Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya
|רבי יהושע בן חנניה|
|Old Tzfat Cemetery|
|Well known 2nd generation Tana, often mentioned in the Mishna.|
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya was second generation Tana and one of the five main students of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. He is mentioned many times through out the Mishna under the name 'Rebbe Yehoshua' with no additional appendix. Rabbi Yehoshua was a Levy and served as a musician in the 2nd Temple. Escaping the destruction of Yerushalaim along with his teacher, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya went on to serve as the Av Beis Din in the Sanhedrin of Yavneh and Rosh Yeshiva in Piki'in.
 Student of Rabbi Yochanan
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya was one of the five main students of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai which included Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkenus, Rabbi Elazar ben Arach, Rabbi Shimon ben Netanel and Rabbi Yossi Hakohen. His teacher praised him saying; fortunate is the woman who gave birth to him. When Rabbi Yochanan asked his students to choose the best trait for a person to acquire, Rabbi Yehoshua replied "a good friend". When he once again requested them to list the worst trait that a person should most distance himself from, Rabbi Yehoshua replied "an evil friend".
 Matzah Ashira on Peseach
Rabbi Yehoshua asked his sons to bake him a small matzah using milk and a larger matza made with honey, to use on the remaining days of Pesach following the Seder, thereby teaching those around him that 'Matzah Ashira' is permitted on the remaining days of Peseach. Although it is prohibited to bake bread using milk for fear of it being accidentally eaten with meat, it is permissible when created in very small sizes since it can easily be consumed immediately. Additionally Rabbi Akiva once spent the holiday of Pesach by Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua and he kneaded Matzah dough for them using wine and oil and they did not protest.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya was a Levite and served in the Beis Hamikdash as a singer.
 Simchas Beis Hashoava
At one point he described how they would have very little sleep during Chol Hamoed Sukkot going from the Tomid Shel Shachris to morning prayers, from there to Kurban Musaf, then to Musaf prayer, then to study Torah, then to eat, then to Mincha prayer, then to Tomid Shel Bein Harbayim and from there to the Simchas Beis Hashoava, where they would stay up most of the night.
 Swallowing of the Arabs
Rabbi Yehoshua was traveling to Yerushalaim. On his way he saw an Arab and his son planning to assault a fellow Jewish traveler. The Arab declared to his son that the Jew was despicable and instructed his son to spit seven times at the beard of the Jew. Upon seeing the son of the Arab grab the Jew's beard, Rabbi Yehoshua decreed that the "upper ones should become submerged below". Immediately the ground under them opened, swallowing the Arab and his son where they stood.
Rabbi Yehoshua married the daughter of a Cohen. When he became weak after this he attributed it to his marriage, in his great humility saying that Aharon Hacohen did not like that a he joined his descendants and that he now had a son-in-law like him.
Rabbi Yehoshua had at least 2 sons.
An evil eye, the evil inclination, and the hatred of other people, drive a person out of the world.
 Kever Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya
Rebbe Yehoshua ben Chananya is buried in Tzfas in the Old Cemetery along the path leading down from the Arizal Mikva, across from the Kevarim of Beeri HaNavi, Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta and the mistakenly marked location of the kevarim of Chana and her 7 sons and Rabbi Bachya. Historically this tomb was attributed to the prophet Hoshia ben Beeri by many different sources but the holy Arizal revealed through his Roach Hakodesh that it is really the resting place of the Tana Rabbi Yehoshua and the similar sounding names became confused over the years. A tradition that places the grave of the prophet Beeri, father of Hoshia right across from the tomb, could have also contributed to the confusion.
- Latitude: 32.967569
- Longitude: 35.488844