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SIMEON B. ZABDAI (ZEBID):

Palestinian amora of the third century; teacher of the son of Assi (Yer. Shab. 9a). A few of his interpretations of Scriptural passages have been preserved. Referring to II Chron. xxx., he assigns as the reason for the postponed Passover feast under King Hezekiah the fact that the skull of the Jebusite Ornan had been found under the altar (Yer. Pes. 36c; Yer. Soṭah 20b; Yer. Ned. 39d). Another explanation of his, relating to II Chron. xxx. 19, is reported together with the contradictory explanation of Samuel b. Naḥman (Yer. Pes. l.c.). Two other of his explanations refer to sayings of Ḥanina (Yer. Soṭah 21d) and of Simeon b. Laḳish (ib. 22a). Simeon's observations concerning the future world, in reference to Eccl. ii. 1, "This also is vanity," are differently given by Hezekiah and Jonah respectively. Hezekiah's version is: "What thou learnest of the Torah in this world is vain compared with what thou wilt learn in the next; for in the future world there will be no forgetting what has been learned"; Jonah's reads: "What a man sees of prosperity in this world is as nothing compared with that of the next; for in this world the owner of property dies and leaves it to another, while of the future world it is said [Isa. lxv. 22], "They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat'" (Eccl. R. to ii. 1).

At Simeon's death two prominent men, Levi and Hela, delivered orations (Yer. Ber. 5c; Yer. Hor. 48b; Eccl. R. to v. 11).

Bibliography:
  • Frankel, Mebo, p. 118a, b;
  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 624-625.
W. B. J. Z. L.
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