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The economic situation in the Land of Israel from the second century AD onwards - chapter four - literal royal cradle

This chapter, like the previous one, is not only a logical continuation of its predecessors, but brings together within it the connection between land intensity and capital and government.

A reconstruction of the biblical persimmon perfume, from the exhibition "Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis Exhibition", 2014. The president had large areas of land, such as in the Ein Gedi area, where they produced the all-important persimmon perfume, and in this context the sources said that "there is no blessing - a creator Trees in perfumes' - but about the persimmon of the House of Rabbi (Yehuda the President), and about the persimmon of the House of Caesar" (Berachot XNUMX p. XNUMX) to teach us about the wealth of the House of the Presidency, about its close ties with the Roman government and those that fostered an interesting economic precedent for the production of the persimmon perfume , and which is known to be considered a highly guarded professional secret, one that was passed down from generation to generation (until the seventh century AD at least), in the possession of Jewish production workers. Photo: Deror avi / Wikimedia.
Reconstruction of the biblical persimmon perfume. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi had large tracts of land, such as in the area of ​​Ein Gedi, where they produced the all-important persimmon perfume, and in this context the sources said that "There is no blessing - 'creator of trees in the sky' - except for the persimmon of Beit Rabbi (Yehuda Hanasi), and for persimmon of Caesar's House" (Berakhot XNUMX p. XNUMX) to teach us about the wealth of the Presidential House, about its close ties with the Roman government and those that fostered an interesting economic precedent for the production of persimmon perfume, and which is known to be considered a highly guarded professional secret, one that was passed down from generation to generation (until the seventh century CE At least), with the permission of Jewish production workers. Photo: Deror avi / Wikimedia.

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This phenomenon intensifies especially during the presidency of Rabbi Yehuda, who took advantage of his family's wealth much more than his predecessors, vast land-agricultural and industrial wealth of vineyards, plantations and production centers since the days of Hillel the father of the family. And as the sources indicate about "Tarin (couple or couples) Alfin Dashnin" as his marriages. Rabbi Yehuda did well to improve his wealth also on the background of his marriage to a very affluent family, namely the Elasha family, and he was even known as the one who forged courageous ties with the Roman authorities and from this he became rich in unprecedented proportions and in his estates the method of intensive cultivation was carried out well. And let's not forget that this figure who stood firmly at the head of the Sanhedrin was investigated by the Roman authorities in terms of the divide and rule on the one hand and the realization of the saying that a righteous person's work is done by others on the other hand.

I am sorry that I am a decent fighter in the personal myth that has accumulated about this president, but the truth is given and must be told.

And this is to point out that Rabbi Yehuda the Hanasi is depicted in my opinion as an assertive, regal and even somewhat messianic figure and in general exceptional from all the members of the presidential dynasty since the days of the father of the dynasty, he is praiseworthy in his own right. And I would not commit a similar sin if I say that his accumulated and developing wealth allowed him to behave as he did. Modesty in any case was not characterized as one of his personal qualities and for good reason, unlike his predecessors to the presidency (with the exception of the rebellious-usurpatory title of Ben Khosva who called himself "president") he did not call himself the title "rabbi" but he was the first to add the title "president" to his name; Second, more than his predecessors he developed special and close ties with the Roman authorities; Thirdly, on the other hand, he forged secret and dangerous connections with the kingdom of Persia, who was the sworn and bitter enemy of Rome; Fourthly, he took an almost active side in the difficult confrontation between the emperor Septimius Severus and the claimant to the crown and the competitor for the emperorship Pascanius Niger, which could have cost him his presidential crown and "was only satisfied" with the loss of many agricultural lands in the Lod area; Fifth, he was involved, and probably not only indirectly, in the elimination of senior officials in Rome, those who surrounded the emperor; Sixth, he made sure that the city of Tiberias was freed from the burden of taxes for the Romans and thus reaped huge profits due to his properties in the area; Seventh, what may seem strange on the face of it, but not so in my opinion, the whole enterprise of signing the sub-sign with his personal seal, is intended, among other things, to commemorate his works, as someone who "stares" well in the issues discussed in the Sanhedrin. And I would not be surprised if these served his economic and public-political goals.

It is not for nothing that in this context the amplified proverb was published as follows: "From the time of Moses to the time of Rabbi (Yehuda the President) we did not find (we found) a great Torah in one place" (Talmud Babli Gitin net p. XNUMX). In other words, there is an unprecedented comparison between the Torah and the Mishnah on the one hand and between Moshe and Rabbi Yehuda the Hanasi on the other. Perhaps there is nothing more appropriate than this metaphor to present the authoritarian and sanctified majesty of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi. Moreover, it was not for nothing that long and detailed chapters were dedicated in the Mishnah about the second temple, its accessories, its priests, its order of work and more. This hints at the hidden ambition of the aforementioned president to raise up the temple and stand at its head just as David and Solomon planned for the first temple.

The lands of Judea were expropriated by the emperors Vespasian and his son Titus at the end of the great rebellion (73-70 CE) and became Praedium Caesaris, that is, imperial property, as an inseparable part of the internal struggles in Rome between the empire and the senate, the main of which was political and economic, and we have already mentioned above, In one of the episodes of the current series, we discussed the phenomenon of the "troublemakers", who received shares in these former lands as absolute property - Optimo Iure - which were later purchased by Jews, and we also pointed out the nature of the imperial lands throughout the Roman Empire, through the Antonine period to the Syrian one, until 235 AD . These were therefore the imperial estates that were given in cradles and became royal cradles as the Sage literature puts it and the workers in them were called "royal cradles".

After Shukh Mard Ben Kusaba (135 CE), there were still lands that were leased to those Irisi-Mishna, such as "the tenant of a field from the Kuthi (Samarian) tithes (fulfills the obligation of tithes) and gives it to him, and weighs it for the (imperial or municipal) treasury, weighs it for Kitron (lest Shibush from a cantor - a senior military commander), tithes and gives to him" (Tosefta Demai 3:XNUMX). That is, they obliged him to tithe so that he would push himself and redeem her from the stranger.

Rabbi Yehuda referred to you by saying: "The one who receives the field of his ancestors (in an inheritance of many years) from (the harasser) who is alienated from the tithe and gives it to him" (Demai 2:XNUMX).

However, land remained, which belonged to the property of the Roman Empire on the eve of the rebellion, and for some of it the president, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, received the rights of a senior contractor, and he used to supply vegetables and fruits to the Roman government, what is known as Usus Fructus, meaning the right to enjoy fruits, which was acceptable After land confiscation following rebellions.

In connection with this, it seems, the president used to meet with a senior Roman figure, whose nickname in the sources was "Antoninus". Perhaps the emperor or perhaps a high-ranking personality, and as a result he would provide radishes, zucchini and horseradish to that personality, and in another place we read about the provision of "firstborns for the kingdom" (Yerushalmi Meshar Shani chapter XNUMX nd p. XNUMX) to that Antoninus.

He had at his disposal, no less and no more, a sort of police force that assisted him personally in the enforcement and execution of the sentences he passed on those who were brought to trial before him. The people of this power were called by the Sages with the terrible name "Katzuzi" and the one who understands will understand. These, according to his order, would beat those who were defined as those who refused the trial, that is, who did not come to trial. This police power was given to him by the Roman authorities. In addition to that, the president had a company of bodyguards at his disposal, perhaps in light of their German origin they came up with the name "Goths", and those who insulted the president and talked about him were rewarded by those "envoys of the law". In Betaim, one of the greatest Amorites in Tiberias, he was Rish Lakish, was forced to flee from those bullets to the nearby Migdal or Kfar Hitim.

Moreover, the President had large tracts of land, such as in the Ein Gedi area, where they produced the all-important persimmon perfume, and in this context the sources stated that "there is no blessing - 'creator of trees in the sky' - except for the persimmon of Beit Rabbi (Yehuda the President), and Persimmon of the Caesar's House" (Berakhot XNUMX p. XNUMX) to teach us about the wealth of the Presidential Palace, about its close ties with the Roman government and those that fostered an interesting economic precedent for the production of persimmon perfume, and which is known to be considered a highly guarded professional secret, one that was passed down from generation to generation (until the seventh century to S. at least), with the permission of Jewish production workers. Furthermore, knowing that the Romans made sure that everything involved in the production of the persimmon perfume would be left in their possession as an imperial property, the above-mentioned move holds a first-rate economic and public significance.

It should be noted that the president had other estates in Beit Govrin, Beit Shaarim, Keneth (Kenuta) in Horan, in Lod, in the Tiberias area and in Bnei Brak, which he would visit from time to time for the purpose of supervision and audit. The sources tell of the president's "twenty-odd threats". These are probably estates or agricultural villas.

Those territories of the president's residences were adjacent to Roman colonies, some of them military, which teaches about the dimensions of supervision exercised by the Roman authorities in the country and to the same extent this proximity was tied to the obligation to meet the needs of the colonies.

In order to regulate the rights and duties of the royal eunuchs, the Roman authorities made sure to establish legislation accordingly. Due to the heavy taxes and the dwindling population, which caused land to be abandoned and abandoned, the Roman authorities tried to influence the inhabitants to renew the cultivation of the land by withdrawing favorable terms of leases and leases, which in fact amount to ownership of the land. This situation led to the spread of Hellenistic cradle methods, which in return required the haris to cultivate the land for at least five years.

This policy gave rise to an agricultural-legal concept called "world cradles". We were cradles inheriting all her rights and obligations. Because of this, all the laws of possession that were changed in our time took on a special meaning against the background of the terms of the bindings in the Hellenistic-Roman style.

In Roman documents, terms such as Agri Deserti or Agri Captivi appear, that is, abandoned lands and captive lands. These terms are crossed in an interesting correlation between Hazal terms such as "properties of captives", "properties of Netushin" and "properties of Retoshin" (refer to articles on this matter), which are characterized in the sources regarding the territories of Judah after the suppression of the revolt of Ben Kusaba (135 AD), and it is interesting that President Raban Shimon ben Gamaliel refers to this issue as "afkeata demelka", that is, an imperial confiscation (Bava Metzia Lech p. XNUMX, Lt p. XNUMX), and the possibility cannot be ruled out that some of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi's estates were included in this category, which is depicted as a social moral disgrace from the perspective of the Presidency .

The Jerusalem Talmud tells of Rabbi Simeon who had fields on Mount Hamelech (imperial land), or "vineyard planters" (Yerushalmi Avoda Zerah chapter XNUMX m. p. XNUMX), who was probably a kind of conductor, we mean a contractor, and that the areas were owned by him, all according to the same Hellenistic-Roman legislation.

In this context, Sage sources attest to the term "retirement home tenants", or "retirement home tenants", when we are talking about irris who testified the right of irris to their sons after them. These were first landowners who sold their fields to others because of the oppression in order for them and their sons to settle in them, or whose fields were expropriated by the Romans and bought by the owners who were not farmers.

The title of the chapter - "Literally a royal crib" - its one meaning - crib areas that were given to Rabbi Yehuda the President in cribs from the Roman authorities, and on the other hand - land areas owned by the presidency whose head acted like a king in everything.

The harris of all kinds

Eris He is the one who receives land from the owner in order to cultivate it and give the owner a proportional share of the annual harvest, which is called in Roman terminology Colonus Partiarius. This form of farm cultivation was most common in the period in question and mainly due to the intensive nature of the farm, and the same two phenomena: the integration of Greeks and Romans into the agricultural economy and the policy of encouraging the productive forces on behalf of the Roman Empire contributed to the widespread presence of the Arisas.

To anchor the phenomenon of the sheaves, the sources give the following: "He who receives a field from Israel, from the foreigner, and from the Kuthi (tilled it with the sheaves, who gives the owners half, a third, or a quarter of the grain) shall divide it before them (he shall divide the grain with a threshing floor and place their portion before the owners of the field and is not required to set aside a contribution and tithes from it, that the grain he gives them is not his (Damai XNUMX:XNUMX), and how interesting it is to highlight the Sanhedraic permit in order to facilitate the very existence of the Harris.

During the period, the plowing/lease contract between the owner and Harris was formed, including the former's obligation to the owner (half, a third, or a quarter of the harvest), the question of the tithe obligation that arises, for example, in the Dead Sea certificates of Ben Khosva, the matter of the agricultural property involved in Harris's work - what belongs to the owner and what to Harris, and more.

During this period, various forms of marriage contracts were regulated and established, and therefore the sources of the Sages emphasized the fact that "there is no difference from the custom of the state (namely, the city and the region)" (Tosefta Baba Matziyya 11:4 ff.), and in general Rabbi Yehuda testified that "they do not write binding deeds (contracts) and receipts (contractual works) on time. Rabbi Yehuda Matir, lest we be preceded by another" (Tosefta Baba Metzia 3:XNUMX and Tosefta Moed Ketan XNUMX:XNUMX). That is, for the benefit of continuing to increase production and increasing employment, and perhaps also the intention of increasing the Jewishness of employment. And in general, the intention of the legislator was in connection with the intensive activity on the ground.

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the one whose many lands were worked by haris, found himself referring to the above paragraph as holding that the land owner's rights regarding the haris would automatically pass to the new owners in the event of a land sale, just like in Roman law (The Struggle for the Land p. 32).

It should be noted that in order to make the lives of the Harisim easier and in accordance with the intensive nature of the economy, President Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel made it easier for the Harisim to actually get loans at interest. And Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi took another bold step in this direction and installed a regulation abolishing the de facto usury client.

This president strove to cancel the mitzvah of Shmita, even though it was a mitzvah from the Torah, and thus adapted it to the intensive system in general and in his estates in particular.

lessee He was the one who received land from the owner in order to cultivate it and raise a fixed amount of grain and fruits from the harvest for the owner. In the second Mishna we read that "the tenant of a field from Israel donates and gives to him (contributes a contribution from the grain that belongs to the tenant, but the sages of the Sanhedrin did not oblige him to enrich it, because they sought to make it easier for the tenant and said that the owner of the field will enrich what is received, but in the matter of the donation they did not make it easier" (Damai 1:XNUMX) The Jerusalem Talmud refers to this Mishna in its claim that "the tenant of a field from the gentile donates and gives it to him. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel says: What if this gentile wishes not to donate his fruits, he is not allowed, but divides and puts it before him" (Yerushalmi Damai, chapter XNUMX, p. XNUMX ) that is, they make the tenant's life easier.

In another place, the Mishnah is changed: "The tenant takes a field from the foreigner and gives it to him." Rabbi Yehuda says: Even the one who receives the field of his ancestors (which was once his or his family's) from the foreigner tithes and gives it to him" (Demai 2:XNUMX) and the same applies to the lease from the Roman army, when it is clear that these are lands confiscated by the army at the time. The charging of the provision for tithes is intended to guarantee, even if theoretically, the feeling of future return to the owner.

Another figure in the Arisatian agricultural economy was The tenant. This is about someone who takes land from the owner by paying a yearly fee (location in Latin terminology). It is interesting that both the Latin and Sage sources warn against this phenomenon, which is not healthy for both parties.

Another character, more common, is the hired, when the common reality was a three-year lease. This phenomenon was an outgrowth of the difficult economic situation that prevailed after the Great Rebellion and the Rebellion of Ben Kusva. The usual reality was a three-year lease, but according to the nature of the intensive farm, it was observed, and with great justification, to see "hourly workers", those who were hired for seasonal work on the farm, such as in the grape vineyard and the olive grove. And due to the fact that such laborers were consumed by the intensive economy, the sages of the Sanhedrin tended to ease their position by referring, for example, to the rental contract signed between the seasonal laborer and the owner and which was drafted according to "state custom" as the sources highlight.

Chazal sources reveal different types of employees usually based on the temporary basis such as: "Sabbath employee", "weekly employee", "monthly employee", "yearly employee".

Another figure that appears in the sources is the "Peasant” As someone who was subordinate to the owner of the house, and for his lack of professionalism he is sometimes called an "artisan farmer", perhaps one connected to some professional association.

Also remembered "Implants” who specialized in planting and sometimes even in grain.


So "what did we have?" A brave combination of capital and government and no less brave the connection between a great Halachic judge of his generation and his private businesses, and of course we are talking about the great of the Taniim and the great of the Presidents, Rabbi Yehuda the Hanasi. So what did we say? - There is nothing new under the sun.

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