Eleazar ben Judah of Bartota

views updated


ELEAZAR BEN JUDAH OF BARTOTA (first half of the second century c.e.), tanna. His cognomen is derived from a place Bartota, whose exact locality is unknown. It appears that Eleazar studied under R. *Joshua for, on the authority of the latter's teachings, he challenges those of R. Akiva (Tosef., Bek. 7:6; cf. Tev. Yom 3:4–5). Among the sages who quote him are R. Simeon b. Gamaliel (Or. 1:4) and R. Simeon b. Yoḥai (Tosef., Zav. 1:5). The Talmud (Shab. 32b) ascribes to R. Eleazar ben Judah (without the additional designation "of Bartota") a statement warning about the penalties for neglecting to separate ḥallah.

The importance which Eleazar accorded to charity is reflected in his maxim quoted in Avot (3:7). "Render unto Him what is His, for thou and what thou hast are His, as David has said (i Chron. 29:14), 'For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given to Thee.'" In keeping with this maxim, the Babylonian Talmud describes him as excessively generous, which was a source of embarrassment even to the collectors of charity. The Talmud relates (Ta'an. 24a) that on one occasion, when he was on his way to purchase a trousseau for his daughter, the collectors tried to avoid him, knowing that he would give them more than he could afford. Eleazar, however, ran after them and, discovering that they were collecting to make possible the marriage of two orphans, he gave them all he had, leaving himself only one zuz. With this, he bought a small quantity of grain which he deposited in the granary. Miraculously, it multiplied to fill the granary to the bursting point; but when told of this by his daughter, Eleazar insisted that this, too, be consecrated to charity.


Bacher, Tann; Hyman, Toledot, 177.

[Jehonatan Etz-Chaim]

About this article

Eleazar ben Judah of Bartota

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article