1

It is my understanding per this Mishna that the reason why we rule like Beis Hillel in the majority of cases is related to the rule of "following the majority". I know there are other reasons given (i.e. Hillel was more humble, which is shown a few times over on Shabbat 31a) but by strict reasoning I believe this would be the rationale. However, it is my understanding that there are some Kabbalistic sources that say that in the days of Moshiach we will follow Beis Shammai. If we are to say that the reason for us following Beis Hillel is by dint of the fact that they were the majority, then this shift doesn't make sense, I can't imagine that when Moshiach comes, Beis Shammai will suddenly outnumber Beis Hillel. I am just wondering how all of the mechanics will work to shift our psak from Beis Hillel to Beis Shammai given that according to my understanding it is the majority rules which will presumably not change upon the coming of Moshiach.

  • 1
    "How will the details of this eschatological event work out in practice" is rarely an answerable question before it does. – Double AA Jun 3 at 3:34
  • And why can't you imagine this? Individual members of the Sanhedrin at that time can decide just that - that they find Beis Shammai's arguments more convincing - and end up being a majority. – Meir Jun 3 at 14:52
  • @Meir I'm not sure if I understand. Doesn't majority mean having more physical members, which is set in stone for time immemorial? – Alexander Mermelstein Jun 3 at 15:46
  • 1
    First, it could be metaphoric -- today we need halakhah founded on rachamim (Hillel was nasi) and le'asid lavo we'll be better off with halakhah founded on din (Shammai was av beis din). But technically, it can happen. If the messianic Sanhedrin is greater in number and wisdom, than that in the days of Batei Hillel veShamai they could re-vote on any decision that earlier Sanhedrin made. – Micha Berger Jun 3 at 17:47
  • @AlexanderMermelstein Yes, but many determinations of halachah in one generation can be reopened in a future generation (see Mishneh Torah, Hil. Mamrim 2:1). So at the time when these laws were decided, Beis Hillel were the majority; but in a future Sanhedrin these issues can be brought up again for a discussion and a revote, and this time the majority of its 71 members may decide differently. – Meir Jun 3 at 19:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .