Pardes (legend)

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Pardes (Hebrew: orchard) is the subject of a Jewish aggadah ("legend") about four rabbis of the Mishnaic period (1st century CE) who visited the Orchard (that is, Paradise):

<blockquote>Four men entered pardesBen Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher (Elisha ben Abuyah)Later, Elisha came to be considered heretical by his fellow Tannaim and the rabbis of the Talmud referred to him as Acher (אחר"The Other One")., and Akiba. Ben Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma looked and went mad; Acher destroyed the plants; Akiba entered in peace and departed in peace.Babylonian Talmud Hagigah 14b, Jerusalem Talmud Hagigah 2:1. Both available online in Aramaic: , . This translation based on Braude, Ginzberg, Rodkinson, and Streane.

The Tosafot, medieval commentaries on the Talmud, say that the four sages "did not go up literally, but it appeared to them as if they went up."A. W. Streane, A Translation of the Treatise Chagigah from the Babylonian Talmud (Cambridge University Press, 1891). p. 83. On the other hand, Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, writes in the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901–1906) that the journey to paradise "is to be taken literally and not allegorically".Louis Ginzberg, "", Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906. According to another interpretation, Pardes is an acronym. In this sense, they were the four to understand the whole......
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