Eleazar ha-Kappar

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Rabbinical Eras

Eleazar ha-Kappar (Hebrew: אלעזר הקפר‎, or אליעזר בן הקפר , read as Eliezer ben ha-Kappar, or אלעזר בן הקפר, read as Eleazar ha-Kappar) was a Jewish Tanna sage of the fifth and last generation of the Tannaim era. He was a colleague of Judah haNasi, and was in the company of him occasionally. He spent most of his life at ancient Katzrin. The Mishnah cites him only once, in Pirkei Avot 4:21, where he states that, "Jealousy, lust, and honor remove a man from the world". Despite the infrequency of his citations in the Mishnah, one can learn a lot on his characteristics and activities from the Tannaim Deuterocanonical books. He had negated the Monasticism phenomenon, and condemned the over self boastfulness of mankind. He loved the Land of Israel and lived in it, and saw peace as a principal value. One can learn of these values from his work:

  • "There is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Israel, and no wisdom like the wisdom of Eretz Israel."
  • "Hakham residing in Eretz Israel, and went out of the land, harmed himself"
  • "The synagogues and Beth midrashs in Babylonia will in the time to come be planted in Eretz Israel."
  • "Great is peace, for all blessings conclude with peace."

An important Archaeology finding that was discovered at a Mosque in "Kfar Devora" was a frame-head decorated with two Birds of prey, holding Nosegay in their Beaks. The frame-head bears the inscription:
"זה בית מדרשו שהלרבי אליעזר הקפר"
("This is the Beth midrash [houses of learning] of Rabbi Eliezer ha-Kappar")

This is the only source from the era of the Tannaim that the term "Beth midrash" is cited. The frame-head is exhibited at the Golan Archaeological Museum in Katzrin.