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The schism between B"H and B"S is very famous in early Jewish Halachic polemics.

In their times, were their opinions Halachically exhaustive, or did other (unaffiliated) rabbis practice additional views? For example, are there Mishnaic sources that say "B"H holds X, B"S holds Y, and Rabbi N teaches Z" (where Rabbi N is their contemporary)?


This question is a follow-up to the question on the Mishnah in Succah 2.7

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    See the first chapter of Eduyot
    – Joel K
    Jul 11 at 7:15
  • @JoelK There are many passages of this kind, but it is unclear how synchronous are they. ח"א can come 100, or 300 years later as a Halachic resolution of the conflict.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 11 at 8:27
  • True, which is why I didn't post as an answer. There are also named tannaim later in that chapter - R. Akiva, R. Meir. I guess the first question is, when can we say that Beit Hillel / Beit Shammai "ended"?
    – Joel K
    Jul 11 at 8:49
  • @JoelK THis is why the story in Succah is important because they went to R. Yochanan Ben Hahorani, so he definitely was their contemporary. On the Other hand, I think the very emergence of unaffiliated "Chachamim" proves that B"H and B"S weren't exhaustive.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 11 at 9:19
  • See Tosefta Eduyot 2:2 with parallels in Tosefta Sukkah and Bavli Yevamot 15b on R"Y ben Hachoronit being a member of B"S who followed the halacha of B"H. Likewise, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai was a student of both Hillel and Shammai. His student Rabbi Yehoshua was of Beit Hillel yet his other student Rabbi Eliezer was of Beit Shammai. Things weren't so clear-cut black and white.
    – Harel13
    Jul 11 at 14:12

2 Answers 2

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Presumably those arguments in Eduyos were contemporaries. (Though not conclusive):

1). Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai span generations themselves (which somewhat invalidates the question, how can we know if beis hillel and beis shammai argued as contemporaries unless a Maaseh is written - however we understand their arguments continuing).

2). Either the Machlokes is resolved like Ben Butti (תלמוד ירושלמי מסכת חגיגה פרק ב דף עח) who was Beis Shammai paskening like Beis Hillel or it endures.

3). If an opinion is altered or retracted before the completion of the Mishnah, the Mishnah will hint to it. See Chagiga 2a-2b where the word כל comes to include a half-slave against Beis Hillel (even though his opinion is mentioned in the mishnah) hinting at the retraction.

4). Therefore, If there is a 3rd opinion without the above conditions it is a contemporary opinion. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine a 3rd opinion not being a contemporary if a בת קול states the Halacha is like Beis Hillel. Presumably an acceptance of Beis Hillel in the argument occurs; how could a 3rd opinion now come along 50 years later when we already understand כלל ישראל paskening like Beis Hillel until then.

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Here's one instance where there was a contemporaneous third opinion:

Tosefta Shabbat 16:7 (my translation):

"Beit Hillel say: One may clear from the table bones and shells, and Beit Shammai say: One may remove the entire board and shake it off. Zechariah ben Avkolas didn't not follow either Beit Shammai or Beit Hillel but would pick up [the trash] and throw it behind the divan. Said Rabbi Yose: "The humility of Rabbi Zechariah ben Avkolas is what burned our Temple."

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