Oct. 20 For Friday

Oct. 20
For Friday
• Hillel
• Shammai
– Both a bit b.ce.
– Two “schools”: ideas debated in Mishnah /
– Hillel position usually accepted.
Tosefta: Eduyoth I.
“There will come a time when a man will look
for one of the laws of the Roah ;and will not find
it, or one of the laws of the rabbis, and will not
find it …. Then they will say, ‘Let us start with
Hillel and Shammai’”
An early collection of Oral Torah discussions
Often quoted in Talmud to help understand
R. Akiva
Famed Sage.
Thought S. Bar Kochba was Messiah.
Executed ca. 135 bce.
- ehad…. (“One”)
R. Akiva used to say:
the tradition is a fence around the Torah;
tithes are a fence around wealth;
vows are a fence around abstinence;
silence is a fence around wisdom …
Everything is forseen, but there is freedom
of choice; the world is judged by grace, but
all is according to the good or evil of works
• Mishnah, Avoth 3.
Roman Rule
• 2nd century to 5th century
• “NASI” or prince, head of Sanhedrin.
Johanan ben Zakkai
• Nasi = “prince”
• Gathers scholars after 70 ce.
Replacing the temple:
• Once, as Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai was coming
forth from Jerusalem, R. Joshua followed after him
and beheld the Temple in ruins. “Woe unto us!” R.
Joshua cried, “that this, the place where the
iniquities of Israel were atoned for, is laid waste!”
“My son,” Rabban Yohanan said to him, “be not
grieved: we have another atonement as effective as
this. And what is it? It is acts of loving-kindness, as
it is said, ‘For I desire mercy and not sacrifice’.
Avot Rabbi Natan, ch. 6
• See the biblical verses:
• Hosea 6:6
Micah 6:6-8 Psalm 51:16-17
Judah HaNasi
• Judah the Prince.
• 2nd-3rd century.
• Instrumental in Early ORAL TORAH.
Early Discussions
• Midrash
• Mishnah
• Interpretation of biblical passage
• Often very inventive
Write these words; in accordance with these
words I have made a covenant with you and
with Israel (Exodus 34:27)
• Midrash: When God … gave the Torah to
Israel, he gave it to Moses in order—
Bible, Mishnah, Talmud … “Write these
words” refers to the Bible; “in accordance
with these words” applies to the Mishnah
and Talmud which keep Israel separate
from the heathen (Exodus Rabbah 24.)
Jesus & Midrash
• Have you not read in the book of Moses …
God said to him, “I am the God of
Abraham and the God of Isaac and the
God of Jacob.” He is not God of the dead,
but of the living.”
Mark 12:27
• “Midrash” was a common tool for religious
• Discusses “HALACHAH” Jewish Law.
• Uses Bible, but does not discuss it directly.
• NOT essays, but discussions.
Oral Torah has same source as
Written Torah
God  Moses  …  Sages 
Hillel + Shammai  J. b. Zakkai
Late 2nd C. edited developed until 12th
– 63
• Chapters
• Sections “Mishnah”
– 1st -3nd century C.E.
MISHNAH: continued to
attract commentaries:
Now traditional to print the
MISHNAH along with
respected commentaries
made in Middle Ages.