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YUDAN BEN SIMEON (called Judah ben Simeon in the Babylonian Talmud):

Palestinian amora of the third century; a contemporary of Johanan, who in his name transmits a ruling relating to the law of inheritance, as well as a discussion which took place between them (B. B. 114b-115a). Reference is often made to a controversy between Johanan and Yudan ben Simeon concerning written and oral law (Yer. Pe'ah 17a; Meg. 74d; Ḥag. 76d).

Several haggadic interpretations of Yudan's have been preserved; and of these many are of cosmogonic and cosmological content, while others refer to questions of natural history. Among the latter may be mentioned the following explanation of Job xxix. 18: "The phenix lives a thousand years; and at the end of that period its body shrinks, its feathers fall off, and only a kind of egg remains. From this egg new members grow, and the phenix returns to life" (Gen. R. xix. 5). The giant animals behemoth and leviathan, according to him, were created in order to serve as quarries for the pious in the future world. Those who have not seen the hunts and animal contests among the heathen peoples in this world will be found worthy to view the chase in the world to come (Lev. R. xiii. 3). In his haggadic interpretations Yudan employs parables also, explaining, for example, Hosea xii. 4 by a beautiful allegory (Lev. R. xxvii. 6; Num. R. x. 1). Moreover, he made use of the system of Noṭariḳon, interpreting the first word of the Decalogue, , by decomposing the letters, so that it read , i.e., "learn thousands," that is, "study the numberless words of the Law" (Pesiḳ. xxii.).

Bibliography:
  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 604-607.
J. J. Z. L.
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