten: Simon Ben Asaj, Simeon ben Azzai, Ben Azzai usw. Abkürzung aus Azarja), war ein jüdischer Gelehrter des Altertums und gehörte zur jüngeren Gruppe der so …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Siméon II ben Gamaliel — Shimon ben Gamliel II …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hanina ben Hakinai — Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Hanina ben Hakinai or Hanania ben Hakinai (Hebrew: חנינא בן חכינאי) was a Tanna of the 2nd century; contemporary of Ben Azzai and Simon the Temanite (Tosef., Ber. iv …   Wikipedia

  • Matteya ben Heresh — Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Matteya ben Heresh or Mattithiah (Hebrew: מתיא בן חרש) was a Roman tanna of the 2nd century. He was born in Judea, probably a pupil of R. Ishmael, and certainly a… …   Wikipedia

  • Akabia ben Mahalalel — Akavia redirects here. For the Israeli writer and translator, see Miriam Akavia. Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Akabia ben Mahalalel (Hebrew: עקביא בן מהללאל‎), was a Jewish religious teacher,… …   Wikipedia

  • Haninah ben Teradion — Rabbinical Eras Chazal Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rishonim Acharonim Rabbi Haninah ben Teradion or Hananiah ben Teradion (Hebrew: חנניה בן תרדיון) was a teacher in the third Tannaitic generation (2nd century). He was a contemporary of… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.