Prominent teacher, together with Hillel, of the first century bce. In the famous story of the two proselytes (Shabbat 31a) the Talmud advises: ‘Let a man always be as humble as Hillel and never as cantankerous as Shammai.’ It is curious, therefore, that the saying is attributed to Shammai in Ethics of the Fathers (1. 15): ‘Welcome every man with a cheerful countenance.’ There were probably different traditions regarding Shammai's character. The numerous debates between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel are referred to frequently in the Mishnah and the Talmud.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.