"The Sanhedrim went from Jabneh to Usha, and from Usha to Shepharaam." The Gloss is, "To Jabneh in the days of Rabban Jochanan (Ben Zaccai); to Usha in the days of Rabban Gamaliel: but they went back from Usha to Jabneh: but in the days of Rabban Simeon they returned."
We do not apprehend the reason why Rabban Gamaliel went thither; whatsoever it were, either some disturbance raised by the Romans, or indignation that R. Eleazer Ben Azariah should be president with him, or some other reason,--certainly the abode there was but small, either Gamaliel himself returning to Jabneh after some time, or R. Akibah, who succeeded in his chair.
But after the war of Adrian, and the death of R. Akibah in that war, when Judea was now in disturbance by the Romans, Rabban Simeon, the son of Gamaliel, succeeding in the presidentship after Akibah, went with the Sanhedrim from Jafne to Usha, nor was there ever after any return to Jafne.
The Talmudists remember us of very many things transacted at Usha. "When they intercalated the year in Usha, the first day, R. Ismael, the son of R. Jochanan Ben Brucha, stood forth, and said according to the words of R. Jochanan Ben Nuri. Rabban Simeon Ben Gamaliel said, 'We were not wont to do so in Jafne.' On the second day, Ananias, the son of Josi the Galilean, said according to the words of R. Akibah. R. Simeon Ben Gamaliel said, 'So we were wont to do in Jafne.'" This story is repeated in Rosh hashanah, and Nedarim.
"In Usha it was decreed that a man should nourish his little children; that if a man make over his goods to his children, he and his wife be maintained out of them," &c.
It was determined also in Usha concerning the burning the Truma, in some doubtful cases: of which see the place quoted.
But that we be not more tedious, let this story be for a conclusion: "The wicked kingdom [of Rome] did sometime decree a persecution against Israel: namely, that every one preferring any to be an elder should be killed; and that every one that was preferred should be killed; and that the city in which any is preferred to eldership should be laid waste; and that the borders within which any such promotion is made, should be rooted out. What did Baba Ben Judah do? He went out, and sat between two great mountains, and between two great cities, and between two sabbath bounds, between Usha and Shapharaam, and ordained five elders, namely, R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Simeon, R. Josi, and R. Eliezer Ben Simeon. Rabh Oia added also R. Nehemiah. When this came to be known to their enemies, he said to the scholars, 'Fly, O my sons': they said to him, 'Rabbi, what will you do?' He said to them, 'Behold, I am cast before them as a stone which hath no movers.' They say, that they departed not thence, until they had fastened three hundred iron darts into him, and had made him like a sieve."