Yehoshua ben Perachya

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Yehoshua ben Prachya
Yehoshua ben Prachya
רבי יהושע בן פרחיה‎
Perachia, Prachya, Perachya, Perachiah
Other Names:
Rabbi Joshua ben Perachiah
A Jewish leader in Macabeen times belonging to the second pair of Zugot.

Yehoshua ben Perachya was Nasi and head of the Sanhedrin following the Macabeen revolt, in the latter half of the 2nd century BCE. Together with Nitai HaArbeli who served as Av Bais Din, they formed the second out of five pairs of Zugot. They were both students of Yossi ben Yoezer‎ and Yossi ben Yochanan. Yehoshua ben Perachya's leadership lasted throughout the reign of Yochanan Kohen Gadoel. When Yani became king and began executing the Sages, Yehoshua ben Prachya fled to Alexandria, eventually returning at the invention of his student Shimon ben Shetach who was Yani's brother-in-law. Yeshu Hanotzri was a student of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Prachya, excommunicated by his teacher for improper conduct. Yehoshua ben Perachiah's students included Shimon ben Shetach and Yehuda ben Taboy.


[edit] President of the Sanhedrin

Yehoshua ben Perachya was a student of Yossi ben Yoezer‎ and Yossi ben Yochanan, eventually becoming Nasi and head of the Sanhedrin after their passing. At first Yehoshua ben Perachya rejected the notion of leadership, stating he would have bound and place in-front of a lion anyone suggesting he assume the position. Once Yehoshua ben Perachya became Nasi this changed and he declared himself ready to throw a container of boiling water to destroy anyone that would try to remove him from the position. He noted a similar change by King Shuel who at first tried avoiding the kingship but later became so jealous of the possibility of Dovid dethroning him that he wished to kill him.

[edit] Escape from Yani

When Yani became king he got influenced by the Tzidukim and went on a rampage killing all the Torah Sages. Yehoshua ben Perachiah fled to Alexandria, Egypt with some of his students to avoid getting killed. Shimon ben Shetach, a student of Yehoshua ben Perachya and brother-in-law of King Yani had escaped the massacre, hidden by his sister Queen Shlomtzion. When things subsided, Shimon ben Shetach emerged from hiding and eventual managed to change Yani's perception of the Sages. He then sent a codded message to his master Yehoshua ben Perachya, informing him the danger had past and it was safe to return to Yerushalaim.

[edit] The Message

Shimon ben Shetach wrote "From me Yerushalim the holy city to Alexandria of Egypt, my sister, my husband dwells amongst you and I am sitting empty".

[edit] Yeshu Hanotzri

Yeshu was one of the students that fled with Yehoshua ben Perachya to Alexandria.

[edit] Excommunication

On their return trip they stopped at an inn, whose hostess treated Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachya with great respect. Yehoshua ben Perachya complemented her to his students saying how nice the innkeeper was, in reference to her hospitality and actions. Yeshu taking the remark at face value, responded how it was not true since her eyes were round. Yehoshua ben Perachya was startled how one of his main students was not Shomer Anyim and looked at women, let alone how Yeshu could bring himself to say such a thing in public and before his teacher. In a way, this was a sign of bigger spiritual descents that Yeshu must have gone through while in Egypt. Due to this incident, Yehoshua ben Perachya excommunicated Yeshu, using a shofar to solidify the severance.

[edit] Rejection

Each day Yeshu would come to Yehoshua ben Perachya and beseech him to remove the excommunication but his request was rejected. Eventually Yehoshua ben Perachya agreed to forgive Yeshu, deciding to do so the following day. At that same time Yeshu concluded that were he to be rejected one more time, he would give up. As it happened, Yeshu entered the room just as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachya put his hand over his eyes covering them as is customary for the first verse of Shema. Yeshu mistook this gesture, thinking that once again his teacher was waving him away, in despair he went ahead began serving idolatry.

[edit] False Messiah

As time went by Yeshu descended lower and lower, gathering around him ignorant people whom he attracted through the 'miracles' he performed via the use of practical Kabbalah and witchcraft. Yeshu caused many of his followers to sin and scoff at the authority of the Sages. At one point Yehoshua ben Perachya approached his former student and asked him to repent. Yeshu refused quoting a teaching that he had heard from Yehoshua ben Prachya himself; that one who sins and causes others to sin, is no longer given the opportunity to repent.

[edit] Teachings

Yehoshua ben Perachya is known for his teachings in the first chapter of Avos. He says "Create for yourself a mentor, purchase for yourself a friend and judge every person to the side of merit".

[edit] Create For Yourself a Teacher

Best to steadily learn from one master rather then constantly changing teachers, each who teaches using a different style.

[edit] Purchase a Friend

Good to have friends even if it means buying them though spending money on them and purchasing them gifts.

[edit] Judge Favorably

If you see someone performing an action that might be negative but can also have favorable explanation, assume that he is doing good and is not committing a sin.

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