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Yose ben Kisma


YOSE BEN KISMA (first half of the second century c.e.), tanna. Yose lived apparently in Tiberias (Tanḥ. B. Gen. 166; Yev. 96b). An autobiographical story is told of his preferring to live in a place of Torah rather than have all the silver, gold, and precious stones in the world (Avot 6:9). The Palestinian Talmud transmits a tradition in which Yose ben Kisma appears in the company of the fourth generation tannaim Eleazar and Yose (tj Shek. 2:5, 47a). No halakhic statements are transmitted in his name. In the aggadah of the Babylonian Talmud, Yose is described as having held that one should submit to Roman rule, and according to this tradition he did not give up this view even during the time of the Hadrianic persecutions. It is related that when he was ill, *Ḥanina b. Teradyon went to visit him. Yose said to him: "Ḥanina, my brother, do you not know that it is Heaven that has ordained this nation to reign? For though she has laid waste His house, burnt His Temple, slain His pious ones, and caused His choice ones to perish, still is she firmly established! Yet, I have heard that you sit and occupy yourself with the Torah, address public assemblies, and keep a scroll of the law in your bosom." Ḥanina replied: "Heaven will have mercy." "I," remonstrated Yose, "am telling you plain facts and you say, 'Heaven will show mercy!' It will surprise me if they do not burn you together with the scroll of the Law." Nevertheless, Yose looked forward to the redemption and believed that Israel would fall into the hands of the Parthians (Sanh. 98a–b). It was said that within a few days Yose b. Kisma died, and all the great men of Rome went to his funeral and made great lamentation for him (Av. Zar. 18a).


Hyman, Toledot, 735f.; Bacher; Tanna'im; J. Guttmann, in: Sefer Assaf (1953), 173f.

[Moshe David Herr]

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