JOSHUA B. ḲARḤA:
Tanna of the second century; contemporary of the patriarch Simeon b. Gamaliel II. Some regard him as the son of Akiba who was named "Kereaḥ" = "bald" (Rashi on Bek. 58a; Rashbam on Pes. 112a). This is incorrect (comp. Tosef., Pes. 112a), for he never mentions Akiba, and would have done so had Akiba been his father. Only a few halakot of his have been preserved, his utterances having been mostly haggadic.
Joshua was bald; and once in a dispute with a heretic who taunted him on this score, he refuted his opponent with remarkable readiness of wit (Shab. 152a). His affection for his people is shown by the indignation with which he rebuked Eleazar b. Simeon, who had delivered the Jewish freebooters over to the Romans, upbraiding him with the words: "Thou vinegar son of wine [= "Degenerate scion of a noble father"], how long wilt thou give the people of our God unto death?" (B. M. 83b).
He lived to a great age; and when he blessed Judah ha-Nasi he added the wish that the latter might live half as long as himself (Meg. 28b).
- Frankel, Hodegetica in Mischnam, p. 178, Leipsic, 1859;
- Brüll, Einleitungin die Mischna, p. 202, Frankfort-on-the-Main;
- Bacher, Ag. Tan. ii. 308-321;
- Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, pp. 189-190.