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Joshua Ben Karha (Hebrew: יהושע בן קרחה‎, Yehoshua ben Karcha (or ben Korcha), was a Jewish Tanna sage of the fourth generation.


He was a colleague of Rabbi Meir and Shimon ben Gamliel II, and a disciple of Rabbi Akiva.

Some believe that he was the son of Rabbi Akiva, who is referred to in the Talmud as the "kere'ah," the "bald-headed one."[1] However, others disagree.[2] He never mentions Akiva in his teachings, and would have done so had Akiva been his father.[3]

Joshua was bald; and once in a dispute with a heretic who taunted him on this score, he refuted his opponent with remarkable readiness of wit.[4]

His affection for his people is shown by the indignation with which he rebuked Eleazar b. Simeon (who had delivered the Jewish criminals over to the Romans): "You vinegar son of wine [= "degenerate scion of a noble father"], how long will you give the people of our God unto death?".[5]

He lived to a great age; and when he blessed Judah haNasi he added the wish that Judah might live half as long as himself.[6]


The Mishnah cites few of Ben Karha's halakhic commentaries in his name, and the few ones that are recorded, are either in context with him[clarification needed] or in conjunction with another Tannaitic sage. Thus, in another reference, the Talmud cites Karha's practice as performed on the authority of Eleazar ben Azariah,[7] and in an additional reference, on the authority of R. Yochanan ben Nuri.[8] Similarly, he gave his halakhic ruling along with R. Jose ben Halafta, in the matter of the construction of Jericho.[9]

In comparison with the few halachic commentaries, many aggadah commentaries are recorded in his name.


  1. ^ Rashi on Bekhorot 58a; Rashbam on Pesachim 112a
  2. ^ Compare Tosafot Pesachim 112a
  3. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, JOSHUA B. ḲARḤA
  4. ^ Shabbat 152a
  5. ^ Bava Metziah 83b
  6. ^ Megillah 28b
  7. ^ "Similarly, R' Yehoshua ben Karcha would declare pure due to [the authority of] R' Eleazar ben Azariah." (Tosefta, Tractate Negaim, 7:3)
  8. ^ Talmud Yerushalmi, Tractate Kil'ayim, 4:2
  9. ^ Talmud Yerushalmi, Tractate Sanhedrin, 14:2

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "JOSHUA B. ḲARḤA". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.