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The Chassam Sofer says that Shammai was actually a builder by trade. He wanted to show this apikores that there is more to religion than just kindness to your fellow, its possible to be a talmid chacham and a builder. Whereas Hillel said that you can learn on one foot, i.e. kindness, but don't forget that includes kindness to Hashem which means keeping His ...


I heard once in a recording from R. Y.S. Schorr that Shamai represented a middas hadin, an exacting attitude of strict justice (as is evidenced by those very stories). His measuring stick was a display of just that point - everything had to be measured and exactly according to what was deserved.


Being there, he probably sensed what would be allowed both from the mood of the room and its contemporaneous propriety. Further, he certainly sensed that it was Hashem who gave him this opportunity, especially when that was why he visited him in the first place. Therefore, he asked for what he thought appropriate, the amount being less important than what ...


I believe (though I haven't seen my proof quoted in any sefer1) that "יוסי" is a derivative of "יוסף." See the Gemara Bava Metzia, 117a (last few narrow lines), where there is a discussion about a leak in a multi-story apartment building, whether the guy living on the bottom (who is getting damaged by the water) needs to repair it, or if the guy on top ...


Rabbi Chaim kanievsky discuses this in his Sefer shemos borets

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