Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 21b #3
תלמוד בבלי שבת כא:
אמר עולא פליגי בה תרי אמוראי במערבא ר' יוסי בר אבין ור' יוסי בר זבידא חד אמר טעמא דב"ש כנגד ימים הנכנסין וטעמא דב"ה כנגד ימים היוצאין וחד אמר טעמא דב"ש כנגד פרי החג וטעמא דבית הלל דמעלין בקדש ואין מורידין
Ulla said: In the West there are two Rabbis, namely R. Jose b. Abin and R. Jose b. Zebida, who disagree: one maintains that the practice of Beit Shammai will be upheld to the days still to come, and that the custom of Beit Hillel is that it shall correspond to the days that are gone- (that is that the custom of Beit Shammai is for the messianic future while the custom of Beit Hillel is going to fall by the wayside); but the other Rabbi maintains that Beih Shammai's practice corresponds to the sacrifices of the bullocks on the festival of Sukkot, while Beth Hillel's practice is founded on the principle that we should only go up in holiness, as opposed to decreasing our holiness. [Adapted from the Soncino Translation of the Babylonian Talmud]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1.) Outline the two opinions regarding both Hillel and Shammai's rationale for their distinctive practices.

2.) Do you find any of these opinions appealing? Why or Why not?

3.) Write down any questions you might have that needs further clarification.

4.) What does it mean to go up in holiness? How can we practice this today?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)