Skip to main content

Zechariah ben Avkilus


ZECHARIAH BEN AVKILUS (first century c.e.), scholar in the generation of the destruction of the Second Temple. Zechariah was known for his piety and humility, and his conduct was even relied upon to determine the halakhah (Tosef., Shab. 16:7). The famous statement ascribed to R. Johanan in tb Git. 56a (cf. Lam. R. 4:23), "The humility of R. Zekharia b. Avkulas destroyed our Temple, burned our Holy of Holies, and exiled us from our land," is in fact a slightly expanded version of the statement of the tanna R. Jose found in Tosefta Shab. 16:7 (see: Five Sugyot, 106–11), and provided the starting point for the later talmudic tradition which described in great detail the way in which Zechariah's behavior served as an immediate cause of the outbreak of the Roman War. When the rabbis were inclined to overlook the blemish in the animal offered as a sacrifice by the Roman government, in order not to offend Rome, Zechariah objected; and when they proposed that *Bar Kamẓa be put to death to prevent his informing against them to the government, he again objected. The Romans regarded the refusal to offer up the sacrifice as a sign of rebellion on the part of the Jews against the empire and the Roman War broke out, which resulted in the destruction of the Temple.


Hyman, Toledot, 402; Y. Furstenberg, in: S. Friedman (ed.), Five Sugyot from the Babylonian Talmud. (Heb., 2002).

[Zvi Kaplan]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Zechariah ben Avkilus." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 16 Jul. 2019 <>.

"Zechariah ben Avkilus." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (July 16, 2019).

"Zechariah ben Avkilus." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved July 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.