Skip to main content

Eliezer ben Jacob


ELIEZER BEN JACOB , name of two tannaim.

(1) Tanna who lived during the period of the destruction of the Second Temple. He was intimately acquainted with the Temple and describes its structure, arrangements, and customs (Mid. 1:9; 2:6; Ar. 2:6; etc.). A tradition states that he was the author of the Mishnah *Middot on the structure and dimensions of the Temple (Yoma 16a; tj, Yoma, 2:3, 39d). It is reported that *Ben Azzai found in Jerusalem a genealogical scroll in which it was written that the opinions quoted in Eliezer's name are few "but well-sifted" (i.e., irrefutable) and that his statements everywhere represent the accepted halakhah (Yev. 49b). Since there was another tanna of the same name (see below), it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which of the two was the author of certain halakhot. It is, however, undoubtedly this Eliezer who is quoted in connection with laws dealing with the Temple and in discussions with R. *Eliezer b. Hyrcanus, R. *Ishmael b. Elisha, and R. *Ilai (Kil. 6:2; Kelim 7:3; Pes. 39a). One of his aggadic contributions is his interpretation of the phrase: "serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 11:13), which he interpreted as an admonition to priests officiating in the Temple not to allow extraneous thoughts to enter their minds (Sif. Deut., Ekev. 41).

(2) Tanna of the second century. A pupil of R. *Akiva (Gen. R. 61:3; tj, Ḥag. 3:1, 78d), he was among the sages who participated in the synod at Usha after the Hadrianic persecutions (Song Rabbah 2:5). Talmudic sources quote halakhot on which he differed from his colleagues R. *Meir, R. *Judah, R. *Yose, R. *Simeon b. Yoḥai, and R. *Eleazar b. Shammu'a (Neg. 10:4; Tosef., Yev. 10:5; Tosef., bk 5:7). He is reported as saying: "Whoever provides lodging in his home for a scholar and shares with him his wealth has the merit of one who offers up a daily sacrifice" (Ber. 10b). His kindness is illustrated in a story which tells that once, when a blind man came to his town, Eliezer gave him a seat of honor above his own. When the people saw this, they maintained the blind man in honor. The latter, on learning the reason for his good fortune, offered a prayer on Eliezer's behalf saying: "You have dealt kindly with one who is seen but sees not. May He who sees but is unseen accept your prayers and deal graciously with you" (tj, Pe'ah 8:9, 21b).


Frankel, Mishnah, 76–78; Hyman, Toledot, 181–4; Halevy, Dorot, 1 (1923), 84–86, 181–5; Bacher, Tann, 1 (19032), 62–67; 2 (1890), 23 n. 3, 39f. n. 5, 76 n. 2, 151 n. 1, 191 n. 4.

[Yitzhak Dov Gilat]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eliezer ben Jacob." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 16 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Eliezer ben Jacob." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (August 16, 2019).

"Eliezer ben Jacob." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved August 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.