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Judah Bar Shalom


JUDAH BAR SHALOM (occasionally with the addition ha-Levi ; Tanh. B., Gen. 141; Mid. Ps. to 119:1), Palestinian amora of the fourth century c.e.; aggadist. Judah was apparently a pupil of the Palestinian amora, Yose (tj, Dem. 6:3, 25c; Ma'as. Sh. 4:4, 55a). His aggadic sayings are scattered throughout the Talmud and the Midrashim, especially the Tanhuma (Noah 13; Va-Yera 13; Va-Era 14; Tanḥ B., Gen. 88, et al.). Halakhic statements by him are found in the Jerusalem Talmud (Shab. 12:4, 13d; Er. 5:5, 22d; Shevu, 7:5, 38a). They consist mainly of amplifications, comments, and explanations of the statements of his predecessors. Of special importance are his anti-Christian polemics, in which he emphasizes the importance of the Oral Law: "Moses wished the Mishnah too to be committed to writing. God, however, foresaw that the nations of the world would translate the Torah, read it in Greek, and say: we too are Jews. So God said to him: 'Shall I write for him so many things of My law?' and as a result 'they shall be accounted as strange?' [his interpretation of Hos. 8:12]. Why was He so opposed? Because the Mishnah is God's secret. God reveals His secret only to the righteous, as it is said [Ps. 25:14]: 'The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him'" (Tanḥ. B, Gen. 88).


Bacher, Pal Amor, 3; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.

[Zvi Kaplan]

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