Simeon the Yemenite (Hebrew: שמעון התֵּימָנִי, translit: Shimon HaTeimani) or the variant Simeon of Timnah (Hebrew: שמעון התִּימְנִי, romanizedShimon HaTimni) (fl. c. 80 - 120 CE)[1] was a third-generation Tanna of possible Yemenite origin who was active in Judaea.[2]


He was one of the three Simeons who were considered among the great "students" of the generation before the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the other two being Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma.[3] His teachers were Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon.[4][5] He had a daily study session with Judah ben Baba.[6] His teachings recorded in the Mishnah and Baraitot generally refer to matters of Halakhah, only a few being of an Aggadic nature.[4] Renowned for his ability to solve complex issues,[7] he was one of the most important sages of the Sanhedrin in Jabneh and was among the few who were proficient in seventy languages.[4] He reportedly died at a young age before gaining ordination and is therefore never referred to as "Rabbi".[7]

He is noted for saying: "A bastard is anyone who is born from an [illegal] union for which his parents are liable to kareth",[8] and which teaching comes to exclude a single parent who gave birth to a child outside of wedlock, and whose child is often wrongly called "bastard" under common law.


There is a dispute regarding Rabbi Simeon's origin, whether he was from Yemen or from the Judean town of Timnah. This is due to a variant reading of the Hebrew word "תימני‎" which can either be pronounced as "Teimani" or "Timni". A reference in tractate Ketubot is identified by Adin Steinsaltz as being "Shimon HaTimni", named so after his native town of Timnah.[4] This is a position taken by earlier commentators, such as Rashi (Ta'anit 19a), Bartenura (Mishnah Ta'anit 3, 7) and Machzor Vitri.[9] Steinsaltz suggest's he was active in his hometown, though he seems to have spent much of his time in the academy at Jabneh.[4] Other commentators believe this tanna was from Yemen, a view taken by Jacob Emden.[10] One attempt to reconcile the issue based on a list of tannaim prepared by Maimonides suggests that there were in fact two rabbis, one from Yemen and one from Timnah.[11] Another view suggests that he was from Teman, an important city of ancient Edom,[12] a view ratified by the Jewish Encyclopedia which calls him "Simeon of Teman".[13]

Selection of teachings


  1. ^ Shimon Applebaum (1976). Prolegomena to the study of the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135). British Archaeological Reports. p. 21. ISBN 9780904531398. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  2. ^ Lee I. Levine (1 December 1994). The Galilee in late antiquity. Jewish Theological Seminary of America. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-674-34114-2. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  3. ^ Gedalia Alon (June 1977). The Jews in their land in the Talmudic age, 70-640 C.E. Magnes Press, the Hebrew University. p. 475. ISBN 9789652234681. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e Adin Steinsaltz (23 November 1993). The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition : Tractate Ketubot. Random House. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-679-42694-3. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  5. ^ Y. M. Lau (2006). Rav Lau on Pirkei Avos: A Comprehensive Commentary on Ethics of the Fathers. Mesorah Publications. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-4226-0069-6.
  6. ^ Mireille Hadas-Lebel (1 December 2006). Jerusalem against Rome. Peeters Publishers. p. 281. ISBN 978-90-429-1687-6. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b Yosaif Asher Weiss (2007). A daily dose of Torah. Artscroll-Mesorah Publications. p. 228. ISBN 978-1-4226-0601-8.
  8. ^ Mishnah Yebamot 4:13; Babylonian Talmud, Yebamot 49a
  9. ^ Nezikin Mishnah; Gavriel Finkel; Yehezkel Danziger (30 March 2007). The Mishnah. Mesorah Publications. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-4226-0521-9. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  10. ^ Yehudah Leṿi Naḥum; Joseph Tobi (1981). מיצירות ספרותיות מתימן. הוצאת מפעל חשיפת גנזי תימן. p. 110.
  11. ^ שמעון התִּימְנִי או שמעון התֵּימָנִי,
  12. ^ סלומון רובין (1888). מעשה מרכבה: אשר חזה הנביא יחזקאל : מבואר ברוח הבקרת החדשה בשני ספרים. בדפוס של געארג בראג.
  13. ^ "Simeon of Teman". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  14. ^ Fordham University (1992). Thought. Fordham University Press. p. 415.
  15. ^ Leo Auerbach (2005). The Babylonian Talmud in Selection. Kessinger Publishing. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-4191-1951-4.