Sample III


The Order of Tanna Sages

And Now We Will List Them Alphabetically

So That You Will Be Able to Readily Find Them All



Abba Saul stam is mentioned many times in the Mishna and Gemara.

[Abba Saul Bar Nash and some say bar Rosh – in Ch. Hamapeleth,[1] on the inspection of a deformed foetus. I am surprised at the author of such a comprehensive treasury of the Talmud, for not mentioning this name at all. Yavetz. Abba Saul is mentioned. ZHF]

Abtolos (i.e., Abtalion) – We have already said that he was the Head of the Court, a descendent of Sennacherib, a colleague of Shemaiah the Prince, the master of Hillel and Shammai during the time of the second Temple, approximately 120 years before the Second Temple’s Destruction, from the sixth company.

Abtolemos. In the Ch. Three, Eiruvin,[2] R. Jose said, Abtolemos testified in the name of the five elders that an eruv in doubt is usable. The Gemara says that he was the master of R. Jose. There are versions that say Absholem or Abtolos and there is a version Ben Abtolemos.[3] In Me’ilah,[4] before R. Simeon b. Yohai and R. Eleazar b.R. Jose went to Rome, Abtolemos cancelled three harsh decrees of religious persecution since he was close to the authorities, and they did not realize that he was a Jew. At that time, R. Mathia b. Heresh and his Court were in Rome. When the Romans realized that he was a Jew, they decreed again, what they had decreed until R. Simeon b. Yohai went to Rome and had the decrees cancelled. In the Baraitha, it mentions a Tanna, R. Nathan b. Abtolemos, who is his son.[5] In the Ch. One, RH,[6] R. Jose said, Abtolemos testified in the name of the five elders about a citron picked for the tithe, etc. At the end of Sotah[7] and at the end of Ch. Merube, Abtilus b. Reuben is mentioned. [The sages] permitted him to get a komi haircut since he was close to the authorities. Rashi explains (at the end of BK) the komi haircut is trimming in the front, an Amorite hairstyle where the hair is trimmed in front but tresses are left behind. Another interpretation; komi is the Roman fashion of shaving off the hair above the ears. Thus, it is written in the Responsa of the Gaons. End of quote. The Tosafoth explains (in Me’ilah) that Abtolemos b. Reuben had a komi haircut so that the Romans would not realize that he was a Jew. But I saw in the Gemara of Me’ilah[8] just the name of R. Reuben Istroboli[9] who was perhaps his father. R. Zemach in his Aruch, under letter Heh, explains that hamesaper komi is one who talks in the language of royalty, using oaths.[10] [The sages] did not permit the house of Rabban Gamaliel to talk in that language if not out of respect for the kingship. This does not seem coherent, for the Gemara says that [the sages] permitted Rabban Gamaliel’s household to speak about Greek wisdom because they were close to the royalty and it does not mention komi, except in reference to R. Abtolemos b. Reuben, when it speaks about the Amorite ways in the Gemara. But the Greek wisdom was banned by the sages in the days of the Hasmonean kings, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, when they fought each other in Jerusalem, as was mentioned above. Afterwards I saw (under letter Sameh) that R. Zemach Gaon had changed his mind and explained as Rashi did.

[Abba Jose b. Dosethai. In the beginning of the Ch. Two, Yoma,[11] is quoted by Rabbi. Yavetz.]

Admon was a judge during the time of Abtalion. At the end of Kethuboth,[12] it says that Admon b. Gedai and Hanan Absalom were the two civil judges in Jerusalem. R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: I agree with the words of Admon b. Gedai and Hanan because they were great sages.

Ela was a sage of Jabneh in the Ch. Four, Bechoroth,[13] who could ascertain the permissibility of firstlings. They permitted him to take recompense for lost time, which is four issars for a small animal and six for a large animal, disregarding presence or absence of a defect. I do not know which one was his expertise. There was also an Amora named R. Ela.[14] He was certainly a sage, for only a sage could know how to permit firstlings since the permissibility of the firstling is stricter than voiding vows. Instead of an expert sage, three laymen who are learned and have understanding may undo [vows]. It is not so with firstlings – unless there is a missing limb, in which case permission may be given by three laymen as it is stated in the Ch. One, Hulin,[15] and in Ch. Kirah of Shabbath.[16] In our days, the Rosh obm said that there is no expert for voiding vows and even Rab was not authorized by Rabbi to permit firstlings.

Elihoeini[17] b. Hekef, the High Priest who sacrificed a [red] heifer during the time of Onias (Honi) Hameagel and in the times of Judah b. Tabbai and Simeon b. Shetah.

[R. Eliezer b. Diglai was left out by the author. He is mentioned in Tamid 30b (Prague printing). R. Eliezer b. Diglai said, My father had goats in the cities of Macherus[18] and they would sneeze from the scent of the incense. ZHF]

R. Eliezer ha-Modai. We have already spoken of him above, that he was martyred at Bethar. He was a colleague of R. Tarfon but he would call R. Tarfon, Rabbi. He was a great exegete quoted by Rabbi Eleazar b. Parta. Hananiah the nephew of R. Joshua and R. Eleazar b. Azariah quoted R. Eliezer ha-Modai. In Ch. Shevuath Haeduth: We still need ha-Modai.

R. Eliezer ha-Kappar in Ch. Kol Hatzelamim:[19] R. Joshua b. Levi was walking behind R. Eleazar[20] ha-Kappar Berabbi. In the Tosefta in the Ch. Seven, Hulin, R. Eliezer the son of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar answered regarding circumcision, etc. In the Ch. Five of Kethuboth,[21] R. Menahem b. Nafah tells in the name of R. Eliezer ha-Kappar of a deed by R. Tarfon who married 300 women so that they could eat from the priestly offering in a year of famine, etc. Perhaps there are two, [Eleazar and Eliezer]. In Ch. Elu Treifoth, R. Joshua b. Levi sent a chicken to R. Eleazar Berabbi; that is to say, the greatest in his generation. In Ch. Kisui Hadam,[22] we see R. Eliezer ha-Kappar Berabbi together with R. Hiyya and in Ch. Rabbi Eliezer Demilah[23] – with R. Simeon b. Eleazar. It seems that he was one of the latter sages, though he is mentioned in Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer. It is well known that although it is called after R. Eliezer, the later sages wrote its chapters; similar to the Zohar, which is ascribed to R. Simeon and the Sefer ha-Yetzira, which is ascribed to Abraham our forefather, as Ibn Ezra writes. Alternatively, perhaps there are two and he is called Berabbi. Rashi explains in Ch. Kol Hatzelamim that he was the great sage in his generation and that he explained in Nazir the verse ‘Because he sinned by being in the presence of the dead body.’[24] There are versions of the beginning of the explanation of the Mishna in Ch. four where he is mentioned amongst those of the second generation.[25]

R. Eliezer the Great b. Hyrcanus. He was the greatest disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai and he wrote Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer. His father, Hyrcanus, vowed not to leave him any of his money and he was a very wealthy man. Eventually he came and voided the vow when he found out what happened with his son.[26] In Aboth deRabbi Nathan; in the Mishna of Jose b. Joezer, there is a story how R. Eliezer learned from R. Johanan b. Zakkai. When Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, R. Eliezer was old and he saw the death of Rabban Gamaliel his grandson who was his brother-in-law. His face shone, as they said: The face of Moses is like the face of the sun and the face of Joshua is like the face of the moon - so is the face of R. Eliezer, when he preached. We have already explained his life above. R. Bachyah said, And the name of the other was Eliezer,[27] for it says in the Midrash that he was descended from Moses[28], perhaps from his mother’s side.

R. Eliezer Hisma. We have already spoken at length about him. He was a great astronomer and mathematician and knew geometry, as it is said in Horayoth[29]. He was the disciple of R. Akiba and the colleague of R. Johanan b. Gudgada and R. Eliezer b. Jacob, in the Ch. Two, Pesachim; and R. Johanan b. Beroka and R. Johanan b. Nuri. Why was he called ‘Hisma’? Because he was strong as a muzzled [ox][30] (neksam) as it is stated in portion Sons of Aaron[31] in Leviticus Rabah and he taught a Halacha about muzzling in Ch. Hasocher Et Hapoalim. [R. Gamaliel] appointed them; that is to say, R. Johanan b. Gudgada and R. Eliezer b. Hisma, to positions of authority and judgement in the Academy.

R. Eliezer b. Judah, of Kefar Barthotha, quoted R. Joshua. In the Ch. One, Orlah, Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel quoted him. In the Ch. One, Pesachim, he quoted a Halacha of R. Joshua. He was a colleague of R. Akiba. Regarding his piety and the miracle that was done for him see Ch. Seder Ta’aniyoth.[32] His whole house became filled with wheat. The charity collectors would flee from him because he would give them everything he had. Some people are called by their native town, as they were known in that place, such as ‘of Zeredah’ or ‘of Jerusalem’ or ‘of Kefar Hananiah.’

As an example, a similar thing happened to me when I lived in the kingdom of Spain or in the other lands of the Christians. When my books on astronomy were published, people would say, That is R. Abraham Zacuto of Salamanca. As for me, I am entitled to be proud of this, as our sages obm said, What wisdom is appreciated by the Gentiles? This must be said to be mathematics and calendar calculations and astrology.[33] I can testify to Heaven that they greatly praised Israel for it. But I sought just to understand the words of our sages obm and the laws they established.

[There is also] in the Tosefta, a R. Eliezer b. Judah, of Obelim[34] in the Ch. One, Maaser Sheni and in Ch. Haor Veharotev[35] in the Gemara.

R. Eliezer b.R. Jose the Galilean composed the 32 rules for hermeneutic exegesis of the Torah. [The mnemonics are] the heart [= 32] of the wise, etc.[36] Wherever you find his words of Aggada, make your ears like unto a funnel, as it is stated in Ch. Kisui Hadam.[37] He lived in the time of R. Akiba, R. Eleazar b. Azariah and the latter sages, as it appears in the Talmud.

[R. Eliezer b.R. Judah. In the Ch. Three, Ohaloth, ‘We had a dream’, for there were three colleagues: R. Simeon, R. Judah and R. Jacob. Each one had a son named R. Eliezer. See above what I wrote there. Yavetz]

R. Eliezer b. Jacob – his rulings are few, (just a kab) but pure. He lived a long life, from the times of the Temple until the later generations. His mother’s brother was a Levite in the Temple. He was the source of Middoth; that is, R. Eliezer b. Jacob. We have already spoken of this above. In Ch. Veelu Kesharim,[38] the Halacha follows R. Eliezer b. Jacob. It seems that this rule does not prevail elsewhere since it had to be stated. So he established only 102 [= kab] rules as the Rosh wrote in Ch. Mi Shehotziuhu,[39] in the name of R. Hananel, And no more than that; [that is, 102] like unto the number of sages in the Mishna who recited traditions. There are rules that are not according to him but they are very few, and all his words are pure. He knew all the measurements of the Temple and lived a long time. He recited a tradition in the name of R. Hananiah b. Hakinai but the Halacha does not follow him, in the Ch. Four of Kilaim.

R. Eleazar b. Mathia. In the Ch. Ten of Yevamoth, one of the four scholars of Jabneh: Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Hananiah b. Hakinai, [and him]. He speaks in the Ch. One, Kiddushin,[40] in a Baraitha, about honouring a father and mother. In the Tosefta on the Ch. Six of Pesachim, R. Eleazar b. Mathia disagrees with R. Judah, etc. In the Ch. Two, Sotah, R. Judah quoted R. Eleazar b. Mathia. In the Ch. Eight [of Sotah[41]], Eleazar b. Mathia and Abba Halafta and Hananiah b. Hakinai assessed the weight of Joshua’s stones.

R. Eleazar b. Azariah the Priest is the tenth generation from Ezra and a prince in Israel. We have already explained his life and his wisdom. R. Hanina said that his master was R. Eliezer. In Exodus Rabah, portion Judgements,[42] Rabban Gamaliel, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b. Azariah and R. Akiba went to Rome. His father, R. Azariah, was wise and wealthy and he helped his brother Simeon to study. R. Dosa b. Harkinas said: Azariah, our colleague, has a son, [to whom we can apply the verse] ‘I have never seen a righteous person forsaken[43]. This seems to be that his father was R. Azariah b. Abtolemos. He was very wise and the tenth generation from Ezra the Priest. He learned before R. Perida, as it is stated in Ch. Kol Ha-Menachoth, in Menachoth. However, there is a version that says that this R. Azariah was the tenth generation until R. Eleazar b. Azariah, for this R. Perida lived at the time of R. Ammi. On this Rashi comments that the tenth [generation] until Ezra was R. Eleazar b. Azariah. It seems to me that Rashi interpreted it that way because in Ch. Tefilath Hashachar,[44] it says, ‘the tenth to Ezra [is R. Eleazar b. Azariah].’ You already know that R. Perida, in Ch. Ketzad Meabrin,[45] would repeat the law 400 times to his disciple. Then, because his disciple forgot the law, he repeated it additional 400 times, until a Divine Voice called out, Either you will live 400 years or you and your generation will merit the World-to-Come. He chose the World-to-Come and he was told that both wishes would be fulfilled and he lived 400 years. R. Perida’s grandfather[46] found the skull of Jehoiakim and kept it [hidden]. His wife found it and burned it because she thought it belonged to her husband’s previous wife. Upon it, the words were written: this and yet another.[47] We have already written at length about this above and we will surely do so for the Amora Sages. In the PT of BB[48]: R. Perida gave R. Judan[49] the Prince two radishes that were sown on the year after the Sabbatical year, between the New Year and the Day of Atonement. He asked [whether it is fit to use] and the Prince permitted the produce of the end of the Sabbatical year.

R. Eleazar b. Arach was the astute disciple of Rabban Johanan b. Zakkai. He is called R. Nehorai in Shabbath[50]. We have already explained his words, but the truth is that R. Nehorai [usually] was the name of R. Nehemiah.

R. Eleazar b. Pila is mentioned at the end of the Ch. Seven, Taharoth[51]. There are versions that say ‘b. Fabi.’ He responded to the words of R. Akiba.

R. Eleazar b. Parta. His son was R. Simeon b.R. Eleazar b. Parta. R. Parta was a colleague of Rabbi. R. Parta, who lived at the time of Rabbi, was the grandson of R. Parta the Great. We have already explained above that he was very old and was arrested for learning Torah with R. Hananiah b. Teradion and was saved, in the Ch. One, AZ[52]. He was saved by Elijah obm. His master was R. Eleazar ha-Modai (as it is stated) in Ch. Cohen Gadol.[53]

R. Eleazar b. Zadok. In SeMaG in the prohibition precept 235, it is explained that he was a priest, and we have already explained all his matters. He saw the destruction of the Temple and lived in the time of R. Meir. It remains in doubt to us whether or not he was a priest. He spoke in the name of R. Meir in the Ch. Seven, Kilaim[54]. This is surprising because R. Eleazar saw the destruction of the Temple and he was an early Tanna and he saw the daughter of Nakdimon b. Gorion, etc.[55] as is written in Ch. Metziyath Haisha. In Ch. Arba Mitoth,[56] it says that he was a prominent man before the destruction of the Temple. He testified that he saw the daughter of a priest who had fornicated and was burned surrounded by tree branches. It would seem that he lived at least 40 years before the Destruction for afterwards they did not judge capital crimes.

R. Eleazar b. Shammua the priest who lived a long life, in Ch. Bene Hair. He was the master of Rabbi and we have already explained his affairs. Rab called him ‘the tuvaina of the sages.’[57] R. Zemach interpreted it as ‘extraordinarily wise,’ while Rashi translated it as ‘the happiest of the sages.’ They said that he was the last of the Ten Martyrs and that he was martyred on Sabbath eve, as he was beginning to sanctify the Sabbath day.[58] He said, Leave me in peace until my soul departs. When he got up to, that He had created,[59] a Divine Voice exclaimed: You are blessed, Eleazar, My son! In this world, your soul was like God’s and your soul has departed with the word ‘God’. I wonder about [his martyrdom], because he was the master of Rabbi, as we have said. It seems that there were no persecutions during the time of Rabbi. However, at the end of Ch. Im Einan Makirin,[60] Rashi explains in the name of his master that during the sighting of the new moon there was persecution, when Rabbi sent a message to R. Hiyya. This does not seem to be correct and the first explanation of Rashi is preferable.

R. Eleazar, son of R. Simeon b. Yohai. You already know all about him, that he was in a cave for thirteen years with his father and received the suffering with love. All his saintly words are in Ch. Hasocher Et Hapoalim.[61] He was a friend and colleague of Rabbi but died many years before Rabbi.

Elisha b. Abuyah[62]. We have already spoken of him above. He was called Another (Aher). He was the master of R. Meir and he was one of the four who entered Paradise. He gained the [eternal] life in the World-to-Come because of his knowledge of Torah and of his disciples. He did not cause others to sin, for he said to R. Meir: «That is the limit [of travel] for the Sabbath.»[63] Fire from the sky surrounded his grave[64]. He was granted that R. Jacob the Tanna[65] was the son of his daughter. He (R. Jacob) told us the secrets of the World-to-Come in Pirkei Aboth[66] and at the end of Hulin and in Kiddushin. Rabbi also included Elisha in Aboth[67] along with our saintly fathers. He saw the destruction, praised R. Akiba and lived many years after him.

R. Ila'i, the father of R. Judah, was the disciple of R. Eliezer, as stated in the Ch. Two, Sukkah[68] and in Ch. Hakometz Rabah[69] and in the Ch. Two, Eiruvin.[70] He was like a colleague to R. Ishmael but he called R. Ishmael ‘my master’ and R. Ishmael called him ‘my son’ as we find in the Ch. One, Gittin where he was stricter than Rabban Gamaliel in his ruling. In the Ch. Two, Pesachim, he interpreted the law before R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. He was an Elder,[71] as it says, R. Ila’i the Elder said: If a man feels that he cannot control his passion, etc.[72]

Abba Eleazar b. Dolai [is mentioned] in the Ch. Two, Mikva’oth. It seems that he flourished in the time of the disciples of R. Akiba: R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Simeon and R. Eleazar b. Shammua. In Ch. Kol Haget, the Tanna in the Baraitha is Abba Eleazar b. Gamla.

R. Eleazar b. Dama. We have already said that he was the nephew of R. Ishmael and that he died of snakebite but he died in holiness. There are those who say that he is one of the Ten Martyrs and not R. Judah b. Tema. Alternatively, the one who died from snakebite was Joshua b. Dama, the nephew of R. Ishmael, while R. Eleazar b. Dama was martyred for wearing phylacteries and they were still on his head when they executed him and he died in holiness and purity.

[R. Eleazar b.R. Jannai was left out by the author. He is found in Beitzah 34a. R. Eleazar b.R. Jannai said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Antigonus, in Hulin 45 and 55. R. Eleazar b. Antigonus said in the name of R. Eleazar b.R. Jannai. ZHF]

Antigonus of Soko received [the tradition] from Simeon the Righteous. Because of his words stated in the Mishna[73], Zadok and Boethus, his evil disciples, sinned[74]. They are the heresiarchs, as we have already mentioned. His pious disciples were Joseph b. Joezer and Joseph b. Johanan, the first was the Prince and the second was the Head of the Court.

Onkelos the Proselyte[75] was the nephew of Titus as well as the Tanna in the Baraitha in Ch. Hamocher Perot. Onkelos the proselyte said: The cherubim were like the image of children.[76] He received [the tradition] from R. Eliezer and from R. Joshua and translated the five books of the Torah according to their words but he is not mentioned in the Mishna. In the Tosefta on the Ch. Five of Demai, it says that he was strict with himself in regards to what he inherited and shared with his brothers, for they were goyim; he threw it into the Dead Sea.

[Afkashion. In Yoma 28b. Yavetz.]


[1] Nidah 25b.

[2] 35a.

[3] Above RAZ brought up a doubt whether he was one of the 18 sages who were missed by Rambam at the end of his Introduction to the Mishna. ZHF

[4] 17a.

[5] There are var. lect. that read Jonathan b. Abtolemos.

[6] 15a.

[7] 49b

[8] 17a.

[9] Me’ilah 17a. R. Reuben pretended that he wants to harm Jews, and said that observance of Sabbath makes Jews poor, while circumcision makes them weak. They believed him and annulled the prohibition of Sabbath observance and circumcision. When they discovered that he was a Jew, they reinforced the prohibition.

[10] Mesaper – haircut, or a way of talk

[11] 22b.

[12] 104b.

[13] 29a.

[14] He was one of the 18 sages that the author added onto Rambam obm. ZHF

[15] 18b.

[16] 46b.

[17] Found in the texts as Elihoeini in Genesis Rabah.

[18] A fortress town located on the other side of the Dead Sea opposite Masada.

[19] AZ 43a.

[20] The Talmud mostly has this spelling.

[21] Tosefta Kethuboth 5:1 and in PT Yevamoth 4:12.

[22] Hulin 84b-85a.

[23] Shabbath 147a.

[24] Num 6:11.

[25] Above RAZ brought up R. Eleazar Ha-Kappar from the Tosefta on the fourth chapter in Nazir, who ate the guilt offering of a Nazirite from the South. What the author said here ‘There are versions of the fourth chapter of the explanation of the Mishna,’ it seems to me that he did not know whether his name was Eliezer or Eleazar. For even in the Gemara we have found both versions, and in place of ‘the fourth chapter,’ it should read ‘the second chapter.’ It is appropriate to note that the author, by the way, states as a well-known fact, that both the Pirkei R. Eliezer and the Zohar were written by other persons. ZHF.

[26] That he was such a great scholar, respected by all the great men of Jerusalem.

[27] Ex 18:4.

[28] Eliezer was the son of Moses. On his mother’s side - as this R. Eliezer he was not a Levite.

[29] 10 a-b.

[30] Or strong in overcoming his former ignorance. Leviticus Rabah 23:4.

[31] Lev 17

[32] Ta’anith 24a.

[33] Shabbath 75a.

[34] From Abel, near Sepphoris. The Talmud has איבלים, Ibelim

[35] Hulin 55b.

[36] Eccl 10:2.

[37] Hulin.

[38] Shabbath 113a.

[39] Eiruvin

[40] Kiddushin 32a.

[41] Sotah 34a.

[42] Ex 21

[43] Ps 37:25.

[44] Berachoth 27b.

[45] Eiruvin 54b.

[46] R. Hiyya b. Abuyah, Sanhedrin 82a and 104a, Sanhedrin PT 2:4

[47] Revenge was exacted upon this but yet another is yet to come. Ibid.

[48] Mishna 9, Halacha 5.

[49] A variant spelling for Judah.

[50] 147b.

[51] Mishna 7:9.

[52] 17b.

[53] Sanhedrin 22a.

[54] Mishna Kilaim 7:2.

[55] Daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem, picking up barley from under the horses’ hooves in Acre. Tosefta Kethuboth 5:10

[56] Sanhedrin 52b.

[57] Kethuboth 40a.

[58] Midrash Lamentations Rabah 2, Ele Ezkerah.

[59] Gen 2:3. A part of the Kiddush, the blessing of Sabbath eve.

[60] RH 25a.

[61] BM.

[62] Elisha b. Abuyah is mentioned in a Mishna in the fourth chapter of Aboth and in a Baraitha in MK 20a. But in Nazir 44a, the proper reading is R. Ishmael b. Elisha. Yavetz

[63] Hagiga 15a.

[64] Ibid. 15b.

[65] R. Jacob b. Korshai, Kiddushin 39b.

[66] Mishna 4:16, 17.

[67] Mishna 4:20.

[68] 27b.

[69] Menachoth 18a.

[70] 23a and 26a.

[71] Important old man.

[72] Hagiga 16a and Kiddushin 40a.

[73] Mishna Aboth 1:3.

[74] Aboth deRabbi Nathan 5, 13.

[75] Cf the first chapter of AZ. If it is not an error of a copyist, it seems that there must have been two persons named Onkelos the Proselyte. Yavetz

[76] BB 99a.


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