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2,000-Year-Old Man

Reconsidering Hillel, the legendary rabbi whose distillation of Judaism’s core teachings still applies

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A rabbi is challenged to boil down all of Judaism into a few sentences. He rises to the occasion, saying: What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Now go and learn.

Though uttered some 2,000 years ago by the great Talmudic rabbi, Hillel, that advice is still apt today. Its astuteness has so impressed Rabbi Joseph Telushkin over the years that Hillel has become one of Telushkin’s personal heroes. Now Telushkin has written a book about Hillel for Nextbook Press. It’s called Hillel: If Not Now, When? and Telushkin joins Sara Ivry on Vox Tablet to talk about the Talmudist’s approach to conversion; his chief rabbinical rival, Shammai; and about how Hillel would rather sit in the snow than risk missing a good Torah lesson. 

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Dolly Joern says:

Thanks for that interview. Hillel has always been a hero to me, too.

Sara, thanks for yet another informative interview — important because while I’m not an observant Jew of any Traditional sort (I’m a secular / humanistic Jew) I’m always looking to improve my Jewish knowledge and practice. (Sort of a Nextbook Jew; I will definitely get the book — a thanks to Rabbi Telushkin as well). One of my best Jewish moments came one day when I overheard a small group of co-workers, all Jews, one of whom quoted the famous story you do in your opening paragraph above. To which I got to swoop in and add, “Now go and study.”

Sara’s interview with Rabbi Telushkin was so interesting and enlightened my perspective on Hillel and Shamai – I will surely need to read his forthcoming book/ Thank you.

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I thought The greatest Rock of Judaism was “Love God w/ all Heart mind and Soul & Then neighbor” – THEN YOU WONT DO BAD THINGS AGAINST GOD AND TAKE NEIGHBORS WIFE….

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2,000-Year-Old Man

Reconsidering Hillel, the legendary rabbi whose distillation of Judaism’s core teachings still applies

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