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On One Foot

August 31, 2018

Love is what it is about… thanks, Jake!

Jake Owensby

Around the time of Jesus, a man was thinking about converting to Judaism. So, he sought out the renowned Rabbi Hillel and asked him to summarize the Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. All the rest is commentary; go and learn.”

Sensing the need for a second opinion, the man posed the same question to another prominent rabbi named Shammai. The seeker said, “Teach me the Torah, that is, teach me all of your traditions, your values, your practices, and your theology, while standing on one foot.” (Shabbat 31a) In answer, Shammai beat the man with a stick.

3213C90C-736E-49C0-B61D-F9ED5A6F6E33On another occasion Hillel and Shammai reflected on whether or not Torah allows us to tell a homely bride that she is beautiful. For Shammai, a white lie is still a lie, and Torah prohibits lying. By contrast, Hillel…

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