Isidore Singer.

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asmuch as a husband of small means could ill afford
to withdraw a sum of money from

Founded his business, Simeon's ruling tended

Popular to check hasty divorces. The other im-

Sehools. portaut act referred to the instmction

of the young. Up to Simeon's time

there were no schools in Judea, and the instruction

of children was, according to Biblical precepts, left

to their fathers. Simeon ordered that schools be
established in the larger cities in which the young
might receive instruction in the Holy Scriptures as
well as in the traditional knowledge of the Law
(Yer. Ket. I.e.).

Simeon was exceedingly strict in legal matters.
Upon one occasion he sentenced to death eighty
women in Ashkelon wMio had been convicted of
.sorcery. The relatives of these women, tilled with
a desire for revenge, brought false witnesses against
Simeon's son, whom they accused of a crime which
involved capital piuiishment; and as a result
of this charge he was sentenced to death. On
the way to the place of execution the son protested
his innocence in so pathetic a manner that even the
witnesses were moved to admit the falsity of their
testimony. When the judges were about to liberate
the condemned man he called their attention to the
fact that, according to the Law, a witness must not
be believed when he withdraws a former state-
ment, and he said to his father, " If you desire that
the welfare of Israel shall be strengthened by thy
hand, then consider me as a beam on
His Son's which you may tread without regret "

Death. (Yer. Sanh. 23b). The execution then
proceeded. This sad event was proba-
bly the reason why Simeon issued a warning that
witnesses should always be carefully cross-ques-
tioned (Ab. i. 9).

Simeon's fairness toward non-Jews is illustrated
by the following narrative: Simeon lived in humble
circumstances, supporting himself and his family by
conducting a small business in linen goods. Once
his pupils presented him with an ass which they had
purchased from an Arab. On the neck of the ani-
mal the)' found a costly jewel, whereupon thej' joy-
ously told their master that he might now cease
toiling since the proceeds from the jewel would
make him wealthy. Simeon, however, replied that
the Arab had sold them the ass only, and not the
jewel; and he returned the gem to the Arab, who
exclaimed, "Praised be the God of Simeon ben She-
tah ! " (Yer. B. M. ii. 8c ; Deut. R. iii. 5).

Bibliography : Landau, in Mi»iatsschrift, ISSJ, pp. 107-122,
177-180; Weiss. Dw, 1. 134 t( xeq.; Heilprln, Seder ha-Dornt,
ii. 360; Gratz, Gexvh. iii.. Index,
w. B. J. Z. L.

SIMEON SHEZURI : Tanna of the second

generation and pupil of R. Tarfon (Men. 31a; Tosef.,

Demai, v. 22). He was called "Shezuri" after his

native place, Shizur, which is probably identical

with Saijur, west of Kafr 'Anan (comp. Neubauer,

•'G. T." p. 278). Simeon's tomb is said to be in the

vicinity of this place (Schwarz, "Tebu'at ha-Arez,"

p. 101). A few halakic sentences by him have been

preserved in the Mishnah (Demai iv. 1; Sheb. ii. 8;

Git. vi. 5; Hul. iv. 5; Ker. iv. 3; Kelim xviii. 1;

Toh. iii. 2; Tebul Yom iv. 5); and the halakic

practise follows his opinion (>Ien. 30b; Hul. 75b).

Another noteworthy sentence by him also has been

preserved (Naz. 45b).

Bibliography: Heilprln, Seder lui-Ditral. ii. 365, Warsaw,
1882; Franliel. Hrtdi^f/etim in 3fwf/!»iam, pp. 131-132; BrOU,
Einleitung in die Minclnias i. 138.
w. B. J. Z. L.

second generation and pupil of Akiba. He was a



Simeon ben Sheta^t
Sizaeon ben fo^iai

native of Sliikmona, a locality in the. vicinity of Mt.
Curmel (see Neubauer, " G; T." p. 197). Only three
wmtenccs of his, exegetic ones, have been preserved.
'They were transmitted by his fellow pupil R. Hidka ;
and all of them express the principle that good and
evil are brought about through the respective agen-
cies of good and of evil persons. Thus the Sabbath-
breaker mentioned in Num. xv. 32 was the cause
of the law relating to the punishment for desecrating
the Sabbath (Sifrc, Num. 114 [ed. Friedmann, p.
34a]); the pious questioners described in Num. ix.
7 were the cause of the law concerning the Pesah
Sheni (Sifre, Num. 68 [ed. Friedmann, p. 17b]); and
the demand of tlie daughters of Zelophehad led to
the enunciation of tiie law relating to the inheritance
of property (Sifre, Num. 133 [ed. Friedmann, p. 49b]).

Bibliography: Heilprlii, .'sV<fer?(/i-I>)ro(, p.364; Bacber,Aa.
Tan. 1. 445-446.
w. B. J. Z. L.

SIMEON B. TARFON : Tanna of the second
generation. Four exegetic sentences by him have
been preserved: (1) "Ex. xxii. 11. 'Then shall an
oath of the Lord be between them,' means that
the person taking the oath and the one who causes
him to do so are alike responsible if perjury is
proved." (2) "Ex. xx. 10 should be read ' lan'if ' =
' to contribute to the commission of adultery '; and
the interdiction applies also to the furnishing of op-
portunity for adultery." (3) " In Deut. i. 27 [Hebr.]
tlie word ' wa-teragenu,' which should be explained
us NoTARiKON, means: 'You spied out and dese-
crated God's dwelling among you.' " (4) "In Deut.
i. 7 the Euphrates is called 'the great river' [al-
though it is not really such] because it is the bound-
ary river of Palestine, according to the proverb,
"Approach the anointed, and you younself will smell
of ointment ' " (Sheb. 47b).

BiBi.iOfiRAPHY: Frankel, Hode'jfAicn in MischTiam, p. 137 ;
Barher, Ag. Tan. i. 447-448.
w. B. J. Z. L.

SIMEON OF TEMAN : Tanna of the second
generation. He disputed with R. Akiba on a Iiala-
kic sentence deduced from Ex. xxi. 18 (Tdsef.,
Sanb. xii. 3; B. K. 90b). He was in collegial rela-
tions with R. Judah b. Baba (Bezah 21a; Tosef.,
Bezah, ii. 6). Some of his halakic sentences are in-
cluded in the Mishnah (Yeb. iv. 13; Ta'an. iii. 7;
Yad. i. 3) ; and a haggadic sentence by him also has
been preserved, to the effect that God's intervention
in dividing the sea at the time of the Exodus was
deserved by Israel because of tlie covenant of the
circumcision (Mek., Beshallah, iii. [ed. Weiss, p.

Bibliography : Heilprin, Seder ha-I)<ir<it, ii. 362-3ri3, Warsaw,
1882; Frankel, Hnd^getica in MUchtiam, p. 137; Briill,
Einleilung in die Miachna, i. 149; Batcher, Ag. Tan. I.
W. B. J. Z. L.

SIMEON B. YANNAI : Palestinian amora of

the third century, lie transmits a halakic saying

of his father's which lie had received from his sister,

who had heard it uttered (Yer. Shab. 14b, 15d). Some

of Simeon's haggadic explanations of Scriptural

passages are extant, of which tl)e following may be

mentioned: On the passage in Ps. xii. 5, "now will

I arise," he remarks: " As long as Jerusalem remains

enveloped in ashes the might of God will not arise:

but when the day arrives on which Jerusalem shall
shake off the dust [Isa. Iii. 2], then God will be
' raised up out of His holy liabitation ' " (Zech. ii. 17
[A. V. 13] ; Gen. R. Ixxv. 1). On Ps. cvi. Uetseq. he
says: "The people had decided to elect as their lead-
ers Dathan and Abiram instead of Moses and Aaron
[Num. xiv. 4], with the result that the earth opened
and swallowed up Dathan and covered the com-
pany of Abiram " (Midr. Teh. to Ps. cvi. 5 [ed.
Buber, p. 228a]).

Bibliooraphy: Franke., Meho, p. 129a; Bacher, Ag. Pal.
Amor. ill. «J3a-«24.

w. B. J. Z. L.

SIMEON BEN YOHAI : Tanna of the second
century; supposed author of the Zohar; born in
Galilee; died, according to tradition, at Meron, on
the 18th of lyyar (= Lag be-'Omer). In the Baraita,
Midrash, and Gemara his name occurs either as Sim-
eon or as Simeon ben Yohai, but in the Mishnah,
with the exception of Hag. i. 7, he is always quoted
as R. Simeon. He was one of the principal pupils
of Akiba, under whom he studied thirteen years at
Bene-Berak (Lev. R. xxi. 7 et al.). It would seem,
from Bar. 28a, that Simeon had previously studied
at Jabneh, under Gamaliel II. and

Pupil of Joshua b. Hananiah, and that he was

Akiba. the cause of the quarrel that broke
out between these two chiefs. But
considering that about forty-five years later, when
Akiba was thrown into prison, Simeon's father was
still alive (see below), and that Simeon insisted upon
Akiba's teaching him even in prison, Frankel
("Darke ha-Mishnah," p. 168) thinks Ber. 28a is
spurious. Simeon's acuteness was tested and rec-
ognized by Akiba when he first came to him ; of all
his pupils Akiba ordained only Meir and Simeon.
Conscious of his own merit, Simeon felt hurt at
being ranked after MeYr, and Akiba was compelled
to soothe him with soft words (Yer. Ter. 46b; Yer.
Sanh. i. 19a). During Akiba's lifetime Simeon was
found occasionally at Sidon, where he seems to have
shown great indepopdence in his halakic decisions.

The following iucidentof Simeon's stay at Sidon,
illustrating both his wit and his piety, may be men-
tioned : A man and his wife, who. though they had
been married ten years, had no children, appeared
before Simeon at Sidon to secure a divorce. Observ -
ing that they loved each other, and not being able
to refuse a request whicii was in agreement with rab-
binical law, Simeon told them that as their wedding
was marked by a feast they should mark their sep-
aration in the same way. The result was that both
changed their minds, and, owing to Simeon's prayer,
God grantt^d them a child (Pesik. xxii. 147a; Cant.
R. i. 4). Simeon often returned to Akiba, and once
he conveyed a message to him from his fellow pupil
Hanina ben Hakinai (Niddah 52b; Tosef., Niddah,
vi. 6).

Simeon s love for his great teacher was profound.
When Akiba was thrown into prison by Hadrian,
Simeon, probably through the influence of his father,
who was in favor at the court of Rome, found a
way to enter the prison. He still insisted upon
Akiba's teaching him, and when the latter refused,
Simeon jestingly threatened to tell his father, Yohai,
who would cause Akiba to be punished more severely

Simeon ben Tol^ai



(Pes. 112a). After Akiba's death Simeon was again
ordained, with four other pupils of Akiba's, l)y
Judah b. Baba (Sanli. 14a).

Tiie persecution of the Jews under Hadrian in-
spired Simeon with a different opinion of the Romans
than that held by ins father. On more than one
occasion Simeon manifested his anti-
Anti- Roman feeling. When, at a meeting

Roman between Simeon and liis former fel-
Feeling'. low pupils at Usha, probably about a
year and a half after Akiba's death (c.
126), Judah ben Ila'i spoke in praise of the Roman
government, Simeon replied that the institutions
wliich seemed so praise vvf)rthy to Judah were for
the benefit of the Romans only, to facilitate the
carrying out of their wicked designs. Simeon's
words were carried by Judah 1). Gerim, one of liis
own pupils, to the Roman governor, who sentenced
Simeon to death (according to Gratz, tliis governor
was Varus, who ruled under Antoninus Pius, and
the event took place about 101). Simeon was com-
pelled to seek refuge in a cavern, where he remained
thirteen years, till the emperor, po.ssibly Hadrian,
died (Yer. Sheb. ix. 38d; Sliab. 33b; Pesik. 88b;
Gen. R. Ixxix. 6; Eccl. R. x. 8; Esth. R. i. 9). Two
different accounts of Simeon's stay in the cavern and
of liis movements after leaving it are given in Shab-
bat (^.c.)and in the five other sources just mentioned.
The latter, of which Yer. Sheb. ix. 38d seems to be
the most authentic, relate, with some variations,
that Simeon, accompanied by liis son Eleazar (in
Yer. Sheb. Simeon alone), hid himself in a cavern
near Gadara, where they stayed thirteen years, liv-
ing on dates and the fruit of the carob-tree, their
whole bodies thus becoming covered with erup-
tions. One day, seeing that a bird had repeatedly
escaped the net set for it by a hunter, Simeon and
his son were encouraged to leave the cavern, taking
the escape of the bird as an omen that God would
not forsake them. When outside the cavern, they
heard a "bat kol " say, "Ye are [singular in Yer.
Sheb.] free"; they accordingly went their way.
Simeon then bathed in the warm springs of Tiberias,
which rid him of the di.sease contracted in the cav-
ern, and he showed his gratitude to the town in
the following manner:

Tiberias had been built by Herod Antipas on
a site where there were many tombs (Josephus,
"Ant." xviii. 2, ^ 3). the exact locations of which
had been lost. The town therefore had been re-
garded as unclean. Resolving to remove the cause
of the uncleanness, Simeon planted lupines in all
suspected places; wherever they did not take root he
knew that a tomb was underneath. The bodies
were then exhumed and removed, and
His the town pronounced clean. To an

Miracles, noy and discredit Simeon, a certain
Samaritan secretly replaced one of the
bodies. But Simeon learned through the power of
the Holy Ghost what the Samaritan had done, and
said, "Let what is above go down, and what is
below come up." The Samaritan Avas entombed;
and a schoolmaster of Magdala (but comp. Buber,
note 180, to Pesik. x. 90a), who mocked Simeon for
his declaration, was turned into a heap of bones.

According to the version, in Shab. I. c, Simeon and

Eleazar hid in a cavern, whereupon a carob-tree and
a spring- miraculously appeared there. In order to
spare their garments they sat naked in the sand, in
consequence of which their skin became covered
with scabs. At the end of twelve years the prophet
Elijah announced to them the death of the emperor,
and the consequent annulment of the sentence of
death against them. When they came forth Simeon
observed people occupied with agricultural pursuits
to the neglect of the Torah, and, being angered there-
by, smote them by his glances. A bat kol then or-
dered him to return to the cavern, where he and
Eleazar remained twelve months longer, at the end
of which time they were ordered by abat kol tocome
forth. When they did so, Simeon was met by his son-
in-law Phinehas b. Jair (comp., however, Zacuto,
" Yuhasin," ed. Filipowski, p. 46), who wept at see-
ing him in such a miserable state. But Simeon told
him that he ought to rejoice, for during the thir-
teen years' stay in the cavern his knowledge of the
Torah had been much increased. Simeon then, in
gratitude for tiie miracle that had been wrought for
him, undertook the purification of Tiberias. He
threw some lupines into the ground, whereupon the
bodies came to the surface at various places, which
were then marked as tombs. Notonly was the man
who mocked at Simeon's announcement of the puri-
fication of Tiberias turned into a heap of booes,
butalso Simeon's pupil and delator, Judah b. Gerim.

It appears that Simeon settled afterward at

Meron, the valley in front of which place was

filled, at Simeon's command, with gold dinars (Tan.,

Pekude, 7: Ex. R. lii. 3; comp. Yer. Ber. ix. 13d;

Pesik. X. 87b; Gen. R. xxxv. 2). On

School the other hand, it is said that Simeon

at Tekoa. established a flourishing school at
Tekoa, among the pupils of which
was Judah I. (Tosef., 'Er. viii. [v.] 6; Shab. 147b).
It has been shown by GrStz that this Tekoa evi-
dently was in Galilee, and hence must not be identi-
fied with the Biblical Tekoa, which was in the terri-
tory of Judah (II Uhron. xi. 6). Bacher(" Ag. Tan."
ii. 70) endeavors to show that Tekoa and Meron
were one and the same place.

As the last important event in Simeon's life it is
recorded that, accompanied by Eleazar b. Jose, he
was sent to Rome with a petition to the emperor for
the abolition of the decree against the three main
observances of the Jewish religion, and that his mis-
sion was successful (Me'i. 17b). The reason Simeon
was chosen for this mission is stated (</;.) to have been
that he was known as a man in whose favor mira-
cles often were wrought. At Rome, too, Simeon's
success was due to a miracle, for while on the way
he was met by the demon Ben Temalion, who offered
his assistance. According to agreement, the demon
entered into the emperor's daughter, and Simeon
exorcised it when he arrived at the Roman court.
The emperor then took Simeon into his treasure-
house, leaving him to choose his own reward. Sinv-
eon found there the vexatious decree, which he took
away and tore into pieces (comp. "Tefillot R. Shi-
m'on b. Yohai" in Jellinek, "B. If." iv. 117 et Keq.,
where, instead of " Ben Temalion," " Asmodeus " oc-
curs). This legend, the origin of which apparently is
non-Jewish, has been the subject of discussion by



Simeon ben Tohai

modern scholars. Israel Levi (in "R. E. J." viii. 200
et seq.) thinks it is a variation of the legend, found in
the "Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha" (cd. Tischcn-
dorf, pp. 24Qetseq.), of tlie apostle Bartholomew ex-
orcising a demon that had taken possession of the
daughter of Polymnius, the King of India. Israel
Levi's opinion was approved by Joseph Halevy
(in "R. E. J."x. eOetseq.). Bacher(/6. xxxv. 285 et
seq.) thinks there is another Christian legend which
corresponds more closely to the Talmudic narrative,
namely, that narrated by Simeon Metaphrastes in
"Acta Sanctorum" (vol. ix., Oct. 22, 1896), accord-
ing to which Abercius exorcised a demon from Lu-
cilla, the daughter of Marcus Aurelius.

Simeon is stated to have said that whatever might
be the number of persons deserving to enter

Berakot. Hallah, Ta'anit, Nedarim, Taniid, and Mid-
dot. He greatly valued the teaching of his master
Akiba, and he is reported to have
His recommended his pupils to follow his

Halakot. own system of interpretation ("mid-
dot") because it was derived from
that of Akiba (Git. 67a). But tiiis itself shows
that Simeon did not follow his teacher in every
point; indeed, as is shown below, he often differed
from Akiba, declaring his own interpretations to be
the better (Sifre, Deut. 31 ; K. H. 18b). He was inde-
pendent in his halakic decisions, and did not refrain
from criticizing the tannaim of the preceding genera-
tions (comp. Tosef., Oh. iii. 8, xv. 11). He and
Jose b. Halafta were generally of the same opinion ;
but sometimes Simeon sided with Meir (Kelim iii.

Tkaditional Tomb of Simeon ben Yohai During a Pilgrimagk.

(From a photoj^aph.)

heaven he and his son were certainly of that num-
ber, so that if there were only two, these were
himself and his son (Suk. 45b; Sanh. 97b; comp.
Shab. 33b). He is also credited with saying that,
united witii his son and Jotham, King of Judah, he
would be able to free the world from judgment
(Suk. I.e. ; comp. Yer. Ber. ix. 13d and Gen. R.
xxxv. 3 [where Simeon mentions Abraham and the
prophet Aliijah of Shiloh, instead of his son and
Jotham]). Thus, on account of liis exceptional
piety and continual study of the Law, Simeon was
considered as one of those whose merit i)reserves the
world, and therefore during his life tlie rainbow was
never seen, that promise of God's forbearance not
being needed (Yer. Ber. I.e.).

Simeon's halakot are very numerous; they are
met witii in all the treatises of the Talmud except

5; Me'i. 11a). Like the other pupils of Akiba, wlio,
wishing to perpetuate the latter's teaching, system-
atized it in the foundation of the Misimah (R. MeYr),
Tosefta (R. Nehemiah), and Sifra (R. Judah), Sim-
eon is credited witli tlic mitliorshi]) of tlie Sifrk
(Sanh. 86a) and of tlieMKKiLTA uk-Rabbi Shi.m'on,
the former work being a lialakic midrash to Num-
bers and Deuteronomy, the latter a similar midrash
to Kxodus.

The particular characteristic of Simeon's teaching
was that wliether in a halakah or in a haggadic in-
terpretation of a Biblical command, he endeavored to
find the underlying reason therefor (B. M. 115a et
al.). This often resulted in a material modification of
the command in question. From many instances
the following may be taken: In the prohibition
against taking a widow's raiment in pledge (Deut.

Simeon ben To^ai
Sim^h of Rome



xxiv. 17) it was Judah b. Ila'i's opinion that no dif-
ference is to be made between a rich and a poor
widow. But Simeon gives tlie reason forsucha pro-
hibition, which wastliat if such a pledge were taken
it would be necessary to return it every evening
fcomp. Ex. xxii. 25-26), and going to the widow's
home every morning and evening miglit compro-
mise her reputation; consequently, he declares, the
prohibition applies only in tliecase of a poor widow,
since one who is rich would not need to have the
garment returned in the evening (B. M. I.e.).

Simeon's name was widely identified with this
halakic principle of interpretation, and his teacher
Akiba approved of it ; therefore his contemporaries
often applied to him when they wished to know the
reason for certain halakot (Tosef., Zeb. i.8). Sim-
eon also divided the oral law into numbered groups,
of which fifteen are preserved in the Talmud. He
especially favored the system of giving general rules,
of which there are a great number (Bik. iii. 10 ; Zeb.
119b et nl.). All this shows that he was systematic,
and that he had the power of expressing himself
clearly (Sheb. ii. 3; 'Er. 104b). He was dogmatic
in his halakic decisions, but where tlicre was a
doubt as to which of two courses should be fol-
lowed, and the Rabbis adopted a compromise, he
admitted the legality of either course (Yeb. iii. 9).
He differed from Akiba in that he did not think that
particles like "et," "gam," and others contain in
themselves indications of halakot (Men. lib); but in
many instances he showed that he was opposed to
R. Ishmael's opinion that the Torah speaks as men
do and that seemingly pleonastic words can never
serve as the basis for deducing new laws (Sifre,
Re'eh, 119; R. H. 8b; Zeb. 108b et nl.).

Simeon is very prominent also in the Haggadah,
and his utterances are numerous in both Talrauds.
Many of his sayings bear on the study of the Torah,
which, according to him, should be the main ob-
ject of man's life. Notwithstanding the stress he
laid on the importance of prayer, and particularly on
the reading of the "Shema'." he declared that one
must not, for the sake of either, interrupt the study
of the ToTRh (Yer. Hag. ii. 77a). "Tliere are three
crowns," he says, " the first being that of the Torah "
(Ab. iv. 13); he completes his sentence with the
words, " But the crown of a good name mounts
abov(! them all," showing that, in addition to study-
ing the Law, one must execute the commands by
which he can acquire a good name. The Torah,
also, is one of the three good gifts which God gave
to Israel and which can not be preserved without
suffering (Mek., Yitro, Bahodesli, 10; Sifre, Deut.
32; Ber. 5a). But recognizing the difficulty of oc-
cupying oneself with the study of the Torah and of
providing a livelihood at the same time, Simeon
said that the Torah was given only for those who
ate the manna or the priestly meals (Mek., Beshal-
lah. Wayohi, 1, Wayassa', 2). He declared also that
had he been on Mount Sinai when God delivered the
Torah to Israel, he would have requested two
mouths for man, one to be used exclusively as a
means for repeating and thus learning the Torah.
But then he added, "How great also would be the
<!vil done by delators ["moserim"] with two
mouths!" CYcr. Sliab. i. 3a. h; Yer. Ber. i. 3b).

Among Simeon's many other utterances may be
mentioned those with regard to repentance, and
some of his ethical sayings. " So great is the power
of repentance that a man who has been during his
lifetime very wicked [" rasha' gamur "], if he repent
toward the end, is considered a perfectly righteous
man " (Tosef., Kid. i. 14; Kid. 40b; Cant. R. v. 16).
He was particularly severe against
His haughtiness, which, he declared, is

Ethical like idolatry (Sofah 4b), and against

Views. publicl}' shaming one's neighbor:
" One should rather throw himself into
a burning furnace than shame a neighbor in public"
(Ber. 43b). He denounced the crimes of usury, de-
ceitful dealing, and disturbing domestic peace (Yer.
B. M. lOd; B. M. 58b; Lev. R. ix.). His animosity
toward the Gentiles generally and toward feminine
superstition is expressed in the following utterance:
" The best of the heathen merits death ; the best of
serpents should have its head crushed ; and the most
pious of women is prone to sorcery " (Yer. Kid. iv.
66c; Massek. Soferim xv. 10; comp. Mek., Beshal-
lah, Wayehi, 1, and Tan., Wayera, 20). His hos-
tility to the Romans, mentioned above, is expressed
also in his maxims; thus, alluding probably to the
Parthian war which broke out in the time of An-

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