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Hillel : If Not Now, When?
by Joseph Telushkin


Overview -

Part of the Jewish Encounter series
""What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. That is the whole Torah, all the rest is commentary. Now, go and study."
"
This is the most famous teaching of Hillel, one of the greatest rabbis of the Talmudic era.  Read more...


 
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More About Hillel by Joseph Telushkin
 
 
 
Overview

Part of the Jewish Encounter series
""What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. That is the whole Torah, all the rest is commentary. Now, go and study."
"
This is the most famous teaching of Hillel, one of the greatest rabbis of the Talmudic era. What makes it so extraordinary is that it was offered to a gentile seeking conversion. Joseph Telushkin feels that this Talmudic story has great relevance for us today. At a time when religiosity is equated with ritual observance alone, when few Jews seem concerned with bringing Jewish teachings into the world, and when more than 40 percent of Jews intermarry, Judaism is in need of more of the openness that Hillel possessed two thousand years ago.
Hillel's teachings, stories, and legal rulings can be found throughout the Talmud; many of them share his emphasis on ethical and moral living as an essential element in Jewish religious practice, including his citing the concept of "tikkun olam "(repairing the world) as a basis for modifying Jewish law. Perhaps the most prominent rabbi and teacher in the Land of Israel during the reign of Herod, Hillel may well have influenced Jesus, his junior by several decades. In a provocative analysis of both Judaism and Christianity, Telushkin reveals why Hillel's teachings about ethics as God's central demand and his willingness to encourage the process of conversion began to be ignored in favor of the stricter and less inclusive teachings of his rabbinic adversary, Shammai.
Here is a bold new look at an iconic religious leader.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780805242812
  • ISBN-10: 0805242813
  • Publisher: Schocken Books
  • Publish Date: September 2010
  • Page Count: 243


Related Categories

Books > Religion > Judaism - History
Books > History > Jewish - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2010-08-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

A rabbi, lecturer, ethicist, novelist, playwright, and author, Telushkin demonstrates his unusual versatility in this 15th entry in the Jewish Encounters series. This new book about Hillel, "perhaps the greatest rabbi of the Talmud," is not a conventional biography, since little is known about Hillel's life. What is known comes as maxims and teachings based on stories in the Talmud and the Midrash; speculation places the period of Hillel's religious leadership from about 30 B.C.E. to 10 C.E. During that time, he and his followers, the School of Hillel, frequently had disputes with the School of Shammai, led by Hillel's adversary. One argument they had dealt was with the attitude to be taken toward a potential convert. Hillel offered this instruction: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the entire Torah! All the rest is commentary. Now, go and study." Telushkin points out that this response is about ethics, not about rituals or even about God, thereby underlining Judaism's ethical essence. Telushkin's lucid explanations are a model of clarity, enabling readers to better understand and appreciate the significant contributions of Hillel and their contemporary applications. (Sept.)

 
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