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Simeon ben Pazzi


SIMEON BEN PAZZI (second half of the third century c.e.), Palestinian amora. According to the tosafot (bb 149a) Pazzi was his mother's name, but according to Frankel (Mevo 121a) it was that of his father (Dik. Sof., Meg. 13a). Although Simeon was considered a halakhic authority, very few of his decisions are mentioned in the Talmud. He instructed those who fixed the calendar to draw it up so that neither Rosh Ha-Shanah nor the seventh day of Tabernacles (*Hoshana Rabba) should fall on the Sabbath, but when it became necessary for one of them to fall on the Sabbath the latter should be chosen. Simeon was essentially an aggadist. He handed down a large number of biblical interpretations by his teacher Joshua b. Levi, of whose aggadot he is the principal transmitter. His own aggadot contain exegetic and homiletic interpretations and comments, including parables, sentences, and maxims on God, the world, prayer, and the study of the Torah. He interprets the double yod in ייצר in Genesis 2:7 as emphasizing the inner struggle within man between the sensual (yeẓir) and the divine (yoẓer), and comments: "Woe to me because of my impulses; woe to me because of my Creator" (Ber. 61a). "When the patriarch Jacob was about to reveal the messianic time to his children (Gen. 49:1) the presence of God departed from him, whereupon he said 'Has an unworthy child sprung from me as Ishmael sprang from my grandfather Abraham and Esau from my father Jacob?' In answer his sons exclaimed '"Hear O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4) as only one God is in your heart so only one is in ours.' Jacob then said 'Praised be the name of the glory of His kingdom for ever and ever'" (Pes. 56a). In other texts this passage is ascribed to Resh Lakish. His statement in Sotah 41b that one may be obsequious to evil people in this world is a reflection of social conditions in his time.


Bacher, Pal Amor; Frankel, Mevo, 118a; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 258–61.

[Elliott Hillel Medlov]

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