The ancient synagogue of Peqi’in was built, tradition relates, following the destruction of the Second Temple, on the remains of the House of Study of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya, a Levite.

R. Yehoshua was appointed head of the Sages after the death of Rabban Gamliel, his adversary, in 130. The wisdom or R. Yehoshua was well known in his generation, particularly in debate and controversy. “I have never been triumphed [in argument] except for by a woman, a lad, and a maiden,” said R. Yehoshua to himself (BT Eruv. 53b). One theory maintains that R. Yehoshua arrived in Peqi’in due to the differences between him and the Nasi, Rabban Gamliel. The scholar A.M. Luntz claimed that R. Yehoshua ben Hananya moved to the Galilee because the Sanhedrin had relocated there. When R. Shimon and his son were fleeing the Romans who sought to kill them, they hid in various places in the Galilee. One of their hiding places was R. Yehoshua ben Hananya’s house of study in Peqi’in. After a long stay in the house of study, they arrived at the famous cave in Peqi’in where they hid for 13 years and where, according to tradition, Rabbi Shimon bar-Yohai wrote the Zohar.