The coming-of-age tale of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus, found in a number of late midrash collections, contains competing ideals of masculine mastery and leadership. Through analysis of the three main characters of the story, R. Eliezer, and his two fathers, Hyrcanus, and his master R. Yoḥanan b. Zakkai across the variants of the story, this article demonstrates that the spaces of the agricultural estate and the study house are idealized in competing ways in rabbinic midrash as spaces for mastery of ideals of masculine identity (success in estate management and excellence in Torah study). In addition, Hyrcanus and R. Yoḥanan are depicted with contrasting leadership styles in these spaces, alternatively caring and demanding. As R. Eliezer moves from his father’s estate to his teacher’s study house and banquet table, he eventually shows his dominance of both spaces, replacing both his father Hyrcanus and his master R. Yoḥanan.


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