Skip to main content



BERURYAH (second century ce), one of the few famous women in rabbinic Judaism of late antiquity. Rabbinic tradition states that she was the daughter of ananyah ben Teradyon, and the wife of Meʾir.

In rabbinic sources Beruryah appears several times among the scholars who reestablished the Sanhedrin in the Galilean town of Usha after the Bar Kokhba Revolt. She is mentioned twice in the Tosefta (in Tosefta, Kelim, Bavaʾ Metsiʿaʾ 1.6 by name and in Tosefta, Kelim, Bavaʾ Qammaʾ 4.17 as the daughter of ananyah ben Teradyon) and seven times in the Babylonian Talmud.

Beruryah's contemporary importance lies in her prominence as one of the only female scholars accepted in the male-dominated rabbinic culture. David Goodblatt (1977) believes that Beruryah exemplifies the possibility, though quite uncommon, that a woman might receive formal education within rabbinic society. Goodblatt argues, however, that the traditions that ascribe rabbinic learning to Beruryah appear to be late accounts that do not reflect the situation in Roman Palestine, where Beruryah is said to have lived, but rather the situation in Sasanid Baylonia, where the traditions were formulated during the process of Talmudic com-pilation.

Whether historical or not, rabbinic tradition portrays Beruryah as a sensitive yet assertive figure. The Talmud recounts anecdotes illustrating her piety, compassion, and wit. In one source she admonishes her husband Meʾir not to be angry with his enemies and not to pray for their deaths. Instead, she suggests, he should pray that their sins cease and that they repent (B.T., Ber. 10a). When two of her sons died one Sabbath she delayed telling her husband until Saturday night when he had finished observing the Sabbath in peace (Midrash Mishlei on Prv. 31:10). The Talmud also recounts Beruryah's sharp tongue. When Yose the Galilean asked her for directions on the road she derided him for speaking too much with a woman (B.T., ʿEruv. 53b).

The drama of her life climaxes in the so-called Beruryah Incident. A story preserved by the eleventh-century exegete Rashi (in his commentary to B.T., ʿA.Z. 18b) says that Beruryah mocked a misogynistic rabbinic tradition that labeled women as flighty. To test her own constancy, Meʾir sent one of his students to tempt her to commit adultery. According to the legend, she committed suicide after submitting to the student's advances.


David M. Goodblatt, in "The Beruriah Traditions," in Persons and Institutions in Early Rabbinic Judaism, edited by William S. Green (Missoula, Mont., 1977), pp. 207229, translates and analyzes all the materials relating to Beruryah in rabbinic literature.

New Sources

Bacon, Brenda. "How Shall We Tell the Story of Beruriah's End?" Nashim 5 (2002): 31239.

Tzvee Zahavy (1987)

Revised Bibliography

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Beruryah." Encyclopedia of Religion. . 18 Oct. 2018 <>.

"Beruryah." Encyclopedia of Religion. . (October 18, 2018).

"Beruryah." Encyclopedia of Religion. . Retrieved October 18, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.