Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai

יוחנן בן זכאי – an 8th century tanna and disciple of Hillel. He had the task of reconstructing the fabric of Jewish life after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. He was not among those who wished to revolt against Rome. He had himself smuggled out of Jerusalem in a coffin in order to negotiate for peace with Vespasian, who was not yet emperor. After the Second Temple’s destruction, ben Zakkai issued ten important ordinances in order to adapt Jewish life and halakha to the new realities of exile, and to perpetuate the memory of the Temple until such a time as it could be rebuilt. The very fact that Jews were able to nurture and develop their national and cultural life in the 2,000 years that followed, attests to the success of his endeavors.

Read more in the Jewish Encyclopedia or at Wikipedia.

Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai
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