Gemara Shabbos 20a and in other locations mentions כמאכל בן דרוסאי Rashi explains that Ben Drosai was a thief who ate his food when it was only cooked 1/3. Did Ben Drosai have some sort of Zechus that his name is often mentioned when it comes to Halchaos of Bishul on Shabbos?

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    Is there a precedent for saying that anyone whose name is invoked when discussing halacha must have some zechus to merit it? Might it just be for the fact that he was well known and so his name/practice was a convenient shorthand or a common phrase? – rosends Oct 22 '12 at 15:20
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    @Dan, I don't know about in Halacha, but certainly people discuss what zechus Balak and Korach had to get Parshios named after them. – Hod - Monica's Army Oct 22 '12 at 16:21
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    I have heard that -- anyone whose name is listed in the torah, but not about the gemara. – rosends Oct 22 '12 at 16:24
  • I do not know how this helps the question, however the Rama M'Pano says that Ben Drosai was a Gilgul of Chofni the son of Aili – Gershon Gold Oct 22 '12 at 18:27
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    @HodofHod Simply emphasizing that there is no room for further dialogue between us on this topic, given that matters have been reduced to the irreducible dichotomy of a joke I grew up with, being your belief. – mevaqesh Aug 17 '16 at 3:42

The Yerushalmi in question is in Avodah Zarah 4:4 Prof. Shamma Friedman has written about the historical Ben D'rsai (who based on the Yerushalmi was not a Jew).

According to this article, Rashi assumes that he was a thief, based on logic and not tradition. Based on the Yerushami, he was a person who aided Rav Yochanan to remove idolatry.

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According to our Maggid Shiur, the Talmud Yerushalmi claims that Ben Drosai sinned by worshiping idols.

In order to repent, he decided to start stealing from Avoda Zara; thus becoming a "hero" of a thief.

I cannot find any reference to this story by searching the Yerushalmi, though.

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