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Simon ben Yohai

Born: fl. 2nd c. AD
Died: fl. 2nd c. AD
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Palestine
Executive summary: Galilean Rabbi, Sifre

Simon (or Simeon) ben Yohai, flourished in the 2nd century AD, a Galilean Rabbi, one of the most eminent disciples of Aqiba. His master was executed by Hadrian, and Simon's anti-Roman sentiments led to his own condemnation by Varus circa 161 AD (according to Graetz). He escaped this doom and dwelt for some years in a cavern. Emerging from concealment, Simon settled in Tiberias and in other Galilean cities. He acquired a reputation as a worker of miracles, and on this ground was sent to Rome as an envoy, where (legend tells) he exorcised from the emperor's daughter a demon who had obligingly entered the lady to enable Simon to effect his miracle. This Rabbi bore a large part in the fixation of law, and his decisions are frequently quoted. To him were attributed the important legal homilies called Sifre and Mekhilta, and above all the Zohar, the Bible of the Kabbalah. This latter ascription is altogether unfounded, the real author of this mystical commentary on the Pentateuch being Moses de Leon.

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