Shammai the Elder

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Shammai Hazaken served as Av Beis Din leading the Jewish Nation along with Hillel roughly 100 years before the destruction of the Second Temple. Together they formed the final set of Zugot. Shammai was a student of Shmaya and Avtalyon and founder of the Beit Shammai school of thought. He was known for his stringiness and service of Hashem through Midas Hadin. Shammai is buried in Meron.


[edit] Av Beis Din

After Hillel took over leadership form the Beni Besara the position of Av Beis Din was held by Menachem. When Menachem left to join the government of Herod, Shammai replaced him in that position.

[edit] Converts

Shammai rejected a three gentile who approached him with absurd conversion requests. One demanded that he be taught the entire while standing on one foot, another requested that he be given the position of Kohen Gadol upon converting and a third gentile was only willing to accepted the Written Torah. In all cases Shammai pushed them out with his building rod. These gentiles were later converted by Hillel, whose more loving approach brought eventually brought them to become complete converts.

[edit] Shabbos

Shammai would greatly honor Shabbos and any fitting animal he found during the week, he would set aside for the Shabbos meal. If he then came across a better animal, he would save the second one for Shabbos and only then would he eat the first.

[edit] Teachings

Make Torah study the central part of your life, say little and do a lot, and greet every person with a pleasant face.

[edit] Kever Shammai

Shammai is buried in Churbat Shama, the next mountain after Meron.

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