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Eleazar

Eleazar. The name of various prominent Jewish tannaim and amoraim. Eleazar ben Arakh (late 1st cent. CE) was the most outstanding pupil of R. Johanan b. Zakkai who described him as ‘a spring flowing with ever-increasing force’. Eleazar ben Azariah (1st–2nd cent. CE) was a priestly descendant of Ezra and became nasi to replace Rabban Gamaliel II. Eleazar ben Damma (early 2nd cent. CE) was the nephew of R. Ishmael. Eleazar ben Judah of Bartota (early 2nd cent CE) was a student of R. Joshua. He was famous for his generosity. Eleazar ben Matya (early 2nd cent. CE) was a pupil of Tarfon. He is said to have understood seventy languages (TJ, Shek 5. 1, 48a). Eleazar ben Parta (early 2nd cent. CE) was arrested by the Romans for publicly teaching Torah, but was miraculously delivered. Eleazar ben Shammua (c.150 CE) was a student of Akiva and the teacher of Judah ha-Nasi. Eleazar ben Simeon (late 2nd cent. CE) was thought to be the author of much of the Zohar. Eleazar ben Yose I (late 2nd cent. CE) is said to have exorcized the Roman emperor's daughter. Eleazar ben Zadok (late 1st cent. CE) practised asceticism to try to prevent the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Eleazar Hisma (early 2nd cent. CE) transmitted halakhot in the name of Joshua b. Hananiah, and Eleazar of Modin (late 1st cent. CE), said to be the uncle of Simeon bar Kokhba, was much respected by R. Gamaliel.

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Eleazar

Eleazar (ĕlēā´zər), in the Bible. 1 Son of Aaron. 2 Keeper of the Ark of the Covenant. 3 Mighty man of David. 4 Man in the genealogy in the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. 5 One of the chief martyrs in the Maccabean period. An old man, he refused to eat swine's flesh.

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Eleazar

ELEAZAR

ELEAZAR (2nd cent. b.c.e.), martyr during the religious persecution instigated by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 b.c.e.). "Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, well advanced in years," was compelled to eat swine's flesh, but chose "death with glory rather than life with pollution, and of his own free will was tortured" after refusing to so much as pretend to partake of the forbidden meat. The principal source of this story is ii Maccabees 16:18–31, while iv Maccabees 5–6 offers an elaborated version of the original. Eleazar's martyrdom was subsequently extolled by the church fathers (Origen, Προτρεπτικὸς εὶς μαρτύριον, xxii–xxvii).

bibliography:

Maas, in: mgwj, 44 (1900), 145–56; Schuerer, Hist, 28.

[Isaiah Gafni]

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Eleazar

ELEAZAR

ELEAZAR (in tj usually Lazar ) BEN PEDAT (d. 279), third century amora. He is the amora Eleazar mentioned without a patronymic. Scion of a priestly family (mk 28a), Eleazar was born in Babylon (Ber. 2:1, 4b). There he studied under *Samuel (Er. 66a), and more particularly under *Rav (Hul. 111b). After the latter's death, he migrated to Ereẓ Israel. It was in Ereẓ Israel that he referred to the academy of Rav as the "little sanctuary" (Meg. 29a; cf. Ezek. 11:16). He was still unmarried when he went to Ereẓ Israel, and R. Ammi and R. Assi participated at his wedding in Tiberias (Ber. 16a). He emphasizes his great fortune in having had the privilege to migrate to Erez Israel and resume semikhah there, as well as being one of the scholars who was entrusted with the intercalation of the calendar (Kil. 112a). In Ereẓ Israel he studied under Ḥanina, the av bet din of Sepphoris (Kil. 9:4, 32c). He quoted so many halakhic decisions and even more aggadic sayings in Ḥanina's name (Ber. 27b; Meg. 5a; et al.) that the Talmud remarks, "Everywhere Eleazar relies upon Hanina" (Ter. 8:5, 45c; et al.). In Caesarea, he studied under Hoshaya Rabbah (Ber. 32b), whom he refers to as the "father of the Mishnah" (Kid. 1:3, 60a; et al.). The Jerusalem Talmud also frequently cites traditions transmitted by Eleazar in the name of *Ḥiyya b. Abba (bm 10:4, 12c), and in one instance even states that the opinions of the two scholars cannot be regarded as those of separate people since "Eleazar is the pupil of Ḥiyya Rabbah" (Kid. 1:4, 60b). It cannot mean that he was his actual disciple, since Ḥiyya had probably died by the time Eleazar migrated to Ereẓ Israel. The intensity of Eleazar's study often made him oblivious to all worldly events (Er. 54b).

Although the Babylonian Talmud describes Eleazar as Johanan's "pupil" in Tiberias (bb 135b; Tem. 25b), the Jerusalem sources see the relationship rather as that of a typical "pupil-associate" (tj, Sanh. 1, 18b; cf. tj, Ber. 2:4b). Moreover, the phrase "both Johanan and Eleazar say," is often found in the Babylonian Talmud itself (Yoma 9b, et al.). Eleazar was, in fact, appointed Johanan's associate in the leadership of the council after the death of Simeon b. Lakish, Johanan's previous colleague (bm 84a), but the appointment was not a happy one, Eleazar being distinguished by his extensive knowledge in contrast to the profound acumen of Resh Lakish (Sanh. 24a). He was also one of the communal leaders of Ereẓ Israel (Pe'ah 8:7, 21a), and he is sometimes referred to as serving as dayyan, in which capacity he consulted Johanan on difficult cases (Sanh. 3:13, 21d; bb 7b). During his last years Johanan took no active part as head of the council and it appears that Eleazar took his place (Meg. 1:13, 72b). During this period he became widely known as the "master [i.e., legal authority] of the land of Israel" (Yoma 9b), and on many occasions sent rulings and decisions to Babylon which were transmitted by the *Neḥhutei (Sanh. 63b). In fact it is stated that the words "they sent from there," i.e., from Ereẓ Israel to Babylon, refers to Eleazar (ibid. 17b). Among those to whom he sent his decisions were Mar Ukva the exilarch, and Judah the principal of the academy of Pumbedita (bk 1:1, 2c).

After the death of Johanan in 279, Eleazar was appointed head of the council in Tiberias, but he died in the same year (see Iggeret Sherira Gaon).

Private Life

Eleazar was extremely poor (Ta'an. 25a). He was, nevertheless, loath to accept any gifts from the house of the *nasi. He excused himself by quoting the verse (Prov. 15:27), "He that hateth gifts shall live" (Meg. 28a). Moreover, despite his poverty, he sought to support other needy scholars. This he did in an honorable manner, supplying their needs in secret to save them embarrassment (bm 2:3, 8c). All but one of Eleazar's children died during his lifetime (Ber. 5b), his surviving son, Pedat, acting as an "amora" ("interpreter") in the bet hamidrash of Assi (Meg. 4:10, 75c).

Teaching

Eleazar was one of the great exponents of the Oral Law, and the Mishnah. He quoted numerous statements of both early and late tannaim and several beraitot, particularly in *Midrash Halakhah, without indicating their source. It was with regard to one of his interpretations (Sifra 4:1) that Johanan once remarked to Simon B. Lakish, "I saw the son of Pedat sitting and interpreting the Law, like Moses in the name of the Almighty" (i.e., he expounded the verse in the manner of the tannaim, cf. Rashi). He was also a great halakhist who profoundly influenced the methods of mishnaic exegesis. Although he naturally preferred to follow the text of the Mishnah rather than that of the various beraitot, he nevertheless examined the wording of each mishnah in the light of the earliest sources (bb 87a). He often employed the technique of dividing the mishnayot, saying, "The author of this section is not the author of that section" (Shab. 92b; Ker. 24b; et al.). He would reject a mishnah whose source he could not find, with the words, "I do not know who taught this" (bm 51a). He thus considerably corrected and explained the Mishnah. He is the author of the rule that whenever Judah ha-Nasi transmits a case, first as subject to a difference of opinion and then in an undisputed form, the halakhah is in accordance with the second form (Yev. 42b) (see *Conflict of Opinion).

Eleazar was also an exceptionally prolific and profound aggadist, whose sayings are frequently quoted in the Midrash and in both Talmuds. Among them may be mentioned, "In seven places in the Bible, God equates Himself with the lowliest of creatures" (Tanh. Va-Yera, 3); "The performance of charity is greater than all sacrifices" (Suk. 49b); "Let us be grateful to cheats [mendicants who are not in need], for were it not for them we would sin daily by becoming unused to giving charity to the poor" (Ket. 68a); "Let my sustenance be as bitter as the olive, providing that it is from Thy hand, rather than as sweet as honey if I have to depend upon man" (Sanh. 108b); "Even when a sharp sword rests on his neck, man should not abandon hope of mercy" (Ber. 10a); "An unmarried person is less than a man … as is he who owns no land" (Yev. 63a). Many of his sayings are devoted to fostering the sanctity and love of the Land of Israel: e.g., "Whoever resides in Israel lives without sin" (Ket. 111a); "Those who die outside Israel will not be resurrected" (ibid.). When told that his associate Ulla had died during one of his frequent visits to Babylon, he quoted Amos 7:17 and declared "Thou Ulla, 'shalt die in an unclean land'" (ibid.). He also ruled as a matter of halakhah, "Books which have merited to come to Israel, may not be taken out of the country" (Sanh. 3:10, 21). Although Eleazar's aggadic sayings embrace many spheres of Torah, he avoided esoteric study. He refused to receive instruction in this field from either his teacher Johanan or, many years later, from his friend Assi, who wished to attract him to the subject (Hag. 13a). His teachings were transmitted by numerous contemporaries and later scholars, particularly Abbahu, Rabbah b. Hana, and Zera (Shab. 12b, 134b; Suk. 43a; et al.).

bibliography:

Bacher, Pal Amor, s.v.; Epstein, Mishnah, 292–307; Frankel, Mevo, 111b–113a; Halevy, Dorot, 2 (1923), 327–32; Hyman, Toledot, 192–9; Weiss, Dor, 3 (19044), 76–80.

[Shmuel Safrai]

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Eleazar

ELEAZAR

ELEAZAR (Heb. אֶלְעָזָר; "God/El-has-aided"), high priest after *Aaron. Eleazar was Aaron's third son (Ex. 6:23); his older brothers Nadab and *Abihu perished after offering strange fire before the Lord (Lev. 10:1–7; Num. 3:4). During his father's lifetime Eleazar served as the "head chieftain of the Levites" (Num. 3:32) and performed some of the functions of the high priest (ibid. 19:4). After Aaron's death, Eleazar was appointed high priest in his father's place (ibid. 20:28; Deut. 10:6). Together with Moses, he concluded the census of the people on the plains of Moab by the bank of the Jordan (Num. 26:1–3) and, together with Joshua, supervised the division of the land (Num. 34:17; Josh. 14:1 and elsewhere). In the text describing the appointment of Joshua as Moses' successor, it is stated that Eleazar was to stand before Joshua when the latter inquired "by the judgment of the Urim" (Num. 27:18–22). Eleazar's burial place was on the hill of his son *Phinehas in Mount Ephraim (Josh. 24:33). The priestly family of *Zadok traced its descent from Eleazar, who was regarded as the ancestor of 16 of the 24 priestly houses (i Chron. 24:4–18).

bibliography:

H. Gressmann, Moses und seine Zeit (1913), 213ff.; L. Waterman, in: ajsll, 58 (1941), 50ff.; de Vaux, Anc Isr, index; em, 1 (1950), 369f.

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Eleazar

ELEAZAR

ELEAZAR (Alatzar, Abenalazar ), prominent Jewish family in the kingdom of Aragon in the Middle Ages. They were considered francos ("free") for the special services which they had rendered to the kings of Aragon during the Christian Recon-quest and as such exempted from taxes. The main branch of the family lived in Saragossa. The founder of this branch was apparently alaÇar, treasurer of Ramon Berenguer of Aragon, who in 1135 granted him and his descendants a release from taxes. In 1212 abulfath abenalazar, son of Alazrach, was transferred by King Pedro, together with his family, to the protection of the Knights of the Order of St. John. They were granted special protection, right of appeal to the king's court of justice, and exemption from the discriminatory Jewish *oath. This privilege was confirmed by James I in 1235 to Abulfath's grandson, alaÇar b. alazrach, who served as alfaquim ("physician-interpreter") in Saragossa. The family's omission to pay their share of the communal taxes and failure to participate in communal affairs alienated them from the Jewish community. However, in 1413 the community succeeded in obtaining an order from King Ferdinand I by which the Eleazar family was compelled to share the expenses of sending a delegation to the papal court. Their release in 1425 from the tax on meat and wine finally caused their excommunication by the Jewish community.

Other members of this family include the physician mosse aben eleazar (active c. 1390), as a result of whose services to the Franciscans in Saragossa the Jews were permitted in 1385 to carry their dead to the cemetery on the road which passed by their church. Other physicians of the family include ezdra eleazar, in attendance on the royal court in 1387, and todros alazar (second half of the 15th century). The wealthy don mair alazar (first half of the 15th century) established a Jewish hospital. One of the gates to the Jewish quarter of Saragossa situated near his house was named after him. Maestre mosse alazar was in the service of the court of Aragon in 1384. The richest Jewish moneylender in Saragossa at the time of the Expulsion of 1492 was solomon eleazar: an inventory of pledges in his possession has been preserved. A secondary branch of the family lived in Valencia. judah eleazar (d. 1377) was the most forceful communal leader in the city and among the signatories of the regulations of the communities of Aragon issued in 1354. He gave considerable financial help to the king in the war against Castile, and in 1370 lent 110,000 solidos for equipping the ships which conveyed Pope Urban V from Rome to Avignon. Several less influential members of the Eleazar family lived in Calatayud and Huesca.

bibliography:

Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), index; Baer, Spain, index; Neuman, Spain, index; M. Serrano y Sanz, Orìgenes de la Dominación Española en América (1918), 12–13, 451–2; Cabezudo Astrain, in: Sefarad, 14 (1954), 377–9; 20 (1960), 412–3, 415–6; Lopez de Meneses, ibid., 14 (1954), 109, 112, 114; Piles Ros, ibid., 10 (1950), 370, 377, 378, 381, 384; A.M. Hershman, Rabbi lsaac Ben Sheshet Perfet and His Times (1943), 22, 159, 169.

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