Do you know if Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was a follower of Hillel or Shammai?

There are partial lists of followers of each of them here, but he's not on either of them. Was he a follower of one of them, neither of them, or do we just not know?

  • 1
    Possible dupe? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36635/759
    – Double AA
    May 7, 2015 at 14:51
  • 1
    There is nothing about Rashbi there.
    – far22
    May 7, 2015 at 14:55
  • @far22 me thinks Double means that the answer there is applicable to this question as well.
    – user6591
    May 7, 2015 at 16:56
  • @far22, is this question about Rashbi or about Beth Shammai? If it's about Beth Shammai, then this question is a duplicate. If it's about Rashbi, then it's probably a duplicate anyway, but it's slightly more debatable.
    – Seth J
    Jun 2, 2016 at 15:37
  • 1
    @meva The legal positions of rabbis is most of what this site deals with.
    – Double AA
    Oct 30, 2016 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


Rashbi is a student of Rabbi Akiva. See Gemara Yebamot 62b:

אמרו שנים עשר אלף זוגים תלמידים היו לו לרבי עקיבא מגבת עד אנטיפרס וכולן מתו בפרק אחד מפני שלא נהגו כבוד זה לזה והיה העולם שמם עד שבא ר''ע אצל רבותינו שבדרום ושנאה להם

It was said that Rabbi Akiba had twelve thousand pairs of disciples, from Gabbatha to Antipatris; and all of them died at the same time because they did not treat each other with respect. The world remained desolate until Rabbi Akiba came to our Masters in the South and taught the Torah to them. These were

  1. ר''מ ,‏

Rabbi Meir,

  1. ור' יהודה ,‏

Rabbi Yehuda,

  1. ור' יוסי ,‏

Rabbi Yose,

  1. ורבי שמעון , ‏

Rabbi Shim'on,

  1. ורבי אלעזר בן שמוע , ‏

Rabbi El'azar Ben Shamua,

והם הם העמידו תורה . ‏

and it was they who revived the Torah at that time.

And Rabbi Akiva is called in Mishna Sota 5, 2 Student of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai:

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, מִי יְגַלֶּה עָפָר מֵעֵינֶיךָ, רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי, שֶׁהָיִיתָ אוֹמֵר, עָתִיד דּוֹר אַחֵר לְטַהֵר כִּכָּר שְׁלִישִׁי, שֶׁאֵין לוֹ מִקְרָא מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא. וַהֲלֹא עֲקִיבָא תַּלְמִידְךָ מֵבִיא לוֹ מִקְרָא מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹכוֹ יִטְמָא:

Rabbi Joshua said: who will remove the dust from thine eyes, Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakkai, since thou sayest that another generation is destined to pronounce clean a loaf which is unclean in the third degree on the ground that there is no text in the torah according to which it is unclean! is not Rabbi Akiba thy pupil? He adduces a text in the Torah according to which it is unclean, viz. , "whatsoever is in it shall be unclean".

And Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zaccai is called student of Hillel and Shamai, see Mishna Avot 2, 8:

רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי קִבֵּל מֵהִלֵּל וּמִשַּׁמָּאי

RYBZ received from Hillel and Shamai.

One of his students, Rabbi Eliezer is often considered as student of B.Sh. "Shamuti" (but Shamuti may be interpreted as who was in Cherem, after the dispute of Tanur shel Achnay), and Rabbi Akiba is counted as one of his students in Gemara Sanhedrin 68a, when he was Goses, he said to Rabbi Akiva "שלך קשה מכולם". But he regularly countered him. Rabbi Yehoshua said that they do not need to follow the "Bat Kol" which indicates that Halacha Kedivre Beth Hillel, but was not Shamuti.

But Rabbi Akiva was mainly a student of Rabbi Tarfon (Doresh Miut Verubui and not Klale Uprate) which is involved with the Halacha to follow Beth Hillel, but was not see Mishna Berachot 1, 3:

אָמַר רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן, אֲנִי הָיִיתִי בָא בַדֶּרֶךְ, וְהִטֵּתִי לִקְרוֹת, כְּדִבְרֵי בֵית שַׁמַּאי, וְסִכַּנְתִּי בְעַצְמִי מִפְּנֵי הַלִּסְטִים. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, כְּדַי הָיִיתָ לָחוּב בְּעַצְמְךָ, שֶׁעָבַרְתָּ עַל דִּבְרֵי בֵית הִלֵּל: ‏

Rabbi Tarfon said: I was once walking by the way and I reclined to recite the shema' in the manner prescribed by Beth Shammai, and I incurred danger from robbers. they said to him: you deserved to come to harm, because you acted against the opinion of Beth Hillel. {in Gemara they learn from this that one who follows the rule of Beth Shammai makes his life forfeit}.

Mesilat Yesharim explained this Gemara in the end of Chapter 20:

The episode of R. Tarfon (Berachoth 10b) substantiates what has been said. Although he took upon himself the more stringent decision of Beth Shammai, he was told, "You would rightly have been accounted the cause of your own death, for you violated the words of Beth Hillel." All this because the controversy between Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel had become an area of difficulty to Israel in view of the great contention that had grown up between them; and after it had finally been ruled that the law should constantly be decided in accordance with Beth Hillel it was essential for the very endurance of Torah that this ruling forever retain its force and not be weakened in any way lest the Torah come to take on the semblance of two Torahs (G-d forbid). Hence, the view of this Mishnah that it is Saintlier to hold with Beth Hillel even when more lenient, than to be more stringent in accordance with Beth Shammai. This should serve us as a guide to perceive the path where light resides with truth and faith for the doing of what is just in the eyes of G-d.

Conclusion: There was no more members of Bet Shamai in the generation of Rabbi Shim'on and his Rabbi was not member of BS, and The Rabbanim of his Rabbi also was not. The question you linked and answers count only people from former generations, not from the Generation of Rabbi Shim'on. See also Seder Hadorot, who said that he receive Smicha from Rabbi Yehuda Ben Baba who was the Rav of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasssi.

So Rabbi Shim'on obviously was not of Beth Shammai.

  • You have no reason to assume Rabi Tarphon changed his own opinion about continuing to practice according to stringencies of Beis Shamai. Especially considering that his student Rabi Akiva, an essential step your case, continued the practice of taking Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai into account when deciding which animals were born in which year.
    – user6591
    Jun 2, 2016 at 18:06
  • Not every time someone is told he is wrong by others does he then change his mind. There are sugyas surrounding things like this where we try to decide if אף הוא חוזר or not. But in any event, Rabi Akiva is a sticking point in your case.
    – user6591
    Jun 2, 2016 at 18:17
  • I didn't say you are wrong. Just that there is no proof either way.
    – user6591
    Jun 2, 2016 at 18:35
  • R' Akiva was a student of Beis Shammai, though. (See BB 158b)
    – DonielF
    Jul 4, 2016 at 0:26
  • It never says that R' Tarfon concluded to not do things the way of Beis Shammai. It just talks about Chazal saying it was wrong to do it against Beis Hillel.
    – ezra
    Aug 1, 2016 at 18:28

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