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Ben He He


BEN HE HE (c. first century), tanna. In Avot (5, end) appears a maxim in the name of Ben He He: "According to the labor is the reward." The same maxim is quoted as a popular saying in the name of Hillel the Elder (arn1 12:28; arn2 27:28), while a similar version occurs in Samaritan literature (see S. Liberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine (1942), 160, p. 113). The Talmud (Ḥag. 9b), implying that he may have been a pupil of Hillel, contains questions addressed to Hillel by Bar He He (see Seder ha-Dorot, s.v.Ben Bag Bag; cf., however, Liberman, loc. cit.). His name is said to have originated from his having been "a proselyte, i.e., the son [ben] of Abraham and Sarah, to each of whose names the letter ה [he] was added" (cf. Gen. 17:5, 15; Tos. to Hag. 9b; Maḥzor Vitry, ed. Hurwitz (1923), 563–4). Bacher (Tann, 1 (19032), 8–9) suggests that he was converted under the influence of Hillel. He is also identified with *Ben Bag Bag (Tos. and Maḥzor Vitry, loc. cit.),


Hyman, Toledot, 285.

[Zvi Kaplan]

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