Simeon Ben Gamaliel - רשב"ג- רקע

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SIMEON BEN GAMALIEL Name of two distinguished presidents of

the Sanhedrin in the 1st-2nd centuries CE.

 

Simeon Ben Gamliel I was the son and successor of Gamliel I

(q.v.),  who officiated in the period immediately preceding

the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.

 

One of  his  best-known  saying  was "I have grown up among

sages all  my  life and I have found that nothing is better

than silence.  What is important is not what you learn but

what  you  do;'  and  too much talk leads to sin". He was an

energtic leader  and a number of regulations related to the

Temple  are  attributed  to  him.  It  is  said  that in the

celebrations  of the annual Water-Drawing Festival, "he used

to  juggle  eight  lighted  torches  and not one fell to the

ground."  During  the Roman siege of Jerusalem he joined the

revolutionary  council  directing  the war against Rome, but

when  the  Zealots obtained the upper hand among the Jews in

Jerusalem,  he  unsuccessfully  opposed their ascendancy and

control.

 

Simeon ben Gamaliel II was the son of Gamaliel II (q.v.) and

father of Judah ha-Nasi (q.v.). After the failure of the Bar

Kokhba  (q.v.)  revolt  in  135  CE,  he had to spend a long

period  in  hiding  to  escape  the Roman persecution of the

sages.  When  the  Sanhedrin  was  restored in Usha in Lower

Galilee,  he  was  elected its president - a tribute both to

his  personal  qualities  and his distinguished descent from

Hillel  (q.v.).  He  worked  to  ensure  the  status  of the

Sanhedrin  and the priority of the Palestinian scholars over

those  in  Babylonia.  His opinions are frequently quoted in

the  early  rabbinic texts - 100 times in the Mishnah where,

with  three  exceptions, they are accepted as authoritative.

He  warned  against  imposing  restrictions which the public

would  find  difficult  to  sustain  and insisted that local

customs should be respected.

 

Among  his  dicta:  "The  world rests on three pillars: law,

truth and peace;" "whoever makes peace in his own home is as

though  he  made  peace  in  all  Israel;"  and  "it  is not

necessary  to build monuments to the pious - their words are

their monument."

Rappaport,  John  of  Gischala: From  Galilee  to  Jerusalem,



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