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BERECHIAH (fourth cent.), Palestinian amora; sometimes referred to in the Midrash as R. Berechiah ha-Kohen. His father's name was apparently Ḥiyya (Tanḥ. B. Gen. 60, cf. Lev. R. 31); was a pupil of R. *Ḥelbo, whose aggadic sayings, as well as those of other scholars, he reported. His many aggadic sayings are found mostly in the Midrashim and in the Jerusalem Talmud, but he is also mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud. R. Berechiah preached and taught in his own bet midrash (tj, Ber. 7:6, 11c). In his homilies he stresses the virtues of charity and the uniqueness of the Jewish people (Lev. R. 27:7; Ta'an. 4a). "God said to Israel: 'My children: If you see the merit of the patriarchs declining and the merit of the matriarchs diminishing, go and cleave to acts of charity'" (tj, Sanh. 10:1, 27d). He gave voice to the expectation that God would exact vengeance upon Israel's enemies (Lam. R. 5:1). Although only a few of his halakhot are mentioned, it is clear that his views in the field of halakhah were regarded as authoritative (tj, rh 3:1, 58d). Some scholars think that there was an earlier Palestinian amora (third century) called Berechiah or Berechiah Sabba ("old").


Bacher, Pal Amor, s.v.; Hyman, Toledot, 296–8; Z. Rabinowitz, Sha'arei Torat Bavel (1961), 368; Frankel, Mevo, 69.

[Zvi Kaplan]

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