Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Gradually, the snow enveloped him until his entire body was covered and he fell asleep.



The next morning, Shmaya and Avtalyon walked into the beis midrash to begin the day of learning.

Something about the room struck them as odd.

“Is the room not rather dark today? Outside the sun shines and yet its rays are not coming through to brighten the room.” Looking up to the roof, they were dismayed to see what appeared to be the figure of a man framed against the skylight.

“What can it be?” they asked in amazement. “Is that truly a man who lies on the roof? What is he doing there?” Climbing to the roof, they hastily dug through the snow and to their astonishment they found the almost frozen form of the scholar Hillel.

Lifting the inert body, they quickly brought Hillel downstairs where they washed his body in oil and placed him near the fire where he might become warm again.

When Hillel regained consciousness, he told them how he happened to be on the roof. The two sages listened in amazement. Never before had they ever heard of such a desire to learn Torah. Tears flowed from their eyes as they realized the greatness that lay in this man.


Hillel Admitted Gratis

From that day onward, the guard at the door was instructed to allow Hillel to enter the beis midrash without payment. Hillel was overjoyed and never wasted a moment during his time there. He compiled more and more Torah and followed eagerly in the ways of his two teachers, Shmaya and Avtalyon.

Soon it became clear that Hillel had become the greatest sage in Israel and, after the passing of his two teachers, he was chosen to be the head of the Sanhedrin where he led Israel for many years along the path of Torah and humility.


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