BET ẒERIFA, Jewish family of the Second Temple period. According to the Mishnah "there was a family of Bet Ẓerifa in Transjordan and Ben-Zion rejected it by force" (Eduy. 8:7; see also TJ, Yev. 8:3, 9a: TJ, Kid. 4:1, 65c). Scholars are divided as to whether this implies that Ben-Zion (of whom nothing more is known) had it ejected from the priesthood because he questioned its legitimacy. Possibly the learned Judah, son of Sariphaeus (Ẓerifa), who – according to Josephus – incited his disciples to pull down the golden eagle erected by Herod the king over the temple gate, belonged to this family, as well as R. Judah son of Ẓipporai, also known as Ben Ẓerifa.
Jos., Ant., 17:149; Jos., Wars, 1:648; Buechler, in: Festschrift A. Schwarz… (1917), 137ff.; S. Klein, in: MGWJ, 64 (1920), 180ff.; J.N. Epstein, ibid., 65 (1921), 89–90.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.