By Yitzhak Buxbaum

The lifestyles and Teachings of Hillel develops a groundbreaking portrait of 1 of the best figures in Jewish culture. Weaving jointly a few of the tales approximately Hillel with his teachings and sayings Yitzak Buxbaum sheds new mild on Hillel's illustrious profession, interesting lifestyles, and profound teachings. The lifestyles and Teachings of Hillel bargains new information regarding a radiant non secular determine, and in addition recovers a facet of Jewish culture that has been misplaced to most folks.

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Perhaps, paradoxically, Hillel's uncharacteristic outburst of anger was a result of his ingrained humility. That the Sons of Bathyra had resigned their office to install an unknown person (Hillel), who demonstrated his superior Torah knowledge, shows their noble character and humility. " "One" of these three is said to be the Elders of Bathyra. " In a related tradition in the Babylonian Talmud,19 Rabbi Judah the Prince refers to them as NexceptionaIlyhumble men," although other rabbis wondered whether they did not simply see the obvious- that Hillel was greater than they were in Torah-and had no choice but to resign, for when they would be asked questions about laws and traditions in the House of Study and could not answer, Hillel Becomes Nasi 31 Hillel would answer, and they would be embarrassed publicly.

But the second negative effect of contempt for others' forgetfulness is that the more this bad trait contaminates the world of Torah discourse, the more it produces the kind of 36 ASCENT TO LEADERSHIP embarrassment and shame that lead people to conceal their lack of knowledge. Such hypocrisy and dishonesty are as spiritually corrosive as the arrogance and contempt of those who foster it. What then is the lesson of the story before us? It is that if the great Hillel can forget and can plead for understanding, certainly others should not be overly embarrassed, or looked down on by their fellows, for this most common Failing.

SAMUEL AND SAUL Hillel had a high regard for those he was called to lead. One of the few midrashic comments we have from him on a story in the Torah provides some insight into his views about leadership. The Torah tells of two grievous sins committed by Krng Saul: First, he disobeyed the explicit divine command from the prophet Samuel to slay all the Amalekites in retribution for their merciless attacks on Jewish stragglers in the desert during the Exodus, and he spared Agag, the Arnalekite king.

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