Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus

Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus was a wealthy landowner from a family based in the area around Yavneh (Jabneh). He married to Ima Shalom, the sister of his old Jerusalem classmate,  Rabban Gamaliel. He was evidently prominent as a student of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai’s while in Jerusalem, as he is named, along with Rabbi Yehoshua, as having helped to smuggle his teacher out of the city during the Roman siege (70 CE). His school was in Lod and he was Rabbi Akiva’s teacher. In our texts, Rabbi Eliezer is depicted as a staunch advocate for following the “original intent” of the Torah and its author, and as an opponent of the interpretative creativity and consensus as a means of legal decision making championed by Rabbi Yehoshua. The texts on this site which feature Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus may be found under:

Sukkah in the Sun

The Sotah Ordeal

Burning the Torah

Arrested for Heresy

Tanur shel Achnai (“Oven of Achnai”)

The Death of Rabbi Eliezer

 

An English translation of the passage depicting Yehoshua and Eliezer smuggling Yohanan ben Zakkai out of Jerusalem may be found at:

http://www.halakhah.com/gittin/gittin_56.html