Judah ben Tema

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JUDAH BEN TEMA , tanna. He is mentioned only once in the Mishnah (Avot 5:20), and twice in the Tosefta (Er. 2:6, and Git. 5:12). It is difficult to determine his date, but from these two passages it would seem that he belonged to the last generation of tannaim. His saying in Avot 5:20 is, "Be bold as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a hart, and strong as a lion, to do the will of thy Father in heaven." The Babylonian Talmud refers to "Judah and his colleagues" as examples of "masters of the Mishnah" (Ḥag. 14a), and later tradition ascribes to him the saying: "Love Heaven, fear Heaven, quiver and rejoice with all the precepts. If you have done your fellow a slight harm, let it be regarded as a grievous one in your eyes; if you have done him a great favor, let it be regarded as slight in your eyes; but if your fellow has done you a slight favor, let it be as great in your eyes, and if he has done you great harm, let it be a slight one in your eyes" (arn1, 41, 133). The Babylonian Talmud (Pes. 70a) quotes a halakhah in the name of "ben Tema," which in the parallel tannaitic traditions (Tosef. Pes. 9:8, Zev. 8:11; Sifra, Nedava 18) is quoted in the name of "Ben Azzai."


Frankel, Mishnah, 213; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; J. Kanowitz, Ma'arekhot Tanna'im, 2 (1968), 49–51. S. Friedman, in: Y. Elman et al. (eds.), Neti'ot Ledavid, Jubilee Volume for David Weiss Halivni (Hebrew), (2005).

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