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SIMEON BEN JUDAH HA-NASI I.:

One of the teachers during the transition period between the Tannaim and the Amoraim. He was the younger son of Judah, and although far more learned than his brother Gamaliel, his father had intended that he should become ḥakam only, while Gamaliel was to be Judah's successor as "nasi" (Ket. 103b). Simeon was particularly friendly with R. Ḥiyya, with whom he once undertook a journey (Gen. R. lxxix. 8), and with Bar Ḳappara, who was one of his fellow students (M. Ḳ 16a; Ber. 13b). He surpassed both of these in halakic as well as in haggadic exegesis. R. Ḥiyya learned from him the exposition of a part of the Psalms; Bar Ḳappara, a part of the halakic midrash to Leviticus. It therefore annoyed Simeon that both refused to do him honor (Ḳid. 33a). His father called him "the light of Israel" ('Ar. 10a; Men. 88b), and he was very kind-hearted (B. B. 8a) and candid (ib. 164b). He did not approve his grandfather's and his father's habit of citing the sayings of R. Meïr without mentioning the latter's name.

Simeon introduced many emendations into the text of the Mishnah, according to readings which he had heard from his father, as, for example, B. M. iii. 1, and 'Ab. Zarah iv. 1, where, in the Mishnah to the Palestinian Talmud, his readings have been preserved (comp. B. M. 44a; 'Ab. Zarah 52b). One of Simeon's sayings, also, has been preserved in the Mishnah (Mak. iii. 15); in it he contends that if man is rewarded for abstaining from the drinking of blood, for which he has no natural craving, his reward ought to be much greater for abstaining from robbery and fornication, to which he has an inborn inclination.

Bibliography:
  • Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii. 372, Warsaw, 1882.
W. B. J. Z. L.
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