The Gemara in Bava Metzia 62a talks about two people in the desert and who gets the water first. I heard that the character Ben Petura is the Nazarene; can anyone confirm or deny this with a source?

"Two people were traveling, and [only] one of them had a canteen of water. [There was only enough water so that] if both of them drank they would both die, but if one of them drank [only] he would make it back to an inhabited area [and live]. Ben Petura publicly taught: 'Better both should drink and die than that one see his friend's death,' until Rabbi Akiva came and taught: 'Your brother should live with you' (Vayikra 25:36) - your life takes precedence over the life of your friend's.'" (Bava Metzia 62a)

  • Possibly it's a corruption of either בן פנדירא or בן פנטרא as per Jastrow's bio - sefaria.org/…
    – Dov
    May 3, 2022 at 21:03
  • @Dov see my comments
    – robev
    May 4, 2022 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


Definitely not. For one thing, he seems to be identical with Yehudah ben Petiri, quoted in Tosefta Sotah 5:8; while oso ha'ish's personal name was Ye[ho]shua. For another, it is inconceivable that the Gemara would cite a halachah in the name of oso ha'ish without disavowing it; we find R' Eliezer being punished (by being arrested and nearly executed) for listening to and enjoying a halachic analysis by one of his disciples (Avodah Zarah 17a).

Perhaps you're thinking of "Ben Pandira" (in uncensored editions of the Gemara, Shabbos 104b and Sanhedrin 67a), whom some identify with Yoshke.

  • Note that the full phrase ימח שמו וזכרו has the abbreviation ישו which is also the transliteration of the name used for that person. Sep 8, 2017 at 11:21
  • This article suggests they're the same person (Ben Petura and Ben Pandira). Also found here.
    – robev
    May 3, 2022 at 20:26
  • @robev note that no variant MS in the Friedberg Genizah site has any version that looks like a halfway between ben Pandeira and ben Petorah.
    – Harel13
    May 4, 2022 at 6:30
  • @Harel13 I think the hypothesis is Chazal intentionally distorted the name, so it's not a girsa issue
    – robev
    May 4, 2022 at 16:00
  • if Ben Petura is Ben Pandira, the suggestion would be that the first opinion was given to contrast Xian Golden Rule ethics with ours. Mar 4 at 12:19

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