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Yeshevav the Scribe


YESHEVAV THE SCRIBE (end of the first half of the second century c.e.), tanna. A pupil of Joshua b. *Hananiah, he was a reliable transmitter of his master's opinions. Even his great colleague, *Akiva, who had opposed him on a halakhic issue, changed his mind and accepted Yeshevav's view which, the latter claimed, had been handed down by his teacher (Ḥul. 2:4; Tosef., Ḥul. 2:9) – this is the only Mishnah which mentions his name. On other occasions Akiva usually opposed him. Once when Yeshevav had gone to the trouble of locating some human bodies in order to declare the area around them a graveyard site, Akiva bluntly told him, "All your trouble was in vain" (Tosef., Oho. 16:3; Naz. 65a). When Akiva declared the offspring of all prohibited unions to be mamzerim Yeshevav exclaimed, "Come, let us cry out against Akiva b. Joseph…" (Ket. 29b, et. al.). Yeshevav was extremely generous and he once gave away all his property to the poor. This step was opposed by Rabban Gamaliel *ii (tj, Pe'ah 1:1, 15b, cf. Ket. 50a). Yeshevav is counted among the Ten *Martyrs put to death by the Romans. He is mentioned as being in the company of four other rabbis at Sepphoris in Galilee (Tosef., Kel. bb 2:2), where they were apparently hiding during the Hadrianic persecution. According to a later Midrash (Midrash Elleh Ezkerah, in: A. Jellinek (ed.), Beit ha-Midrash, 2 (19382), 71) he was 90 years old when he was executed, and his parting message to his disciples was "Support one another, and love peace and justice; perhaps there is hope."


Hyman, Toledot; I. Konovitz, Ma'arekhot Tanna'im, pt. 3 (1968), 260 1.

[Moses Aberbach]

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