This question is intended to clarify D.S'.question - how-can-bet-shamai-argue-on-shamai:

  1. What exactly is called "Beyt Shammay/Hillel"? We don't find this term with other great Rabbis, such as R' Akiva's 24K students are not called Beyt R"A or Beyt Rabbi in terms of Mishnayos in their names. (We do find in the Gemmorah discussions in different Shuls like "תנא דבי ר ישמעאל" or "תנא דבי אליהו" etc.).

  2. If a statement is made in the name of B"H or B"S, ממה נפשך, if they followed their Rabbi the Mishnah should say "Hillel says" or "Shammay says", but if they contradicted their Rabbi's view, it should not be mentioned in their Bayt's name, but in their particular originator's. How this can be explained?

  • "discussions in different Shuls" what does that mean, how is it different from sayings of Beit shammai, and how do you know it's different?
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2018 at 14:31
  • @DoubleAA I don't want to skew into another discussion. There's something standing out about B"H and B"S and I want to know why. As I and you mentioned there are some distant look-alikes but they are too unimportant.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 24, 2018 at 14:34
  • 2
    Or maybe they're just famous but not unique. Maybe the look alikes are the same things. The answer could be staring you in the face and you are dismissing it.
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2018 at 14:35
  • 1
    Pretty sure דבי is just Aramaic for בית.
    – DonielF
    Oct 25, 2018 at 11:32
  • @DonielF דבי means של בית you're right
    – Al Berko
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


Hillel and Shammai represent the last of the Zugos the Pairs of Tannaim. After them, this period ceased and the next generation could be considered a new period. You could say a transition period between two individuals and having schools without representing one or other person. So in this respect then there was no such thing as Beit Rebbe Akiva because he didn't represent one school, but a combination of what he learned from his teachers. There was no longer a single path through a single teacher representing a single tradition. Rebbe Akiva represented the sum-total of the Oral Torah with different teachings melded into one. If you follow Rebbe Akiva's line of teachers, he learned from both the academies of Hillel and Shammai.

After Hillel and Shammai passed on, their students continued their teachings. Their students represented their academies and the disagreements between them continued and increased. The Oral tradition, however, as a complete unit could no longer be encapsulated by even a single academy and that could not be passed on, from one generation to the next, but rather required students from both academies to learn and transmit the tradition.

So to answer the question Beit Shammai is the academy or school where Shammai's teachings and Oral Torah was passed down and interpreted. The same is true for Hillel's Academy. Subsequently, the teachings could no longer be contained in a single academy representing the Rebbe's transmission. You had to go to different Academies to receive and transmit the Oral Torah to your disciples. Thus the age of a single 'school of thought' was over. After that, no teacher or disciple could claim that the sum-total of the Oral Torah he received was from a single particular school, but rather from a conglomeration of different teachers/schools.

As the OP mentioned, the Braisos - which are Tannaic sources mention Tanna d'Bei Rebbi Yishmael. But it is not common. The Gemara is a combination of Aramaic discussion and Tannaic sources.

To answer the second question, when it is mentioned in the name of someone else, that is the originator of the Oral statement. However, when Beis Hillel or Beis Shammai is the originator, it cannot be directly linked to Hillel or Shammai themselves, but rather the academy in which they taught.

  • Interesting: 1. What was the situation before? were there houses, schools, I don't recall? Where did H and S get their teachings from to form two schools? What happened that H and S differed on so many topics? 2. You did not address the second (more important) question.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:27
  • Regarding B"H and B"S what do you think of my follow up question judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/96427/…
    – Al Berko
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:27

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