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BENJAMIN, R.:

A tanna of the second century, contemporary of R. Eleazar ben Shammu'a, with whom he carried on some halakic controversy (Ket. 84a). He is also mentioned in connection with Symmachus (Niddah 21b); and elsewhere (Sem. ix.) he reports a Halakah in the name of R. Akiba. In one halakic controversy, the participants in which leave no doubt as to his identity, his name appears as "Minyamin" (Yer. Soṭah i. 16c), "Polimo" (Palæmon, Soṭah 4a; Tan., Naso, 7), and "Penimon" (Num. R. ix. 10). The last-mentioned form is also found in Yer. Ter. iii. 42b as "Abba Penimon," where the context permits of the assumption that it is meant for "R. Benjamin." (For the identity of Benjamin and Minyamin, see Abba bar Benjamin; "Pelimo" and "Penimon" appear to be Hellenizations of "Benjamin.") R. Benjamin may likewise be identified with Abba Benjamin, who, in a group of homilies (Ber. 5b et seq.), remarks, "Were the human eye permitted to perceive them no human being would be able to live because of the evil spirits which fill the universe." He also teaches that no prayer is acceptable except that offered in the public house of worship. This he bases on I Kings viii. 28 ". . . to hearken unto the song and unto the prayer": where the song is heard there prayer will be heard (compare Tos. on 'Ab. Zarah 4b, s.v. ).

J. Sr. S. M.
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