Isaac ben Eleazar

views updated


ISAAC BEN ELEAZAR , name of two Palestinian amoraim. The first lived during the second half of the second century c.e. He was a relative of R. Johanan and an associate of R. Isaac and of Ḥiyya b. Abba. Although referred to in the Babylonian Talmud as Isaac b. Eleazar, he is also identical with the Isaac Ḥakola or Ben Ḥakola mentioned in both the Talmuds (cf. Ket. 109a; tj, ibid. 13: 1, 35b); the correct reading in Pesaḥim 113b (see Dik. Sof., p. 354, no. 100) is "Isaac b. Ḥakola is identical with Isaac b. Eleazar."

The second amora of this name lived in the second half of the fourth century. He was a native of Caesarea, and several of the halakhic and aggadic teachings transmitted by him are connected with the town. When R. Mana went to Caesarea he turned to him with a halakhic question (tj, Dem. 2:1, 22c). Jacob of Kefar Nibburaya, in his sharp criticism of the nasi for appointing dayyanim because of their wealth, contrasted them with Isaac: "But 'The Lord is in His holy Temple' (Hab. 2:20), is to be applied to Isaac b. Eleazar in the Maradata [turbulent] Synagogue of Caesarea" (tj, Bik. 3:3, 65d). The leading halakhists and aggadists of the following generation, such as Mana and Tanḥuma, quote sayings in his name (ibid., tj, Bik. 1:3, 63d). His most distinguished pupil was Oshaya b. Shammai, also a native of Caesarea, who transmitted several halakhot in his name. When Oshaya was about to undertake a sea voyage, Isaac instructed him in the halakhah of travel by sea during the intermediate days of the festival (tj, mk 2:3, 81b). Among his aggadic dicta are "That which wisdom has placed as a crown upon its head [i.e., the fear of God] humility has made the heel of its shoe" (tj, Shab. 1:5, 3c; cf. Tanh. B. Num. 52); and "The prophets know that their God is true. Hence they do not flatter Him" (tj, Ber. 7:4, 11c).


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Epstein, Mishnah, 167–8; I.W. Rabinowitz, Sha'arei Torat Bavel (1961), 457–9; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 186–7, 339–40.

[Shmuel Safrai]

About this article

Isaac ben Eleazar

Updated About content Print Article