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Joshua ben Peraḥyah


JOSHUA BEN PERAḤYAH (second half of the second century b.c.e.), one of the *zugot ("pairs" of scholars), together with *Nittai of Arbela. Joshua was a pupil of Yose b. Joezer of Ẓeredah and of Yose b. Johanan of Jerusalem. According to the Mishnah, he was the *nasi (see *Sanhedrin), and in the well-known difference of opinion on *semikhah (laying of hands upon the sacrifice) on the festival his view was "not to lay on the hands" (Ḥag. 2:2). One halakhah has been preserved in his name (but see: Lieberman, Tosefet Rishonim, 4, 116 top) concerning the laws on what renders food liable to become impure: "Joshua b. Peraḥyah said: wheat coming from Alexandria is impure because of their antlia (άντλια, watering device). The sages said: If so, they shall be impure for Joshua b. Peraḥyah and pure for all Israel" (Tosef., Makhsh. 3:4). One aggadic dictum is ascribed to him in the Mishnah: "Provide thyself with a teacher; get thee a companion; and judge all men charitably" (Avot 1:6).

The Babylonian Talmud (Sot. 47a and Sanh. 107b in mss. and non-censored editions) contains an aggadah that Joshua b. Peraḥyah was the teacher of *Jesus, and that on their return together from Alexandria, having fled there out of fear of Alexander Yannai, Joshua found Jesus guilty of sin and was responsible for his failure to repent. It would seem likely that this aggadah is an enlarged reworking of an earlier aggadah concerning *Judah b. Tabbai and one of his pupils of unknown name when they were about to return from Alexandria to Jerusalem (tj, Ḥag. 2:2, 77d). One of the statements attributed in the Babylonian Talmud (Men. 109b) to Joshua b. Peraḥyah appears in Avot de-Rabbi Nathan (version 1, 10, 43; version 2, 20, 43) in the name of Judah b. Tabbai, and in tj, Pes. 6:1 this dictum occurs in the name of Joshua b. Kabsai. The statement that Hillel the elder witnessed the preparation of the ashes of a *red heifer in the time of Joshua b. Peraḥyah (Sif. Zut. 19, 3) cannot be reconciled according to chronology, and so the mention of Joshua b. Peraḥyah (and perhaps Hillel also) in this context would seem to be anachronistic.


Frankel, Mishnah (19232), 35–37; Weiss, Dor, 1 (1871), 131–3; Halevy, Dorot, 1c (1922), 351–3, 468–78; Urbach, in: Tarbiz, 27 (1958), 170f.; L. Ginzberg, Al Halakhah ve-Aggadah (1960), 15f. add. bibliography: S. Lieberman, Tosefet Rishonim, 4 (1939), 115–116; D. Sperber, Roman Palestine, 200–400 Money and Prices (1974), 126–27, 247–48.

Moshe David Herr /

Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)]

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