Even Ha-To'im

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EVEN HA-TO'IM (Heb. אֶבֶן הַטּוֹעִים or הַטֹּעַן), a stone in Jerusalem, It is mentioned once in the Mishnah (Ta'an. 3:8) in the story of *Onias (Ḥoni) the circle drawer. When asked to pray that the rains cease, he answered: "Go and see if the even hato'im has been washed away," indicating that just as it was impossible for it to be washed away so was it impossible to pray for the rain to cease. This picturesque reply is reminiscent of one in the Jerusalem Talmud showing that praying for the cessation of rain is unnecessary (Ta'an. 3:11, 67a). An anonymous Aramaic passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Ta'anit 3:11, 66d) interprets the even ha-to'im as a place where "one who lost an item would receive it from there, and one who found an item would bring it to there." A similar tradition is reflected in a baraita found in the Babylonian Talmud (bm 28b) which mentions the even ha-to'an in connection with the return of lost property during the Second Temple period. People who had lost or found objects in Jerusalem and on the road to the capital met by the side of this stone: "The one stood and announced his find and the other submitted evidence of ownership and received it." According to these traditions, the name is to be interpreted as "the stone for those wandering," i.e., in search of someone or something. The reading even ha-to'an ("the claimant's stone") is faulty (Dik. Sof., ibid.), and any conclusions deriving from it are therefore invalid.


Krauss, Tal Arch, 362; Sepp, in: zdpv, 2 (1879), 48–51.

[Jacob Eliahu Ephrathi]