"The Students Of Beit Shamai Stood Below and They Killed the Students of Beit Hillel:" A Call from Hazal for Mutual Respect in Times of Bitter Dispute.
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One of the most astounding features of Hazal, the sages of the Mishnah and of both Talmudim, is their public willingness to discuss their most sensitive experiences, including their most public and bitter disputes. We meet Hillel and Shamrnai, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabban Gamaliel, Rabbi Yohanan and Resh Laqish, Rabba and Abaye, as real people. In the history of religion such immediacy and honesty is quite unusual. No other religious literature tells of the foibles and doubts, mistakes and even pettiness of its culture heroes - with the goal of inviting us into their world forour own moral betterment. Stepping back, the level of access to which every talmid and talmidat hakhamim, every "student of the sages," is privy, is astonishing. As we approach Tisha be-Av, I share one lesser-known episode of internal conflict among the earliest Sages, the trauma it left behind, and ways that Sages in later centuries reflected on this event.
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