Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Bari Mitzmann

In Shulamith, I had a teacher, Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, who would grade our tests a little differently than most teachers. We were expected to answer as many questions as we could in the allotted test time. However, if we went off on a relevant tangent based on the question, we would have that taken into consideration when he graded our papers. I remember that one time, I spent a couple of hours the night before the test discussing Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai with my father. What exactly we discussed, I don’t remember, but I do remember that I wrote all about it in the second or third question of the test all the way through our testing time. Well, that and acing the thing.

Beis Shammai was the House of Ideal. It’s what we could be. It’s seeing our potential from a soul first lens. Beis Hillel was the House of The People, the House of Reality. It met people where they were at, weighing the connection and the disagreements the body and soul have. Yes, the soul is foremost, but we are given grace being that we are fallible beings.


The most important thing is that though these were seemingly two opposing individuals and schools of thought, they both had a common goal and that was the pursuit of truth. Though the ideal way was in fact ideal, we are given some grace for our humanity.

May we extend that grace to others during this incredibly difficult time.

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Bari Mitzmann is a popular podcaster whose goal is to empower women, normalize mental illness, and discuss seemingly taboo topics in the Jewish community. She has a MA in education and has worked in outreach.