Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety Page 12...

Original and interesting study of the meaning of piety amoung observant Jews of the late Second Temple period.

12 SOME TYPES OF point of religious law. And even after the third question, when the man said that he had many more to put, Hillel wrapped himself, and sat down to listen to him, with a deference due not to the man whom he might have ignored, but due to any matter of law to be submitted to a Pharisee teacher for explanation and decision. And also in the accounts about his conversations with three non- Jews who expressed the desire to become proselytes, but made very grave reservations, Hillel’s humility is evident. One refused to accept the oral law, the second wished to learn the whole Torah while standing on one foot, and the third was pre-pared to adopt Judaism only if he could be made a high-priest. Hillel told the second that the whole Torah was contained in the principle: what is hateful to thee, do not to thy neighbour; the rest is its explanation, go and learn. Then he admitted him, just as the other two. 1 As he knew very well that the belief in the one God was most essential, and the worship of the Creator and of the Redeemer of Israel by the observance of the Sabbaths and festivals very important, his readiness to receive those men without further conditions must have rested on some principle. His eagerness for proselytes is nowhere stated. But he had a good opinion of human nature: a heathen who had made up his mind to join Judaism, to submit to the cir-cumcision and to the fundamental laws of the Torah, was surely firm in his religious determination, and should not be refused. Any reservations advanced by him were due to ignorance that could be overcome by instruction, as also other statements of Hillel will show. Just as he, in his humility, patiently listened to those men, and entered into a discussion of Judaism with them, so he himself instructed the proselytes in the same spirit; and all three expressed their gratitude in the words: Humble Hillel, may blessings rest on thy head for bringing us near under the wings of God’s glory! 2 1 See Abrahams, Studies in Pharisaism, I, 23. 2 The different attitudes of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua towards the   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety


About Book Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety

Front MatterTitle PageCopyright PageContentsPreface. SOME TYPES OF JEWISH-PALESTINIAN PIETY FROM 70 B.C.E. TO 70 C.E.
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