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Rabbinical Eras

Shammai (50 BCE–30 CE, Hebrew: שמאי) was a Jewish scholar of the 1st century, and an important figure in Judaism's core work of rabbinic literature, the Mishnah.

Shammai was the most eminent contemporary and the halakhic opponent of Hillel, and is almost invariably mentioned along with him.

Shammai founded a school of his own, known as the House of Shammai, which differed fundamentally from that of Hillel; and many of Shammai's sayings are probably embodied in those handed down in the name of his school.

Contents

History

Shammai's school of thought became known as the House of Shammai (Hebrew: Beit Shammai‎), as Hillel's was known as the House of Hillel (Beit Hillel). After Menahem the Essene had resigned the office of Av Beit Din (or vice-president) of the Sanhedrin, Shammai was elected to it, Hillel being at the time president. After Hillel died, circa 20 CE, Shammai took his place as president but no vice-president from the minority was elected so that the school of Shammai attained complete ascendancy, during which Shammai passed "18 ordinances" in conformity with his ideas. The Talmud states that when he passed one of the ordinances, contrary to the opinion of Hillel, the day "was as grievous to Israel as the day when the [golden] calf was made" (Shabbat, 17a). The exact content of the ordinances is not known, but they seem to have been designed to strengthen Jewish identity by insisting on stringent separation between Jews and gentiles, an approach that was regarded as divisive and misanthropic by Shammai's opponents.

Legacy

Hillel's grandson Gamaliel succeeded to the position of president after Shammai in the year 30, but the Sanhedrin would remain dominated by the house of Shammai until around 70 (see Council of Jamnia). A "voice from heaven" is said to have nullified the legality of the rulings of the house of Shammai (Yerushalmi Berakhot, 1:7), which is why Rabbinical Judaism follows Hillel.

The tomb of Shammai in the Meron river in Israel

Shammai took an active part in the political and religious complications of his native land. Of an irascible temperament, he seemed to lack some of the tireless patience which is said to have distinguished Hillel[citation needed]. Once, when a gentile came to him and asked to be converted to Judaism (or Noahite monotheism as H. Falk argues) upon conditions which Shammai held to be impossible, he drove the applicant away; whereas Hillel succeeded in converting him (Shabbat, 31a).

Religious views

Shammai recommended a friendly attitude toward all. His motto was: "Make the study of the Torah your chief occupation; speak little, but accomplish much; and receive every man with a friendly countenance" (Avoth, i. 15). He was modest even toward his pupils.

In his religious views Shammai was known to be strict. He wished to make his son, while still a child, conform to the law regarding fasting on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement); he was dissuaded from his purpose only through the insistence of his friends (Yoma, 77b). Once, when his daughter-in-law gave birth to a boy on Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) he broke through the roof of the chamber in which she lay in order to make a sukkah of it, so that his new-born grandchild might fulfil the religious obligation of the festival (Sukkah, 28a).

In the Midrash Sifre, Deuteronomy, § 203 it is said that Shammai commented exegetically upon three passages of Scripture. These three examples of his exegesis are: (1) the interpretation of Deuteronomy, xx. 20 (Tosefefta, Eruvin, iii. 7); (2) that of II Sam. xii. 9 (Kiddushin, 43a); and (3) either the interpretation of Leviticus, xi. 34, which is given anonymously in Sifra on the passage, but which is the basis for Shammai's halakha transmitted in 'Orlah ii. 5, or else the interpretation of Exodus, xx. 8 ("Remember the Sabbath"), which is given in the Mekilta, Yitro, 7 (ed. Weiss, p. 76b) in the name of Eleazar ben Hananiah, but which must have originated with Shammai, with whose custom of preparing for the Sabbath it accords.

Preceded by
Menachem the Essene
Av Beth Din
20 BCE - 20 CE
Succeeded by
Shammai became Nasi
Preceded by
Shimon ben Hillel
Nasi
c. 20CE–30CE
Succeeded by
Beit Shammai Nasi Caiaphas
  Rabbis of the Mishnah : Chronology & Hierarchy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Teacher→Student
 
 
 
 
 
 
Father→Son
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hillel
 
Shammai
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gamaliel the Elder
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Johanan b. Zakai
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
R. Gamaliel
 
Jose the Galilean
 
Eliezer b. Hyrcanus
 
Joshua b. Hananiah
 
Eleazar b. Arach
 
Eleazar b. Azariah
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elisha b. Abuyah
 
 
 
Akiva
 
Ishmael b. Elisha
 
Tarfon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nathan
 
Meir
 
Judah b. Ilai
 
Jose b. Halafta
 
Shimon b. Yohai
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Judah haNasi
 
Hiyya
 
Oshiah
 
 

See also

References

This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Shammai (50 BCE30 CE) was a Jewish scholar of the 1st century, and an important figure in Judaism's core work of rabbinic literature, the Mishnah.

The tomb of Shammai in the Meron river in Israel

Unsourced Quotes

  • May all man be known, for the deeds he has done.

External Links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SHAMMAI, a Jewish scribe of the time of King Herod, whom tradition almost invariably couples with Hillel, with whom he stood in striking contrast, not merely in legal-religious decisions and discussions, but also in character and temperament. His motto (Aboth i. 15) reads: "Make thy study of the Thora a firmly established duty; say little and do much; and receive every man with friendly countenance." The last admonition is characteristic, as Shammai was choleric and brusque. The opposition between Shammai and Hillel was perpetuated by their respective schools, till, under Gamaliel II., the strife was decided at Jabneh in favour of the school of Hillel. (W. BA.)


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


Scholar of the first century B.C. He was the most eminent contemporary and the halakic opponent of Hillel, and is almost invariably mentioned along with him. After Menahem the Essene had resigned the office of vice-president ("ab bet din") of the Sanhedrin, Shammai was elected to it, Hillel being at the time president ("nasi"; Ḥag. ii. 2). Shammai was undoubtedly a Palestinian, and hence took an active part in all the political and religious complications of his native land. Of an irascible temperament and easily excited, he lacked the gentleness and tireless patience which so distinguished Hillel. Once, when a heathen came to him and asked to be converted to Judaism upon conditions which Shammai held to be impossible, he drove the applicant away; whereas Hillel, by his gentle manner, succeeded in converting him (Shab. 31a).

Nevertheless Shammai was in no wise a misanthrope. He himself appears to have realized the disadvantages of his violent temper; hence he recommended a friendly attitude toward all. His motto was: "Make the study of the Law thy chief occupation; speak little, but accomplish much; and receive every man with a friendly countenance" (Ab. i. 15). He was modest even toward his pupils (B. B. 134b; comp. Weiss, "Dor," i. 163, note 1).

In his religious views Shammai was strict in the extreme. He wished to make his son, while still a child, conform to the law regarding fasting on the Day of Atonement; and he was dissuaded from his purpose only through the insistence of his friends (Yoma 77b). Once, when his daughter-in-law gave birth to a boy on the Feast of Tabernacles, he broke through the roof of the chamber in which she lay in order to make a sukkah of it, so that his new-born grandchild might fulfil the religious obligation of the festival (Suk. 28a). Some of his sayings also indicate his strictness in the fulfilment of religious duties (comp. Beẓah 16a).

In Sifre, Deut. § 203 (ed. Friedmann, 111b) it is said that Shammai commented exegetically upon three passages of Scripture. These three examples of his exegesis are: (1) the interpretation of Deut 20:20 (Tosef., 'Er. iii. 7); (2) that of 2 Sam 12:9 (Ḳid. 43a); and (3) either the interpretation of Lev 11:34, which is given anonymously in Sifra on the passage, but which is the basis for Shammai's halakah transmitted in 'Orlah ii. 5, or else the interpretation of Ex 20:8 ("Remember the Sabbath"), which is given in the Mekilta, Yitro, 7 (ed. Weiss, p. 76b) in the name of Eleazar b. Hananiah, but which must have originated with Shammai, with whose custom of preparing for the Sabbath (Beẓah l.c.) it accords.

Shammai founded a school of his own, which differed fundamentally from that of Hillel (see Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai); and many of Shammai's sayings are probably embodied in those handed down in the name of his school.

Bibliography: Grätz, Gesch. iii. 213-214; Weiss, Dor, i. 163-164, 170-174; Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 11-12; Frankel, Hodegetica in Mischnam, pp. 39-40, Leipsic, 1859.

This article needs to be merged with Shammai (Catholic Encyclopedia).
This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.

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