biographical name \ˈhi-ləl, -ˌlel\

Definition of HILLEL

1st cent. b.c. –1st cent. a.d. Jewish teacher


   (Concise Encyclopedia)

(flourished 1st century BC–c. first quarter of the 1st century AD) Jewish sage and architect of rabbinic Judaism. Born in Babylonia, he went to Palestine to complete his studies under the Pharisees. He became the revered head of the school known by his name, the House of Hillel, and his carefully applied method of exegesis came to be called the Seven Rules of Hillel. He liberated texts from a slavish literal interpretation and sought to make obedience to the Law feasible for all Jews. His legal writings were very influential in the compilation of the Talmud, which also contains many stories and legends about his life. He is remembered as a model scholar and communal leader, whose brilliance, patience, and goodness are to be emulated by all rabbis.


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