Shabbat 30 - 36
- Extinguishing a lamp on Shabbat
- A live dog better than a dead lion!
- King Davids vindication and death
- Reconciling the conflicts in King Shlomos statements
- The importance of simcha to Torah study and other matters
- Dealing with cynics
- The patience of Hillel
- Conversion candidates by Shammai and Hillel
- The importance of fear of G-d to Torah study
- Sins which cause premature death and other tragedies
- Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the cave
- Three reminders before Shabbat
- Twilight zone of Bein Hashmashot
- Shofar sounds to announce Shabbat
- Cooking for Shabbat
Mans Real Best Friend
A gentile came before the Sage Hillel with a strange proposition.
"Convert me to Judaism," he said, "but only on the condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot."
This conversion candidate had already been rejected by the Sage Shammai but was trying his luck with this Sage renowned for his legendary patience.
"Do not do to your friend that which is hateful to you," Hillel answered him as he consented to convert him. "This is the entire Torah. All the rest is elucidation; so now go and learn."
This Talmudic "golden rule", asks Rashi in his commentary, is certainly a rule of thumb for all the commandments dealing with relations of man to man such as theft and infidelity, but how does it apply to the commandments dealing with mans relations to G-d?
"Your friend," explains Rashi is not a mere reference to another human but to G-d Himself. "Do not forsake your friend, the friend of your father," we are cautioned by the wisest of men, King Shlomo (Mishlei 27:10). G-d is described in those words as an old family friend whose only interest is in helping you, with no thought of personal profit. Hillel was suggesting that a person should imagine the agony he would suffer if someone he was only trying to help would betray him with disobedience of the guidance he provided. This would indeed be the classical "unkindest cut of all", and merely reflecting on it should be enough to deter anyone from the betrayal of disobeying any of the commandments of his Best Friend in Heaven.
- Shabbat 31a
What the Sages Say
"This is the answer to your question as to whether one may extinguish a lamp on Shabbat in order to save a life. A lamp is called a light and the soul of man is called a light the soul of man is the light of G-d (Mishlei 20:26) so it is preferable to extinguish the light of mortals to preserve the light of G-d."
Rabbi Tanchum of Navi
- Shabbat 30a