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?

  • 1
    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
    Nov 9 '17 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
    Nov 9 '17 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
    Nov 9 '17 at 1:30
  • @DanF - This poor Plimo guy keeps getting visited by Satan! :D
    – ezra
    Nov 9 '17 at 2:02
  • @ezra My "error". I just saw an online link to page 68 in the Tishrei section of Sefer Hatoda'ah that has this story. At the end, he refences Mas. Kiddushin 81a which is also what you referenced. Apparently, he was an actual person, who must have had very strong moral character to defeat Satan.
    – DanF
    Nov 9 '17 at 3:45

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? Jan 4 '18 at 3:02
  • @ShmuelBrin I think what Alex is getting at is that Plimo was his name.
    – ezra
    Jan 4 '18 at 16:03
  • Perhaps abbreviation of P. Almoni, i.e. Ploni Almoni
    – kouty
    Feb 7 '19 at 17:49

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