Targum Onkelos and Pirke de Rav Eliezer

Onkelos who is called Akilas in the Talmud, he converted to Judaism right before the Bar-Kochva revolt, and was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef (17 – 137 CE.), a Tannaitic generation of the latter part of 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century. In his work, “Treasures of the Talmud” (Jerusalem: Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 2007) Paul Isaac Hershon says: “the Targum of Pentateuch (Targum Onkelos) was executed by Onkelos the proselyte at the dictation of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua … Onkelos the proselyte is said to have been a relative of Titus, and that before he abjured paganism and became a proselyte … He therefore embraced Judaism.” (see the Talmud Bavli, Gittin 56b.)

Meanwhile, Rabbi Eliezer ha-Gadol/ the Great, son of Hyrcanus (45 – 117 CE) who wrote Pirke de Rav Eliezer was one of the most prominent Tannaim of the 1st and 2nd centuries. However, Onkelos transmitted the rabbinic knowledge of Rabbi Eliezer ha-Gadol and both represented a link in the heritage of the Torah she be’al phe (the Oral Torah). In fact, the Targum Onkelos was written in Judeo-Aramaic during the end of the 2nd century ( 2 CE.) after the writing process of the Pirke de Rav Eliezer.

Amazingly, according to Pirke de Rav Eliezer, Abraham made a burnt-offering, THE QURBAN, and he took with him Ishmael (the first-born son of Abraham) and Eliezer (son in-law of Abraham); and in fact Ishmael also knew that vision. Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus said:

השכים אברהם בבקר ולקח את ישמעאל ואת אליעזר ….. ואני הוא בכורו ואני יורש את אברהם …

” Hishkin Avraham be-boqer ve laqach et Yishmael ve et Eliezer …. Ve ani hu bechoro ve ani yoresh et Avraham… “

(Abraham rose up early in the morning and he took with him Ishmael and Eliezer …. I am his first-born son, I will inherit the possessions of Abraham … )

Rashi (1040 – 1105 CE.) also said that Abraham took Ishmael and Eliezer to make the Qurban. Rashi explained that the Hebrew words of Sefer Bereshit 22:3 את שני נעריו (et shenei na’araiv) SES DEUX JEUNES GENS Ismael et Eliezer (his two young men Ishmael and Eliezer), see Chamisha Chumshe Torah. Le Pentateuque avec commentaires de Rachi et notes explicatives en cinq volumes suivis des Haphtorath avec Targum Onqelos (Paris: 1979), p. 133

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