SIMEON B. PAZZI:
Palestinian amora of the third generation. In Palestine he was called merely "Simon," this being the Greek form of his Hebrew name "Shim'on," but in Babylon he was generally called by his full name, Shim'on b. Pazzi. According to the tosafot (B. B. 149a, s.v. ), "Pazzi" was his mother's name; but according to "Yuḥasin," s.v. , and Frankel ("Mebo," 121a), it was a masculine proper name, and, therefore, designated Simeon's father. According to Bacher, "Pazzi" was a family name which several other Palestinian amoraim bore. The Pazzi family, which lived at Tiberias, the seat of the patriarch, was highly respected; and Simeon, so far as is known, was its most important member. Later he lived in the south (Yer. Beẓah 60c), and was the pupil of Joshua b. Levi; but he held friendly intercourse with the authorities of the school of Tiberias, e.g., Eleazar b. Pedat, Abbahu, and Ammi. Simeon lived for a time at Babylon, also, in the house of the exilarch. Here Ze'era requested him not to allow the abuses committed by the exilarchate to pass unreprehended, even though his reproof should prove ineffective (Shab. 55a). In Babylon he delivered haggadic lectures, some sentences of which have been preserved in Babli (Pes. 56a; Soṭah 41b; 'Ab. Zarah 18a).
Simeon was considered a halakic authority also. Rabbah b. Naḥmani was informed by his brothers in Palestine of a halakic decision in which Isaac, Simeon, and Oshaya concurred, this Simeon being taken to be Simeon b. Pazzi (Ket. 111b). Certain instructions which Simeon gave to the computers of the calendar have been preserved. He enjoined them to observe that as a rule neither the feast of the blowing of the shofar (New-Year) nor that of the willow (the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles) should fall on the Sabbath, but when necessary that one or the other should be set upon that day, the former rather than the latter should be chosen (Yer. Suk. 54b).His Haggadah.
Simeon occupies an important position among his contemporaries, chiefly in the field of the Haggadah, both independent and transmitted. He handed down an unusually large number of sentences by his teacher Joshua b. Levi, of whose haggadot he is the principal transmitter. But he handed down also halakic sentences by Joshua (Ḥul. 45a). He furthermore transmitted halakot of Johanan, Simeon b. Laḳish, Ḥanina, Jose b. Ḥanina, Samuel b. Naḥman, Simeon b. Abba, and Bar Ḳappara (comp. Bacher,"Ag. Tan." ii. 438, note 6). His own haggadot contain exegetic and homiletic interpretations and comments, including parables, sentences, and maxims on God, the world, prayer, the study of the Law, Israel, and Rome.His Exegesis.
The following are examples of Simeon's haggadot: "When God was about to create the first man He consulted with His attendant angels, of whom some were for and some against the proposed creation: 'Mercy and truth are opposed to each other; benevolence and peace have taken up arms against each other' [Ps. lxxxv. 11, Hebr.]. Mercy said, 'Man shall be created; for he will perform works of mercy.' Truth said, 'He shall not be created; for he is full of deceit.' Benevolence said, 'He shall be created; for he will do good works.' Peace said, 'He shall not be created; for he is filled with dissension.' Then God took Truth and threw her to the ground [Dan. viii. 12]. But the angels said, 'Why, O Lord of the world, dost thou thus dishonor Truth? Cause her to spring out of the earth'" (Ps. lxxxv. 12; Gen. R. viii. 5). Simeon explains the word , employed in Gen. ii. 7 in narrating the creation of man, as if it were composed of the two words "wai" and "yeẓer" or "yoẓer." "It, therefore, implies," he says, "the complaint of man wavering between the sensual and the divine: 'Wo to me because of my impulses ["yeẓer"]; wo to me because of my Creator ["yoẓer"]'" (Ber. 61a; 'Er. 18a). The sentence "but Abraham stood yet before the Lord" (Gen. xviii. 22) is, according to Simeon, an emendation of the scribes, the original having read, "The Eternal stood yet before Abraham" (Gen. R. xlix. 12). The prophecies of Beeri, Hosea's father, consisted of two verses only; and since these were not sufficient to form a separate book, they were included in the Book of Isaiah, being the verses Isa. viii. 19-20 (Lev. R. vi. 6). "When the patriarch Jacob was about to reveal the Messianic time to his children [Gen. xlix. 1], the presence of God departed from him, whereupon he said: 'Has an unworthy child sprung from me, as Ishmael sprang from my grandfather Abraham, and as Esau from my father Jacob?' In answer his sons exclaimed, '"Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" [Deut. vi. 5]; as only one God is in thy heart, so only one God is in ours.' Jacob then said, 'Praised be the name of the glory of His kingdom for ever and ever'" (Pes. 56a, according to the reading in Rabbinowitz, "Variæ Lectiones," ad loc.). "Phinehas is called in Judges ii. 1 the angel of the Lord because his face shone like a torch when the Holy Ghost was resting upon him" (Lev. R. i. 1). "The Dardanoi [Romans] are designated by the term 'Dodanim' [Gen. x. 4] or 'Rodanim' [I Chron. i. 7, Hebr.]. The first of these terms connotes the people as the cousins of Israel; the second, as its oppressors" (Gen. R. xxxvii. 1). "Wherever a story in Scripture begins with the words 'After the death of . . . it came to pass,' it refers to a retrogression, to a discontinuance of something that the deceased had brought about; e.g., after Moses' death [Josh. i. 1] the manifestations of mercy [the well, the manna, and the protecting clouds] ceased; after the death of Joshua [Judges i. 1] Israel was again attacked by the remnant of the native population; and after Saul's death [II Sam. i. 1] the Philistines again entered the country" (Gen. R. lxii. 7).
- Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii. 377;
- Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. ii. 437-474.