Hillel vs Shammai

Hillel vs Shammai User Profile Pictureby Yaakov Saavedra

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov: The name Moshe stands for Machloket Shammai v’Hillel – the dispute of the schools of Shammai and Hillel.Pirkei Avot 5:17

(17) Every argument that is [for the sake of] heaven’s name, it is destined to endure. But if it is not [for the sake of] heaven’s name — it is not destined to endure. What [is an example of] an argument in the name of heaven? The argument of Hillel and Shammai.Yevamot 14b:4-10

Although Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed (on many critical issues) … nevertheless .. they behaved with love and friendship toward one another, as it says in Zecharia, “TRUTH and PEACE they loved” (8:19).Eruvin 13b:10-11

For three years, the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai argued. One said, ‘The halakha (law) is according to our position,’ and the other said, ‘The halakha is according to our position.’ A heavenly voice spoke: “These and those are the words of the living God, and the halakha is according to the House of Hillel.” A question was raised: Since the heavenly voice declared: “Both these and those are the words of the Living God,” why was the halacha established to follow the opinion of Hillel? It is because the students of Hillel were kind and gracious. They taught their own ideas as well as the ideas from the students of Shammai. Furthermore, they even taught Shammai’s opinions first.Mishnah Shabbat 1:4

(4) [On a certain day] in the attic of Hananiah ben Chizkiyah ben Guryon when [the rabbis]… called the roll and found that [members of] Beit Shammai outnumbered those of Beit Hillel, Beit Shammai decreed eighteen regulations on that day.Shabbat 31a:5-9

The rabbis taught: It happened that a gentile came before Shammai and asked: “How many Torahs do you have?” [Shammai] replied, “Two. A Written Torah and an Oral Torah.” [The gentile] said: “I trust you regarding the Written Torah, but I do not trust you regarding the Oral Torah. Convert me on condition that you teach me the Written Torah.” [Shammai] admonished him and angrily removed him. [The gentile] came before Hillel. He converted him. The first day, [Hillel] taught him “Alef-bet-gimel-daled.” The next day, he reversed the order. [The convert] said to him, “But yesterday you did not say that!” [Hillel] said to him, “Didn’t you rely on me? Rely on me regarding the Oral Law as well.”

It happened again that a gentile came before Shammai and said: “Convert me on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” He pushed him away with the yardstick in his hand. He came before Hillel. He converted him. He said: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your friend – this is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary. Go learn.”

… He came to Hillel and said, “Patient Hillel, blessings on your head, for you brought me under the wings of the divine presence.” The [converts] eventually met in one place. They said: “Shammai’s severity sought to drive us from the world. Hillel’s patience brought us under the wings of the divine presence.”

Tosafot ad loc.

But in the second chapter of Shabbat there is the one who came to Hillel and asked to be converted on condition that he be made high priest. Hillel was certain that it would ultimately be for heaven’s sake.Mishnah Berakhot 1:3

(3) The school of Shammai says: In the evening all people should recline and recite [Shema], and in the morning they should stand, since it says [in the verse (Deut. 6:7)], “And when you lie down and when you arise.” But the school of Hillel says: Each person may recite it in his usual way (posture), since it says (ibid.), “And when you walk on the road.” If so, why does it say “and when you lie down and when you arise”? —[It means:] at the time when people are lying down, and at the time when people are arising. Said Rabbi Tarfon: “I was once traveling on the road, and I reclined to recite [Shema] in accordance with the view of the school of Shammai, and [by doing so] I put myself in danger of [attack by] bandits.” They [the other Sages] said to him: “You would have deserved to be guilty for your own fate, since you went against the view of the school of Hillel.”

Mikdash Melech to Zohar Parshat Bereishit 17b

In the time of the Messiah, we will follow the law according to Shammai. Hillel represents kindness and Shammai severity (hence the rulings of Beit Hillel are almost always more lenient). When the Messiah comes the advantage of the severity will be revealed and therefore the law will be in accordance with Beit Shammai. Beit Shammai comes from such a high level this present world is incapable of withstanding it, and only when the Messiah comes will we be able to follow their opinion.