In addition to the quote on the Hillel Print by Mickie, Hillel is also known for his ‘golden rule’ – “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” Although many religions and cultures have a version of the ‘golden rule’, Hillel based his statement on Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Today, normative Judaism follows the school of Hillel, but in the 1st Century BCE Talmudic period, the schools of Hillel and Shammai were famous for their disputes in Jewish law, ritual practice and ethics. A famous discussion regarding the Hanukkah candles says that the school of Shammai maintained that on the first night of Hanukkah we should light 8 candles and decrease the candles on each subsequent night. On the other hand, the school of Hillel insisted that we should light 1 candle on the first night and increase the number of candles nightly until we finish the chag (holiday) with 8 candles on the 8th night. (Talmud, Shabbat 21b)
Another of these (from Ketubot) concerned whether one should tell a bride on her wedding day that she is beautiful even if this is not true. The school of Shammai held that in this situation it would be wrong to lie. The school of Hillel held that a bride is always beautiful on her wedding day. (Talmud, Ketubot 17a)
What do you think?
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