Yose Bar Ḥanina

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YOSE BAR ḤANINA (second half of the third century), Palestinian amora. Yose was an important member of the academy of Tiberias and was called a "great man" by R. Assi (bk 42b). He was a pupil-colleague of Johanan with whom he sometimes disagreed both in halakhah and aggadah. His intimacy with Johanan is emphasized in the story told by Ze'ira that Yose b. Ḥanina appeared to him in a dream and told him that he was seated next to Johanan in the Garden of Eden (bm 85b). This intimacy is the cause of some confusion in the sources and in some sayings it is not clear which of them was the author. However, the view that Yose b. Ḥanina was ordained by Johanan on the recommendation of Simeon b. Eliakim is based on an error in the text of the Babylonian Talmud (Sanh. 30b). The correct text in the Jerusalem Talmud makes it clear that Yose b. Ḥanina recommended Simeon b. Eliakim for this purpose to Johanan. Yose b. Ḥanina was a dayyan and Rava said of him that "he penetrated to the inner spirit of the law" (bk 39a). As a dayyan he was renowned for his leanings toward compromise rather than the application of the strict letter of the law and his plea to the contending parties was that they should not stand upon their legal rights but go "beyond the line of justice" (tj, bm 6:8, 11a). The Babylonian Talmud has a rule that wherever it says "they ridiculed it in the west" (Ereẓ Israel) the reference is to Yose b. Ḥanina (Sanh. 17b). He was also a great aggadist and apparently an outstanding preacher; he said "whosoever discourses on the Torah in public and his words are not as sweet as honey to his audience… it were better that he had not spoken" (Song R. 4, no. 1). There is probably a personal element in his statements, "Love unaccompanied by reproof is not love" and "reproof leads to love" (Gen. R. 54:3).

Very little is known of the events of his life. He was apparently wealthy (bb 90b), and his children died during his lifetime (Ta'an. 13b). The suggestion that he was the brother of Ḥama b. Ḥanina is a mere conjecture. Among his important pupils was Abbahu; however, his sayings are transmitted by many others. He taught beraitot, and as a result, although he was not a tanna, his name was attached to halakhic Midrashim, though a tanna called Yose b. Ḥanina is also mentioned (Epstein, Tanna'im, 630).


Bacher, Pal Amor, 1, 2, 3; J.S. Zuri, Yose bar Ḥanina me-Keisarin (1926); Z.W. Rabinowitz, Sha'arei Torat Bavel (1961), 443–4; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 185–6; Epstein, Mishnah, 307–10.

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