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ZADOK (late first century B.C.E. and early first century C.E.), Palestinian tanna. Zadok was of priestly descent, and is known to have officiated in the Temple. On one occasion, when two priests disputed the right of precedence in offering a sacrifice and one stabbed the other, Zadok quietened the excited congregation by delivering an address, taking as his text Deuteronomy 31:1 (Tosef. Yoma 1:12). In the later talmudic aggadot about the destruction of Jerusalem, Zadok is described as having foreseen the destruction of the Temple, and fasted for 40 years in an attempt to prevent it. According to these traditions, his exertions so weakened him that *Johanan b. Zakkai found it necessary to ask Vespasianus, the Roman commander, to supply a physician for him (Git. 56b; Lam. R. 1:5). After the fall of Jerusalem, Zadok joined with other scholars at *Jabneh, where he issued the few halakhic decisions which are recorded in his name (Eduy. 7:1–5). He seems to have been on terms of personal friendship with *Gamaliel, and held an honored place in his Sanhedrin, where he sat on the patriarch's right (TJ Sanh. 1:7, 19c). The Talmud relates that he once spent a Passover in Gamaliel's house (Pes. 76a) and, together with Eliezer b. Hyrcanus and Joshua b. Ḥananiah, was invited to a banquet which the patriarch gave in Jabneh. On that occasion, he expressed his disapproval of the elaborate manner in which their host was praised by his colleagues, who compared the manner in which he served his guests to that of Abraham as described in Genesis 18:8. Zadok exhorted them to praise God instead (Kid. 32a).

Talmudic tradition reports that although Zadok was a pupil of the school of Shammai, he always made halakhic decisions in accordance with the teachings of the school of Hillel (Yev. 15b). He also taught aggadah, and the Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliyahu ascribes to him sayings concerning the fallen giants, the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, and the Flood. In private life, Zadok was renowned for his piety. Johanan b. Zakkai states that had there been but one other like him the Temple would not have been destroyed (Lam. R. 1:5). His most famous maxim was, "Do not make learning a crown with which to make yourself great, nor a spade with which to dig" (Avot 4:5).

Zadok II

Zadok II was the son of Eliezer and grandson of the above. According to one account, he was taken captive to Rome, where he was sold to an aristocratic household. He was granted his freedom when he refused to marry one of his mistress' beautiful slaves, pleading that he was a member of both a priestly and an influential Jewish family (Kid. 40a).


Bacher, Tann; Hyman, Toledot, 34–36.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.