In Menachos 37a, there is a part which involves someone named "Plimo" (פלימו):

בעא מיניה פלימו מרבי מי שיש לו שני ראשים באיזה מהן מניח תפילין א''ל או קום גלי או קבל עלך שמתא

Plimo asked Rabbi: If someone has two heads, on which one does he place the tefillin? He said to him: Either leave, or regard yourself under a ban.

Plimo also appears in Kiddushin 81a through 81b, in another quite humorous story involving him and the Satan, and there he is called a Tanna. He most likely appears elsewhere in the Gemara too, but I don't know where else off-hand.

I was wondering who Plimo is, so I did a simple Google search and the Hebrew Wikipedia page for פלוני came up, mentioning פלימו, which caught my eye. There the page said:

."אצל חז"ל מוזכר לעתים תנא בשם "פלימו" – ויש שהסבירו שאין זה שם אדם מסוים, אלא כינוי כדוגמת "פלוני

In Chazal, a tanna is sometimes mentioned as "Plimo" - and some have explained that this is not the name of a certain person, rather it is a nickname such as "Ploni".

(For those who are not familiar with the term "ploni", it is the Hebrew equivalent to "John Doe".)

Who is Plimo? There certainly must be some who consider him to be a Ploni, but is there anyone who tries to identify him, perhaps similar to יש''ו where some say it is an acronym and others say the acronym is also a name (Yeshu) and refers to you know who?

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    Some sources just refer to him as Plimo as though that was his name. E.g. ספר יוחסין מאמר שני סדר האמוראים אות הפ"א פלימו בזמן רבי ובפסחים (דף ח ב) תניא פלימו אמר אינו בודק כל עיקר וכו'. ובקדושין (פא א) המעש' שקרה לו עם ייצר הרע ובפ"ג שאכלו אמר שצריך שיקדים ברית לתורה. ובפ"ג דתעניות שראה הבית שקירה ר' חנינא בן דוסא בתפלתו. ובר"ה (פרק ב') תניא פלימו אומר בזמנו אין מקדשין. ובמנחות (דף לז א) פלימו בעא מרבי מי שיש לו שני ראשין באיזה מניח תפילין. ושם מי שנולד בב' ראשין חייב בי' שקלים דבגולגולת תלא רחמנא.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 0:24
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    Citing some source other than wikipedia would improve the question. Looking around, I have found no opinion in Jewish literature that that wasn't his name.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 1:24
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    In Sefer Hatoda'ah (ELiyahu Kitov), there's a story involing Plimo on Erev Yom Kippur. Satan appears to him dressed as a derelict to try to test Plimo's patience.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 1:30
  • @DanF - This poor Plimo guy keeps getting visited by Satan! :D
    – ezra
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 2:02
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    I once saw an idea (don't remember the source, thus not posting as an answer) that פלימו is a variant of the Greek name Philemon (which means something like "loving," thus may have been used as a calque of a name such as Yedidyah).
    – Meir
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


The Sefer Yuchasin mentions Plimo as someone in the times of Rebbe. This is echoed in the Seder Hadoros, and R. Reuven Margoliot in his investigation into Talmudic names and nicknames (לחקר שמות וכנויים בתלמוד) takes this to mean that there was a specific person at that time whose actual name was Plimo.

However, R. Margoliot then develops a basis that Plimo is just the equivalent of Ploni (as asserted in the question). He notes that in Berachos 48a where Plimo is mentioned, there is an alternate version documented in the Dikdukei Soferim which says Palmoni (פלמוני). R. Margoliot suggests that Plimo is an abridged form of Palmoni and cites Daniel 8:13 where Palmoni is the equivalent of Ploni. According to this, then, Plimo is not actually a name; it is simply a designation for an unnamed figure.

One potential issue with this is that the Dikdukei Soferim does not say פלמוני. Rather, it says פלומנו.

  • Why didn't the Gemara use his real name? Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 3:02
  • @ShmuelBrin I think what Alex is getting at is that Plimo was his name.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 16:03
  • Perhaps abbreviation of P. Almoni, i.e. Ploni Almoni
    – kouty
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:49

Guggenheimer: "Abba Palaemon: A Tanna of the fifth generation; in Babylonian sources he appears as פלימו. In Soṭa 1:2 (fol. 16c), corresponding to Babli 4a, his name is Minyamin (a form of Binyamin). [Palaemon, Greek Παλαίμων, name of a sea-god, also epithet of Heracles a. o., also used in Roman times (e. g. Remmius Palaemon, Roman grammarian in the time of Tiberius and Claudius.) Because of the acoustic similarities between Palaemon and its counterpart Binyamin in the parallel passages, the Greek name might be a כינוי for the Biblical name, which would explain the apparent discrepancy. On the use of specific, traditional substitutes, כינוים, for a person’s Hebrew name, see also E. & H. Guggenheimer, Jewish Family Names and their Origins, an Etymological Dictionary, Hoboken N.J. 1992, pp. xiv–xv; Etymologisches Lexikon der jüdischen Familiennamen, München 1996, p. xv. (E. G.)]"

  • Whereas Lieberman: [tried to copy it out and this site couldn't handle the formatting]. See Tosefta Kifshuta Sota 1:2. He says Palaemon is right and Minyamin is an error.
    – user25970
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 20:28
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    So anyway tbc it's pronounced "Paleimo" and it's a classical greek name.
    – user25970
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 20:58

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