Judah ben Shammua

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JUDAH BEN SHAMMUA (second half of the second century c.e.), tanna, presumably a pupil of R. *Meir. He is not mentioned in the Mishnah, and only once in the Tosefta (Kel. bb 7:9, rh 19a) where he is quoted transmitting a ruling about the ritual cleanness of glass vessels in the name of Meir. His name is also found in the manuscript readings of the parallel text in Shab. 15b, the omission of his name in the printed editions being almost certainly a scribal (or printer's) error. An aggadah relates that he succeeded in his intercession with the Roman authorities in having their decree forbidding the study of Torah, Sabbath observance, and the circumcision of children repealed (rh 19a; Meg. Ta'an., 22). In this venture he was aided by a Roman matron, probably the widow of *Tinneius Rufus (v. Av. Zar. 20a). In commemoration, the day on which the decrees were abrogated, Adar 28, was proclaimed a feast day. The sons of Judah b. Shammua are mentioned in the Palestinian Talmud as having possessed a great flock of sheep, of which over 300 were killed in a raid by wolves (tj, Beẓah 1:1, 60a).


Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Graetz, Gesch, 4 (19043), 169; B. Lewin, Megillat Ta'anit (1964), 198–9. V. Noam, Megillat Ta'anit (2003), 312–15.

[Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)]