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BERECHIAH I., R.:

A Palestinian scholar of the second amoraic generation (third century), always cited without the accompaniment of patronymic or cognomen. Once only (Lev. R. i. 4) is he quoted as Berechiah Saba (the Elder), by R. Abin III., the contemporary of Berechiah II.; and in this instance the designation "Saba" is used to distinguish between the namesakes. Nothing is known of Berechiah's life, and comparatively little preserved of his teachings, though it is quite probable that some of his sayings are attributed to his later and more renowned namesake (compare Frankel, "Mebo," 69b). A discussion of his with R. Ḥiyya of Kefar Teḥumin is reported on the merit of the study of the Torah. One of them teaches that the whole of this world does not equal the value of a single passage of the Law; and the other argues, "Even the discharge of all the Biblical commandments is not equal to the merit of mastering a single passage of the Law" (Yer. Peah i. 15d). Rabbah b. Naḥman, a contemporary of Rabbah b. Huna, transmits in the name of Berechiah a homily on the continuance of the protective influence of patriarchal merit ("zekut abot"; Yer. Sanh. x. 27d; compare Lev. R. xxxvi. 6, where the names of the rabbis are badly corrupted). R. Tanhum b. Ḥanilaï, the disciple of R. Joshua ben Levi (B. Ḳ. 55a), too, reports Haggadot in the name of Berechiah (Tan., Tazria', 9; Pesiḳ. R. xxi. 110a). Bacher denies the existence of this Berechiah, and to sustain his opinion changes the chronological order in the passages quoted ("Ag. Pal. Amor." iii. 351, 354, note 3; 628, note 7).

Bibliography:
  • Frankel, Mebo, 69b;
  • Weiss, Dor, iii. 91, note 17.
J. Sr. S. M.
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