Yossi ben Yoezer

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Yossi ben Yoezer
Rabbi Yossi ben Yoezer
רבי יוסי בן יועזר איש צרדה
Yose, Yosi, Jose, Tzreyda
Other Names:
Rabbi Yossi ben Yo'ezer Ish Tzereidah, Jose ben Joezer, Yossi ben Yoezer from Tzirayda, Yossi Sharya, Yossi of Zereda
Tzfat - Wadi Amud area
Nasi of the Jewish nation in pre Macabeen times belonging to the first pair of Zugot.

Rabbi Yossi ben Yoezer Ish Tzereidah was a student of Antigonus Ish Socho and Nasi of the first pair of Zugot along with Rabbi Yossi ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalaim who served as Av Bais Din. During their reign, the first Halchaic controversy arose in Judaism. Yose ben Yoezer was a Kohen, renown for his great righteousness in the laws of purity. He was executed by the Greeks and their Hellenist followers during the period preceding the Macabeen revolt. His students were Yehoshua ben Prachya and Neti Harbeli.


[edit] Student of the Sages

Yose ben Yoezer originated from the city of Tzereidah and was a disciple of Antigonus Ish Socho. In his early youth he studied under Shimon HaTzadik.

[edit] Head of the Sanhedrin

After the passing Antigonus Ish Socho, Yossi ben Yoezer assumed the position of Nasi and head of the Sanhedrin. Yossi ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalaim served as Av Bais Din alongside him, together forming the first pair of Zugot.

[edit] Decrees

Yossi ben Yoezer Ish Tzreyda along with Yossi ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalaim decreed impurity on all land outside of Eretz Yisroel. They also decreed impurity on glass vessels manufactured by Gentiles. These decrees were most likely issued as a response to the growth of Hellinisum, to prevent Jews from settling outside of Eretz Yisroel and intermingling with the Greeks.

[edit] First Machlokes

It was at that time that the first Machlokes arose in Yisroel regrading doing Smicha on Yom Tov. Until Yossi ben Yoezer all the leaders would teach the Torah exactly as it had been transmitted from Moshe Rabbanue, from then on the Torah was no longer transmitted in its perfect form, since the Machlokes of the Smicha had risen.

[edit] Yossi Sharaya

After issuing three lenient rulings in the laws of purity, Yossi ben Yoezer was given the nickname 'Yossi Sharya' - Yossi the permitting one.

[edit] Righteous of the Priesthood

Yose ben Yoezer Ish Tzereidah was a Cohen. So careful was he with the laws of purity that he would treat his regular food as if it was Teruma, earning him the title 'Chasid ShbKehuna' - Righteous of the Priesthood.

[edit] Execution

Yossi ben Yoezer was executed via crucifixion as part of the Hellenistic decrees for keeping and teaching the Torah. As he was being led to his death on the Shabbot, his nephew Yakim Ish Tzroros a leading Hellenist, came to taunt him. Riding on a fancy horse he called out to his uncle "Look at the horse my master has given me and look at the horse your master has given you". Yose ben Yoezer replied that if this was the reward of the evil, certainly the righteous would be rewarded. Yakim continued, pointing out that no one in the generation had served G-D more then Yose ben Yoezer and yet he was about to be executed. His uncle responded saying, if this was the fate of the righteous, certainly the wicked would face an awful punishment. These words penetrated the heart of Yakim Ish Tzroros and he repented by committing suicide, killing himself in a way where he underwent all four death penalties used by Bais Din. He managed to set out up the entire operation, killing himself before the end of his Uncle's dragged out execution. Yossi ben Yoezer who saw this with Rouch Hakodesh remarked that his nephew had proceeded him by a short while to Gan Aden, indicating that his Teshuva had been accepted.

[edit] End to Mortal Completion

After the passing of Yossi ben Yoezer, it was said the Grape clusters had become nullified. Grape clusters in Hebrew are Eshkolot, which can be read as Ish Kol - a man of everything, a reference to Rabbi Yossi ben Yoezer who had been the last person to reach complete perfection in his Torah knowledge and refined attributes.

[edit] Family

Yose ben Yoezer had a son that he disinherited for bad conduct by donating his entire estate to the Bais Hamekdush.

Yakim Ish Tzroros, a leading Hellenist was his sister's son. He later repented, committing suicide.

[edit] Teachings

Yossi ben Yoezer is known for his teachings in Masechet Avos regarding respecting the Sages. He said "Your home should be a meeting place for the Sages, powder yourself with the dust of their feet and drink their words with thirst".

[edit] Home Center for Sages

By allowing Talmidi Chacahmim to convene in your home, you will automatically pick up from their good deeds.

[edit] Dust of the Sages

Powdering yourself in the dust of the Sages is a reference for following them wherever they travel, as well as sitting in front of them on the floor as they taught Torah, as was customary in those days.

[edit] Drink Their Words

Just as a thirsty man who yearns for water greatly appreciates its taste, so too one who yearns for Torah will feel its sweetness.

[edit] Kever Yossi ben Yoezer

Yossi ben Yoezer is buried in a cave along with Yossi ben Yochanan and Yossi ben Meshulam in the vicinity of Wadi Amud under Tzfat. According the Rabbi Chaim Vital the cave located in the vicinity of Kever Brey Drav Safra has an opening in its roof and inside are three crevices, each with one of the Tzadikim buried inside. Currently the exact location of the cave is unknown.

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