Judah ha-Nasi

(late 2–early 3rd century)
   Patriarch and editor of the Mishnah. Judah was born into a family of Palestinian scholars and became the most erudite teacher of his time and the head of the bet din (rabbinical court). Feeling that the Jews under the Romans faced an uncertain future after the destruction of the Temple and the decimation of the community, Judah determined to achieve two great aims.
   The first was to reorganize Jewish life in Palestine and find a modus vivendi with the Roman authorities. Judah was well qualified for this task, as he enjoyed the friendship of many of his distinguished contemporaries among the Romans as well as the Jews. There is even a rabbinic story that the Roman emperor, probably Marcus Aurelius, had a tunnel dug from his palace to Judah’s home, so that he could listen to his teachings. Hebrew had to be revived as the national language. In Judah’s household the pure Hebrew of the Bible was used by everyone, and it is said that Judah’s disciples were able to have disputed passages from the Bible clarified by speaking to his servants.
   The second task was the compilation of the Mishnah. Mishnayot (interpretations of the Bible) had been current in a set oral form from the latter period of the Second Temple. These had never been compiled or codified. For this purpose Judah gathered around him the greatest sages of his day. For more than half a century, Judah and his chosen scholars worked through the masses of tradition. Finally, by 220 the decisions and interpretations of a hundred and forty- eight tannaim were grouped into six categories. Under ‘Seeds’ were all the agricultural laws; ‘Feasts’ dealt with the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays and the methods of determining the exact dates of the latter; ‘Women’ discussed the laws of betrothal, marriage and divorce; ‘Damages’ covered civil and criminal law;
   ‘Sacred Things’ dealt with sacrifices and temple ritual; while ‘Purity’ covered ritual cleanness and un-cleanness. Whether the Mishnah was reduced to writing at the time it was compiled is uncertain. But the rabbis were now satisfied that however extensive the next tragedy might be, the decisions of the leading scholars over six hundred years were indestructible. The last seventeen years of Judah’s life were spent at Sepphoris in the Galilee. His household was run on a sumptuous basis and rich and poor were given food at his table. He himself, however, lived a simple and frugal life and was known not only for his learning but also for his humility and the sanctity of his life. Before his death he is said to have lifted up his hands and cried out, ‘Lord of the Universe, it is well known to You that I strove with all my ten fingers for the Torah and did not satisfy as much as my little finger for personal satisfaction’. Judah died at the age of eighty-five and was buried in the sanctified necropolis of Bet Shearim, a holy city in the Galilee in which he had once lived and where the Sanhedrin had met. So great was the esteem in which he was held that the rabbis said of him, ‘Not since the days of Moses, until Judah, were learning and high office combined in one person’. At his burial even priests were allowed to participate, although this was against the normal rules of priestly sanctity.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Judah ha-Nasi — /hah nah see / A.D. c135 c210, Jewish rabbi and scholar. Also, Judah Hanasi. Also called Judah I. * * * born AD 135 died с 220 Palestinian Jewish scholar. A descendant of the great sage Hillel, he was patriarch of the Jewish community in… …   Universalium

  • Judah ha-Nasi — /hah nah see / A.D. c135 c210, Jewish rabbi and scholar. Also, Judah Hanasi. Also called Judah I …   Useful english dictionary

  • Judah ha-Nasi — (fl. c.2nd 3rd cent)    Palestinian communal leader, son of Simeon ben Gamaliel II. He lived most of his life in Galilee, first at Bet Shearim and then at Sepphoris. He was known as Rabbenu ha Kadosh (our holy teacher), and is referred to in… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Judah ha-Nasi — /dʒuda ha naˈsi/ (say joohdah hah nah see) noun AD 135?–220?, rabbi and patriarch of the Palestinian Jewish community, who compiled the Mishnah …   Australian English dictionary

  • SIMEON BEN JUDAH HA-NASI — (first half of the third century C.E.), the younger son of judah ha nasi . The Talmud tells that Simeon transmitted traditions to such outstanding contemporary scholars as Ḥiyya , levi , bar kappara , although they apparently did not regard… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JUDAH HA-LEVI BEI-RABBI HILLEL — JUDAH HA LEVI BEI RABBI HILLEL, medieval paytan, some of whose work was recently discovered in the Cairo Genizah. Judah s piyyutim are based on customs prevailing in Ereẓ Israel, which would indicate that he lived there or in Egypt, where there… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JUDAH — (Nesiah), nasi from about 230 to 270 C.E., son of Gamaliel III, and grandson of Judah ha Nasi. During his period of office the power of the nasi began to decline and the struggle between him and the scholars became intensified. Judah and his… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JUDAH BAR ILAI — (mid–second century C.E.), tanna. He is the R. Judah mentioned in the Talmud and tannaitic literature without patronymic. Judah came from Usha in Galilee (see Song R. 2:5 n. 2). He studied under his father, who was a pupil of eliezer b. hyrcanus… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JUDAH BAR EZEKIEL — (d. 299), Babylonian amora, founder of the academy at pumbedita . Judah s father was a famous amora and wonder worker (see Kid. 32a, 33b; TJ, Ta an 1:3, 64b). Judah s brother was the amora Rami b. Ezekiel, who appears to have gone to Ereẓ Israel… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • JUDAH BEN ḤIYYA — (end of the second and beginning of the third century C.E.), amora. Judah and his twin brother hezekiah moved with their father Ḥiyya from Babylon to   Ereẓ Israel and assisted him in his work of teaching Torah to the people (Suk. 20a). Like… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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.