Rules of Conflict
The very first Machloket, argument, between two valid rabbinical opinions to ever take place in Jewish history has a tremendous lesson to teach us. The dispute was regarding whether one could lean and confess on a sacrificial animal (the process of placing one’s hands upon it to pronounce confession before offering it as a sacrifice) on a Jewish holiday. Shamai maintained that it was prohibited and Hillel allowed it.
The Talmud (Tractate Beitza 20b) tells a story that a student of Hillel came to the Beit HaMikdash, Temple, on a holiday and began to lean on an animal as his teacher Hillel allowed. A student of Shamai attempted to start an argument and yelled, ,"סמיכה זו מה what’s this leaning?!” The student of Hillel, in an effort to end the confrontation, replied abruptly, "שתיקה זו מה” what’s silence (meaning: I will not fight; you know that our teachers have different opinions)!” The conversation ended. A Talmudic sage then goes on to comment that we can learn from this story: Whenever one is insulted he may answer back the same amount of words as he was accused.
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