Jehuda Ben-ilai

Jehuda Ben-Ilai a Tanaite of the 2d century, and teacher of the famous Judah hak-Kodesh (q.v.), was a cooper by trade. While he spent his days in manual labor, he spent his nights in persevering study. After attaining the degree of rabbi, he still labored at his trade. So far from being ashamed of this, he gloried in it, and used sometimes to have a tub or hogshead of his own workmanship brought into the lecture-room, which he used as a pulpit. His honest integrity procured him the title of ha-chasid, or "the Just." In the department of Scripture exposition he paid particular attention to the third book of Moses, or Leviticus, and it is considered that the book " Sifra" was first composed by him, though more fully elaborated afterwards. See Hamburger, Real-Encyklop. 2:452 sq.; Bacher, Die Agada der Tanaten (Strasburg, 1884), page 101, 128, 199, 235, 246, 267, 291, 441. (B.P.)

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