The Economic Condition of Judaea after the Destruction
of the Second Temple by Adolph Buchler (London,
London, publication no. 4.
THE PLACES AND THE POPULATION OF JUDAEA
PRESERVED AFTER THE YEAR 70.
Josephus, the contemporary historian of the
Jewish war of the years 66-70, devoted a work of seven books to the events of
that short period, and it should not be difficult to describe the condition in
which the war left Judaea. Josephus seems rather anxious
to register the rapid achievements of Vespasian,
and their generals and officers, the Roman victories and the slaughter of
thousands of Jews; an enumeration of all the places conquered or destroyed by
the Romans could then reasonably be expected. Actually, however, the
information from Josephus
is rather fragmentary, though he describes the downfall of Jerusalem and
reports the destruction of some parts of the trans-Jordanic country to Jericho
in the western district, and in Judaea of the region from Antipatris
southwards to Beth-Gubrin.
1. From his fullness of material in these accounts the inference seems
justified that whenever in a report of a campaign no destruction is mentioned,
the towns and villages were spared by the Romans, probably in consequence of
the early surrender of the defending Jews. This can be tested in his account of
the way in which the Romans dealt with places on the main road from Caesarea, the
residence of the governor and the starting-point of all military expeditions
against Judaea, to Jerusalem,
the centre of the Jewish rebellion. Owing to this geographical position
had to suffer the first blows of the Roman revenge, and Josephus described fully
its details. At the beginning of the revolution in the autumn of the year 66, Cestius
Gallus on his march from Caesarea against Jerusalem
left Antipatris without inflicting any harm (Wars, II, 19.1), but owing to the hostile, military preparations of
some Jews in a tower near Antipatris he burnt many villages. In Lydda, a Jewish
Legatio 28) he found no man, for all
had gone up to Jerusalem for the Feast
of Tabernacles, but he killed fifty persons and burnt the town. A part of
his marched against Jaffa
and slaughtered all its inhabitants, 8,400 men, women, and children, plundered
the town and burnt it (II, 18, l0).
Early in the spring of the year 68 Vespasian marched from Caesarea
to Antipatris, where he spent two days to settle the affairs of the town (IV,
8, 1). On the third day he marched on and destroyed by fire and arms the places
round about. Having subdued the whole district of Thamma, he marched on Lydda
that very soon fell into his hands, and now received as inhabitants a suitable
number of such Jews as ha d deserted from the rebels to the Romans. Thence he
went to Emmaus, where he seized the defiles which led to Jerusalem;
then he passed through the district of Bethleptephai, laying it and the neighbouring
district waste by fire. These statements of Josephus show that Lydda and Jamnia
had been in Roman possession from 66 or 67 and were populated with loyal Jews,
and that Emmaus was not destroyed.
Again, Josephus reports (IV, 9, 1) that Vespasian built a fortified camp
in Adida, where he placed Romans and soldiers of his allies. He sent Lucius
Annius with a squadron of horsemen and a great number of footmen against Gerasa.
The town was taken at the first attack, all young men who had not escaped in
time, numbering a thousand, were killed, their families were taken captive, and
all property was plundered by the soldiers. After burning the town they turned
against the neighnbouring villages, where all fled, the weak were destroyed,
and the abandoned places burnt. In this way the whole mountainous district and
the whole plain were invaded by war. Gerasa cannot mean the Hellenistic city
east of the Jordan,
for it would not have been hostile to the Romans, but to the Jews. The term
Oreine and the immediate reference the position of Jerusalem
suggest that this Gerasa was in the mountains north or north-west of Jerusalem,
and we see the destruction of many places, but at the same time the escape of
their inhabitants. In Sivan
of the year 69 Vespasian marched from Caesarea to subdue
all the districts of Judaea not yet conquered (IV, 9,
9). He went to the mountainous country, seized upon the district of Gofna and
Akrabatene, then upon the smaller towns of Bethel
and Ephraim, where he placed troops. Not one word suggests that these or other
places in the district were destroyed, while the necessity of garrisons
indicates the strategical importance of the towns, and also the presence of a
Jewish population not quite to be trusted. Cerealis, the legate of the Fifth
Legion stationed in Emmaus (IV, 8, 1), had to subdue Upper Idumaea,
the southernpart of Judaea. He burnt Kafethra and
besieged Kafarabis, the inhabitants of which soon surrendered and were accepted
(IV, 9, 9); this means the place was spared. East of the Jordan,
Gadara, the important and fortified
city and inhabited by many wealthy men, asked for and in time obtained a Roman
garrison from Vespasian (IV, 7, 3). One of his officers, Placidus, continued in
the spring of the year 68 the conquest of Peraia,
killing thousands of Jews (IV, 7, 4), among the first, the rebels of Gadara
that had fled to Bethennabris and had found there support; then other villages
with their inhabitants were destroyed. Abila, Julias, and Besimoth,
and all the villages down to the Dead
Sea were conquered (IV, 7, 5-6) and Jewish deserters placed there. Thus the
whole district from Peraia down to Machairus had either voluntarily joined the
Romans or was conquered by force. During the winter of the year 68 Vespasian
put garrisons in the conquered villages and townlets and made many of the
destroyed places habitable (IV, 8, 1).
2. Incidentally, Josephus mentioned that Vespasian and one of his generals
had settled Jews who had deserted to the Romans in Jamnia and Lydda and in some
places near the mouth of the Jordan,
but he says nothing about the original towns and villages of those Jews. They
were no Galileans; for those who had surrendered in the course of the Galilean
war, as far as can be gathered from Josephus, remained in their respective
places, and no transplantation is reported. After the conquest of Galilee
in the year 67 only a few Galileans left their country to join the defenders of
Jerusalem. Only John
of Gischala and his warriors of the same town with their families left the
place immediately before its fall, and made for Jerusalem
(IV, 2, 4). But 6,000 of the men were overtaken by the Romans and killed (2, 5)
and 3,000 women and children were forced to return. From Judaea
great multitudes under their respective leaders flocked into Jerusalem
(3, 3), zealots
(3, 4), but their numbers are nowhere stated. 20,000 Idumaeans came to Jerusalem
(4, 2), but most of them soon left and returned home (6,1). As the siege of the
capital in the year 70 began on the day of the Passover
sacrifice (V, 13, 7, VI, 9, 3), to which naturally many thousands of pilgrims
had arrived from all parts of the country, the number of the besieged was very
great. Among them were many from beyond the Euphrates
and other foreign lands (Dio
Cassius, 66. 4). 1,100,000 men perished during the siege, 97,000 were
taken captive (VI, 9, 3); of these only 40,000 were preserved (8, 2), all
citizens of Jerusalem (8, 2), the
rest were sold for slaves, some sent into the mines in Egypt
(9, 2), others distributed among the provinces for the circuses.
Considering the state of Judaea, the only questions are which section of
the citizens of Jerusalem was preserved, and where did the 40,000 settle after
having been allowed to go where they liked (V, 8, 2; 10, 1)? In the course of
his account of the siege, Josephus several times refers to individuals who
deserted to the Romans from Jerusalem and it is not evident whether they were
included in the 40,000 ultimately preserved or not. He mentions one of the four
sons of the high priest Matthias (V, 13, 1), the high priests Joseph and Jesus,
and three sons of the high priest Ishmael, four sons of a Matthias, and many
other nobles who succeeded in escaping from the besieged capital to the Romans
(VI, 2, 2). Many of the eminent citizens ran away to Titus (V, 13, 7) and told
him the number of the poor who had died. Titus allowed these to retire to
Gofna; there, he said, they should stay till his hands would be free from the
war, when he would restore to them their property. Among the numerous deserters
was the priest Jesus, son of Thebuthi (VI, 8, 3), who surrendered many costly
vessels of the Temple,
as well as the curtains and the robe of the high priest. The treasurer of the Temple
also fell into the hands of the Romans and was exceptionally pardoned in
exchange for valuable stuff, priestly garments, and costly spices. Already,
after Cestius's defeat in the year 66, many of the nobles had left Jerusalem
as if it were a sinking ship; for instance, the two brothers
Costobarus and Saul, along with Phillip, son of Jakimos, who had been a
general of Agrippa's
troops (II, 20, 1). After the entry of the Romans into Jerusalem,
Titus liberated all those Jews who had been thrown into prison by zealots (VI,
9.1); they also most probably belonged to the wealthy section of the
It may be assumed as almost certain that the members of both groups, of the
priestly and of the lay nobility of Jerusalem,
at the conclusion of the war received their landed property, and assisted the
poor country of Judaea in recovering from its terrible
downfall. Where they settled is nowhere indicated by Josephus; he lived in Rome
and seemed to evince no interest in the state of his native country after the
destruction. It is possible that, though owning land in Judaea,
some of the nobles settled outside Judaea, as Josephus,
who, in exchange for his fields near Jerusalem,
received from Titus others in the plain, and was rewarded by Vespasian by
additional property in Judaea (Vita, 76).
3. Though no historical work in the ordinary sense, the Talmudic
literature in its incidental references to conditions of life and to
property contains valuable information about Judaea
during the sixty-five years from the destruction of the second Temple
to the war of Bar-Kochba.
The Halakhah deals with all details of religious life that were placed before
the rabbis of that period or were discussed in the schools; but here only facts
and incidents reported within those discussions will be adduced. Two high priests
are referred to by R. Ishmael as testifying respectively to two different ways
in which they had performed the same sacrificial act on the
Day of Atonement.A
vice high priest, or the head of all the priests on duty, segan hakohanim, was Haninah who had
officiated in the Temple
and survived its destruction.R. Ishmael, a priest (Hullin, 49 a), was the son of a high priest
who had worn the robe and the golden plate.
Simeon the Chaste told R.
Eliezer that he once entered the space behind the altar with unwashed hands
and feet (ToseftaKelim, I, 1, 6): he was a priest. R.
Sadok, the priest (Bekhor., 36a) who
had once quieted the people assembled in the Temple excited by the murder of a
was, with his son Eleazar, saved by R.
Johanan b. Zakkai from among the captives (Threni
r., I, 5, Gittin, 56a), and both were later friends of R. Gamaliel II in
Jamnia. R. Sadok gave, with R.
Joshua, evidence about some customs in Jerusalem
1-4), and his son reported many interesting facts and customs which he had
observed there before the year 70. Another priest, Zechariah b. ha-Kassab, reports
(Ketubot, II, 9) how he escaped with
his wife from Jerusalem when the enemy entered the town; and we are informed of
the arrangements which, on account of that, he made for his wife with whom, as
a priest he could no longer live (Ketubot,
27 b;Tosefta III.2). Later on he
gave evidence with Jose
the priest, a disciple of R. Johanan Ben-Zakkai, about a point of law. R.
Tarfon had once, as a young priest, stood on the platform in the Temple,
from which the priests, among whom was his uncle, blessed the people. (Kiddushin, 71 a), and he watched the
blowing of trumpets by priests on the occasion when King Agrippa read from the
Torah before the people assembled on the Temple mount (ToseftaSotah, VII, 16; Sifre
Num., 75). After the year 70 he settled in Lydda and taught there.
Of high officials of the Temple,
none is mentioned as surviving its destruction (see below); but R. Ishmael once
met one of the grandsons of the Abtinas family who had for sometime prepared
R. Ishmael b. Luga told R.
Akiba that he had once gathered plants with one of the grandsons, and R.
Johanan b. Nuri told R. Akiba that he once met an old man, with a scroll on
the preparation of spices in his hand, who belonged to the family of Abtinas.
The age of the last mentioned man shows that he had lived for some time before
the destruction of the Temple which
he survived. As theTalmud refers only incidentally to individual priests, it
may be confidently assumed that many more escaped from Jerusalem
and other places in Judaea. The institution of R.
Johanan b. Zakkai, that also after the destruction of the Temple,
priests should, barefooted, bless the people in the synagogue (Rosh Hashanah, 31b), clearly shows the
presence of priests in Jamnia. This is also evident from his other decree quoted
by R. Gamaliel (Eduyot VIII, 3) that no court
should be constituted to deal with the question of whether a certain widow may
become the wife of a priest, as priests refuse to accept the permission.
Of Levites little is known. R.
Joshua b. Hananiah had belonged to the singers in the Temple
and had once wanted to assist Johanan b. Gudgeda in closing the gates of the Temple
('Arakh., 11b). He had the same time
been a disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai whom he helped R. Eliezer to carry from
the besieged capital and with whom he escaped into the Roman camp (ARN, IV, 12a, 2, VI, 10a). After the
destruction of Jerusalem, he
belonged for many years to the school
of Jamnia, first under R. Johanan
and later under R. Gamaliel II, and reported several interesting details of
religious practice in Jerusalem.
The other Levite, Johanan
b. Gudgeda, had belonged to the gate-keepers of the Temple (ToseftaShekalim, II, 14; 'Arakh., 11b); he had in Jerusalem deaf-mute children who were
entrusted with watching the levitical purification of vessels (JT.(Jerusalem Talmud more accurately the Palestinian Talmud) Terum., I, 40b, 24; Tosefta, I,
1). He survived the destruction of Jerusalem
and gave evidence before the authorities in Jamnia about a point of law.
4. Of the scholars who survived the destruction of Jerusalem R. Johanan b.
Zakkai is to be mentioned first. He was probably a priest,
and had not only been the vice-president of the Sanhedrin
b. Gamaliel as president, but had also fought the Sadducees
in both their teachings and their practices (Yadaim,
IV, 6, ToseftaParah, Ill, 8).
After the destruction of Jerusalem
he opened a school and constituted a beth-din in Jamnia by which he created the
means for the continuity and the preservation of Judaism without the Temple.
As important members of this beth-din, the sons of Bethera
are mentioned in Rosh Hashanah, 29b.
Though they seem to represent a whole party in the opposition, their name shows
the stock to have consisted of a family that had survived the Temple,
as a Joshua b. Bethera gave evidence about the marriage of a eunuch in Jerusalem.Nahum
the Mede was, according to R.
Nathan (ToseftaBava batra,
IX, 1, Ketubot, 105a), a judge in
Jerusalem; he directed Nazirites who had come from Babylonia to Jerusalem to fulfill
their vow, but found the Temple destroyed, as to their duties (Nazir, V, 4); and a few statements of
his show him to have been a teacher in Judaea after the year 70. R. Dosa b.
Harkinas, a member of the school in Jamnia, was old and blind when the
discussions between the
schools of the Shammaiites and Hillelites were being settled in Jamnia; he
must, therefore, have been born long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
He remembered how Joshua b. Hananiah-born at the latest in the year 50-had been
carried in his cradle by his mother to a school in order to accustom his ears
early to the Torah (TJ. Yebamot, I,
3a, 72, b. 16a), and he was a contemporary of R. Johanan b. Zakkai and of R.
Haninah, the vice high priest (Ketubot,
XIII, 1, Neg., 1,4). Hizkiah avi ‘qsh, not otherwise known, gave
evidence before R. Gamaliel II in the name of Gamaliel I (Bekhor., 38a, Sifra,
53d), so that he must have been born about the year 40. R. Gamaliel II himself,
the son of Simeon b. Gamaliel the opponent of Josephus during the revolution (Vita,38)and president of the Sanhedrin,
was saved from the punishing hands of the Romans by R. Johanan b. Zakkai (Gittin, 56b) whom he later succeeded in
the presidency of the beth-din in Jamnia. He remembered how his father
counteracted, as to a law of the Sabbath, the interfering presence of a
Sadducee living with him in the same lane (Eruvin,
VI,2), and how he left the prescribed corner on fruit-trees (Pe'ah, II, 4) and what kind of bread was
not baked in his father's house on a holy day (Betzah,II, 6). From all this it is evident that he was at least a
man of 20 at the death of his father. His co-president in Jamnia, R. Eleazar b.
'Azariah, was a priest and probably quite young in the year 70, as R. Dosa b.
Harkinas, though knowing his father, did not know him (Yevamot, 16a); R. Akiba speaks of him as descended of great men and
in the tenth generation from Ezra (JT.
Berakhot, IV, 7d, 10b., 27b). Also 'Elisha b. 'Abuja must have escaped
young from Jerusalem where his father was a wealthy man; R. Joshua and R.
Eliezer, the disciples of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, attended his circumcision in
Jerusalem (JT.Hagigah, II, 77b, 38).
Many years after the destruction he attended R. Akiba's school, and during and
after the Hadrianic religious persecutions he lived in Tiberias, where he died
about the year 140.A R. Jehudah b. Gadish, not otherwise known,
testified before R. Eliezer that his father's household bought fishbrine in Jerusalem
for the equivalent of the second tithe.
Incidentally, women who survived the catastrophe of the year
70 are also mentioned in the Talmud. R. Eleazar b. Sadok saw Martha, the
daughter of Boethos and the wife of the high priest Joshua b. Gamala, tied by
her hair to the tail of a horse and dragged from Jerusalem
R. Johanan b. Zakkai saw the daughter of Nakdimon b. Gorion, one of the
wealthiest men in Jerusalem, in
Ma'on in abject poverty. There
are references to R. Tarfon's mother (JT.
Kiddushin, IV. 61b, 18,b. 31b) and his sister whose children he taught (Zebah., 62b) and also to R. Ishmael's
mother (Niddah, 48b, Tosefta,
VI, 8), R. Eliezer's mother (JT. Yevamot,
III, 13c. 60) and his wife, the sister of R. Gamaliel (Bava Metzia, 59
b). Naturally many thousands of men and women nowhere specifically referred to
were saved and remained in Judaea There was no occasion for mentioning them,
though general references are not wanting. It is also worth stating that some
of the so-called Nathins
survived the destruction of Jerusalem,
for in the times of R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah it was proposed to recognize them as
5. By tracing some places in Judaea in
which, after the destruction of Jerusalem,
Jews lived in greater or smaller numbers, a clearer and more complete view of
actual conditions in the country can be obtained. Of Jerusalem,
strange to say, very little is known from the Talmudic literature. It is true,
some scholars state that soon after the catastrophe some Jewish and Christian
families returned to Jerusalem,
preferring to live in poor houses among the ruins of the holy cityto cities in Judaea,
but no Jewish source is adduced, nor is such known to me. Only Eusebius(Hist. eccl., IV. 5 ff., V, 12) reports that the Christians, who during
the siege of Jerusalem had fled to Pella,
soon returned. And Epiphanius
just as reliable a historian as Eusebius, relates (Demensuris, §14) that when visiting Jerusalem
found the city and the Temple destroyed
and only a few houses inhabited and a small church.Simeon b. Eleazar of the second half of the
second century reports (Semakhot,
X) that R. Gamaliel II had a hired grave in Jamnia for the temporary burial
of members of his family whence they were later taken to Jerusalem.
Whether other noble families continued in the same way burying their dead in
their family graves in Jerusalem is
not reported, but it is not improbable. The ruins of the Temple
were visited by scholars, as R. Gamaliel II, R.
Eleazar b. 'Azariah, R. Joshua, and R. Akiba (Makk.,
24b), who were grieved to see a fox coming out of the ruins of the Holy of
Holies. R. Jose
also entered one of the ruins of Jerusalem to pray (Berakh., 3a); and 'Elisha
b. 'Abuja told R. Meir that once, a Day of Atonement that fell on the
Sabbath, he rode by the Holy Holies and heard a heavenly voice inviting him to
repentance (JT. Hagigah II,
77b. 59, Kohel.
r.,7, 8). As he was then a sinner, it occurred about the years 120-135.
There is even some, though late, evidence that scholars and
other Jews visited Jerusalem on the
festivals. R. Shela of Kefar-Thamarth¸ between 280-300, states (Cant.
r., 8, 9, 3): though the Temple
is destroyed, the Israelites have not stopped their pilgrimages three times a
year. In Threni, r., 1, 17, a number of differences between the present
and the old pilgrimage are stated; and R. Berekhiah of the fourth century
points out that both the going up and the return are very quiet; according to
R. Levi of about the year 300both
are done secretly. In a baraitha,
Nedarim, 23a, a man prohibited his
wife by a vow to go on pilgrimage; when she still went up, the husband asked R.
Jose's advice. It is true the destination is not stated, but it is hardly to be
doubted that Jerusalem and not
Jamnia is meant.R. Eleazer b. Shammu'a, in the middle of the
second century, took to his house a shipwrecked Roman when the Jews went on
pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Kohel. r., 11,1).R. Haninah, R. Jonathan, and R. Joshua b.
Levi, about the year 250, on their way to Jerusalem
bought some produce and wanted to redeem it outside Jerusalem,
but an old man reminded them: your fathers did not proceed in that way, but
declared such produce free property and redeemed it (JT.
Ma'aser Sheni, III, 54b, 20). Though the report is far from being clear,
it is evident that the law concerning the second tithe in its relation to Jerusalem
was still observed. Accordingly R.
Eliezer b. Hyrkanos, about the year 100, declared the fruit of the fourth
year of his vineyard free property and expected the poor who would take
possession of it, to take it to Jerusalem
(Rosh Hashanah, 31b). And R. Akiba changed for R.
Gamaliel and R. Joshua the money of redemption of their second tithe
to spend it in Jerusalem.
R. Jonathan was another time on his way to Jerusalem to pray there,
and fifty years before, about the year 200, R. Ishmael b. R. Jose went up to
Jerusalem to pray (Genes. r., 81,3; JT. Avodah Zarah,
V, 44d, 41). In spite of the statements of the church fathers that the Jews
were not allowed to visit Jerusalem, except on the 9th of Av, they seem to have
gone up regularly on various occasions, so that R. Johanan, between 250 and
279, was able to say that the city was open to everybody: whoever likes at
present to go up, goes up, but in the future only invited people will go up to
Jerusalem (Bava Batra, 75b, top). R.
Johanan b. Maria in the name of R. Pinhas says (JT. Pesahim, VII, 35b, 39): we see the scholars take off their
shoes under the doorstep of the Temple
and in Threni r., 1, 17, Vespasian
places guards 18 miles from Poma'im, who inquired of the pilgrims whom they
recognized as their lord. All these reports agree in referring to a free
pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
6. Lydda and Jamnia, we have seen, were populated in the year
68 by Vespasian with a suitable number of loyal Jews (Wars, IV, 8, 1). They were in no way interfered with by the Romans
or the national Jews during the revolution of the years 69 and 70. Whether
those Jews went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in April 70 and were
there surprised by the Roman siege, is not reported; but as they had previously
surrendered to the Romans, and Jerusalem was in the hands of the
revolutionists, a pilgrimage of those Jews is not probable. Besides, as the
Roman army began the siege of Jerusalem on the 14th of Nissan, after one of the
legions, the fifth, had marched from Caesarea by Emmaus to Jerusalem, it must
have passed through or near Lydda at the latest on the 12th of Nissan, and thus
prevented the possible pilgrimage of any inhabitants of Lydda or Jamnia which
were at a day's distance from Jerusalem. In any case, both these towns had
organized Jewish communities, and we can easily understand why R. Johanan b.
Zakkai asked Titus's or Vespasian's permission to settle just in Jamnia; and
even the statement that he asked for the scholars of Jamnia (Gittin, 56b) could be literally true, as
there may have been scholars among the settlers. Jamnia became the seat of the
great school and the beth-din of R. Johanan, which is often described as a
meeting in the vineyard of Jamnia.
Lydda had several schools, in one of which the teachers met to decide
questions, and before this meeting R. Tarfon placed a practical case (Betzah, III, 5);
five members constitued the body.R. Eliezer, who is pointed out as the
authority in Lydda (Sanhedrin, 32b), had a school of
his own, called the great; it looked like a racecourse, and there
sitting on a stone R. Eliezer taught (Cant.
r., 1,3,1,). There were also several synagogues in Lydda, some of which
were built by the ancestors of R. Rama b. Raninah (JT. Shekalim, V, 49b, 33); one was of the trsyym.
A school for children is mentioned in the time of R. Akiba in Semakhot, II, 4). Beside Alexa a man of
importance and generally esteemed (ToseftaHagigah II, 13), and the family of a Menahem (Sanhedrin,
33a) whose property will have to be referred to later, the family of Nitzah is
mentioned, with whom R. Tarfon and his disciples stayed on a Sabbath,
and the family of 'Aris in whose upper chamber the question heavy with
consequences was decided by a meeting of teachers, whether in religious
persecutions a Jew has to sacrifice his life for any religious commandment (Kiddushin, 40 b. Sifre Deut., 41). A man Gornos, whose little son committed
suicide because the father threatened to Punish him (Semakhot, II, 4), is in the first century
interesting for his name. The same applies to a doctor Theodos, who in the
presence of R. Akiba and other teachers, examined human bones in the synagogue
of Tarsiyim mentioned above (Nazir,
52a, and parallels). In the bakers' hall (in the market of Lydda) R. Eliezer
was found by R. Jose b. Darmaskith.
The vendors of Lydda rejoiced when R. Tarfon fixed the amount of over-reaching,
permitting a buyer to return the article, at one-eighth of the value; but when
he added that the buyer may retract the whole day of the transaction, they
reverted to the accepted rule of the earlier rabbis, for they sold dear.
Strange to say, very few details are mentioned of the life of the Jews in
Jamnia, though sometimes 72 members of the school were present in the town at
the same time (Zevahim, I, 3) and even 85 (ToseftaKeilim, 3 II, 4). Only the family of a ben-Zaza is
mentioned, for whose mother R. Gamaliel held a great public mourning (Rosh Hashanah, 25a), and the bath of a
certain Diskos used for levitically purifying vessels, which was once the
subject of a discussion between R. Tarfon and R. Akiba.
7. Around Lydda and Jamnia as centres several smaller places had Jewish
inhabitants. When a certain Alexa died in Lydda, the men of the villages came
to bewail him, but R. Tarfon prohibited the public mouming owing to the holy
In one of those villages, east of Lydda, Kefar-Tabi, R. Eliezer of Lydda had a
vineyard;another was Kefar-Luddim (Gittin, I, 1) west of Lydda, already outside Palestine,
although quite close to Lydda (Gittin,
4a). R. Akiba had his school in Bene-Berak, a
very fertile district near Jaffa,
R. Joshua b. Hananiah taught in Peki'in between Lydda and Jamnia,R.
Ishmael in Kefar-'Aziz,
his teacher Nehuniah b. Hakanah is once called a man of Emmaus
where R.Joshua visited him. This town had a cattle-market in which R. Gamaliel
of Jamnia, accompanied by R. Joshua and R. Akiba, bought cattle for the
wedding-feast of his son,
it was Amwas in the Shefelah
at the entrance into the mountains and reached from Jamnia by the valley
Owing to its strategical importance it probably had a Roman garrison. R. Eleazar
b. 'Arakh, the favourite disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, after his master's
death settled in Emmaus, a pleasant place with good water.
R. Akiba's teacher Nahum
was of Gimzo near Lydda (Shevuot, 26a), R.
Eliezer's son Hyrkanos lived in Kefar-'Etam,
one of R. Johanan b. Zakkai’s disciples was R.
Eleazar of Modeim, a disciple of R.
Jehudah b. Baba was Simeon htymny,
probably of Thimnah.
In Ma'on in the south of Judaea, several hours' distance from Hebron, R.
Johanan b. Zakkai saw a Jewish girl picking up grains of barley from the dung
of horses (Mekhil.
on Ex. 19, 1,61 a); the presence of this teacher with disciples in Ma'on
suggests with great probability that ews lived in the place. Bethlehem seems to
have retained its population after the revolution, as is suggested by the
well-known legend about the birth of the Messiah (JT. Berakhot, II, 5 a; Threni
r., 1, 16, 51):an Arab told a Jew, who was working in the field with his
cows, that the lowing of his cow announced that Jerusalem had been destroyed, and
the lowing of the other cow that the Messiah
had been born in Birath-'Arabah of Beth-Lehem in Judaea. The Jew left his work and,
in order to find the future Messiah, went about selling flannels for children
from village to village, from town to town, till he arrived at the village
of Birath-'Arabah where he found
the child. This story assumes that whole districts of Judaea
were not destroyed. Reland (Palaestina,
647) refers to Anastasius's Biographies
of the Roman Bishops, where it is reported that St. Euaristus of the times
of Domitian and Nerva was the son of a Jew in Bethlehem; later when Hadrian
defeated the Jews, he prohibited them to live in the district of Jerusalem and
in Bethlehem; this-he says-followed from Tertullian, Contra Judaeos, 224, who remarked that in his time no Jew was left
in Bethlehem, for none must live in its boundaries.
In the Apocalypse of Baruch, 47, 1,
Baruch goes from the destroyed capital to Hebron
to hear there the revelation of God; as the author wrote shortly after the
destruction of Jerusalem, he seems
to have known that Hebron was still
a Jewish town. In Rimmon lived a Jew of means and several priests;
the position of the place is not defined, but as R. Jehudah and R. Simeon b.
Gamaliel, both scholars of the school of Jamnia, report the incidents, and
Rimmon in Judaea is otherwise mentioned,
it is probable that this was meant. At the Dead Sea So'ar was visited by
several Levites (p. 78, note 13). Whether the oasis of 'En-gedi,
with its balsam plantations administered by representatives of the Roman
had any Jewish inhabitants left, is nowhere reported. But, as only the sicarii
had during the revolution driven out the inhabitants (Wars, IV, 7, 2) and only the children and women, about 700 were
killed, it is very probable that the men returned after the war to 'En-gedi.
Eusebius (Onom., s.v.) indeed says that the place was in his time a very large
In Jericho R. Gamaliel with other rabbis stayed on some occasion (Tosefta Berakhot, IV, 15, b. 37 a) which
suggests a Jewish community there. As it was not destroyed by the Romans in the
revolution and only a part of its population perished by the sword, while the
greater part escaped into the mountains opposite Jerusalem (Wars, IV, 8, 2), many may have
afterwards returned, or Jewish deserters loyal to the Romans may have been
settled there under the protection of the garrison and the fortified camp (IV,
9, 1). Interesting evidence proves that Hadid and 'Ono in the north-west of Judaea
had Jewish inhabitants after the year 70. R. Joshua and R. Jakim of Hadid
gave evidence (before the authorities in Jamnia) about a point of religious
law. Hananiah of 'Ono obtained a ruling from R. Akiba when the latter was kept
by the Romans in prison, and brought it before rabbis, among whom was R. Jose.
Further north, beyond Bene-Berak, Kefar-Saba, which may be identical with
Antipatris, had Jewish inhabitants. For R. Meir reports (Tosefta Niddah, VIII, 5): a dead human body was suspected of having
been buried under a certain sycamore in Kefer-Saba, but nothing was found.
A similar case is reported from Beth-Horon, south-east of Modeim, by R. Joshua,
viz. that it was suspected that dead bodies were in a rock.
Gofna, a town north of Jerusalem, was conquered and spared by Vespasian (Wars, IV, 9, 9; VI, 2, 2), and Titus
sent there the nobles who had deserted to him from Jerusalem, to stay there
till the war would be over (VI, 2, 2, 3). Whether in addition to the original
inhabitants of the town, mostly priests (Berakhot,
44a; JT. Ta'an., IV, 69a, 57), any of
the nobles of Jerusalem settled
there, is not known.
Another place of interest is Adasa, of which R. Jehudah in a baraitha (Eruvin,
60 a) reports: There was a village in Judaea called Hadashah where there were
50 inhabitants, men, women, and children, and being an annex itself, the rabbis
measured by it annexes of towns Eruvin, V,
6). It seems hard to doubt that R. Jehudah, as in his many other reports,
referred to Judaea of his own times before the Bar-Kochba war.
Now Adasa is known from 1 Macc. vii. 40, 45, and was, according to
Josephus (Antiq., XI, 10, 5), 30
stadia from Beth-Horon, probably identical with Adasa near Gofna.
But as R. Jehudah says that Hadashah was in Judaea and TJ. Eruvin,
V, 22d, 54, quotes to it Joshua 25:37, it must have been the one nearer Jerusalem,
and was the small suburb of an unnamed Jewish town before the year 135. In Eduyot,
VI, 2, 3, R. Joshua gave evidence with R. Nehuniah b. 'Elinathan of
Kefar-haBabli, obviously in Jamnia as is also evident from R. Nehuniah's
discussions with R. Eliezer. His native place occurs again in Aboth, IV, 20, as that of R. Jose b.
Jehudah, who is identified with Jose or 'Isi the Babylonian.
In a baraitha Pesahim, 113b, he is
further identified with Jose of Husal; and as there is a place Husal of the
Babylonians in Benjamin mentioned in Ketubot,
IlIa; Megillah, 5b, the matter seems
There was then a village Husal in the territory
of Benjamin, a Babylonian colony,
about the year 150, which, however, must have existed earlier. In addition to
these places where Jewish inhabitants can only be inferred, there are a few in
connection with which Jews are expressly mentioned, but their geographical
position can only be suggested. R. Jehudah reports
that about the levitical purity of some pots in Kefer-Signa a dispute arose
between R. Gamaliel and other scholars; and R. Eliezer reports that a fire
broke out on the threshing-floor of the same place and a doubt arose about the
separation of priestly dues.
It was then a Jewish place that had survived the destruction of Jerusalem.
R. Jose reports that from Kefar-'Iddim a case concerning more than 60 troughs
was brought before R. Gamaliel to define their levitical quality (Tosefta Kelim,
2, XI, 2). As R. Gamaliel measured the vessels they, had been all brought to
Jamnia, the place cannot have been very far from that town; its inhabitants
were either priests or trough-makers.
8. A characteristic instance of a town that survived unimpaired the
catastrophe of the year 70 is Betthar, the last fortress of Bar-Kochba. R. Jose
says in a baraitha: Betthar continued for 52 years after the destruction of the
Temple and then it perished,
because it had lighted lamps (of joy) at the destruction.
And R. Simeon b. Gamaliel reports there were in Bethar
500 schools for children, and the smallest of had not less than 500 children.
It had bouleutai (JT. Ta'an., IV,
69a, 26), and a beth-din as Jamnia (Sanhedrin,
17b), and was consequently a town of importance. Add to this the full report of
Dio Cassius, LXIX, 14, that the Roman general, Julius Severus, sent by Hadrian to
Judaea against the Jewish rebels under Bar-Kochba, razed fifty of their best
fortresses and 985 of their most important villages, and that 580,000 men were
killed in the sorties and battles, and the number of those who perished by
famine, disease, and fire, could not be defined, so that most the whole of
Judaea became a desert, as it had been predicted before the war. Even granted
that Dio grossly exaggerated the feat of the Roman general, it will have to be
admitted that Judaea was fairly populated, as many thousands of those who had
been driven from their towns and villages by the approach of the Roman armies
in the years 66-70, after the restoration of peace gradually returned to their
homes or settled in other places of Judaea that had been depopulated. Just as
Betthar, there must have been several towns of greater or less importance. For
in the report about R. Akiba's execution in the Hadrianic persecutions it is
stated in rather obscure terms: within twelve months after this bwl’wt in Judaea ceased.
These were cities of importance of which there were at some time at least 24.
But apart from this, the material collected above about the existing cities and
villages inhabited by Jews, conclusively proves that Judaea
was still fairly populated the year 70.
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS AND LANDED PROPERTY
1. From Josephus we have derived the information that in the course of the
long war in Judaea between the years 66 and 70, several
towns and villages surrendered to the Romans and that the Jewish inhabitants
probably retained their property and all their possessions. In some other
places loyal Jews were settled, and they must have either received from the
Romans or leased fields from Vespasian and Titus. To many of the nobles who had
deserted from Jerusalem into the
Roman camp, Titus promised to restore their property after the war. Though the
redemption of the promise is nowhere reported, Josephus's case is an instance
of it, for his fields near Jerusalem were restored to him, and when they were
required for the Roman garrison, Titus gave Josephus other property in the
Plain (Vita, 76). On the other hand
we are told (Wars, VII, 6,6) that
Vespasian declared the land of Judaea his private property and disposed of some
parts, for instance, by giving to 8,000 veterans fields in Emmaus, near
Jerusalem, and by rewarding Josephus. The rest had accordingly to be leased
from the emperor, even by the former owners. Before order was restored in this
matter, terrible conditions seem to have prevailed in some places of Judaea,
as the following incident suggests. One of the wealthiest men of Jerusalem
before its destruction,
Nakdimon b. Gorion, most probably perished during the siege of the capital.
After the catastrophe his daughter is found by R. Johanan b. Zakkai and his
disciples starving and picking grains of barley from horses' dung,
and, when questioned by the rabbi, explained that the money of her father and
her father-in-law was all gone.
Such cases of utter impoverishment may have been numerous, while such as
continued on their property may also have been many. For Eusebius, in his short
account of the Bar-Kochba war (Hist. Ecc.,
IV, 6), says: Tineius Rufus, the governor of Judaea, availing himself of the
madness of the rebelling Jews under Bar-Kochba, went out against them, killed
indiscriminately thousands of men, women, and children, and, according to the
law of war, brought the fields of the Jews into his possession.
2. As to details reflecting actual conditions, Josephus offers
none, and it is again the Talmud only that contains some very instructive
information. Unfortunately this material is merely incidental and only in very
few instances descriptive; in most cases it refers to the time between 80 and
135 in giving illustrative incidents and relating to the observance of the
field comer for the poor, the Shabbatical year of rest, the priestly dues, and
mortgages. When once R. Joshua visited R. Johanan b. Zakkai in Berur-Hayil, the
people of the villages brought them figs (see n.40); the farmers were Jews and
lived in several villages. When R. Eliezer was put in the ban by the school in
Jamnia, the world was smitten, one third on the olives, one third on wheat, and
one third on barley (bar.Bava Metzia.
59 b). Evidently Jewish landowners suffered either in the close neighborhood of
Jamnia or in Lydda, where R. Eliezer lived. R. Akiba remarks (Tosefta Pe'ah, II, 21) that as to the
field corner to be left to the poor landowners (ba’ale-battim) are liberal.R. Jose
relates (Kilayim, VII, 5)
how a man was reported to R. Akiba for sowing seeds in his vineyard in the
Shabbatical year; and R. Akiba himself once saw a man prune his vine in the
Shabbatical year (JT. Shevi'it,
IV, 35 a, 36). The proselyte Akylas, who is found in the company of R. Gamaliel
II, R. Eliezer, and R. Joshua,
acquired property in Judaea to export, from Judaea
in Pontus, some
produce of the Shabbatical year, is quoted as a mistake.In Bene-Berak, one sold his father's property
and died; his relatives protested that he was a minor and asked R. Akiba to
examine his body, but the rabbi refused to have the grave opened (Bava
Batra, 154 a; Semahot,
IV, 12). A security once signed a bill after the witnesses; when the debt was
claimed from him R. Ishmael ruled that only his movables were liable (Bava
Batra, X, 8) Joshua, R. Akiba's son, married the daughter
of a wealthy landowner and agreed with his wife that she should maintain him
and allow him to study; when years of drought came, the husband and the wife
divided between them her property (Tosefta
Ketubot, IV, 7; JT., V, 29 d,
25). The son of R. Jehudah the baker gave by deed all his property to his wife
who was his cousin; when creditors of the household claimed the property, the
rabbis declared the wife's marriage settlement void owing to the gift from the
husband, and the property liable for the debt, so that she lost all (Bava
Batra132 a). R. Joshua once walked across a field by a
trodden path; a Jewish girl reproached him for this, and when he pointed as an
excuse to the path, she said: Robbers like you trod it (Eruvin,
53 b). Once, walking in the road, R. Gamaliel and R. Joshua, owing to the
unevenness of the road, walked beside it in the fields. When they noticed R.
Pappos b. Jehudah approaching and walking deep in the mud of the road, R.
Gamaliel found fault with this self-exhibition; but R. Joshua explained to him
who the man was and how blameless his character.
The fields to which Jewish law was applied were Jewish property.
The law concerning priestly dues and tithes was observed in spite of
changed conditions of property, and as there were many priests in Judaea,
among them several scholars, incidents reported about them will throw light on
property. R. Tarton, a priest who survived the destruction of Jerusalem,
is termed a very wealthy men (Nedarim,
62 a); he owned land and slaves. Once the unusually red face of his disciple,
R. Jehudah attracted his attention. He accounted for it as follows: Thy slaves
last night brought us from the field beets, and we ate of those without salt;
had we taken salt, our faces would look even more red (Nedarim, 49b). R. Tarfon once gave R. Akiba 600 silver centenarii
to buy a field, on the income of which they would live; but R. Akiba
distributed the money among poor scholars.
R. Tarfon received priestly due, Terumah; once an old man met him and asked him
why people should speak of him in disparaging terms for his accepting such dues
all the year round from anybody, as otherwise all his actions were upright (Tosefta Hagigah, III, 36). R. Tarfon
referred to a rule received by him from R. Johanan b. Zakkai on which he had
based his acceptance of such dues; but he declared, he would henceforth act
more strictly. As we learn of his especially solemn dealing with his priestly
dues in the days of R. Gamaliel II,
it is most probable that also the incident just quoted occurred in Lydda or
Jamnia, and not before the year 70 in Jerusalem.
In a year of drough he betrothed himself to several women to enable them to eat
of his priestly dues.
These reports presuppose several Jewish landowners in Lydda who gave from their
produce the prescribed dues
to R. Tarfon. Probably one of them was R. Simeon Shezuri, whose untithed
produce became once accidentally mixed with a tithed one, and when he asked R.
Tarfon what he should do, he advised him to buy produce in the market and to
separate from that the required tithe (ToseftaDammai, V, 22; JT.,
V, 24 d, 69; b.Menahot,
31).R. Simeon had, accordingly,
fields of his own; the market was supplied by non-Jews, as the context proves,
and the Talmud expressly states. Another priest and scholar was R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah,
a very wealthy man (Kiddushin, 49 b),
mentioned along with the fabulously rich Eleazar b. Harsom; he who dreams of
him, may hope to become rich (Berakhot,
57b). Since he died, the crown of scholars departed, for wealth is their crown
(Sotah, IX, 15; JT. and b. end). He gave
to R. Jose the Galilean the amount of his wife's marriage settlement to enable
him to divorce his wicked wife (Genes.
r., 17, 3). No reference is found to R. Eleazar's fields; but as in Rabh's
report (Shabbat 54 b) the tithe of
his herds was 12,000 calves every year, even taking the figure as grossly
exaggerated, it presupposes in R. Eleazar's possession either his own land or
leased pasture lands of great extent.
He dealt in wine and oil all his life (ToseftaAvodah Zarah, IV, I; Bava
Batra,91 a); whether it was his own produce or bought from
others, is not indicated. As a priest he used to receive the tithe of the
produce of a certain garden till R. Akiba stopped it;
the owner was a Jew who kept the law about priestly and levitical dues.
3. Several other scholars who had lived before the year 70 in Jerusalem,
and now lived with the priests discussed in Judaea, were
possessed of landed property. R. Dosa b. Harkinas was once visited by R. Joshua
b. Hananjah, R. Eliezer b. 'Azariah, and R. Akiba(Yevamot,
16 a), and he offered them gilded chairs, and his house had several entrances;
but of what his wealth otherwise consisted, is not reported, most probably of
fields. R. Eliezer was before the year 70 assisting his father, a wealthy
farmer in the country, in his work in the fields; when, already a married man, he became a
disciple of Johanan b. Zakkai in Jerusalem, and during the siege of Jerusalem
he followed his master to Jamnia. He lived in Lydda in a house built Greek
consisting of at least a room, an upper room, and a dining-room. He had a slave
whom he freed when in the synagogue only nine of the requisite ten Israelites
were present (Gittin, 38 b). He had
also a female slave (Berakhot; 16 b; Semahot., I, 10), a vineyard (ToseftaMa'aser Sheni, V, 16; Rosh
Hashanah, 31 b), fields planted with flax,olive trees, and date-palms, (Sanhedrin,
101 a).R. Eliezer's wife, Imma Shalom, sent as a
bribe a golden candlestick to a philosopher who boasted incorruptibility, and
brought a fictitious civil case concerning her inheritance before him (Shabbat, 116 a, b). Her brother, R.
Gamaliel II, the president of the beth-din in Jamnia after R. Johanan b.
Zakkai, was a wealthy man. The style of living in his house was that of a rich
man; his rooms were furnished with sofas for dinner (ToseftaYom Tov, II, 13);
guests dined with him on holy days, among whom were R. Sadok and his son
Eleazar (Betzah, 22 b, 23 a, and
parallels); after dinner smelling spices were burnt, for holy days the scent
was prepared beforehand and kept in boxes (ToseftaYom Tov, II, 14; JT. Betzah, II, 61 c, 57, 59,b. 22 b); special kinds of food were
prepared in his house, some with Greek names (Tosefta, II, 16, JT, II,
61 d, 18. b.,22 b). As he gave tithes (Ma'aser Sheni, V, 9), he had landed property,
he had for his fields several farmers ( ‘rysymBava Metzia, V, 8) to whom he advanced wheat to be
returned in kind and to be reckoned at the lowest price. He engaged laborers to
work his fields whom he fed with produce bought from a Jew and not certainly
R. Akiba was a wealthy man, as he himself said to the crowd attending his son's
funeral (Semahot., VIII) and there
are various legends accounting for his great wealth.
To satisfy both opinions in the controversy of the schools, he gave two tithes
of citrons which he collected, evidently in his own garden (Tosefta Shevi'it,
IV, 21; Rosh Hashanah, 14 a). A
colleague of R. Akiba in the school, R. Jesheb'ab distributed all his property
among the poor, and R. Gamaliel sent him the message that the rabbis approved
of giving away only a fifth of one's possessions.
Where he lived and the kind of his property is not defined; but in Nazir, 65 a, a baraitha says: Once R.
Jesheb'ab examined a field for human bodies and found two which had been
noticed before, and one that had not been noticed, and on this proposed to
declare the field a place of tombs, but R. Akiba told him; All your work is
useless, for only three known or discovered bodies constitute sufficient
evidence. He lived, as other evidence shows, in Jamnia or Lydda, and probably
owned land; as he can only have examined Jewish property, we learn of such in Judaea.
A friend of R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah was Boethos b. Zonen in Lydda; in his house
we find R. Gamaliel and his colleagues in the night of a Passover discussing
laws of the feast (Tosefta Pesahim
J., X, 12), and as R. Jehudah reports
(Tosefta Pesahim., I, 31; JT., II, 29 c, 1; b. 37 a), he asked in
Jamnia of R. Gamaliel and the rabbis a question about unleavened cakes for the
same feast. At the advice of R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah, he had eight books of the
prophets bound together (Bava Batra, 13 b,
bottom). Once he brought in a ship dried figs on which heathen wine from a broken
barrel came (Avodah Zarah, V, 2); the rabbis
permitted the figs. He lent money to Jews and took their fields for pledges on
the condition that, in case the debt would not be paid on the appointed day,
the field should be sold to him; to avoid even an appearance of interest, he
consulted R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah as to the procedure (Bava
Metzia, V. 3; b. 63a; Tosefta,
IV, 2, JT., V, 10b, 13).
This precaution shows that his debtors were Jews, and we learn of another
instance of property in Jewish hands.
A few decisions of rabbis as judges in civil and other suits also prove
that Jews in Judaea owned not merely landed property,
but had also other means. A man who had promised his wife in her marriage
settlement 400 zuzs in case of divorce, vowed that he would not live with her.
At the complaint of his wife, R. Akiba upheld her claim to the full amount.
When the man explained that his father had left to him and his brother
altogether only 800 denars, so that he was unable to pay the amount, R. Akiba
replied: Even if you should have to sell your hair, you must pay the marriage
settlement (Nedarim, IX, 5). A man
who offended a woman by uncovering her head in the street was fined 400 zuzs by
R. Akiba. When he, later on, proved that the woman herself, when seeing a jug
of smelling oil poured out in front of her house, had uncovered her head in the
street, R. Akiba adhered to his decision (Bava Kamma,
VIII, 6). In the first case the money seems to have passed after the year 70
from the father to the son, and must have been saved in spite of the Roman
conquest. In the second case, the amount of the fine shows the standard of
wealth and of private honour. R. Gamaliel fined a man ten gold pieces for
covering in anticipation, the blood of a fowl slaughtered by another man and
thus depriving him of the merit of a religious act(Hullin,
There were in Judaea wealthy people, as we read that R.
Akiba, who lived in Lydda and later in Bene-Berak, showed honour to such (Eruvin,
86 a). They owned land, produce, cattle, and money; and it is noteworthy that
the property could be sold or passed on as a gift or inheritance, showing the
right of free disposition and fullest ownership. Josephus's statement that
Vespasian declared the land of the province his private property that was to be
leased ( Wars, VII, 6, 6; Schurer, Geschichte,
I, 640), must have referred to the towns and villages conquered by force, but
not to those that had surrendered and were not deprived of their property; or
the Romans sold the conquered land to any Jew for a nominal price, holding the
new owner responsible for the taxes, as it mattered to them nothing who
possessed the land, if only the taxes were paid. For this purpose it was the
law that no property could change hands without registration at the competent
Roman office, as several passages in the Talmud and Midrash clearly state.
4. There were, naturally, also poor people in Judaea,
in the first instance many orphans whose parents had either fallen in the War
or were taken captive and sold. For in the upper chamber of R. Tarfon it was
resolved, after a discussion between the assembled rabbis, that Psalm cvi, 3b,
Blessed is he who practices charity at all times, enjoined the duty to bring up
an orphan in one's house.
There were other poor who had inherited no property from their fathers, as R.
Joshua b. Hananiah, who earned a living by making charcoal.(Berakhot, 28 a) or needles (JT. IV, 7d,
and who once reproached the head of the school, R.
Gamliel, that he knew nothing of the troubles of scholars in earning a
his house was small, but had a gate in which once four scholars sat and studied
IV, 18). Especially in the first years after the war the struggle must have been
very hard, as is evident from a statement of R. Haninah, the vice high priest (ARN, XX, 36 a): he who takes the torah
to heart, is relieved of many fears, the first of them being the fear of
hunger. This is explained in full to mean: when one craves for a piece of
barley-bread or a drop of vinegar or drink, or would like to put on a shirt of
wool or linen, he does not possess it, everything is lacking; we are without a
lamp, a knife, and a table.
R. Ishmael on one occasion said (Nedarim,
IX, 10): Jewish girls are handsome, but poverty disfigures them. The Roman
governor asked R. Akiba why God did not maintain the poor in Israel
if He loved them (Bava Batra, 10 a); he evidently
based his question on actual conditions in Judaea.
It is related in a baraitha
that the burial of a dead relative was, owing to the expense, a greater trouble
to the family than his death, so that some left the dead and fled, till R.
Gamaliel expressed the wish to be buried in plain linen, when everybody
followed his example. Though some scholars ascribe this to R. Gamaliel I,
between the years 30 and 50, the name without the distinctive adjective 'the
old' and the poverty are in favour of R. Gamaliel II. Poor students belonged to
the school of Jamnia (Sifre Deut.,16;Horayot,
10a,b) who were supported by wealthy scholars such as R. Tarfon and Nehuniah b.
Hakanah (Megillah, 28a), andsometimes invited to dinner by their masters
(Derekh Eretz, VII). Some support was
obtained by collections, great scholars not minding the journey for such a
purpose to distant towns (JT. Horayot,
III, 48a, 44), and wealthy Jews contributed liberally. Characteristic is the
statement of Nahum of Gimzo that his old age was due to his never having
accepted presents (Megillah, 28a).
5. It may be safely assumed that the landowning Jews in Judaea
worked their fields as strenuously as before the war, as their taxes had
increased owing to the revolution and living was under direct Roman rule not
easier. Incidentally, we hear of very early work in the field.
Whether the wars left the Jew in possession of sufficient working animals,
cows, and asses, is not evident from the scanty records. R. Eleazar b. 'Azarjah
had very numerous herds, and he probably was no exception. Besides there are in
connexion with priestly dues a few references to cows and sheep. The rabbis
permitted 'Ela in Jamnia to charge four asses for his examination of a
firstborn sheep or goat, and six for a calf, no difference whether it was found
to be with or without blemish (Bekhor.,
IV, 5). R. Sadok the priest had a firstborn animal (Bekhor., 36a; Berakhot,27b)
; R. Gamaliel had one, the lower jaw of which was larger than the upper, and
this anomaly was declared a blemish (Bekhor.,
VI, 9).About the nature of another blemish in the house of Menahem, R. Akiba
and R. Johanan b. Nuri differed (VI, 6; b. 40a Tosefta, IV, 8). A baraitha in Sanhedrin,
33a, reports another case in the same house: R. Tarfon declared a cow without
matrix unsuitable for food and gave it to the dogs; when the matter was brought
before the teachers in Jamnia, Theodos, the doctor, said that no cow or sow
left Alexandria without its matrix being first removed to prevent it from
bearing (IV, 4). A cow expired on a holy day, and R. Tarfon brought the
question before the school whether the removal of the carcass was permitted,
and of priestly due that was defiled (Betzah,
III, 5). R. Gamaliel had cattle, for his son Simeon said (Tosefta Shabbat, XV, 26 b. 128b): We used to stimulate the maternal
instinct of a clean animal on a holy day. R. Simeon of Timnah slaughtered on a
holy day a calf, to appease a troop of soldiers (Tosefta Betzah, II, 6; b. 21a). Abba
Saul relates (Tosefta Shabbat,
IX, 21; Yevamot, 114a): We used to
suck milk from a clean animal on a holy day. It is noteworthy that the wealthy
R. Gamaliel had only just as many cows as the working of his fields required;
for when the wedding feast of his son was to be prepared, he had to buy some
cattle in the market of Emmaus (Hullin,
91 b, and parallels).
It must not be forgotten that R. Eliezer was asked by his disciples
whether sheep or goats may be reared, and that he gave an evasive answer (Tosefta Yevamot,
111,4), while R. Gamaliel replied to the same question of his disciples in the
Perhaps the Shammaiite R. Eliezer would not abolish even a temporary
prohibition in spite of changed conditions, while R. Gamaliel the Hillelite had
no hesitation in doing so. It cannot be accidental that no flocks were
mentioned of any rabbi or landowner discussed above; and it is most instructive
that in the exhaustive enumeration of goods and possessions in the house of a
wealthy farmer in Judaea in the baraitha in Shabbat
127b, herds, but not flocks, are included, fully in accordance with R. Eliezer
who is meant there (note 83). Professor Krauss
tried by every possible argument to dispute the fact implied by the questions
addressed to R. Eliezer and R. Gamaliel and to show that the prohibition
against rearing sheep and goats was mere theory; but arguments cannot remove
clear reports of facts. Though we may be able to point to instances of sheep
reared,we have to consider that R. Gamaliel had
permitted it and 'Ela, the examiner of blemishes of firstborn sheep or goats,
acted as such in Jamnia. There may have been farmers in Judaea who, even before
R. Gamaliel's permission, reared flocks; but that is no proof against the
prohibition and its general observance, as we find only herdsmen referred to
incidentally with R. Tarfon (Eruvin, 45a),
but no shepherds.The fact that the prohibition of rearing
flocks is put together with that of cutting down fruit-bearing trees, suggests
some inner connexion between the two, in so far as the protection of newly
planted trees, necessitated by the devastation of the country by the Romans,
implied the prohibition of rearing especially goats.
6. The success of the most careful farming depended to a very
great extent on rain in proper time. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, in the name of R.
Joshua, said (Sotah, IX, 12): Since
the day of the destruction of the Temple
there has been no day without a curse, and dew has not come down for blessing,
and the taste of the produce has been taken away. R. Joshua had known the years
immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem,
and though the bitterness of the fruit may largely have been due to the bitter
mood of the Jews, he must have noticed some change in the produce.
R. Eleazar b. Parta, who lived before the year 135, said in a baraitha (Ta'an., 19b): Since the day of the
destruction of the Temple, rains have become scanty in the world; there are
years when rains are abundant, others when they are too little, in some they
come in time, in others out of season. Samuel the Young, a member of the school
in Jamnia, instituted public fasts on two occasions, obviously for rain to come
(Ta'an., 25b); in Lydda the
authorities, owing to a drought, ordered a fast on the feast of Hanukkah, but
R. Eliezer and R. Joshua refused to recognize it.
R. Eliezer and R. Akiba instituted public fasts and rain came down (Ta'an., 25b; JT., III, 66c, 76); when once a fast was held in Lydda and rain
came down before , R. Tarfon
allowed the people to go and to eat and to drink and to have a holiday (Ta'an., III, 9). In a year of drought,
R. Tarfon betrothed to himself several women to enable them to eat of his
priestly due (ToseftaKetubot, V, 1; JT., Yevamot, IV, 6b,
59); and in such a year Joshua, the son of R. Akiba, made special arrangements
with his rich wife (ToseftaKetubot, IV, 7; JT., V, 29d, 25).
Drought often entailed for many starvation and death; When once R. Eliezer
prayed at a public fast meeting for rain, and in spite of several fasts his
prayer was not fulfilled, he said to the congregation: Have you prepared graves
for yourselves (Ta'an., 25b)? The
land was fertile, especially so in the western districts of Judaea.
R. Jehudah, by birth a Galilean, who attended the schools in Lydda, Jamnia and
Bene-Berak, says (Bava Batra, 122a): A se'ah of
land in Judaea is worth five se'ahs in Galilee.
And his colleague, R. Jose of Sepphoris, says in a Baraitha (Ketubot, 112a): A se'ah of field in
Judaea yielded five se'ahs, one of fine flour, one of sifted fine flour, one of
bran, one of coarse bran, and one of cibarium.R. Jacob b. Dosithai tells (Ketubot, IIIb, bottom) how he once, early
in the morning, walked from Lydda to 'Ono to his ankles in honey of figs.
The produce of the fields in ordinary years seems to have been sufficient for
maintaining the population in spite of the heavy taxes in kind to be considered
As there were many without land, they had to buy provisions in the market; and
we learn that R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah dealt in wine and oil for many years (Bava
Batra, 91, a; Tosefta
Avodah Zarah, IV, 1). Of
export, we hear only in a discussion between R. Jehudah b. Bethera and another teacher.
Boethos b. Zonen brought from outside, by ship, dried figs (Avodah
Zarah, V, 2), perhaps in a year of drought.
7. A passing reference to the food of the Jews in the period
considered may be of some interest. R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah, in a sentence
preserved in two forms, prescribes food according to one's means (Tosefta, 'Arakh., IV, 27): He who owns
10 manahs, may eat every day vegetables boiled in a pot; if he has 20 manahs,
he may eat the same vegetables boiled and then stewed; if he has 50 manahs, he
may buy every Friday a pound of meat; if he has 100 manahs, he may have a pound
of meat every day. In the parallel (Hullin,
84 a) it reads differently: He who has 1 manah, may buy for his pot one pound
of vegetables, with 10 manahs a pound of fish for his pot, with 50 manahs a
pound of meat, if he has 100 manahs, let a pot (of meat) be put up on the fire
for him every day. The difference is not due merely to varying traditions, but,
it seems, to different parts of Palestine,
which cannot be investigated here. The pupils of R. Tarfon ate of his beets,
raw ones, with or without salt (Nedarim,
49b), but sometimes also meat with eggs; for R. Jehudah reports (Nedarim, VI, 6) that when they-in the
baraitha Nedarim, 52 b, he-once vowed
not to eat meat, R. Tarfon prohibited them-or him-to eat even eggs boiled with
meat. What caused this vow would be interesting, but is not suggested. As was
shown above, R. Gamaliel had to go to the market in Emmaus to buy cattle for
the wedding feast of his son (Hullin,
91 b), as eating meat was an essential expression of joy; and R. Jose reports (Bekhor., 40a; Tosefta, IV, 8) that in the house of a certain Menahem a cow was
slaughtered, but no special occasion is mentioned. In R. Gamaliel's house,
various dishes with Greek names are incidentally referred to (Tosefta Betzah,II,
16; JT.II, 61d, 18) with which pepper
was used; but even on a festival a bucketful of lentils was in his house one of
the dishes (Betzah l4b; Tosefta , I,22), and fish is also
mentioned once as brought to R. Gamaliel (Betzah,
III, 2). Akylas the proselyte had a man-cook who once brought a levitical
question before the school of R.
Kelim, 3, II, 4), as Akylas kept his food in high levitical purity (Tosefta, Hagigah, III, 3). R. Joshua, when on a journey in
lodgings, lived on beans (Eruvin, 53b), other
teachers on vegetables. Wine, as far as incidental remarks allow judgment, was
almost as rare as meat. At the wedding feast of his son, R. Akiba offered wine
freely to his guests (Tosefta Shabbat,
VII, 9; b. 67b; JT. Berakhot, VI,
10d, 58), as it was done at every festivity (mshth, Kiddushin, 32b, Sifre Deut., 38). In the houses of
wealthy people wine may have been more usual (Berakhot, VIII, I ff., and JT.,
VI, 10c, 76ff. concerning s’wdh), so
that R. Gamaliel and his companion drank wine on the way from Akko
to Ekdippa (Eruvin, 64 b, and parallels).
Bread was made of wheat; barley as everyday food of a wife was, according to R.
Jose, permitted only by R. Ishmael, who lived near Idumaea (Ketubot, V,8); on the festivals, as on
Passover, more luxurious cakes were baked, as R. Akiba made on the Passover for
R. Eliezer and R. Joshua a dough with oil and honey (Pesahim, 36a). As Joshua, R. Akiba's disciple, was a grit-miller (Eruvin,
21b), grits must have been common food.
All the food mentioned was in most cases derived from one's
own field and required no outlay of money. Those who were compelled to buy
provisions, had first to earn some money. R. Gamaliel engaged Jews as
labourers, and in addition to their food must have paid them some wages. Of
trade, hardly any clear evidence is found, though there must have been grocers
and bakers. R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah dealt in wine and oil (Bava Batra, 91a; Tosefta'Ab. zar., IV, 1); R. Jehudah was a
baker, and bakers' shops are mentioned in Tosefta
XVIII, 18; Yadaim, 11, 16, and Joshua a
grit-miller (Eruvin, 21b). Lydda had vendors
who sold their goods dear (Bava Metzia,
IV, 3), and a synagogue of weavers or metalworkers (Nazir, 52a, and parallels). R. Joshi'a gave up his studies and took
up business, for which his colleague R. Matthia blamed him (ARN, I, la), and R. Akiba seems to have
been connected with shipping (Nedarim,
50a, b). A R. Johanan was sandal-maker (Sifre
Deut., 80; Midrasch Tannaim, 58),
a Jehudah a perfumer (Hullin, 55b,
and parallel); Simeon a cotton-dealer (?); R. Ishmael a Torah-writer (Sotah, 20a); and Eleazar a writer (Hullin, 55b); and in connexion with the
deposition of R. Gamaliel, a fuller is mentioned (JT. Berakhot, IV, 7d, 23).
8. As almost natural after the terrible catastrophe, the mood of the Jews
of Judaea was depressed. Not only immediately after the destruction of the
Temple and of the country, when some men, on account of the sanctuary, resolved
not to eat meat and not to drink wine, and R. Joshua had to dissuade them (Bava
Batra, 60b; Tosefta Sotah,
XV, 11); and when the author of the Apocalypse of Baruch voiced the despair
of some religious leaders and of a section of the population. But also later,
when a recognized authority gave expression to the feelings of the people by
prescribing for joyful occasions some signs of mourning, the same mood still
prevailed; for Mishnah
Sotah, IX, 14, reports: In the war ofVespasian a decree was issued concerning wreaths of bridegrooms and the
drum (b. 49b; JT., IX, 24c, 4) ;and Tosefta
XV, 7, says: Since the Sanhedrin ceased, song ceased in the house of feasting.
It is true, we find that the book of Canticles was sung as an ordinary song at
feasts, and R. Akiba denounced such songs in the strongest terms,
but the section of the population that feasted in this way did not seem to share
the general feeling in this as in other respects. Other constant and
spontaneous reminders of the loss of Jerusalem were suggested by a rabbi,
probably R. Joshua: One may whitewash his house and leave merely a spot not
whitewashed in memory of Jerusalem; one may prepare everything for a dinner and
leave one thing out in memory of Jerusalem; a woman may adorn herself and leave
off one ornament in memory of Jerusalem,
the strict observance of the 9th of 'Ab, the day of the destruction of
the mourning for the Temple (Threni r.,
l,2; IV Ezra 9, 38 ff.), the inclusion of a special prayer for the restoration
of the holy city in the eighteen benedictions,
all show the mood of the people and the endeavor of the rabbis to strengthen
the hope of the Jews for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple.
9. In conclusion, a few words must be said about the life and the position
of women in Judaea between the years 70 and 135. The
very strange discussion as to whether one is legally bound to maintain his
small children suggests terrible poverty. R. Eliezer declared it a good deed to
feed one's little sons and daughters (Ketubot,
50a), while R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah formulated the law in the gathering of the
rabbis in Jamnia that little daughters had no claim to maintenance (Ketubot, IV, 6). When a man refused to
marry his niece, who was ugly, R. Ishmael said that all Jewish girls were
bright, but poverty made them ugly (Nedarim,
IX, 10). All men married, Simeon b. 'Azzai was an exception condemned by himself
and R. Eliezer.As a rule girls married after attaining
puberty (Pesahim, 112 a, b) and
later; but we find also a child married to a man, as in the case of R.
Ishmael's son (JT. Yevamot, XIII, 13 c, 19; Niddah, , 52a), and another that came
before R. Jehudah b. Baba (Tosefta Yevamot,XIII, 5).R. Eliezer married his niece, who was an orphan and lived in his house,
when she attained puberty (ARN, XVI,
32a; in JT., Yevamot, XIII, 13c, 60, before that time). To marry one's niece was
commended and practiced, and among others' Abba had R. Gamaliel's, his
brother's daughter, for a wife (Yevamot,
15a), and he was the only instance reported of having had two wives.
When R. Tarfon's wife died, he asked her sister, at the
cemetery, to take charge of his children
and betrothed her. Once, when he saw a bridal procession pass by his school, he
interrupted his teaching, brought the bride to his house and asked his mother
and his wife to bathe, anoint, and adorn the bride, and then he danced before
her and took her to her husband (ARN,
XLI, 67a). R. Ishmael persuaded a man to marry his niece who was poor and whom
Ishmael's mother adorned for her wedding (Nedarim,
IX, 10). Those girls had hardly any dowry, but there was the rich wife of R.
Akiba's son who was maintained by his wife and studied (Tosefta Ketubot, IV, 7, and parallel), and R. Eliezer's wife, the sister of
R. Gamaliel. In a year of drought R. Tarfon betrothed to himself several women
to enable them to eat of his priestly due (Tosefta,
Ketubot, V, 1; TJ. Yevamot, IV,
6b, 59). The husband had to write to his wife a marriage settlement promising
her at least 200 zuzs in case of divorce or his death, and that document
protected her against whims of her husband (Nedarim,
IX, 5) and made it impossible for a poor man to get rid of a tyrannical wife (Genes. r., 17,3). The son of R. Jehudah
the baker, who had married his cousin, gave all property to her; but when his
creditors claimed their money, she had to pay the debts and even her marriage
settlement was lost (Bava Batra, 132a).
A married woman had to have her head covered in the street, and it was a
serious offense to uncover it; R. Akiba fined a man heavily for it (Bava
Kamma, VIII, 6). In moonlit evenings women met and while
spinning, discussed the latest events in the families of the place (Gittin 89a); if they talk ugly things
about a married woman, R. Akiba says, she must be divorced. And R. Joshua says
(Sotah, VI, 1) that if a married
woman was alone with another man and women spinning in the moonlight talk about
it, she must be divorced (see Sotah,
6b, bottom); R. Johanan b. Nuri objected most strongly to such evidence.
Otherwise we find the wives and mothers of teachers in conversation with other
rabbis, as Imma Shalom, the wife of R. Eliezer (Nedarim, 20b) and the mother of R. Ishmael and of R. Tarfon.Women came to the schools with all kinds of
and R. Ishmael and R. Eliezer asked their mother and wife respectively to
examine girls as to their signs of puberty (ToseftaNiddah, VI, 8). R. Eliezer was once
asked by a learned woman about a contradiction in the Bible, and his answer
was: A woman's wisdom is in the distaff; in the parallel he replied: Words of
the Torah should be burnt and not given to women.
He consistently prohibited teaching a girl Torah (Sotah, II, 4). R. Joshua's opinion was not favorable to women.A woman
is more satisfied with a kabh of food if intercourse is with it than with nine
kabhs of food and rare. intercourse: a woman separating from intercourse is one
of the destroyers of the world.
Whenever Pappos b. Jehudah left his house, he locked his wife in that she
should not speak to anybody; but this is stated to have been an exception and
In the home the wife had to attend to the house and to its requirements, she
had to look after her children (JT. Yevamot, IV, 6b, 37), and, when free,
she spun (Kethubot, V, 5); and we
learn that she sold wool to dealers (Bava Kamma,
X, 9; b. 119a). Of children we hear little, only of the deaths of several young
men, the son of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, when already a scholar (ARN, XIV, 29b), of R. Ishmael's several
sons (Mo'ed Katan, 28b), and of R. Akiba's son (Semakhot., VIII; Mo'ed
On the eve of Passover children were entertained with sweets by R. Tarton or R.
Akiba (JT. Pesahim., X, 37b, 75; b. 109a). An anonymous baraitha
in Yevamot, 62b, allows an insight into the principles practiced by
the teachers in their homes: To him who loves his wife as himself, and who
honours her more than himself and guides his sons and his daughters in the
straight way and who makes them marry immediately after puberty, applies Job v.
III. THE POLITICAL CONDITIONS IN JUDAEA AND ROMANS.
1. Though a
great part of Judaea was saved in the catastrophe of the
year 70, it did not escape an evil attending great wars; outlaws and robbers
increased in number and enhanced the difficulties of maintenance and of
recovery. Their place of activity was not only Galilee, where a son of R.
Haninah b. Teradion of Sikhnin joined robbers and was ultimately killed by
them as traitor (Semahot, XII, Threni r., 3, 16), but Judaea
suffered even more from them, because there war followed war. When staying in
Babylonia, in the lifetime of R. Gamaliel, on matters of intercalation, R.
Akiba met in Neharde'a
Nehemia of Beth-Deli; they discussed the question of finding witnesses to
testify to a man's death, and Nehemia referred R. Akiba to the fact that Judaea
was infested with raiding bands (Yevamot, XVI, 7). In the neighborhood of
Lydda R. Tarfon was once in danger of his life when, according to Shammaiite
rule, he down in the road to read a prayer (Berakhot., I, 3). A man told
R. Tarfon how he and a companion were on the way pursued by a raiding band; his
friend broke a branch from an olive-tree to use it as a weapon thereby invited
the raiders to return, and was taken ill and died.
R. Jehudah relates
how a robber before his execution in Mazaga (Caesarea)
in Cappadocia confessed to the murder of Simeon b. Kohen
on entering Lydda; on this evidence Simeon's wife was allowed to remarry. The
informant's person shows that the case was discussed in Lydda or in Jamnia; as
R. Akiba once stayed in Mazaga,perhaps he brought the confession to Judaea
before the schools. R. Joshua prescribed a short prayer to be said in a place
of danger (Berakhot, IV, 4) though he prayed therein for help for the
remnant of the nation bkl prsht h’bwr,
the parallel (Berakhot, 29b;
Tosefta, III, 7) defines
the danger as a troop of wild beasts and of robbers.
Some seem to have been Jews, as those who met R. Akiba's disciples on their way
to Ekdippa (Avodah Zarah,25b). It is
true, most of these instances of robbery and robbers in the Roman province
of Judaea could belong to one
special period of unrest, the war of Quietus in the year 116, when some
revolutionary movement and persecutions on the part of the Romans again
disturbed the country.
2. The Roman military power in the newly subdued province must have, since
the year 70, been distributed all over the country (see Wars, VII,6, 1), and we should expect, could, if it wanted, have
reached robbers near the important town of Lydda without difficulty. Though
there is no evidence for the places of garrisons, numerous or small, Lydda was
certainly one of them.R. Johanan b. Zakkai had conversations with a
Roman official called in TJ. Sanhedrin,
I, 19c, 16, Antoninus hegemon; I, 19d,3, Antigonos hegemon; I, 19b, 18, Angatos
hegemon; Num. r., 4, 9, Hongatos;
Bekhor., 5a, Kontrakos the ruler;
Deut., 351, Agnito shegemon, who asked R. Gamaliel a question. Hegemon
does not necessarily denote the governor of Judaea; he may
have been the commander of the garrison in Jamnia, and this all the more as
none of the few governors known suits the name, nor any Greek or Roman name has
so far been found to cover the form preserved in the Hebrew sources.
Jamnia was to the Roman administration of special importance on account of its
imperial stores of produce. For in Tosefta
Damai, I, 13, we read: R. Jose says: The rule mentioned applies to private
stores only, but in the stores of the emperors we go as to the origin of the
corn by the majority of it. R. Jehudah says: This applies to stores of Jews and
non-Jews, but in stores of Jews and Samaritans we go by the majority of the
produce. The rabbis then said to R. Jose: As you have told us concerning the
stores of Jamnia before the war that the corn there was not certainly tithed,
and most of the people who delivered there corn were Samaritans, we see that in
the stores in Palestine into which corn is brought from abroad, as the stores of
Regeb, all goes by the measure of the corn. R. Joshua b. Kaposai said that from
the rules concerning the stores in Jamnia he derived a halachic lesson. Into
those stores the taxes were delivered prescribed to be in kind, as Tosefta Damai,
VI, 3,4, clearly states: He who rents a field from a Samaritan, gives him the
rent in kind after separating the tithes, then he weighs into the stores, he
weighs to the centurion and then gives it to him. A Jew
must not say to a non-Jew or a Samaritan or some one not trustworthy in
tithing: Take 200 zuzs and weigh for me into the stores; but he should tell
him: Free me from the stores.
The stores in Jamnia continued for a long time and existed still about the year
200. When once on the road, Rabbi and R. Jose b. R. Jehudah saw a non-Jew
coming towards them; when he asked them who they were, what their occupation
was, and where they were going. They replied: We are Jews and businessmen, and
are going to buy wheat from the stores of Jamnia.
Here, then, produce could be bought by anybody. It need hardly be pointed out
that such stores were supervised by officers, as the centurion mentioned and
other officials, and guarded by soldiers; the Kontarikos who discussed a
question with R. Johanan b. Zakkai could have been a centurion of the stores.
Ben-Dama told his uncle R. Ishmael that in a dream both his jaws fell off, and
R. Ishmael interpreted it to mean: Two Roman soldiers devised evil against you,
but died (Berakhot, 56b). Neither the
place, nor the soldiers, nor the kind of device are defined, and it may be,
that in order to confiscate his property, they wanted to accuse him of some
as happened to the nephews of R. Johanan b. Zakkai in Bava
Batra, 10a.Jerusalem was a Roman camp, with
the greater part of the Tenth Legion and all its usual following stationed there,
and similarly other important places must have had garrisons.
3. The administrative military centres seem to have had Roman courts of
justice. For R. Tarfon
says in Gittin, 88b: Wherever you
find agoras of non-Jews, even if their judgments are the same as of the Jews,
you must not apply to them. Also R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah in Mekhiltha on 21, 1, takes a stand against applying to these courts,
and R. Akiba refers to deeds made at non-Jewish offices (Gittin, 11a, Tosefta , 1,
R. Johanan b. Zakkai refers to human judges who can be appeased by gifts (Berakhot, 28 b). This seems to point to
his experience with Roman judges in Judaea.
To such, as R. Tarfon's strong warning shows, Jews were inclined to apply,
probably because the Roman officials suggested it to them and such courts were
everywhere near at hand.
Not merely the wealthy Jews felt attracted by them, but also the poor who seem
to have received support from the Romans. For in an interpretation of Prov.
xiv.34: The lovingkindness of the nations is sin, asked by R. Johanan b. Zakkai
of his discipIes, R. Eliezer says: All kindness done by non-Jews is sin to
them, for they do such only to boast. R. Joshua said: They do such only to
prolong their rule. The latter explanation clearly shows that the Romans were
referred to, whom also the interpretation of R. Eleazar of Modeim fits, that
they practise charity only to abuse us.
Both rabbis presuppose that the Romans support Jews by alms.
In this way and by persuasion the representatives of the Roman government and
other non-Jews tried to win over the Jews of Judaea. For R. Akiba, in a
dialogue between Israel
and the nations, makes the latter say: Why do you die for your God, and are
killed for Him? You are bright and valiant; come and mix with us.
The emperor owned property in Judaea; not only 800
veterans received land in Emmaus near Jerusalem
(Wars, VII, 6, 6), but also other
property must have been in Roman hands. Apart from the agadic, but certainly
not groundless reference to Hadrian's vineyard of 18 by 18 miles (JT. Ta'an., IV, 69a, 18) which was
manured by the blood of the slain of Betthar, a very instructive address of R.
Johanan b. Zakkai(Mekhil., 19, 1, p. 61b) refers to imperial vineyards. He said to
some Jews, as representing the whole nation: You would not pay the tax of one
beka' per head to God, now you pay 15 shekels to the government of your
enemies; you would not repair the roads and the markets for the pilgrims ,now
you repair … for those who go up to the vineyards of emperors.As R. Johanan spoke to all the Palestinian
Jews, there must have been in Judaea several such
states that soldiers stationed in a Roman province were in peace engaged in
draining work and in planting vineyards, the latter especially to facilitate
the necessary supply of wine for the soldiers. In connexion with such imperial
plantations the Jews in Judaea had probably to do
compulsory work of various kinds; as R. Johanan's contrast of past and present
shows, in the first instance they had to keep up the roads. There is express
evidence that the balsam
plantations of 'En-gedi were imperial property and were farmed by the
and the balsam was sold by the fiscus.
The same applied to Jericho, as
Pliny in his note on the balsam-bush says (XII, 25, 112): Servit nunc haec ac tributa pendit cum suagente; presupposing that
both balsam gardens had the same political position, as in fact he says (113): Seritque nunc eum fiscus.
4. The Roman taxes weighed heavily upon all the Jews. For even
those to whom, as to Josephus, their property was returned by Titus and
Vespasian, had to pay taxes, and Josephus himself reports (Vita, 76) that the emperor Domitian freed him from the taxes of his
property in Palestine, which was
the greatest distinction for anyone.
The tax to be paid in addition to the poll-tax varied in various provinces,
a fifth or a seventh of the produce, in kind or in money, according to the value
of the field. What tax R. Johanan b. Zakkai meant by 15 shekels, the passage
quoted does not suggest. Nor does the list of Jewish taxes in a papyrus from
Arsinoe of the fifth year of Vespasian
constitute a parallel to it. Though the Jews are there distinguished from the
bulk of the native population, and already children pay the Jewish tax by head
and year, 8 drachmae and 2 oboloi, and in addition to it 1 drachma …, and again
poll-tax, altogether about 40 drachmae, yet no relation of those taxes is
visible to the Judaean didrachma.The fixed amount mentioned by R. Johanan shows
that the tax was not varying according to the produce of a field, but a fixed
contribution, perhaps a minimum paid on leasing one's own field from the Roman
governor .The tax in kind to be paid into the Roman corn
stores to the centurion, was probably the income-tax or the annona. The
forced labour mentioned by R. Johanan at bwrgmyn
seems to have concerned fields, for the nearest word, of which it is evidently
a corruption, bwrgnyn is found in
connexion with fields, though only in statements after the year 135.
In addition to those, a tax of food, bread, drink, and clothes was demanded,
which, according to R. Haninah's, the vice high priest's description, was felt
very heavily owing to the great poverty after the War. R. Gamaliel gives
further information about Roman impositions (ARN, XXVIII, 43a): By four things the government consumes
(property), by customs, baths, theatres, and annonae.
But very little is known about duties in Judaea in our period, except the
Baraitha in Bava Kamma, 113a: One must not
put on garments of mixed stuffs, not even over ten other garments, in order to
defraud duty; R. Akiba, opposing the view, says: One must not defraud duty; R.
Simeon, in R. Akiba's name, says: one may defraud duty.
But even this is doubtful; none of the other passages about custom, Semahot, 11, 9; Nedarim, III ,4; Tosefta,
II, 2, can with probability be referred to Judaea before the year 135. About
Roman public baths, nothing is preserved in Jewish sources, though it is
probable that for the Roman garrisons and officials such were built; R. Eleazar
b. 'Arakh settled in Emmaus on account of its good water and its baths. Even
less is known about theatres in Judaea, as the only reference in R. Neryuniah
b. Hakanah's sentence in JT. Berakhot, IV; 7d, 39, is not to be
found in the parallel baraitha in
Berakhot, 28b (note
69). And it is not probable that the Romans built in Judaea
theatres, as no halachic or agadic reference deals with such. Nor is there any
trace of any form of idols and idolatry which the rabbis would have certainly
discussed for the guidance of the school and the people.Jerusalem and Emmaus, important
military stations, must naturally have had some Roman temple, just as the
maritime cities inhabited by non-Jews.Akko had a bath of
Aphrodite (Avodah Zarah,III, 4), and Caesarea heathen sacrifices (Hullin, 39b; Tosefta, II, 13). R. Akiba says (Sanhedrin,
65b) that as a heathen obtains by fasting the spirit of his god, how much more
should a Jew by fasting obtain the spirit of God; but our sins prevent it. And
when Zonen asks R. Akiba his opinion about healings by sleeping in a heathen
the master gives an explanation of such cures; in both cases he presupposes the
existence of heathen worship in his neighborhood. Either in Jamnia, where Roman
officials resided, or more probably in Caesarea or
Askalon, the seats of various heathen worships, R. Akiba and Zonen could have
observed those rites. Askalon had a market which the rabbis used to frequent (Tosefta Oholot,
XVIII, 18), and was a city which R. Gamaliel visited with Akylas (Tosefta Mikvaot,
and where R. Joshua was on a political mission (Shabbat, 127 b; 2 ARN, XIX, 21 a), and where Asklepios was
worshipped (Schurer, II, 24).
5. A few words have to be added about the presence of non-Jews in Judaea.
The land having been declared the private property of Vespasian, and a million
of its inhabitants having fallen or been sold in the War, it would seem the
most natural thing that non-Jews, Romans, and non-Jewish Palestinians, flocked
in great numbers into the country and leased property. But no information to
that effect has come down, except a reference to property in the possession of
a matrona who gave Hyrkanos, R. Eliezer's son, yearly 300 kors, tithe from her
She was probably the wife or widow of a wealthy Roman or Syrian in the neighborhood
of Lydda, as we find a matrona in Askalon (Shabbat,
127b, above). R. Johanan b. Zakkai was asked by a non-Jew the difference
between Jewish and non-Jewish festivals (Deut.
r., 7, 7); and as he enumerates Kaendae, Saturnalia, and Kratesis, he is a
Roman official, provided the enumeration is no imitation of R. Meir's in Avodah
Zarah, I, 2. There was a non-Jewish laundry to which R.
Gamaliel of Jamnia gave his linen to wash, as reported by R. Eleazar b. R.
R. Johanan b. Nuri refers to a religious question raised in Jamnia about a hen,
and his colleagues remind him that several non-Jews in Jamnia prepared hens for
food (Niddah, 50b). An incestuous
heathen woman came to R. Eliezer and R. Joshua to be admitted into Judaism (Kohel. r., 1, 8). A wealthy woman,
Veluria, who owned slaves, became a proselyte;
she lived in Jamnia or Lydda, where she asked R. Gamaliel about a contradiction
in the Bible (Rosh Hashanah, 17b,
bottom). R. Jose, the priest, former disciple of R. Johanan b. Zakkai, who was
with R. Gamaliel when that question was asked, was so strict in his observance
of the Sabbath that, to avoid a profanation of it, he did not allow any letter
of his to be found in the hands of a non-Jew (Shabbat, 19a). Where they lived is not indicated. A non-Jew brought
fish to R. Gamaliel on a Jewish holy day which he would not accept (Betzah, III, 2). But all these
references prove nothing as to an influx of non-Jews into Judaea
after the War. The long preparations of the Jews for the great rising under
Bar-Kochba unnoticed by non-Jews, confirm the impression that beside the few
and scattered officials of the Roman government very few non-Jews lived among
the Jewish population in Judaea.
6. The main results of these lengthy investigations into the economic
conditions of Judaea from the destruction of Jerusalem
by Titus in the year 70 to the Bar-Kochba
war in the year 133 are the following. In the long war from 66 to 70 the
Romans destroyed, besides Jerusalem,
many towns, forts, and villages, and depopulated many other places. But as the
resistance of the country had not been sufficiently organized by the leaders of
the revolution, many important places surrendered to the Romans and were
spared. From Josephus and the Talmudic literature the names of several of those
can be traced. Though a million Jews perished in Jerusalem,
over forty thousand of its citizens went over to the Romans during the siege,
and having been spared constituted, with the Jews spared in the country, the
population of Judaea after the catastrophe. Among them
were many priests of high standing, and nobles and wealthy land-owners, some
with their wives and children, who, as a reward for their surrender, received
their former property from Titus and Vespasian. Others bought or leased land,
often their own, from the emperor who had declared the whole of Judaea
his private property, so that a considerable portion of the country was farmed
in the usual way. Among the survivors were several wealthy rabbis who, their
property having been restored, were landowners and supported their own schools.
The laws concerning the priestly dues and the sabbatical year were mostly
observed, and the poor without land and money were supported, especially in
years of drought. The representatives of the Roman administration in Judaea
interfered little with the Jews; only the various taxes were heavy and retarded
the recovery of the country and its population. Still, it progressed so rapidly
that in two generations a hundred thousand Jews could again rise in several
hundred places of Judaea against the Roman rule. The
best-known towns were Lydda and Jamnia; they had received from Vespasian new
inhabitants from other Judaean places which had surrendered to the Romans.
Jamnia had Roman corn stores for receiving taxes delivered in kind, and it was
the seat of the highest religious body, the beth-din. Lydda had many wealthy
inhabitants, among them scholars at the head of schools for adults. Both towns
are often referred to in the Talmud, and the material preserved affords some
insight into the life of Jewish places. Around them were several Jewish towns
and villages of greater and smaller importance. The discussion of many details
of private and public life, of men and women, of property and farming, of
schools and scholars, of goods and trade, of towns and villages, and of Roman
rule and violence, affords additional information about the conditions in Judaea
and the life of all sections of its population from the year 70 to 135.
It remained in this condition for two years, and only after the Roman conquest
of Galilee some refugees began to rebuild it (III, 9,
2), but the Romans destroyed it utterly a second time (III, 9, 3). They placed
there a garrison of foot and horsemen who plundered the neighborhood of Jaffa
and destroyed the neighbouring villages and townlets (II, 9, 4) and turned the
whole district into a real desert. Lydda must also have been rebuilt by the
Jewish general appointed after Cestius's defeat by the revolutionists for
Thamna including Lydda, Jaffa, and
See Reland; Kohut. Flavius Josephus, 660.
note 487. suggests Gazara, Gezer.
In Vita, 75, Josephus reports
how he, after the conquest of Jerusalem,
delivered from among the captives several men, his brother and fifty friends,
and from among the great mass of women and children kept as captives in the Temple
about 190 whom he had recognized as belonging to his friends and companions; he
freed them without ransom. In Thekoa he saw many captives crucified, among them
three of his friends who at his request were taken down, but only one survived.
 Baraitha in Yoma, 59a: two high priests survived the first Temple; one said that
in the service on the Day of Atonement he had sprinkled the blood of the
sin-offering on the four corners of the altar while standing in the same place,
the other said that he had walked around the altar for the purpose of
sprinkling the blood, and both gave their reasons. In the MishnahYoma, V, 5, R. Eliezer holds
the view of the first high priest, the same in BaraithaYoma, 59 a, JT., V, 442 d, 62. The parallel
account, JT., V, 42 d,
66, reads: two priests fled in the wars, one said that he had stood, the other
that he had walked while atoning. This shows, what is otherwise clear, that
high priests of the second Temple are meant, as Ishmael, son of Fiabi, the best
known high priest in the Talmud, who survived the destruction and was later in
Kyrene (Wars, VI, 2, 2;
in Sotah, IX, 15: since
Ishmael b. Fiabi died, the glory of the priesthood ceased); he could have given
the information quoted.
Yelamdenu in REJ, 1887, XIV, 93, Yoma, 21 b, 39 a, Eduyot, II, 1-3,Pesahim, I, 6, Shekalim, VI, 1.
a, JT.. Betzah, II, 61 b, 51, and parallels.
10; when he was to be executed, he said to the Roman executioner: 'I am a
priest, the son of a high priest,' ARN,
XXXVIII, 57 b, the parallels make him himself a high priest. As Samuel
the Young, who died before R. Gamaliel II (Semakhot,VIII),
prophesied before his death the end of R. Ishmael (ToseftaSotah, XIII, 4. JT., IX, 24 b, 38; Sanhedrin, ii a; Semakhot, VIII;
Bacher, Tannaiten: I;
234, 3) R. Ishmael's death seems to have been brought about by the political
unrest in the year 117.
A Simeon b. Jehosadak, a priest, died in Lydda (Semakhot, IV,
11); when his brother came from Galilee to engage in his burial and defile
himself, Simeon was already buried, and the rabbis-in ConforteR. Tarfon-would not allow him
to defile himself (Brull, Jahrbucher, I, 38). As R. Tarfon's name is doubtful, most scholars take
Simeon b. Jehosadak to be identical with R. Johanan's teacher in the first half
of the third century (Bacher, PA,
12, JT., II, 39 d, 15,
b. 23 a.
 R. Jehudah in Bekhorot, 45 b, Tosefta,
V, 7, reports how R. Tarfon said to a man with twelve fingers on his
hands and twelve toes on his feet and inquiring whether he was fit (to be a
priest): May, like you, many be (high) priests in Israel; according to R. Jose
he said to the man: Few shall be, like you, Mamzers
and Nathins in Israel. This man was a
Yoma, 38 a, b, JT. III, 41 a, 63; Tosefta, II, 7.
The priests continued to guard their purity of stock against the intrusion of
tainted or doubtful families. R. Johanan's decrees could have been issued
before the year 70; but nothing is otherwise known of similar decrees of his at
that time, and, from the subject-matter, it is almost certain that the ruling
mentioned belongs to the period of his activity in Jamnia. And there is
evidence for the same attitude of the priests even later. Rabba b. bar-Hanna (Kiddushin, 78 b) and R. Assi
in R. Johanan's name (JT. Bikkurim, I.
64 a, 27) remark that since the destruction of the Temple
the priests have guarded their dignity by not marrying a woman both whose
parents were proselytes. Other peculiarites of priests proving their number in
Baraitha Bekhorot, 30 b. reported by
R. Jose b. Halaftha: since the destruction of the Temple
priests have guarded their dignity by not entrusting their levitically pure
food to a non-priest. In Tosefta,
Eduyot, I, 9. it is stated that priests
followed R. Ishrael's view on a point of law discussed in Eduyot, II, 6. In Tosefta Oholot, XVI, 13, Mikvaot, VI, 2, Pesahin, 9 a, JT'. 1, 27c, 39, R. Jehudah and R.
Simeon b. Gamaliel report incidents in Rimmon with several priests.
Gittin, V, 2; Eduyot, VII, 9; Yevamot, XIV, 2, Hullin, 55 b. In Tosefta Arakhin, I, 15, R. Haninah b. Antigonos says
that he know certain when who had blown the flute in front of the altar in Jerusalem,
and that they were Levites. Either he lived before the destruction of the Temple
and survived it, or those Levites lived long after the year 70 and R. Haninah
met them when they were old. Now he quotes a statement of R. Eleazar Hisma (Tosefta Temurah, IV, 10) who
was a disciple of R. Gamaliel II (Sifre
Deut., 16; Horayot, 10
a, b) and discussed a question with R. Meir, R. Jehudah, and R. Jose (Arakhin, II, 4) after the
year 136, so that there appears to be no foundation for Weiss's view (II, 121)
that R. Haninah lived before the year 70. On the other hand, as he died in the
times of R. Jehudah and R. Jose (Bekhorot,
30 b), he could have been born before the destruction of the Temple, and
if he died very old, could have, as a young priest (Bekhorot, 30 b), observed the things reported by him
from the Temple; see also Hyman, Toldoth, 480 a. In Yevamot,
I XVI, 7, R. Eliezer and R. Joshua tell R. Akiba how once several
Levites went to So'ar, the town of date palm-trees; on the way one of them was
taken ill and brought to the nearest inn. On their way back they learnt from
the female innkeeper that their companion had died and she had buried him, and
on her evidence the rabbis allowed the widow to re-marry. This seems to have
happened in the times of the rabbis mentioned, so that the Levites as their
contemporaries would also have survived the destruction of Jerusalem.
Eruvin, 27 a, bottom; Tosefta Ma'aser Sheni, I, 14. His father came only on
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as no man of the capital was allowed to redeem the
tithe; but Toseftahas,
'was selling,' so that the man lived in Jerusalem (see Schwarz, Tosifta, I, 174 a). We find that the Galilean R. Jose, after the year
136, met Abba Eleazar, who told him how he had sacrificed in Jerusalem (Hagigah, 16 b), and that R.
Jose could have received information about the Temple and Jerusalem from his
father Halaftha, who had seen even R. Gamaliel I on the Temple mount (Tosefta Shabbat, XIII, 2, and
parallels). Those and other scholars who lived in Galilee are not discussed here.
I, 16, JT. Kethubot, V, 30 b, c, Gittin, 56 a; Bacher, Tannaiten, 1,47,6.
Sifre Deut., 305; Kethubot, 66 b; Mekhilthaon Exod. xix. 1, 61 a.
JT. Kiddush., IV, 65 c,
59; in b. Yevamot, 79 b,
top, Rabbi is mentioned instead, evidently the name Eleazar having fallen out.
See, for instance, Munk, Palestine, 604 b; Besant-Palmer, Jerusalem, 52, and others.
See the pilgrimages of people of Asia to Jamnia in Tosefta
Hullin, III, 10; Parah, VI, 4; Mikvaot, IV, 6.
Ma'aser Sheni, II, 7; it naturally seems more
probable to refer it to the time of the Temple, but then R. Gamaliel II lived
in Jerusalem and had there no occasion for redeeming that tithe. And when R.
Joshua and R. Gamaliel knew R. Akiba, it was long after the year 70; for all
attempts to place Akiba's time of study before that year seem futile.
 R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah is in Shabbat, 54 b, Betzah, 23 a, said to have given thousands
of calves as tithe. This, however, had to be offered as peaceoffering, and was,
according to Bekhorot, 43
a, not to be given after the destruction of the Temple; see Tosafothto all the passages. On the other hand, the Mishnah Bekhorot, IX, 1, states that it had to be
given, but not what should be done with the tithe from cattle.
ToseftaYadaim, II, 16. In Tosefta Oholot, XVIII, 18, about the year 200
Rabbi, R. Ishmael b. R. Jose and R. Eliezer haKappar stayed for the Shabbath in the food-shop of Pazzi in Lydia,
and R. Pinhas b. Jair, who lived in Lydda, sat in front of them discussing with
them halachic questions.
Bava Metzia, IV, 3; they
are mentioned also in Tosefta Pesahin, X, 10, but see b. 116 a. e.g. JT. Shevi., IX, 38 d, 69; see Klein in REJ, LX, 1910, 106.
Kiddush., 66 b; JT.
Terumot, VIII, 45 b, 36; Tosefta
Mikvaot, I, 17.
Tosefta Hagigah, II, 13;
in Rosh haShan., 29 b,
on the day of a New Year which fell on the Shabbath,
all the towns had assembled in Jamnia around R. Johanan b. Zakkai. The Munich
MS. and other authorities in Rabbinowicz, however, have only, 'and all had
assembled;' In Rosh haShan.,I,
6, it is reported: once over forty pairs of witnesses who had observed the
appearance of the new moon, passed on their way to the beth-din in Jamnia
through Lydda, where R. Akiba stopped them from proceeding; R. Gamaliel blamed
him for it. In the parallel Baraitha, 22 a, top, JT.,
I, 57 b, 70, R. Jehudah says that R. Akiba would not have committed such
a mistake, but that it was Shazpar, the head of Gadar, who did it and who was
for it deposed by R. Gamaliel. The incident shows how many men in the neighborhood
of Lydda were ready to go and give such evidence.
Rosh haShan.,31 b; it is again mentioned in Tosefta 'Oholot, IV, 2, JT. Berakhot, I, 3 a, 18,Nazir,52 a: R. Jehudah said: boxes
containing human bones were brought from Kefar-Tabi to a synagogue in Lydda.i
b, and Pesah-Haggadah; in
Tosefta Shabbat, III, 3,
b. 40 a, R. Jehudah reports that R. Akiba and R. Eleazar b. 'Azariah bathed in
a bath in bene-Berak;see also Sanhedrin, 96 b, and Rabbinowicz. R. Akiba
taught also in Lydda, Semah., II,
4, Nazir, 52 a.
Hagigah, 3 a, JT., I,
75 d, 59; Tosefta Sotah, VII,
0; Sanhedrin, 32 b. He
once went to R. Johanan b. Zakkai to beru-Hayil, and the inhabitants of the
villages brought them
4. As R. Joshua visited him there (Tosefta,
IV, 7), it cannot have been far from Peki'in; and as R. Ishmael attended
discussions in Jamnia (Yadaim, IV,
3) with other teachers, and on the death of his sons was visited by R. Tarfon,
R. Jose the Galilean, R. Eleazar b 'Azariah, and R. Akiba (Moed katan, 28 b), he cannot
have lived far from Lydda and Jamnia; see Brim, Jahrbiicher, I, 41. According to R. Jose (Kethubot, V, 8), he lived near Edom, and Neubauer, Geographie, 117; PEF, Mem., 3, 348 ff.; Buhl, Geographie, 163, identify on that Kefar-'Aziz
with Hirbet 'Aziz not far south of Jutta, but it seems improbable on the
evidence adduced. Edom
need not mean ancient Idumaea, but the part of Judaea
that in Roman times was called Idumaea. In that district beth-Gubrin had Jewish
inhabitants, for Jehudah b. Jacob of beth-Gubrin gave evidence with Jacob b.
Isaac of beth-Gubrin concerning Caesarea in ToseftaOholot, XVIII, 16. Rabbi
declared beth-Gubrin free from priestly dues, JT. Dammai, II, 2, c, 55; JQR, XIII, 683.
Midr. Tannaim, ed.
Hoffmann,175, ‘mhws with hinstead of the usual alef, e.g. JT. Shevi'it ix. 38d, 69; see
Klein in REJ, LX, 1910, 106.
Hullin, 91 b; Keritot, III 7, 8, here spelled …; Nehemiah
… is also probably of Emmaus, Gratz in MGWJ, II, 1853, 112. Against the identity of the two tells the
essential difference of their rules of interpretation, R. Johanan reporting klal ufrat of Nehunjah in Shevuot, 26 a, whereas Nehemiah applied ribbuy umi’ut; JT. Berakhot, IX, 14b, 68, and Pesahin, 22 b. Klein thinks that the
discussion between R. Nehunjah and R. Joshua took place in Emmaus, but the
report does not suggest it.
Kohelet rabba, 7, 7; Shabbat, 147 b; ARN, XIV, 30 a; 2 ARN, XXIX, 30 a; it is not Hamtha near
Tiberias, but in Judaea, Bacher, Tann., I, 76, 3; by removing from the second version the word
Jerusalem all contradictions disappear.
Yevamot, XII, 6; but the
Mishnah in JT Yevamotreads
Kefar-'Ibdas, the Cambridge Mishnah
In Besah, 21 a; Tosefta, II, 6; Mekhiltha R. Simeon, 17; it is reported: When on one holy day Simeon
of Thimnah had not come to the school, R. Jehudah b. Baba asked him the next
morning for the reason. Now from Tosefta Berakhot, IV, 18, we learn that Simeon belonged to R. Tarfon's school in
Lydda, and from Tosefta Sanhedrin,
XII, 3, b. 17 b; Bava kamma,
90 b; Bacher, Tann., I,
444 ff., we see that he had discussions with R. Akiba, as R. Jehudah b. Baba
with R. Akiba and R. Jehudah b. Bethera, so that Simeon belonged to the school
of Jamnia or Lydda.
Tosefta Oholot XVI,
13; Mikvaot, VI, 2; Pesahin, 9 a, JT., I, 28 a, 39. fruit (Tosefta Ma'as., II, I; JT., II, 49 d, 24). R. Johanan lived in
that place (Sanhedrin, 32
b), but it has not been identified yet, nor is there anything to suggest even
the district where it was. If the incident refers to a time after the year 70,
Berur-Hayil must be sought in Judaea in a part inhabited by Jews.
Zech. xiv. 10 Tosefta Sotah, XI,
14; S. Klein, Beilrage z. Geographie, 94, 3, thinks of Rimmon in Joshua xix. 13, but the two
teachers report, as in many other instances, Judaean experiences. R. Simeon b.
Yohai in the lifetime of his teacher R. Akiba stayed for the Shabbath in Kefar-beth-Fagi (Tosefta Me'ilah,
I, 5, b. 7 a), I where he met another disciple of R. Akiba. As it was on
his way from Judaea to Galilee,
the position is difficult to define.
Pliny, H. N., V, 15;
Galerius, vol. XIV, p. 25, Kuhn; cf. Holscher, Palaestinain d. pers. u. hellen. Zeit, 49.
In Midr. Cant., ed.
Grunhut, to i. 14, it is said that 'En-gedi was beautiful, and wine was made
there in levitical purity for libations in the Temple;
and R. Josef the Babylonian from a Baraitha states in Shabbat, 26 a, that balsam was gathered in
from 'En-gedi to Ramatha. The vineyards there bore four times a year fruit (Agad. Cant. on i. 14).
Eduyot, VII, 5, reads
Hadar, but the Cambridge and Naples
Mishnah and other texts quoted
by Rabbinowicz..have Hadid,. the. place mentioned in Ezra ii. 33; Neh. VII. 37,
XI. 35; 1 Chron. VIII. 12, as Adida In 1 Macc. XII. 38, XIII. 13; in I the
Bible passages together with Lydda and 'Ono, as they were neighbours, similarly
in Arakhin, IX, 6, b. 32
a, Hadid and 'Ono in Judaea as fortified since ancient
times. In Ketubot, 111
b, bottom, R. Jacob b. Dosithai says that he walked from Lydda to 'Ono to his
ankles in fig honey.
VI, 7. In Tosefta Sanhedrin,
II, 13, b. 11 b, JT., I,
18 d, 76, he testifies that the intercalation of a year may take place only in
Judaea, exceptionally also in Galilee. It is obvious that that evidence was
taken when owing to the Hadrianic persecutions the religious life of the Jewish
community had to be guided from Galilee. Therefore the words 'before R. Gamaliel' in Toseftaare a mistake. In Sifre zutta on Num. xv. 4 in Yalkut, Num. 746, Horovitz, 92, a R. Papias of 'Ono is
mentioned; whether he is identical with R. Papias, a colleague of R. Akiba, is
uncertain. About the year 200 R. Simai and R. Sadok went to Lydda to
intercalate the year and, when staying for the Shabbath In 'Ono, gave a decision on religious law (Hullin, 56 b). R. 'Aibo of
the fourth century says (Cant. r.,
2, 2; Lev. r., 23, 5; Threni r.,1, 17): God ordered Jacob's enemies
to surround him, so Halamish surrounds Naweh, Castra Haifa, Susitha Tiberias,
Jericho No'aran, and Lydda 'Ono. As 'Ono is mentioned as an old fortress, we
would suggest 'Ono to Lydda, but Lydda rose in importance and may have
superseded 'Ono even as fortress or merely as city (JQR, XIII, 733). In JT. Gittin, IV, 46 a, 36, R. 'Ammi ruled that if a slave
escaped from abroad and reached 'Oni, he must not be surrendered to I his
master (for the place is in Palestine),
if to 'Antris, he may be surrendered (for I it is not in Palestine), if to 'Aparkoris, it is doubtful.’ Antaris cannot
be Antarados, as Krauss, Lehnworter, 11, 72, suggests, for the place must be on the border of Palestine. Where is 'Oni? Is it identical with 'Ono, and are
the other two places in Philistia? Another place is mentioned in JT. Sanhedrin, I, 18 c, 71:
‘we still find that the year was solemnly initiated in Ba'alath (in Judaea).
This was at times reckoned to Judah, sometimes to Dan. But do we not find that the year
was initiated in Balath? Here the houses stood in Judah, the fields lay in Dan.' In the two places mentioned
the ceremony of initiating the new year was performed after the authoritative
beth-din had long been transferred to Galilee. We learn
that there were Jews in those places in the fourth century, though it may
confidently be assumed that the same applied to earlier times, as Ba'alath was
last in the line Lydda-Modeim I -Ba'alath (see, however, Neubauer, 99 II.). The
same may apply to 'Ekron, of which Eusebius says that it was east of Jamnia
between this and Azotus and a great Jewish village.
It is again mentioned in JT. Dammai,
II, 22 c, 47: the law of Dammai applies to Samaritans in Pondaka of
'Ammuda and of Tibatha to Kefar-Saba; see Schurer, II, 156 ff. Antipatris seems
to have been raised at some time or other in character as town, for Threni r., 1, 5; ed. Buber, 33 a, says: You find that before the destruction of
Jerusalem no city was in their sight of value, but after the destruction
Caesarea became a metropolis, Antipatris a central town, and Neapolis a colony.
As the latter became a colony only under Philip Arabs, the statement was made at
the earliest in the year 250; yet Antipatris may have been distinguished at a
much earlier time.
Tosefta Niddah, VIII, 7; in the parallel Baraitha
Niddah, 61 a, the informant is Abba Saul, and the scholar who suggested a
new method of examining the rock was R. Joshua.
Eusebius, p. 220; Schurer, Geschichte, I, 218, 28.
JT Bava Kamma, III, 3 d, 37; Bacher, Tann., II,
In Nedarim, 81 a, a statement of Isi b. Jehudah
is identical with that of Jehudah of Hutza (see Ratner on Shevi'it, VIII, 38 b, 10, p. 77);
see also Kiddushin,58 b, top, and Derenbourg, Essai, 483.
Tosefta Kelim, I, IV, 4, variants in MGWJ, 1901,
Tosefta Terumot, III.
18; from the same place wine was in Temple
times taken for sacrifices, Menahot, VIII.
6. Neubauer, 84, suggests Sukneh near Jaffa,
but the statement that Kefar-Signa was in the valley is too vague for
In Tosefta hullin., III, 23, b. 62 a, the opponents of R. Eliezer refer
to the fact that the people of Kefar-Thamartha in Judaea ate a certain fowl as
permitted, because it had a crop, a sign of purity. They were Jews; but it is
not clear whether this refers to our period after the year 70.
JT. Taanit, IV, 69 a, 23; Threni r., 2, 2. In Seder
'Olam, XXX, it says: From Vespasian's war to that of Quietus were 52 years;
see Ratner, p. 73 b, note 78; Schurer, Geschichte, I, 696, note.
In the parallel ill Bava Kamma, 83a R. Simeon
b. Gamaliel says that in his father's house (school) were a thousand children,
500 learned Torah, and 500 Greek science, and of all only he and his cousin in Asia
remained. Betthar is not mentioned, but apparently Jamnia is meant.
Semakhot., VIII: …"
Two groups of places are referred to: …The verb psq without complementary verb can hardly refer to persons, but
only to inanimate things, best to cities that felt too secure, open places as
opposed to fortified towns that offered safety, as already N. Brull in his Jahrbucher,1,41,89,
explained them. As krqwm means a
fortress in T. YevamotXIV,8: fortress of
Betthar, qrqsy’wt, is most probably a
corruption of that word. As to the meaning of bwl’wt a Baraitha cited by R. Josef in Gittin, 37 a, top,
reads: I shall break the pride of your might (Lev.xxvi. 19), these are the bwl’wt in Judaea (not to be identified
with the interpretation of the same verse in Sifra, 111 d, §2: These are
the nobles who are the pride of Israel, as Pappos b. Jehudah and Lulianus,
Alexandri and his companions, for the characteristic word is not there, see
Bacher, Tann., I, 52, 6). And in JT. Nedarim, III, 38a, 13, Pesiktha
r., XXII, 112b ff., R. Samuel b. Nahman says: Twenty four bwlywt were in the Darom and all were
destroyed owing to a useless, though true oath. Here it is evident from the
word Hrbw that buildings or towns are
meant. R. Haninah, the vice high-priest, says in ARN, XX, 36b: The
sons of my mother were angry with me (Cant. i. 6), referring to bwl’wt in Judaea,
who shook off the yoke of God and set over them a human king. Here either
leading men of the country are referred to or the elders in I Sam. viii. 4 who
committed that mistake; as R. Haninah hardly knew bar-Kochba, and as far as we
know, in the year 116no king of Judaea was elected, the
reference is still obscure. If he meant towns with proper constitutions, he may
have referred to the revolution in the years 66-70, though we only know of
Menahem as a kind of king (Geiger in ZS, VIII, 39, and Schlatter, Zur
Topographie, 121 ff.).
His wealth and his position are described in ARN, XVII, 33 a, VI, 16 a,
b; 2 ARN, XIII, 16 a, b; 2 ARN, XIII, 16 aKetubot, 66 b, bottom.
Sifre Deut., 305, 130 a;Ketubot,
66 b; ARN, XVII, 33 a; Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 42. R. Eleazar
b. Sadok met her in Akko in abject poverty, Tosefta Ketubot,
V, 10; TJ., V, 30 b, 76 ff., b. 67 a.
Josephus in Wars, VI, 5, 2, reports that the treasure houses of the
Temple were burnt, in which an enormous sum of money, a mass of garments and
other precious things, in short, the whole wealth of the Jews was kept, as the
wealthy had brought there, all their effects.
 The same in JT. Gittin, V, 47 b, 11: the enemy
decreed persecutions first against Judaea, subdued its
people, took their fields and sold them to others.
In 2 ARN, XXXI, 34 a, a sentence introduced by hu haya ‘omer attributed to R. Johanan b. Zakkai, reads: Force the
children (students) away from haughtiness and separate them from ba’ale battim for these keep people away
from the words of the Torah. The wealthy landowners are referred to who not
only had no interest in learning, but also dissuaded others from joining the
schools. They are identical with the 'Amme
ha'ares, to whom R. Dosa b. Harkinas refers in 'Aboth III, 10: Sleep
in the morning and wine in and
sitting in the houses of assembly of the 'Amme
ha'ares remove man from the world. The comfort described here points to a
class of wealthy men. It may be pointed out here that the sentence quoted is in
ARN, XXI, 37 b explained to refer to those who sit at the corners in the
market and divert one from the Torah. The contemporary of R. Johanan b.,
Zakkai, Nehuniah b. Hakanah, in his prayer in Baraitha Berakhot, 28 b, said: I thank
Thee God that Thou hast given my lot with those who sit in the school and not
with those who sit at the corners; for we both rise early, I for the words of
the Torah, they for vain things; I toil and they toil, I receive a reward, they
do not; I run to eternal life, they run to hell (in JT. Berakh., IV, 7
d, 39, instead of the corners, theatres and circuses). R. Akiba termed himself
an 'Am ha'ares in Pesahim49 b, and in ARN, XI, 37 b he
said in his later years when a scholar: I thank Thee my God that Thou hast
given my lot with those who sit in the school and not with those who sit at the
corners in the market. This shows the identity of the latter men with the 'Am ha'ares.
He lived in Jamnia, Tosefta Keilim., 3, II, 4; Shabbat, VII, 18; Mikvaot.,
VI, 3; JT. Megillah, I, 71 c, 11; Genes.
r., 70, 5; Kohelet r., 7, 8; Num. r., 8 end; Pesik. r.,
Sifra, 106 c, § 9. When R. Gamaliel died,
Akylas burnt more than seventy manehs of money in his honour, AvbodahZarah, II a;
Tosefta Shabbat. VII, 18; Semakhot.VIII;
this shows his wealth. R. Tarfon in Lydda once after the harvest plucked figs
from another man's tree, Nedarim, 62 a; when the owner of the field
found him doing this, he seized him and put him in a sack to drown him. When R.
Tarfon sighed and said: Woe to Tarfon, for he will be killed, the man left him
and ran awav. R, Haninah b. Gamaliel reports that R. Tarfon through all his
life could not forgive himself that he had derived this benefit from his
position as scholar. The parallel in TJ. Shevi'it, IV, 35 b, 17, reports the incident to have occurred
in the Shabbatical year, so that the
owner of the field was a Jew. As the field-guards who struck R. Tarfon knew
when hearing the name who R. Tarfon was, they seem Jews.
TJ. Berakhot, II, 5 d, 5, and Ratner,
p. 62; in the parallelBava
Kamma, 81 b, the same is told of Jehudah b. Nekosa
who was met by Rabbi and R. Hiyya in Sepphoris about the year 200.
Reference is made to a mtsyq in
Rimmon in Tosefta Oholot ,XVI, 13;Mikvaot, VI,
2 (see p. 11, 1), who seems to have been a Jew in the service of the Romans,
and who, by their assistance, acquired property (JQR, XVI, 153). In Derekh
'eretz, VI, Gaster, m’sywt, 103, a Simeon b. Antipatris received
many wayfarers and provided food, drink, and lodging, but striped all visitors
who swore by the Torah that they would not eat, but in the end ate. R. Johanan
b. Zakkai and the teachers, hearing of this, sent R. Joshua b. Hananiah to
rebuke Simeon. As his place had a bath, it was a town, perhaps Antipatris, as a
part of his name.
Lev. r., 34, 16; Pesik. r., XXV, 126 b; in Kallah the incident
is reported differently: R. Tarfon was wealthy, but not liberal. Once R. Akiba
suggested to him to buy one or two places (?fields), and R. Tarfon handed to
him 4,000 gold denars which R. Akiba distributed among the poor. After that, R.
Tarfon gave him more money for distribution. Interesting is his definition of a
wealthy man in Baraitha Shabbat.. 25 b: He who has a hundred vineyards,
a hundred fields and a hundred slaves to work them. It shows his standard of
wealth and, if the figures are to be taken strictly, also the relation between
a unit of field and the number of slaves required for it.
1; JT. Yevamot,
IV, 6 b, 59. In JT. Ketubot,
V, 29 d, 46, R. Tarfon says that all the food due to a betrothed woman
after twelve months should be given to her in the form of priestly due, for
such is found everywhere. The parallels do not contain the last sentence; it
would imply that there were fields in Jewish possession everywhere.
In a Baraitha Berakhot, 35
b, R. Jehudah reports: Earlier generations were different from the present one:
those brought in (from the fields) their produce by the way of trqsymyn in order to make the produce
liable to tithe; the present generation bring in their produce by the way of
courts and enclosures in order to free it from tithe. In the parallel in JT. Ma'as., III, 50 c, 8, R.
Jehudah says to Rabbi and R. Jose b. R. Jehudah: See, R. Akiba bought three
kinds of produce for one Perutah in order to give tithe of each.
 A case concerning his cow is specially discussed in Shabbat, V, 4; Betzah, II,8, because he allowed her, against
the opinion of the rabbis, to go out on the Sabbath with a strap between her
horns. In JT. Shabbat, V,
7 c, 28, the rabbis asked R.Eleazar either to leave the school or to stop his
cow being let out in that way; See Ratner and Shabbat, 54 b, bottom. It is evident that
the controversy occurred when R.Eleazar was not yet the president of the school
The garden had two entrances, one in a levitically pure, the other in an
unclean place (reported by R. 'Abba in JT. Ma'aser Sheni, V,
56 b, 71; b. Yevamot,
86b). R. Akiba objected to a priest's taking a tithe which in his
opinion was due to Levites only, and he persuaded the owner of the garden to
keep the pure entrance shut and, if R. Eleazar should send a disciple for the
tithe, to tell him that tithe must be called for by its claimant. R. Eleazar
soon found out the author of this trouble, and recognizing his mistake,
returned all the tithe which he had ever received.
R. Jose in Terumot, IV,
13, reports that a case came before R. Akiba of fifty bundles of vegetables
having been accidentally mixed with a bundle, half of which was priestly due.
This landowner observed also the rabbinic extension of the duty of tithing to
vegetables. A landowning priest was R. Ishmael in Kefar-'Aziz (Kilayim,
VI, 4) who planted vines, figs, and sycamores in his garden, so that he must
have otherwise provided for his maintenance (see p. 83, n. 41). Another priest
was Zechariah b. haKassab, who, with his wife, had escaped from Jerusalem
when the Romans took possession of it (Ketubot,
II, 9, above, p. 77). He assigned to his wife a separate house in his
27, b, bottom; Tosefta, III,
2; Semakhot, II), and she lived there. There
seems hardly any interval between his escape from Jerusalem
and his settling on his property. Where he lived is not stated, but as R. Joshua
quotes in Sotah, V, 1,
to R. Akiba a statement of R. Zechariah. the latter seems to have lived in
Jamnia. This is confirmed by his giving evidence with R. Jose the priest (Eduyot, VIII, 2). As R.
Eleazar b. R. Jose, who lived in the Darom, probably Lydda, reported some of
his statements, one in ToseftaBava Batra, VII, 10 (in b. 111 a, R. Jose b. R.
Jehudah and R. Eleazar b. R. Jose, cf. JT.,
VIII, 16 a, 17), and another in ToseftaMegillah, I, 6, it is just as possible that
he lived in Lydda.
ARN, VI, 15 b; 2 ARN, XIII, 15 b; Genes. r., 42, 1; Pirke R. Eliezer, I.
Sanhedrin, 68 a; Berakhot16 b; JT., II,
5 b, 66; Semakhot, I, 10.
 In a Baraitha in Shabbat, 127 b, a man of Upper Galilee served for three years with a farmer in the Darom. At
the conclusion of his service on the eve of the Day of Atonement, he asked for
his wages in order to return home and to provide for his wife and his children.
The master replied that he had neither money, nor produce, nor field, nor
cattle, saddles, or cushions, which the servant asked in succession. He took
his luggage and, greatly disappointed, went home. After the feast of
Tabernacles the master took the servant's wages, a load of three asses of food,
drink, and sweet things, and took all this to his former servant. In the
conversation it turned out that the servant had thought his master had expended
all his money on cheap articles for business, his cattle had been hired by
somebody, his field leased, his produce had not been tithed yet, and all his
other possessions consecrated to God. The master then explained that, in order
to force his son Hyrkanos to study Torah, he had prohibited himself by a vow
the use of all his property, but now his vow was annulled by his colleagues in
the Darom. This scholar, living in the Darom, father of a Hyrkanos, and having
relations with Upper Galilee, is evidently R. Eliezer b. Hyrkanos, as
She'iItoth, Exodus, §
40, in the same report expressly state, and give as the name of the servant
Akiba b. Josef. Though the source of this is unknown to me, the Baraitha
itself, with its references to property of all kinds in Lvdda. deserves special
A female slave of his was once baking loaves of priestly due, and another time
she was stopping jugs of wine of such due (Niddah, 6 b). RSBMand Tosafothrefer
I this to R. Gamaliel I, though as a rule he is called Gamaliel the Old; in JT. Niddah, II, 49 d, 36, the wine was
for libations in the Temple.
1. The Jew was not trustworthy in matters of tithes and priestly dues. Such
landowners were termed 'Am ha'ares,
as we find R. Sadok asking R. Joshua whether a distinction was made between
Haber and 'Am ha'ares as to blemishes
of a firstborn animal (Bekhor.., 36
a); and also in a discussion between Shammaiites and Hillelites, here R.
Eliezer and R. Joshua, about levitical purity (Hagigah, 22 a, b; Eduyot, I, 14)
Nedarim, 50 a, b; ARN, VI, 15 a, b; 2 ARN, XII, 15 b, describe his furniture
of gold and a jewel of his wife
JT. Pe'ah, I, 15 b, 39;
a Baraitha in Ketubot, 50
a, merely reports: A man wanted to give away more than a fifth of his property,
but his colleague would not allow it; some say that it was R. Jesheb'ab and R.
 To this may be added the legend in Hegesippus
(Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., III,
20) in which the relatives of Jesus were questioned by Domitian as to their
financial position, and they answered: 'We both possess only 900 denars, of
which a half belongs to each, and even this we possess not in cash, but in land
consisting of 39 plethras.'
 Another instance of lending money on fields is found
in R. Akiba's advice to his disciple R. Simeon b. Yohai in Pesahim, 112 b, top: If you want to do a
good deed and at the same time profit by it, lend money to your fellow on a
field to enjoy its income as instalment, and the borrower has also a profit
from your money.
 . R. Jehudah in ToseftaShabbat, III, 4, reports that Boethos had a bucket of
water prepared on Friday to have it poured over him on the Shabbath.
A man bought something from one of two men, but did not know from which, and
both claimed the price; R. Tarfon advised him to put the purchase-money between
both and go away. R. Akiba said there was no other solution but to pay both.Bava
BaraithaAvodah Zarah, 13 a; Tosefta, I, 8, speaks of slaves, male and
female, of houses, fields, and vineyards, purchased and brought before the
office of non-Jews; similarly ToseftaAvodah Zarah , VI, 2;
Baraitha Gittin, 44 a; ToseftaBava Batra, VIII,
2; Sifre Num., 117. As
the office is already mentioned by R. Akiba in Baraitha Gittin, 11 a; Tosefta, I, 4 (see my'Am ha'ares, 244, 37), those passages could not
very well be referred to Galilee after the year 135.
Midrash Esther, VI
begin. on 2. 5. and Midr. Psalms,
106, 3, see Buber, and Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 188, 4. As R. Eleazar of Modeim is asked to give his
opinion, the discussion took place in R. Tarfon's time; in Ketubot, 50 a, the interpretation is quoted
in the name of R. Samuel b. Nahman. In Midr. Proverbs, 6, 20, R. Meir asks Elisha b.
'Abuja, his teacher, whether there is a remedy for an adulteress, and Elisha
cites a statement of ben-'Azzai, his colleague, who recommended as a remedy for
such a woman the bringing up of an orphan in her house and teaching him Torah
In spite of his poverty he received a wayfarer whom he provided with food and
drink, and, as he had no room for him, he took him to the roof of his house (Derekh 'eres, V, end). About the stranger stole all things which he
found on the roof, and not knowing that his host had removed the steps, tried
to descend and broke his collar-bone.
A worse case was that of Nahum of Gimzo (Ta'an.,
21 a) who, deprived of the use of his limbs, arms, eyes, and visited by
leprosy, lived in a house in very bad repair. For his terrible condition he
accounted to his disciples as follows: When once on my way to my father-in-law
with three asses laden with food, drink, and sweet things, I met a poor man who
asked for my help; while I unloaded my ass, the man died and I cursed my limbs
and my body.
Of R. Gamaliel's household it is said in Shabbat, 113 a, bottom, Tosefta, XII, 16, that they did not fold their garments on the Sabbath,
because they had another set to change; it seems to imply that ordinary people
had only one set.
R. Akiba terms poverty an ornament of Israel (Lev. r., 35, 6), but says that even the
poor are nobles (Bava
Kamma, VIII, 6); he himself walked, when he was a
scholar, bare-footed even in Rome, and was jeered at by an eunuch (Koh. r.,10, 7), and enjoined
on his son Joshua among other things not to withhold shoes from his feet (Pesahim, 112 a; Bacher, Tannaiten, 1, 270, 2). It is not evident
whether he did so owing to poverty. R. Tarfon wore shoes, Tosefta,Negaim,
VIII, 2; Sifra, 70
c; JT. Sotah, II, 18 a.
Ketubot, 8 b; ToseftaNiddah, IX, 17; JT. Berakhot,
IIl, 6 a, 34; Semakhot, XIV, end.
R. Eliezer in Cant. r., introduction,
§ 9, said: Nobody ever was before me in the house of learning or left by me
there; once I rose early and already met the manure- and straw-labourers, they
were early workers; should not we be at our work as early as they? Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 101, 3. The rabbis worked all
day long in their respective occupations, and in the evening they attended the
school, even on Friday and holy day night, ToseftaShabbat, V, 13; Sifre Num., 116; Pesahim, 72 b. R. Tarfon, Pesahim, 109 a; R. Akiba, ToseftaBetzah, II,
16; R. Jehudah b. Baba and R. Simeon of Timnah. On some occasions also ordinary
people were present in greater numbers, Berakhot, 27
b; JT., IV, 7 d, 5, 6,
if ha’am means such, and not the
usual audience of scholars.
We find rabbis riding on asses, as R. Johanan b. Zakkai in Kethubot, 66 b; Sifre Deut., 305; Hagigah, 14 b, and parallels; R. Gamaliel
riding from Akko to Ekdippa in Eruvin, 64
b., ToseftaPesahim, 1,28;
Zarah, I,40 a, 65. An ass of R. Gamaliel was loaded
for too many hours with honey and died, Shabbat, 154 b. R. Gamaliel gave a Libyan ass as bribe to a philosopher
and judge who pretended to be incorruptible, Shabbat, 116 b. When finding that he will
have to pay for the consequences of a wrong judgment, R. Tarfon said: Thy ass is
gone, Tarfon, Sanhedrin, 33
a. Doves in Lydda are mentioned in ToseftaTohorot, IX, 14; a dove-cote in Lydda in Tosefta Berakhot, IV, 16; Mekhiltha,
Bava Kamma, 80
a, top, and my 'Am ha'ares, 191
In a baraitha in Shabbat, 53
b, R. Jehudah reports that the family of Antiochia had goats with large breasts
and had to tie bags on them to prevent their wounding them. Perhaps that family
lived in Lydda or Jamnia.
In Kiddushin, 82 a, Abba
Goria says that no one should train his son to be an ass- or camel-driver, nor
a coachman or a boatman, herdsman or grocer, because their occupation implies
dishonesty. He seems to make no distinction between herds and flocks; but from
the several references to shepherds as robbers it is probable that he referred
in the first instance to shepherds.
 See also the report in the tractate of Kalleh, ed. Coronel, 19 a: Once R. Akiba
sat as his table under an olive-tree owing to religious persecutions, and said:
Those who rear small cattle and cut down good trees, and children's teachers
who do not do their work properly, will see no sign of blessing (see also Pesahim, 50 b). The persuasive tone of the
statement suggests that some people were acting against the prohibition. "
Judaean wine never turned sour in the times of the Temple, but it did so in R.
Jehudah's days, JT. Dammai, I,
21 d, 8; Tosefta, I, 2;
b. Pesahim, 42 b. R.
Eliezer never suffered any loss by his wine turning sour, or by his flax being
smitten, or his oil smelling badly, or his honey fermenting, Sanhedrin, 101 a.
II, 5; JT., II,
66 a, 44 b;Rosh
Hashanah, 18 b.
R. Jehudah speaks of a year of drought when men in places left their lulavs to
their sons as inheritance (ToseftaSukkah, II, 9); perhaps it was the same year when on his sea
voyage with R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b, 'Azariah, and R. Akiba, only R, Gamaliel
had a lulav which he had bought for it thousand zuzs (Sukkah, 41 b). There seem to have been unsatisfactory
years not due to drought; for R. Joshua accounts by special sins for the lack
of blessing in produce and for man's toil not being rewarded by sufficient food
(ARN, XXXVIII, 57 a). R.
Eliezer's or R. Ishmael's remark that when the Jews do not fulfil God's will
they are compelled to keep four years of rest instead of the one prescribed (Mekhil., 23, p. 100 b), also
suggests sad times.
The parallel in JT. Pe'ah, VII,
20 a, 70, by R. Hiyya b. 'Abba, does not mention Judaea.
The price of land is nowhere stated, except in the legend of Hegesippus about
Jesus' relatives (p. 91, n. 88), where they state their property to be 900
denarii in the shape of 39 plethra of land. Though the historical value of the
report is very doubtful, it may have been made up on real conditions in Palestine
of the time of Hegesippus, when 1 plethra of land was worth 23-3/39 denarii.
Rabbi once came to Bene-Berak and saw lying there a cluster as big as a calf of
three years; Midrash Tannaim, ed.
Hoffmann, 173 ff.
R. Gamaliel bought corn from a Jew who seemed unreliable as to giving tithes,
and fed his labourers with it. Dammai. III. 1.
The rabbis urged the Jews to teach their children a craft; R. Gamaliel
describes it as giving security, ToseftaKiddushin, I, 11, and R. Ishmael in JT. Pe'ah, I, 15 c, top, explains 'choose
life' in Deut. xxx. 19 to refer to a craft. Judaea had
places engaged in the wool industry, not only women working in their household (Bava Kamma, X,
9), but, as R. Hosha'iah in the first half of the third century reports (Tanhuma, naso, 8, see Buber, § 14, note 70), there were villages in the
Darom engaged in dyeing purple, and there most men had dyed hands. See for the
fourth century 'Totius urbis descriptio'
(Muller, Geographi Graeci minores,
II, 513; Schurer, Geschichte, II, 56, 173), which mentions Lydda, Neapolis, Caesarea,
Sarepta 'purpuram praestant'.
Also R. Ishmael said inBava Batra, 60 b, bottom; ToseftaSotah, XV. 10, that we ought
to abstain from everything, but it could not be carried out by the people. R. Joshua
himself had at first to be comforted by his teacher R. Johanan b. Zakkai in ARN. IV, 11 a; 2 ARN, VIII, 11 b.
Of feasting at circumcisions and weddings we read in the Baraitha Sanhedrin, 32 b; JT. Ketubot, I, 25 c, 32; ToseftaShabbat, VII, 9, and
elsewhere, p. 96.
10; in an anonymous baraitha in Sanhedrin, 101 a, Joshua b. Hananiah denounces the same; in ARNXXXVI, 54 b, it is ascribed to R.
Johanan b. Nuri.
ToseftaSotah, end; Bava
b; Bacher, Tannaiten, I,
159, 3. Other things of luxury ceased to be used, as white glass. Though in the
report. in baraitha Sotah, 48
b: Since the destruction of the first Temple the use of pranda silk, of white
glass and iron chariots ceased, according to some also the jelly of wine from
Senir that resembled fig-cakes, this is connected with the destruction of the
first Temple (cf. JT. Sukkah, IV,
54 d, 13), it is evident from baraithaMo'ed
a, bottom; JT. Dammai, IV,
24 a, 66; ToseftaNiddah,
IX, 17, that the second Temple was meant. For first wealthy people went
to comfort mourners with wine in bottles of white glass, the poor in such of
coloured glass, and as the poor were hereby put to shame, it was instituted
that everybody should use coloured glass. This institution and the others
reported there belong to a very late period of the second Temple.
a; Ta'em., 13 a; JT.
Betzah, II, 61 b, 51.
Weiss, II, 73 ff.; Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 89.
ToseftaYevamot, VIII, end; b. 63 b; Genes. r., 34, 14; Sotah, 4 b.
A very interesting question addressed to R. Eleazar b. R. Sadok by his
disciples indicates an otherwise unknown, but very instructive fact; Why does
everybody want to marry a proselyte, but not a freed maid-servant (Horayot, 13
a)? We known only of few proselytes in Judaea in our
period, and cannot account for the statement. Is it perhaps the Galilean R.
Eleazar b. Sadok?
JT. Yevamot, IV, 6 b, 37; Semakhot, VII; Mo'ed
Katan, 23 a.
R. Akiba bought for his wife a golden ornament representing Jerusalem,
Shabbat, 59 a, b; JT., VI, 7 d, 65. When R. Gamaliel's
wife envied her for it, her husband referred her to the great share which R.
Akiba's wife had in his greatness.
ToseftaKetubot, IV, 7; Niddah, 48 b; VIII. 3; Ketubot,
10 b;Yadaim, III, 1; Hagigah, 20 a.
Yoma, 66 b; in JT. Sotah, III, 19 a, 5, the
woman is a matrona, a non-Jewess.
known about the relations between rabbis and women of the people. R. Joshua
once stayed with a woman who cooked his food (Yadaim, 53 b). When R.
Ishmael died, the women of Israel bewailed him (NedarimL. IX, 10 ff.; baraitha, 66
Sotah, III, 4; the
translation of the word by separation from intercourse seems to me to follow
from the context; see also JT. Nedarim, XI. 42 c, 65.
Baraitha R. Meir in Gittin, 90
a; ToseftaSotah, V,
R. Akiba in ARN, XXVI.
41 b, in 2 ARN, XXXV. 41
a, Jose the Babylonian accounts for the death of young scholars; the frequency of
the sad occurrence demanded an explanation. R. Akiba visited one of his
disciples who was ill and visited by nobody (Nedarim, 40 a, 41 a).
25 b; Tosefta, IV,
5; JT., II, 4b, 2.
Tosefta Yevamot, XIV,
5; JT., XVI, 15 d, 14;
b. 121 a. R. Akiba in Semakhot, IV, 34; Derekh Eretz Zutta, VIII,
relates how in his earlier days he once found a murdered man and carried the
body 6,000 cubits till he reached a place of burial, and buried him. When he
reported his act to the rabbis, they (R. Eliezer and R. Joshua) told him that
he ought to have buried the man where he found him.
Simeon of Timnah tells R. Jehudah b. Baba how the night before a troop of
non-Jews came to his town and wanted to spoil the whole place; by slaughtering
a young cow for them, they got rid of them in peace. Betzah, 21 a; Tosefta. II, 6. Rashi explains the Hebrew
word as a great band of raiders who search everything; see the dictionaries.
Punishments inflicted by the Romans on Jews also suggest violent acts in Judaea.
A Jew in prison freed, without witnesses, the childless widow of his brother
from marrying him (Yevamot,
XII, 4 and 105 b, bottom), and R. Akiba declared it valid. Originally
the rabbis said: when one goes away in a collarium
and asks that a bill of divorce should be written for his wife, it should be
written and delivered; later they added: a man who goes on a sea journey or
with a caravan. R. Simeon Shezuri added: a man who is dangerously ill, Gittin, VI, 5. Now this disciple of R.
Tarfon knew already the first additions to the original rule, so that this must
have belonged at the latest to the time of his teacher. Executions, see in Semakhot, II, 11, 13. Galilean Jews suspected of murder came to R.
Tarfon and asked for shelter, but he refused, Niddah, 61 a, bottom.
“QUIETUS, LUSIUS (second century C.E.), Roman general.
Quietus, who was of Moorish origin, was commander of the Moorish cavalry in the
Roman army as early as the time of Domitian. He especially distinguished
himself in the wars during Trajan's reign and was one of his principal
commanders in the Parthian campaign. Among his activities in Mesopotamia was the subduing of the Jews there, who were hostile to Rome. Trajan ordered Lusius Quietus to crush them. He
conducted the attack craftily, killing many. As a reward for this success he
was appointed ruler of Judea in 117 C.E. (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica,
4:2). Apparently Quietus also subdued the Jews in Judea
who revolted against Rome. Details are lacking of this action, but a reference
to them has been preserved in the talmudical accounts of "the war of
Quietus." When Hadrian became emperor he removed Quietus from his command
of the Moors and from the army, and shortly after he was executed for
participating in a conspiracy against the emperor.´Encyclopedia Judaica
R. 'Aibo's statement about hostile fortresses in Palestine, p. 84, note 53 ff.
must not be adduced, for he lived in the fourth century.
Here Rashiand Tosafothread R. Gamaliel instead of R. Johanan.
See Gratz in MGWJ, 1885,
XXXIV, 17 ff.; Bacher, Tannaiten,
I, 36; Kraas, Lehnworter,
II, 106. Midrash haGadol Deut., 33; Midrasch Tannaim, 215, read in the Sifrepassage: Agrippas hegemon asked R. Johanan b. Zakkai.
'Instead of me from the stores' cannot be correct, as the continuation clearly
shows; cf. the baraitha in Avodah Zarah, 71 a. A Jew must not ask a non-Jew
to enter for him into the stores; see Rashi.
From an economic point of view ToseftaDamm., I, 11, is very instructive: He who buys produce
from a ship in Jaffa or in Caesarea
must give tithe. R. Jehudah said: The produce on the shore (?) of Jishub and of
Antipatris and in the market of Patros was at first declared not certainly
tithed, because it generally came from the King mountains; but now our rabbis
said. . . Jishub was a Samaritan place (Neubauer, Chronique Samaritaine, 19), further south was Antipatris,
so that the unknown Patros was further south. We learn that Judaea
and the places in the central range north of Judaea
exported produce via Jaffa and to
the three places.
The occasional visit of stratiotai in the school of Jamnia in the days of R.
Gamaliel who came to learn the law of the Jews, Sifre Deut., 344, 143 b; JT. Bava Kamma, IV,
4 b; 29 b; 38 a, proves nothing for a garrison in the town.
In an Aramaic story in Ta'am., 21
a, the Jews sent through Nahum of Gimzo a box of precious stones as a gift to
the emperor; the Roman governor is meant. R. Joshi'a, R. Ishmael's disciple, in
ARN, XXXVIII, 57 a, says
that owing to neglect in giving priestly dues and tithes the skies withhold dew
and rain, and the people is handed over to the government. This is taken from
life, and refers to Roman confiscations of property.
The presence of soldiers constituted a danger for Jewish women, as the case
before R. Haninah in JT. Nedarim,
XI, 42 d, 58, shows: When once soldiers came into a city, the wife of a
priest came to the beth-din and complained that a soldier had embraced and
assulted her; but the rabbis permitted her to continue to eat of her husband's
priestly due. Also the Mishnah Nedarim,
XI, 12, reflects such a danger. First the rabbis said: In three cases a
woman must be divorced and receive her marriage settlement: when she says to
her husband, I am defiled for you, God is between us, and I am removed from the
Jews. Later the rabbis altered that rule in order that a woman should not
commit adultery because she wants to marry somebody else. It seems that
violation of women and persuading them to leave Judaism reflects Roman times.
She'iltoth, bereshit read R. Meir. which is merely a
misreading of the form Midrash haGadol to Exod. xxi also has R. Tarfon, and for agoras ‘rkywt.
Otherwise the Jews had their own jurisdiction in civil cases and the right to
impose fines, as the judgments of R. Akiba show (p. 77 ff.), and also the statement
of Rabh in Sanhedrin, 13
b, 14 a, that if R. Jehudah b. Baba during the Hadrianic persecutions had not
ordained five disciples, the law about fines had been forgotten in Israel.
There were no courts for capital punishment, in spite of Origen's remark to the
contrary; for R. Akiba and R. Tarfon say in Makkot, I, 10, if they had been on a
Synedrion, nobody would have ever been executed. The past tense clearly shows
that in their times no such court was in existence. Scholars frequently point
out that the rabbis applied the ban to force recalcitrant parties to obey their
judgments. But as evidence not one single occurrence could be adduced; for all
cases reported concern rabbis who either persisted in their individual
teachings and had to be banned, or such as had disobeyed the orders of R.
In Jellinek's bath-haMidrasch, I,
1: Esther r., introduction,
§ 9, 'Abba Gorion, in the name of R. Gamaliel, says: Since untrue judges
increased, false witnesses increased; since delatores
(informers) increased, the robbing of people's money (confiscations) increased,
, . . since the beloved children provoked their father in heaven, he raised
over them a wicked king to punish them. This statement, obviously picturing the
times of R. Gamaliel, reveals sad conditions in Judaea
under Roman rule, especially the evil of informers. Perhaps R. Eleazar b.
'Azarjah's sentence against the evil tongue in Makkot, 23 a, refers to the same: He who
speaks evil language and he who receives evil language and he who gives false
testimony, deserve to be thrown before dogs. See Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 91, 1.
 Not merely in Caesarea where R. Eliezer was once
tried on the bema by a hegemon as judge, Kohelet
r., 1, 8, 3; Avodah Zarah,
16 b; ToseftaHullin,
II, 24, and R. Akiba by Tineius Rufus, Bacher, Tannaiten, I, 287, and Midr. Prov., 9, 2, R. Eliezer's statement made
in connexion with his trial in Avodah Zarah,
17 a, on Prov. v. 8 b: Draw not near to the entrance of her house, to the
government, also warns against relations with the Romans. But the two parallels
quoted do not contain that word.
Bava Batra, 10
b; Pesik., 12 b; Bacher,
Tannaiten, 1, 34, 4. Of
Roman charity in Palestine about
the year 300 speaks R. Yishak in Pesik., 95 b: The governors go out to the villages, plunder the
farmers, return to their town and say: Call the poor together, for we want to
give them charity. In MidrashhaGadol
on Deut. vii. 26, quoted
by Dr. Schechter in his 'Agadath Canticum, p. 71, the kindness of the nations in Prov. xiv. 34 is referred
to the Romans building public and other baths for the poor and rich, but
leaving there a place for worshipping idols and for immoral women. But there is
beside a doubtful reference of R. Gamaliel none mentioning such institutions in
Judaea before the year 135.
See also ToseftaSotah, XIV,
10: Since the number of those increased who accepted charity from non-Jews,
non-Jews began to increase and Jews to decrease, and the latter have in the world
no pleasure. If this statement could be dated, it would be an instructive
parallel to the above passage.
15, 2; Mekhil. R. Simeon, 60; Bacher,
Tannaiten, I, 285,4.
In 'Agadath Canticum, 1,6,
a similar but anonymous passage occurs: You would not guard the Temp]e as
required, now they guard the great fortress. Schechter, p. 58. thinks it a
corruption of the Mekhilthapassage,
but there is hardly a trace of it here. If shwqlynwere from shwmryn
the sentence would be clearer: They have to pay taxes to Caesarea
Galenus. vol. XIV. p. 25, ed. Kuhn; Marquardt, Rom.,
Galenus, XIV, 7; Pliny, Nat. Hist., 12,
111, 113, 123. In whose hands 'En-gedi had been before the war is not evident.
Though it was one of the eleven toparchies (Wars, III, 3, 5), but not mentioned as such by Pliny (V, 14,
70), and though Eusebius, Onom.,
254, terms it a very great Jewish place, its plantations may have been
already before the year 70 in Roman hands. During the revolution the sicari of Masada
attacked it (Wars, IV,
7, 2) in the night of Passover, scattered the population and drove it from the
town, and women and children about 700 were killed. All the villages around
Massada were laid waste and the whole district made desolate. It is difficult
to see why the sicarii should have killed Jewish women and children, as they
could have taken the victuals which they wanted from the women. It seems,
'En-gedi was either in favour of peace or partly inhabited by Romans.
Cp. Holscher, Judaa inpers. U. hell. Zeit, 49.
The version of R. Nehunia b. Hakanah's sentence in 2 ARN, XXXII. 34 b: From him who takes
upon him the yoke of the Torah, the yoke of the government and of business is
removed, and upon him who shakes off the yoke of the Torah, the yoke of the
government and of business is imposed, suggests that scholars were exempted
from taxes, regular or irregular. See Krakauer in MGWJ, 1874, XXIII, 60 ff.; REJ, 1912, LXIV, 60, which, however, refer
to the edicts of the emperors of the fourth century, as perhaps ARN; 'Aboth,
III, 8, does not contain the 'yoke of the government'.
The wording is doubtful; see Schechter, 12, who quotes a version bm’wt altars.
91 b, quoting from memory attribute
the first anonymous sentence to R. Akiba. but his name is even in the second
part doubtful; see Rabbinowicz and R. Isaiah Trani the elder in JQR, IV, 93 ff.
Schlatter, Tage Trajans, 68,
states that the Roman legion brought its cult with it. and refers to the stone
still standing in the Nebi Daud gate in Jerusalem
set by the legio III Cyrenaica in 116 for the welfare and victory of Trajan and
the Roman people to Jupiter Optimus Maximus Sarapis.
In Midrasch Tannaim, 58;
2 ARN, XXXI, 33 b ff.,
R. Johanan b. Zakkai says: Be not hasty in pulling down the altars of heathens
that thou shouldst not have to rebuild them with thy hand; pull not down any of
bricks that they should not ask thee to rebuild them of stone; nor of stone
that they should not ask thee to rebuild them of wood. This shows that there
were in Judaea heathen altars which some Jews were eager
to pull down; but it is possible and even probable to refer such statements to
the time before the War. Cf. also the parallel inMegillah, 31 b; ToseftaAvodah Zarah,
I, 19; Bacher, Tannaiten,
II, 425, 3.
Avodah Zarah, 55 a;
Bacher, Tannaiten, I,
 R. Eliezer referred to a man in Askalon who honoured
his father greatly. Kiddushin, 31
a; JT. Pe'ah, I, 15 c,
18; Pesik. r.,XXIV, 123
JT. Sotah, III, 19 a, 7; in the parallel Yoma, 66 b, only a woman is mentioned.