JUDAH


JUDAH
JUDAH (Nesiah), nasi from about 230 to 270 C.E., son of Gamaliel III, and grandson of Judah ha-Nasi. During his period of office the power of the nasi began to decline and the struggle between him and the scholars became intensified. Judah and his brother Hillel were apparently regarded favorably (Sem. 8:4, ed. Higger), and Judah conducted his relationship with his opponents among the scholars with skill and understanding, with the aim of drawing them to him. One of his most determined opponents was simeon b. lakish , who criticized him for levying taxes on scholars (BB 7b) and accepting gifts from the people (Gen. R. 78:12). On one occasion Lakish even states that "a nasi who sins is flogged," which incidentally was not in accordance with Roman law. As a result Lakish was compelled to flee. On the advice of Johanan, however, with whom he was intimate, Judah himself went to appease him (TJ, Sanh. 2:1). Complaints of persecution were also heard from other scholars (Yose of Oni – Gen. R., Theodor-Albeck edition, p. 950 et al.; Mani – Ta'an. 23b, et al.), all of whom openly preached against him. Although it is not certain whether the nasi was made responsible for the collection of taxes from the inhabitants of Judea, it is nevertheless certain that in Judah's time the office of the nasi was in great financial straits, and this apparently was the reason for Judah's actions, which included his appointment of unsuitable judges in exchange for money, a step which widened the rift between him and the scholars. Judah is referred to as "a great man" (TJ, Av. Zar. 1:1). Not only did he go out of his way to appease his opponents, but he also used his authority to impose the decisions of the scholars upon the community (TJ, Ket. 9:2). He himself was a scholar and a member of a bet din which became known as "the permissive bet din" because it permitted, among other things, oil of the gentiles, which had been long prohibited (Av. Zar. 35b–37a, et al.). This permission was recognized also in Babylon. As a result he is sometimes referred to in the Mishnah as "Rabbi," the title by which his grandfather was known. Simeon b. Lakish, his great opponent, himself transmitted halakhot in his name, and also aggadic statements on the importance of Torah study, such as: "The world is sustained for the sake of the breath of schoolchildren," and "Every town in which there are no schoolchildren shall be destroyed" (Shab. 119). Judah's prayer for rain was answered (Ta'an. 249). When he died, it was proclaimed that "the priesthood was abolished for that day" (TJ, Ber. 3:1) to enable kohanim to participate in his funeral. His son was Gamaliel IV. A tradition dating from the Middle Ages states that his grave was in Upper Galilee. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frankel, Mevo, 92–94; Alon, Meḥkarim, 2 (1958), 15–57; Z. Vilnay, Maẓẓevot Kodesh be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1963), 352. (Israel Moses Ta-Shma) JUDAH III JUDAH III (Judah Nesiah II), nasi from 290 to 320. Judah III was the son of Gamaliel IV and the grandson of Judah Nesiah. It is sometimes difficult to determine from the sources whether a reference is to Judah II or III. Judah III was a pupil of Johanan (see RH 20a). He was especially intimate with ammi and assi , who headed the academy of Tiberias after the death of Johanan. Halakhic problems raised by him with   Ammi are mentioned (Av. Zar. 33b; Beẓah 27a), and it is also related that Ammi was particularly insistent that Judah should conduct himself beyond that which was required by the strict letter of the law, as was befitting for "a prominent person" (MK 12b). These two scholars were sent by Judah to found schools for children throughout the land of Israel (TJ, Hag. 1:7, 76c). Although the status of the office of nasi had deteriorated greatly in his time, dignity was preserved internally and the people obeyed his directives. Judah was himself a scholar and Zera established halakhah from his conduct (TJ, Beẓah 1:9, 60d). He was in contact with the scholars of his time (see TJ, Shab. 6:9), and there is a suggestion of a dispute between him and Jeremiah and of a letter of appeasement sent by the latter (TJ, Meg. 3:2, 74a). It is stated that he imposed 13 fasts upon the community in a time of drought (Ta'an. 14a), and mention is made of his slave, Germanius, a member of the Gothic guard, presented to him by the government (TJ, Shab., 6:9; TJ, Yoma 8:5; et al.). During his time the Roman emperor diocletian stayed in Tiberias while waging war against the Persians, and the aggadah describes a meeting between the two at the invitation of the emperor, embellishing the account with miraculous details (TJ, Ter. 8:10, 46b–c; Gen. R. 63:8). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hyman, Toledot, 612–5; Alon, Meḥkarim, 2 (1958), 16–17. (Israel Moses Ta-Shma)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • JUDAH — (Heb. יְהוּדָה), fourth son of Jacob and Leah. The biblical explanation of the name Judah connects it with thanksgiving and praise (Heb. אוֹדֶה, oʾdeh; Gen. 29:35). However, if one compares the names Judith (Gen. 26:34) and Jahdai (I Chron. 2:47) …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Judah II — was a famous Jewish sage who lived in Tiberias in the Land of Israel, in the middle of the third century CE. He is mentioned in the classical works of Judaism s oral law, the Mishnah and Talmud.There he is variously called Judah, Judah Nesi ah ( …   Wikipedia

  • JUDAH IV — (fl. c. 385–400 C.E.), patriarch, son of gamaliel V. Very little is known about him, and even that little is doubtful. He seems to have been unpopular with contemporary rabbis, and when his sister Mana died, a leading Palestinian scholar refused… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Judah — [jo͞o′də] n. [Heb yehūdhāh, lit., praised] 1. a masculine name: dim. Jude; fem. Judith 2. Bible a) Jacob s fourth son, whose mother was Leah: Gen. 29:35 b) the tribe descended from him, the strongest of the twelve tribes of Israel: Num. 1:26 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • Judah IV — held the office of Nasi of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin between 385 and 400 CE, following Gamaliel V. He was succeeded by Gamaliel VI, the last occupant of the office. References …   Wikipedia

  • Judah — m Biblical name, possibly meaning ‘praised’ in Hebrew, borne by the fourth son of Jacob (Genesis 29: 35), who gave his name to one of the twelve tribes of Israel and to one of its two kingdoms. Cognate: Hebrew: Yehuda …   First names dictionary

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