10 Awesome Texts for the 10 Days of Awe – Day 7

NOTE: Each day from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur I will be posting an inspiring Jewish text along with a few questions for reflection. Feel free to answer and discuss here, or to use these questions for your own reflection/journaling. These texts are also being posted on my Facebook page

TEXT 7 – Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Once a student came before Shammai said: “Convert me to Judaism on condition that you can teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot.” Shammai pushed him away with the builder’s cubit in his hand. He came before Hillel and said the same thing. Hillel accepted him as a convert, saying: “That which is hateful to you do not do to another. That is the entire Torah, and the rest is commentary. Go study.”


  • Hillel’s and Shammai’s reactions to the inquirer are so different. One sends him away out of aggravation, and the other patiently welcomes him in and answers his question. What do you think contributes to these different responses? When have you acted like Shammai and when have you acted like Hillel?
  • Hillel’s teaching is a version of the “Golden Rule.” What do you think he means when he says that this is “the entire Torah?” Do you agree?

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