Rabbis Versus Harmful Mice

Two Talmudic Stories on Rabbi Pinhas Ben Yair Capability of Controlling Mice


  • Abraham Ofir Shemesh




Talmudic Stories, Mice, Pest


This study discusses two stories in Jerusalem Talmud on R. Pinḥhas ben Yair who controls mice and forces them to gather in one place and to do his wishes. The two stories have in common their demonstration of the learned sage’s power to utilize miracles to deal with a harmful animal, thereby saving the people. The "decree" issued by R. Pinḥas ben Yair is permissible kind of ḥover ḥaver as it operates within the framework of Jewish rules and does not contain forbidden supernatural elements customary in the pagan world.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Abraham Ofir Shemesh


Prof. Abraham Ofir Shemesh,  Ph.D
 Chairman, Israel Heritage Department
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Ariel University
P.O.B. 3,  Ariel 40700


ADAMSON, Mary Troxclair. The Legend of the Pied Piper in the in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Grimm, Browning, Skurzynski. The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children Literature, n. 17, v. 1, 2013. Online: https://www.lib.latrobe.edu.au/ojs/index.php/tlg/article/view/390/383/. Access: 12 dec. 2019.

ALBECK, Ḥanoch. Mishnah. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Mossad Biyalik and Dvir, 1952.

ARISTOTLE. Historia Animalium [=History of Animals]. Translated by A. L. Peck, Loeb Classical Library 437. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965.

BABYLONIAN TALMUD. Vilna: The Widow and Brothers Romm, 1882.

CUCCHI, Thomas, VIGNE, Jean-Denis and AUFFRAY, Jean-Christophe. First occurrence of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus Schwarz & Schwarz, 1943) in the Western Mediterranean: A zooarchaeological revision of subfossil occurrences. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, n. 84, v. 3, p. 429–445, 2005.

DEUTERONOMY RABBAH. Vilna: Reem, 1885-1887.

FELIX, Judah. Nature and Land in the Bible: Chapters in Biblical Ecology. Jerusalem: Reuven Mass, 1992.

FRANKEL, Zecharia. Mavo Hayerushalmi. Jerusalem: Anonymous Publisher, 1967. [Heb.]

GAFNI, Isaiah. The Jews of Babylonia in the Talmudic Era – A Social and Cultural History. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 1990.

HARARI, Yuval. Early Jewish Magic: Study, Method, Sources. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 2010.

HERODOTUS, The Histories. Translated by A. D. Godley. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1920.

JASTROW, Marcus. A dictionary of the Targumim, The Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature. London: Luzac and New York: G. Putnam's Sons, 1903.

JERUSALEM TALMUD. Venice: Daniel Bomberg, 1523.

LIEBERMAN, Saul. Greek and Hellenism in Jewish Palestine. Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1963.

MARGALIOTH, Mordechai. Encyclopedia of Talmudic and Geonic Literature. Tel Aviv: Yavne and Sifre Hemed, 2000.

MIEDER, Wolfgang. Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature. Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1987. p. 45-83.

NEUSNER, Jacob. Narrative and Document in the Rabbinic Canon. v. II: The Two Talmuds. Lanham: University of America, 2010.

NISSAN, Ephraim. A supposed snake-lizard hybrid, and the motif of its dying after biting R. Ḥanina b. Dosa. Korot, n. 23, p. 257-294, 2015-2016.

PESIKTA RABBATI. Meir Ish-Shalom edition. Vienna: Joseph Keizer, 1880.

RAPOPORT, Shlomo Yehudah. Erech Milin. Prague: Landau,1852.

RETSÖ, Jan. The Arabs in Antiquity: Their History from the Assyrians to the Umayyads. Routledge: London and New York, 2003.

SCHWARTZ, Joshua. Cats in Ancient Jewish Society. Journal of Jewish Studies, n. 52, p. 211-234, 2001.

SHEMESH, Abraham Ofir. 'And God gave Solomon wisdom': Proficiency in ornithomancy. HTS Teologiese Studies-Theological Studies, v. 1, n. 74, 2018. Online: https://hts.org.za/index.php/hts/article/view/4904. Access: 20 dec. 2019.

SHEMESH, Abraham Ofir. The Attitude towards Insects and Reptiles in Jewish Literature and in the Ancient Cultures: Speculation and Comparison. Maim me-Daliav, n. 16 p. 47-73, 2005.

URBACH, Ephraim E. The Rabbis: Doctrines and Beliefs. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1969.

ZUCKERMANDEL, Moses Samuel. Tosefta. Jerusalem: Bamberger and Wahrmann, 1937.




Como Citar

Ofir Shemesh, A. . (2020). Rabbis Versus Harmful Mice: Two Talmudic Stories on Rabbi Pinhas Ben Yair Capability of Controlling Mice. Arquivo Maaravi: Revista Digital De Estudos Judaicos Da UFMG, 14(27), 86–95. https://doi.org/10.35699/1982-3053.2020.24632