Yoseiph: The Hidden Tzadiq

  • NETZARIM RECONSTRUCTION OF THE HEBREW MATIYTAHU, Text 1:18: Yoseiph, her betrothed man,1.18.4 was a tzadiq.1.19.1
In most English translations of the Xtian text, "Joseph" is referred to as a "just man," which is nice but does not quite convey the richness of the Hebrew tzadiq. 

Paqid Yirmeyahu refers to one set of meanings in his notes (NHM 1:19.1): the tzadiq is a righteous man who is generous to the poor. Gifts to those in need are referred to as tzedeqah, which puts such generosity in the context of  "justice" rather than "charity."

Paqid Yirmeyahu refers to another meaning in the glossary item for tzadiq (See "T" in Attached to a name, it refers to the leader of a particular Torah community. This is a common practice among the kharedim and has been adopted by the Netzarim. Thus, the first paqid after the death of Ribi Yehoshua was Yaaqov ha-Tzadiq while the current paqid is Yirmeyahu  ha-Tzadiq. 

In Xtian tradition, Jxsus is preternaturally bright and learned, no thanks to either "Mary" or "Joseph" who are portrayed in Xtian literature as poor folk who are baffled by his learning. Joseph, who is understood to be a minor character, is portrayed literally as carpenter, an uneducated man who makes a living with his hands. However, if the more authentic Yoseiph was a tzadiq, in either sense of the word, he most certainly played a role in what young Yehoshua knew and how he learned it. The idea that Yoseiph might have been the titular head of a Torah community is tantalizing. It makes Yehoshua's emergence much more understandable. — Yosi

1 comment:

Paqid Yirmeyahu said...

Nice post! I'll try to help get the ball rolling: Xn readers might recognize their own Hellenized version of Yaaqov ha-Tzadiq ("James, the Just").