JOSE THE GALILEAN:
Tanna; lived in the first and second centuries of the common era. Jose was a contemporary and colleague of R. Akiba, R. Ṭarfon, and R. Eleazar b. Azariah. Neither the name of his father nor the circumstances of his youth are known, though his name ("ha-Gelili") indicates that he was a native of Galilee. He suffered from the prejudice commonly held against the Galileans by the Judeans; on one occasion a woman whom he had met on the street and had requested to direct him to Lydda called him a "stupid Galilean" ("Gelili shote"; 'Er. 53b). When he entered the academy at Jabneh, he was entirely unknown. It is also noted that he was extremely modest and addressed R. Ṭarfon as "my master" ("rabbi"; Zeb. 57a). He was, nevertheless, a thorough scholar even then, and his arguments nonplused both R. Ṭarfon and R. Akiba. His first appearance at Jabneh thus obtained for him general recognition, and the two rabbis considered him not as a pupil, but as a colleague. Akiba was obliged to endure more than one sharp criticism from Jose, who once said to him: "Though thou expound the whole day I shall not listen to thee" (Zeb. 82a). R. Ṭarfon expressed his high esteem of Jose by interpreting Dan. viii. 4-7 as though it contained an allusion to him: "I saw the ram, that is, R. Akiba, and saw that no beast might stand before him; and I beheld the he-goat, that is, Jose the Galilean, come, and cast him down to the ground" (Tosef., Miḳ. vii. 11; Sifre, Num. [ed. Friedmann, p. 44a]). As a matter of fact, Jose was the only one who opposed Akiba successfully, and the latter frequently abandoned his own interpretation in favor of his opponent's (Ḥag. 14a; Pes. 36b).
Jose frequently showed a tendency to revert to the older Halakah (See Midrash Halakah), explaining the text according to its literal meaning (Mek., Bo [ed. Weiss, pp. 4b, 9b]; Mek., Beshallaḥ [ed. Weiss, p. 44a]; Sifre, Deut. [ed. Friedmann, p. 97b]; 'Ab. Zarah 45a; et al.). But generally his halakic exegesis differed little from that of Akiba, and both often employed the same rules of interpretation (comp. Ket. 44a; Ḳid. 32b; Pes. 23a, 36a; Beẓah 21a, b). Only two of his halakot need be cited here. He taught that poultry may be cooked in milk and eaten (Ḥul. 113a), as was done in his own native town (ib. 116a); also that at the Passover one may enjoy anything that is leavened, except as food (Pes. 28b). Of his haggadic opinions the two following may be mentioned: The command of the Torah that the "face of the old man" shall be honored (Lev. xix. 32) includes, by implication, the young man who has acquired wisdom (Ḳid. 32b). The words "He shall rule over thee" (Gen. iii. 16) do not refer to power of every description (Gen. R. xx.).
Jose's married life was unhappy. His wife was malicious and quarrelsome, and frequently insulted him in the presence of his pupils and friends; on the advice of the latter he divorced her. When she married again and was in straitened circumstances, he was magnanimous enough to support her and her husband (Gen. R. xvii.).
Jose was famed, moreover, for his piety. An amora of the third century says: "When, for their sins, there is drought in Israel, and such a one as Jose the Galilean prays for rain, the rain cometh straightway" (Yer. Ber. 9b). The popular invocation, "O Jose ha-Gelili, heal me!" survived even to the tenth century. This invocation is justly condemned by the Karaite Sahal b. Maẓliaḥ (comp. Pinsker, "Liḳḳuṭe Ḳadmoniyyot," p. 32).
- Frankel, Hodegetica in Mischnam, pp. 125-127, Leipsic, 1859;
- Brüll, Einleitung in die Mischna, pp. 125-130, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1876;
- Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 252-265;
- Weiss, Dor, ii. 119-120.