Makhloket: Methods of Disagreement How Do We Live In a World Where We Are Both Right?
1א

For further learning, see the study sheet created by Daniel Roth from Pardes on the 9th of Adar as told through disagreements. Click here.

2ב
כָּל מַחֲלֹקֶת שֶׁהִיא לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, סוֹפָהּ לְהִתְקַיֵּם. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, אֵין סוֹפָהּ לְהִתְקַיֵּם. אֵיזוֹ הִיא מַחֲלֹקֶת שֶׁהִיא לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, זוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶת הִלֵּל וְשַׁמַּאי. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, זוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶת קֹרַח וְכָל עֲדָתוֹ:
Every dispute that is for the sake of Heaven, will in the end endure; But one that is not for the sake of Heaven, will not endure. Which is the controversy that is for the sake of Heaven? Such was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai. And which is the controversy that is not for the sake of Heaven? Such was the controversy of Korah and all his congregation.
3ג

באחד בניסן מתו בני אהרן בעשרה בו מתה מרים ונסתלק הבאר בכ"ו בו מת יהושע בן נון בעשרה באייר מת עלי הכהן ושני בניו ונשבה ארון ה' בכ"ח בו מת שמואל הנביא בכ"ג בסיון בטלו הביכורים מלעלו' לירושלים בימי ירבעם בן נבט בכ"ה בו נהרג רשב"ג ורבי ישמעאל ור"ח סגן הכהנים בכ"ז בו נשרף רבי חנניא בן תרדיון וספר תורה עמו בא' באב מת אהרן הכהן בי"ח בו כבה נר מערבי בימי אחז בי"ז באלול מתו מוציאי דבת הארץ. בה' בתשרי מתו עשרים איש מישראל ונחבש ר' עקיבא בז' בו נגזרה גזירה על אבותינו שימותו בחרב וברעב ובדבר מפני מעשה העגל בז' במרחשוון עיורו עיני צדקיהו ושחטו בניו לעיניו בכ"ח בכסליו שרף יהויקים המגילה שכתב ברוך מפי ירמיהו בשמונה בטבת נכתבה התורה יונית בימי תלמי המלך והיה חושך בעולם שלשה ימים בט' בו לא נודע איזה היא הצרה שאירע בו בה' בשבט מתו הזקנים שהיו בימי יהושע בכ"ג בו נתקבצו כל ישראל על שבט בנימין על ענין פלגש בגבעה בז' באדר מת משה רבינו ע"ה בט' בו נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל:

On the first on Nisan, the sons of Aaron died. On the tenth of it Miriam died and her well disappeared. On the twenty-sixth of it Joshua ben Nun died. On the twentieth of Iyyar, Eli the priest and two of his sons and the ark of God was captured. On the twenty sixth of it Samuel the prophet died. On the twenty-third of Sivan the offering of the first fruits in Jeruslem was cancelled during the days of Jereboam ben Nebat. On the twenty-fifth of it Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Hanina Deputy High Priest were killed. On the twenty-seventh of it Rabbi Hanina ben Teradion was burned to death and a Torah scroll with him. On the first of Av, Aaron the priest died. On the eighteenth of it, the eastern light was extinguished during the days of Ahaz. On the seventeenth of Elul those who slandered the land died. On the fifth of Tishri, twenty men of Israel were killed and Rabbi Akiba was imprisoned. On the seventh of it a decree was decreed against our ancestors that died by sword, hunger and plague because of the incident of the golden calf. On the seventh of Mar-Cheshvan, they blinded the eyes of Zedekiah and slaughtered his sons before his eyes. On the twenty-eighth of Kislev Jehoiakim burned the scroll that Baruch wrote dictated by Jeremiah. On the eighth of Tevet the Torah was written in Greek during the days of King Ptolemy and darkness was in the world for three days. On the ninth of it, it was not known who caused the trouble that happened on it. On the fifth of Shevat the elders who were in the days of Joshua died. On the twenty-third of it all of Israel gathered against the tribe of Benjamin on account of the concubine in Gibeah. On the seventh of Adar Moses, our Teacher, may peace be upon him, died. On the ninth of it Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai divided.

4ד

There is something that happened on 9 Adar that is more than simple disagreement -- it is a time when the houses of Shammai and Hillel separated. There are times when we see Hillel and Shammai as incompatible truths, and other times when they are seen as two legitimate methods of interpreting Torah. However, their disagreement on 9 Adar led to the declaration of a fast day (not regularly observed today). Because of this history, the Pardes center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution began an annual day of learning on 9 Adar.

5ה

Check out this website https://www.9adar.org/. This is the website from this initiative to foster "constructive conflict" within the Jewish community. What does it mean to have "Constructive Conflict?" What does it mean to have "Destructive Conflict?" Here's an excellent source sheet with a LOT of resources: https://elmad.pardes.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/The-Story-of-9Adar-A-Day-of-Disagreement.pdf

6ו

אמר רבי אבא אמר שמואל שלש שנים נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל הללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו והללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו יצאה בת קול ואמרה אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים הן והלכה כבית הלל וכי מאחר שאלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי ולא עוד אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן

Rabbi Abba said that Shmuel said: For three years Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion, and these said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion. Ultimately, a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed: Both these and those are the words of the living God. However, the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel. The Gemara asks: Since both these and those are the words of the living God, why were Beit Hillel privileged to have the halakha established in accordance with their opinion? The reason is that they were agreeable and forbearing, showing restraint when affronted, and when they taught the halakha they would teach both their own statements and the statements of Beit Shammai. Moreover, when they formulated their teachings and cited a dispute, they prioritized the statements of Beit Shammai to their own statements, in deference to Beit Shammai.

7ז

This is the classic example of Shammai and Hillel respectfully disagreeing. The Talmud even goes so far as to explain that the reason why the halakha (Jewish Law) is according to Hillel is because of his approach toward disagreement. We see this in even greater focus in the following text from Mishnah Yevamot

8ח

(ד) בֵּית שַׁמַּאי מַתִּירִין הַצָּרוֹת לָאַחִים, וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹסְרִים. חָלְצוּ, בֵּית שַׁמַּאי פּוֹסְלִין מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה, וּבֵית הִלֵּל מַכְשִׁירִים. נִתְיַבְּמוּ, בֵּית שַׁמַּאי מַכְשִׁירִים, וּבֵית הִלֵּל פּוֹסְלִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵלּוּ אוֹסְרִין וְאֵלּוּ מַתִּירִין, אֵלּוּ פּוֹסְלִין וְאֵלּוּ מַכְשִׁירִין, לֹא נִמְנְעוּ בֵּית שַׁמַּאי מִלִּשָּׂא נָשִׁים מִבֵּית הִלֵּל, וְלֹא בֵית הִלֵּל מִבֵּית שַׁמַּאי. כָּל הַטָּהֳרוֹת וְהַטֻּמְאוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ אֵלּוּ מְטַהֲרִין וְאֵלּוּ מְטַמְּאִין, לֹא נִמְנְעוּ עוֹשִׂין טָהֳרוֹת אֵלּוּ עַל גַּבֵּי אֵלּוּ:

(4) Beth Shammai permits the rival wives to the surviving brothers, and Beth Hillel prohibits them. If they perform the halitzah, Beth Shammai disqualifies them from marrying a priest, and Beth Hillel makes the eligible. If they performed yibbum, Beth Shammai makes them eligible [to marry a priest], and Beth Hillel disqualifies them. Though these forbid and these permit, and these disqualify and these make eligible, Beth Shammai did not refrain from marrying women from [the families of] Beth Hillel, nor did Beth Hillel [refrain from marrying women] from [the families of] Beth Shammai. [With regard to] purity and impurity, which these declare pure and the others declare impure, neither of them refrained from using the utensils of the others for the preparation of food that was ritually clean.

9ט

This mishnah draws an even sharper focus on the disagreements between Hillel and Shammai. Not only did they disagree with one another over significant issues, they made conscious decisions to remain in community and relationship with one another.

10י
אמר לו אם תקניטני גוזרני טומאה אף על המסיקה נעצו חרב בבית המדרש אמרו הנכנס יכנס והיוצא אל יצא ואותו היום היה הלל כפוף ויושב לפני שמאי כאחד מן התלמידים והיה קשה לישראל כיום שנעשה בו העגל וגזור שמאי והלל ולא קבלו מינייהו ואתו תלמידייהו גזור וקבלו מינייהו
Shammai said to him: If you provoke me and insist that there is no difference between gathering olives and grapes, then, in order not to contradict this, I will decree impurity on the gathering of olives as well. They related that since the dispute was so intense, they stuck a sword in the study hall, and they said: One who seeks to enter the study hall, let him enter, and one who seeks to leave may not leave, so that all of the Sages will be assembled to determine the halakha. That day Hillel was bowed and was sitting before Shammai like one of the students. The Gemara said: And that day was as difficult for Israel as the day the Golden Calf was made, as Hillel, who was the Nasi, was forced to sit in submission before Shammai, and the opinion of Beit Shammai prevailed in the vote conducted that day. And Shammai and Hillel issued the decree, and the people did not accept it from them. And their students came and issued the decree, and the people accepted it from them.
11יא

This text does not paint as pretty a picture of Hillel and Shammai. This shows them as just the opposite. This is a day where such deep disagreement -- and the method of disagreement -- literally brought violence into the house of Torah study. This is why the later sages declared 9 Adar as a fast day because it led to a total separation between Shammai and Hillel.

12יב

זכריה פרנקל, דרכי המשנה, עמ' 41- 44 והנה עד ימי הלל ושמאי לא נתפשטה מחלוקת בהלכה, וגם הלל ושמאי לא נחלקו כי אם בג' או בד' דברים.... ואחרי מות שמאי נתרבו המחלוקות ונתלהבה אש המריבה והעלתה אף וחרון בלב תלמידי ב"ש. וזה לרוב דרך תולדות דעות חדשות, בימי התהוותן יעלו קנאה וחימה בלב מולידיהן נגד בעלי דעה אחרת. וב"ש הפריזו על מדת רבם אשר עמד בתוקף נגד הלל וביקשו לדחות ב"ה )וגם את הלל עצמו(מלעשות על פי הלכתם, וגם קמו בחרבות וברמחים להשבית דעת החולקים ולהקים ההלכה הישרה בעיניהם... וברבות השנים שבו ב"ש מדעתם הקשה ... והשיבו על לבם כי לא בכח יגבר איש העוסק בתורה לשמה כי אם במשא ומתן של בינה, והרשות נתונה לכל חוקר לדרשות ולחוות דעתו. אז נתחזק השלום בינם ובין ב"ה, והיו נוהגין זה בזה אחוה ורעות.

Zecharias Frankel Darcheh HaMishnah, 1859, pp. 55-56. And behold, until the days of Hillel and Shammai disagreements of the law did not spread, and even Hillel and Shammai did not disagree except for on three or four matters…. And after the death of Shammai, disagreements increased and the flame of conflict was ignited, and anger and rage increased in the hearts of Beit Shammai. And this normally occurs when there is the inception of new opinions. And Beit Shammai went even further than Shammia himself who stood firmly against Hillel and they attempted to reject Beit Hillel (and even Hillel himself) from practicing (Jewish law) in accordance to their rulings. They also rose up upon them with swords and spears to eliminate the opposing opinion and to establish the law as seemed right in their eyes…. But over the course of time Beit Shammai returned from their rigid way, and returned to their hearts that not through force a person should be victorious when dealing with Torah for its own sake, rather through thoughtful negotiation. And permission is granted to anyone to research, teach and express his opinion. Then the peace between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel was re-strengthened, and they treated themselves in brotherliness and friendship.

13יג

This text is written by Zecharias Frankel, the founder of what would later become Conservative Judaism, in Germany. It is from his commentary on the Mishnah and is translated by Daniel Roth. See how Frankel tries to find synthesis between the Hillel and Shammai who bring violence into the Beit Midrash and the Hillel and Shammai who live together in the community of Israel.