"R. Phinehas, in the name of R. Hoshaia, saith, There were four hundred and sixty synagogues in Jerusalem: every one of which had a house of the book, and a house of doctrine," "A house of the book for the Scripture," that is, where the Scripture might be read: "and a house of doctrine for traditions," that is, the Beth Midrash, where traditions might be taught. These things are recited elsewhere, and there the number ariseth to four hundred and eighty. "R. Phinehas, in the name of R. Hoshaia, saith, There were four hundred and eighty synagogues in Jerusalem," &c. We do not make inquiry here concerning the numbers being varied: the latter is more received: and it is made out by gematry, as they call it, out of the word 'full,' Isaiah 1:21. "We find in Pesikta: R. Menahem, from R. Hoshaia, saith, Four hundred and eighty synagogues were in Jerusalem, according to the arithmetical value of the word full" [mem, lamed, aleph, tav, yod]. Note, that the letter aleph is not computed. [men=40, lamed=30, tav=400, yod=10]
"The synagogue of the Alexandrians," is mentioned by the Talmudists: concerning which also the Holy Scripture speaks, Acts 6:9.
"Eleazar Ben R. Zadok received (for a price) the synagogue of the Alexandrians, and did his necessary works in it. The Alexandrians had built it at their own charge." This story is recited by the Babylonian Talmudists, and they for Alexandrians have The Braziers. For so they write: "The synagogue of the Braziers, which was at Jerusalem, they themselves sold to R. Eleazar," &c. The Gloss renders 'the braziers' by 'workmen by brass.'--The reason why the Alexandrians were so called, you may fetch, perhaps, from this story: "There was a brass cymbal in the Temple; and there being a crack in it, the wise men brought artificers from Alexandria to mend it, &c. There was also a brass mortar in the Temple, in which they beat their spices; and there being a crack in it, the wise men brought artificers in brass from Alexandria to mend it," &c.
Consider well, what "The language of Tursi," means in that legend. "Bigthan and Teresh (perhaps) were two Tarsians": or, if you will, 'two artificers': "and they talked together in the language of Tursi" (where the Gloss, 'Tursi is the name of a place'); "and they knew not that Mordecai was one of the elders in the chamber Gazith, and that he understood seventy languages," &c.
In the place noted in the margin, these words are related concerning the sending away the goat Azazel, or the scape-goat: "The chief priests permitted not an Israelite to lead away the scape-goat into the wilderness: but once, one Arsela, who was an Israelite, led him away: and they made him a footstool because of the Babylonians, who used to pull off his hair, and to say, Take it, and go." The Gemara thus; "Rabba Bar Bar Channah saith, They were not Babylonians, but Alexandrians; but, because they hated the Babylonians, therefore they called them by their name. Take it, and go. Why does this goat tarry, when the sins of this generation are so many?" Where the Gloss thus; "They made him a footstool, or something to put under his feet, that he might be higher: and upon this he went out of the court, and out of the city: and this, lest the Babylonians should touch the goat: for they used to pull of his hair, and to say, Go, make haste, begone, delay not, our sins are yet upon us." And after; "The inhabitants of the land of Israel hated the Babylonians; every one, therefore, carrying himself irreverently and indecently, they called by their name."
'The synagogue of the Libertines,' Acts 6:9: "The synagogue of those, that are made free": of whom the Talmudists speak infinitely.