Simeon of Mizpah

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SIMEON OF MIZPAH (mid-first century c.e.), tanna at the close of the Second Temple era. As his name suggests he came from the town of Mizpah in Judah. It is related of him: "It once happened that R. Simeon of Mizpah sowed his field before Rabban Gamaliel, and they went up to the Chamber of Hewn Stone and put a question. Nahum the Scrivener said: 'I have a tradition from R. Measha who received it from his father, who had it from the *zugot, who had it from the prophets as a halakhah given to Moses at Sinai …'" (Pe'ah 2:6). The Gamaliel referred to is Rabban Gamaliel the Elder, and at that time Simeon must have been still a young man. The incident vividly portrays the custom of clarifying halakhah in the Chamber of Hewn Stone when the local scholars were unable to decide. R. Johanan states that Simeon was the tanna who taught the Mishnah *Tamid (tj, Yoma 2:2). According to another opinion in the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 14b), the intention of the tradition is to attribute to Simeon those mishnayot dealing with the daily sacrifice in the Mishnah Yoma which parallel those in Tamid. The tractate Tamid is written in a descriptive, lively, and flowing style, which has led some scholars to conjecture that Simeon presented an eyewitness account of the order of the Temple service.


Epstein, Tanna'im, 27–31; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.

[Israel Burgansky]