When Jesus was only 12, he went to debate with all of the greatest rabbis of his time in Jerusalem. Seated there was rabbi Hillel the elder and rabbi Shammai.
A gentile once asked the great Rabbi Shammai if he could teach him the whole Torah while he the gentile stood on one foot. Shammai became very angry with him and rejected his request. But when he came to rabbi Hillel, the man, full of love and tolerance said to the gentile: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the entire Torah, and the rest is its commentary. Now go and study.” The gentile went away happily and later became a Jewish proselyte. This is also the origin of the golden rule.
At one point, A voice came down from heaven and reminded the Jews that Hillel’s philosophy was preferred by God at the time.
In many cases, Jesus endorsed the Hillel school of thought. Infact, it was Shammai and his Pharisee company that took it upon themselves to see to the elimination of Jesus. They controlled the Sanhedrin in those days. Shammai was very strict and legalistic in his interpretation of Torah. Hillel was not. Yeshua was not most time. In fact, it turned out that while Yeshua’s teaching tends to be Hillelistic, it was superior and came with authority from the scriptures and a controversial authority from Yeshua himself. It was easier for the Pharisees of the house of Hillel to follow Yeshua. Many of them followed him.
Rabbi Gamaliel took over as the head or natsi of the Sanhedrin after the death of Shammai, about the same period that Jesus was crucified.
Gamaliel is the grand son of Hillel the elder, the great Rabbi that invented the Golden rule that Jesus himself loved. Left for the house of Hillel, they were willing to tolerate Jesus’ philosophy as the modern reinterpretation of the Torah.
When Gamaliel took over leadership, the House of Shammai together with the evil House of Annas (more on this later) wanted to CRUSH and permanently destroy the apostles that continued to spread the message of Yeshua known as the Nazarenes in those early days. They arrested Peter and the 11 apostles and brought them to the Sanhedrin for hearing and condemnation to DEATH, all of them!!!
This was a great time for Rabbi Gamaliel ben Hillel to remind the House of Shammai that the tolerance and liberal approach of his father Hillel was the best approach and that Yeshua should not have been killed. To the amazement of the Sanhedrin and Sadducee, Gamaliel told the Jews that it is possible (by implication) that Yeshua (Jesus) is from God! Which means that they just might have killed a prophet sent by God and his blood must be on their heads!!!! This is the implication the Jews would not want to hear! In the great Rabban Gamliel’s words:
“38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.””Acts 5.
This one of the greatest speech of all time ever given by a Jewish leader of the 1st century saved Christianity from extermination and gave the early Christians right to teach in any synagogue of their choice as free people.Picture is Rabbi Hillel the elder Tomb in Israel today.
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