Why does the Talmud sometimes refer to someone as Ploni ben Ploni, and other times as Ploni bar Ploni?

Classic example:

In Bava Batra 14b the gemara says Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai

In Bar Ilan's edition of Yoma 26b the gemara says Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

  • Great question I have always wondered about that.
    – Josh
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


"Ben" is Hebrew, whereas "Bar" is Aramaic. Thus, a mishnah or braisa discussing RSB"Y will usually use "Ben" and a statement made by an amorah will usually use "Bar".

  • 1
    Is this a rule that is consistent throughout Sha"s?
    – AKayser
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 14:23
  • 5
    @AKayser Probably not, given that printers have combined and disassembled acronyms many times.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 15:09
  • 2
    @ypnypn no amuroim ever called rashbi bar. bring a source for such a statement Commented May 14, 2017 at 20:15

It is very simply because his name in Talmudic texts is ben Yochai and Steinsaltz occasionally misread the acronym רשב"י as bar Yochai. These examples have been corrected on Sefaria and will be, I assume, in the next printing. The Zohar refers to him as bar Yochai frequently, among its many basic grammatical errors, and this has spread to many places.

  • This seems to address the example but not the main question.
    – Harel13
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 11:33
  • Assuming the q is "why does it sometimes use ben/bar [to refer to the same person]" based on the example. And the answer is, no such thing. In my experience there are three categories of people for whom, on the surface, this seems true. (1) Modern reading error, e.g. Shimon ben Yochai. (2) Then-obscure person so there's occasional copyist error, e.g. Shimon ben Koziba. (3) Guys whose fathers had smicha, where the short form of ben R. was occasionally confused for bar, e.g. Judah ben Ilai. In every case the best manuscripts, and usually all manuscripts, are perfectly consistent.
    – user25970
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 4:38

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