Ben Kalba Savu'a

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BEN KALBA SAVU'A (1st century c.e.), according to tradition he was a wealthy man of Jerusalem, who was renowned for his generosity. The Bavli relates that during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, he and his two wealthy friends, Nakdimon b. Guryon and Ben Ẓiẓit ha-Kassat, provided food and other necessities for the inhabitants over a number of years, until the zealots set fire to their stores, in an attempt to force the people to make a desperate effort to break the siege (Git. 56a). Josephus mentions the burning of "provisions that would have sufficed … for a long siege," although he does not mention Ben Kalba Savu'a or his associates (Wars, 5:25). The Bavli also relates that Rachel, Ben Kalba Savu'a's daughter, married R. *Akiva, who in his youth had been Ben Kalba Savu'a's shepherd. This was against the wishes of her father, who disinherited them. When Akiva had become famous as a great scholar, his father-in-law was reconciled to him and bequeathed him half of his wealth (Ket. 62b–63a; Ned. 50a). Regarding the historicity of these traditions, see S. Friedman, "A Good Story Deserves Retelling: The Unfolding of the Akiva Legend."


Hyman, Toledot, 274; Z. Vilnay, Maẓẓevot Kodesh be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1963), 281–5: add. bibliography: S. Friedman, in: jsij, 3 (2004), 1–39.

[Zvi Kaplan]