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95. Three Pillars of Wisdom
2 Simeon the Just was among those left from the Great Congregation.
He used to say:
--"The world stands on three things:
on Torah and on worship and on acts of kindness."
  --- Mishna, Aboth 1.2

96. Maxims of Hillel
12 Hillel said:
--"Be among the disciples of Aaron:
Love peace and pursue peace;
love your fellow creatures and bring them near to Torah."
13 He used to say:
--"He who seeks his name, loses his name" and
--"He who does not increase deceases" and
--"He who does not learn deserves to die" and
--"He who abuses the crown will perish."
  -- Mishna, Aboth 1.12-13

97. More Aphorisms of Hillel
5 Hillel said:
--"Do not separate from the congregation" and
--"Do not trust yourself until the day of your death" and
--"Do not judge your fellow creature until you have come into his position" and
--"Do not say of a word, 'It cannot possibly be heard'; it will end by being heard" and
--"Do not say, 'I will study when I have time'; for you may never have the time."
6 He used to say:
--"A boor does not fear sin, nor is a peasant (am ha aretz) pious (hasid)" and
--"The bashful cannot learn nor the hot-tempered teach" and
--"No one too much involved in trade will be a sage" and
--"In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man."
  --- Mishna, Aboth 2.5-6

98. Irony of Position
5 Hillel used to say:
--"My humiliation is my exaltation and my exaltation is my humiliation."
--"Better for a man to be told: 'Ascend on high!'
than for him to be told: 'Descend below!'
  --- Midrash, Shemoth Rabba 45.5

99. Hillel as Role Model
  Our rabbis taught:
--"A man should always be meek like Hillel
and not hot-tempered like Shammai."
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 30b

Hillel & Shammai contrasted

100. The Golden Rule
31a It happened again that a certain stranger came before Shammai and said to him:
--"I will become a proselyte providing you teach me the whole Torah while I'm standing on one foot."
(Shammai) knocked him down with the builder's rule in his hand.
(The stranger) came before Hillel, who made him a proselyte.
He told him:
--"What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.
That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Go, learn (it)!"
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 31a

101. Hillel's Hermeneutics
37 These are the seven rules Hillel the elder used when interpreting (Torah) before the benei Bathyra [=the leading scholars under Herod]:
(1) "the light & the heavy" [qal wachomer: deduction a minori ad maius];
(2) "similar concept" [gezeyrah shawah: analogy]
(3) "principle traced from one text" [binyan ab mikatub echad: generalizing the particular]
(4) "principle traced from two texts" [binyan ab mishne kethubim: generalizing what appears more than once]
(5) "include & divide/divide & include" [mikelal uferat miferat ukelal: inference from general to particular]
(6) "as deduced elsewhere" [kayotze bobemaqom acher: inference from one passage to another]
(7) "word joined to subject' [dabar ha lamed minyano: conclusion from context].
  --- Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Aboth de R. Nathan A 37

102. Hillel Resolves Passover Halakha
66a Our rabbis taught:...
Once, when the 14th (of Nisan) fell on a Sabbath,
the benei Bathyra were uncertain and did not know
whether or nor Passover suspended the Sabbath (regulations).
They said:
--"Is there any man who knows whether or not Passover suspends the Sabbath?"
They were told:
--"There is a man come from Babylon whose name is Hillel ha Babli.
He attended Shemaiah and Abtalion -- the two greats of the period --
and should know whether or not Passover suspends the Sabbath."
They sent and called him, saying to him:
--"Do you know anything about Passover suspending the Sabbath or not?"
He told them:
--"Now is Passover the one time in the year when the Sabbath is suspended?
Indeed, there are many more than 200 'passovers' in a year that suspend the Sabbath."
They said to him:
--"From where do you (get this)?"
He said to them:
--"In regard to Passover it is said: 'its appointed time' (Num 9.2)
and in regard to the daily offering it is said: 'its appointed time' (Num 28:10).
If 'its appointed time' said in regard to the daily offering suspends the Sabbath,
so 'its appointed time' said in regard to Passover suspends the Sabbath.
Moreover, comparing the light to the heavy [qal wachomer]:
if the daily offering suspends the Sabbath,
although (to omit) it is not punished by excommunication,
is not the decision to be that the Passover -- (to omit) which is punished by excommunication -- suspends the Sabbath?"
Immediately they set him at the head and appointed him "prince" [nasi] over them. And all that day he spent explaining everything in the paschal regulations [halakoth]. He began by rebuking them in these words, saying:
--"What did you do that caused me to come up from Babylon to be prince over you? You were lazy! It proves you did not attend Shemaiah and Abtalion" -- the two greats of the period.
  ---- Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 66a

103. Paradoxes of Gamaliel
4 [Rabban Gamaliel II] used to say:
--"Do his [God's] will like your will,
so he may do your will like his will.
Void your will before his will,
so he may void the will of others before your will"...
7 He used to say:
--"The more flesh, the more worms;
the more wealth, the more worry;
the more women, the more witchcraft;
the more maids, the more lust;
the more servants, the more larceny.
But the more Torah, the more life;
the more sessions, the more wisdom;
the more counsel, the more understanding;
the more righteousness, the more peace."
--"He who gets a good name gets himself substance;
he who gets words of Torah gets himself life in the world to come."
  --- Mishna, Aboth 2.4, 7

104. Aphorisms of Aqiba
14 Rabbi Aqiba (ben Joseph) said:
--"Laughter and levity accustom a man to lewdness."
--"Tradition is a fence for the Torah;
tithes are a fence for wealth;
vows are a fence for abstinence [perishuth];
silence is a fence for wisdom."
15 He used to say:
--"Beloved is the human [Adam] who is made in the (divine) Image,
greater still the love which revealed to him that he was made in the Image,
as it is said:
--'For in the Image of God he made the human" (Gen 9:6).
Beloved is Israel who are called 'sons,'
greater still the love which revealed to them
that they are called 'sons" of the Sustainer,
as it is said:
--'You are the sons of the LORD your God' (Deut 14:1)"...
16 (He used to say:)
--"All is foreseen, but freedom is given."
--"The world is judged by good,
but all in proportion to much being done."
17 He used to say:
--"All is given in pledge; and a net is cast over the living.
The shop is open and the merchant gives credit.
The ledger is open and the hand writes.
Let all who want to borrow come and borrow.
But the collectors make their appointed rounds each day
and exact payment from a man if he knows it or not.
That on which they rely is theirs and the judgment is true.
And all is ready for the feast."
  --- Mishna, Aboth 3.14-17

105. The Great Commandment
8 "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18).
Rabbi Aqiba (ben Joseph) said:
--"This is the great principle of the Torah."
  --- Midrash, Siphra 19.18 (89a)

106. What is evil?
11 Rabbi Joshua (ben cHanania) said:
--"And evil eye and an evil impulse and hatred of one's fellows excludes a person from the world (to come)."
  --- Mishna, Aboth 2.11

107. Who to love or hate
4 "...and hatred on one's fellows (excludes a person from the world to come)":
Thus one learns a man is not to say:
--"Love the sages but hate the disciples," (or)
love the disciples but hate worldly people" [am ha aretz].
Rather, love them all.
But hate Epicureans, instigators, apostates and informers.
Even David said so:
--"LORD, I hate those who hate you..." (Ps 139:21).
But does it not say:
--"You shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am the LORD
" (Lev 19:18)?
On what ground?
--"Because I created him!
And if he does what your people do, you shall love him;
but if he does not, you shall not love him."
  --- Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Aboth de R. Nathan 16.4

108. Votes versus Signs
  It has been taught:
Once Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus) used all the arguments in the world,
but (the other rabbis) did not accept them.
He said to them:
--"If tradition [halakah] is as I (say), let this carob tree be proof."
The carob tree moved 100 cubits [=150 feet] from its place --
some say 400 cubits.
They said to him:
--"No proof is produced from a carob!"
He said to them in return:
--"If tradition is as I (say), let the canal water be proof."
Indeed, the canal water flowed backwards.
They said to him:
--"No proof is produced from canal water!"
He said to them in return:
--"If tradition is as I (say), let the walls of the schoolhouse be proof."
The walls of the schoolhouse bent over (as if) to fall.
But Rabbi Rabbi Joshua (ben cHanania) scolded them, saying to them:
--"If the disciples of the sages are clarifying this or that in the tradition,
what is that to you?"
To honor Rabbi Joshua (the walls) did not fall down.
But to honor Rabbi Eliezer, they did not stand straight.
And they stayed---and still stand---leaning.
(Rabbi Eliezer) said to them in return:
--"If tradition is as I (say), let there be proof from Heaven!"
And an echoing voice [bath qol] came forth and said:
--"What have you against Rabbi Eliezer?
Tradition is always on his side!"
Rabbi Joshua rose to his feet and said:
--"it is not in heaven!" (Deut 30:12).

Why did he say:
--"it is not in heaven"?
Rabbi Jeremiah said:
--"The Torah was given to us from Mount Sinai.
We do not pay attention to an echoing voice,
because on Mount Sinai you wrote in the Torah:
--"You are to incline after the majority" (Exod 23:2).

Rabbi Nathan met Elijah (and) said to him:
--"What did the Holy One, blessed be He!, do in that hour?"
He said:
--"He laughed and said:
-- 'My sons have outshone me! My sons have outshone me!'

It is said:
On that day they brought everything that Rabbi Eliezer pronounced clean
and burned them in the fire.
And they counted (hands) and excommunicated him.
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzia 59b

109. Worth More than a Bird
6 Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai and his son hid in a cave for thirteen years (after the Hadrianic war, 135 CE).
Their only food was dried carob, until their bodies broke out in sores.
At the end of this period (Simeon) came
and sat at the mouth of the cave;
and he saw a hunter in the act of catching birds.
When Rabbi Simeon hear an echoing voice [bath qol] from heaven cry, "Mercy!" one (bird) escaped;
but if (the voice) cried "Condemned!," (the bird) was caught.
He said"
--"Even a bird is not caught without the approval of Providence! Then how much more is the life of a human?"
So, he went out and found that the (Roman) persecution (of Jews) was over.
  --- Midrash, Bereshith Rabba 79.6

110. Carefree Creatures
14 Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar says:
--"Have you ever seen an animal or a bird who has a trade?
And yet they sustain themselves without trouble!
And were they not created only to serve me?
And I was created to serve my Maker.
Is it not right that I be sustained without care?
But I have weakened my works and I have wasted my sustenance."
  --- Mishna, Kiddushin 4.14

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