Scholar of the first and second centuries (second tannaitic generation), always cited without patronymic or cognomen; his descent is traced back to Jonadab the Rechabite (Yer. Ta'an. iv. 68a; Gen. R. xcviii. 4). He was a senior contemporary of Gamaliel II. and Johanan b. Nuri (Tosef., Shab. xiii. [xiv.] 2; ib. Ma'as. Sh. i. 13), and conducted a rabbinic school at Sepphoris. Here he introduced some ritual reforms (Ta'an. ii. 5; R. H. 27a). Tradition relates that, together with Hananiah b. Teradion and Eleazar b. Mattai, he saw the monuments which Joshua had placed in the Jordan (see Eleazar b. Mattai). Ḥalafta seems to have attained an advanced age. He communicated to Gamaliel II. an order given by his grandfather Gamaliel I., and which he had himself heard in the last years of Judea's independence (Shab. 115a); he subsequently participated in the 'Aḳabia controversy (see "R. E. J." xli. 41), and later he is met with in the company of Eleazar b. Azariah, Ḥuẓpit the interpreter, Yeshebab, and Johanan b. Nuri, when they were old (Tosef., Kelim, B. B. ii. 2). But few halakotare preserved in his name, and most of these were transmitted by his more famous son, R. Jose (Kil. xxvi. 6; Tosef., Ma'as. Sh. i. 13; ib. B. B. ii. 10; ib. Oh. v. 8; Bek. 26a).
- Brüll, Mebo ha-Mishnah, i. 139;
- Frankel, Darke ha-Mishnah, p. 132;
- Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii.;
- Weiss, Dor, ii. 122;
- Zacuto, Yuḥasin, ed. Filipowski, p. 64.