HHMI Newsgroup Archives
From: James Trimm
Subject: 7 Rules of Hillel in NT
Hillel's seven rules and the New Testament
1. Kal V'Khomer (light and heavy)
Kal v'khomer is the first of the seven rules for understanding the scriptures written by Hillel. Hillel did not invent the rules, in fact they are so old we see them used in the Tenach.
The kol v'komer thoughtform is used to make an argument from lesser weight based on one of greater weight. It may be expressed as:
If X is true of Y then how much more X must be true of Z (Where Z is of greater weight than Y)
A kol v'khomer argument is often, but not always, signalled by a phrase like "how much more..."
The Rabbinical writers recognize two forms ok kol v'khomer:
kal v'khomer meforash - In this form the kal v'chomer argument appears explicily.
kal v'khomer satum - In which the kal v'khomer argument is only implied.
There are several examples of kal v'khomer in the Tenach. For example:
Behold the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner. (Prov. 11:31)
If you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? (Jer. 12:5a)
Other Tenach examples to look at:
Dt. 31:27; 1Sam. 23:3; Jer. 12:5b; Ezkl. 15:5; Esther 9:12
For those who wish to look as rabbinical usage of implied occurrences:
Num. 12:14 & b. BK 25a; Dt. 21:23 & m. San. 6:5 Lev. 21:16-21 & Num. 8:24-25 & b.Hul. 24a
There is also an important limitation to the kal v'khomer thoughtform. This is the dayo (enough) principle. This is that the conclusion of an argument is satisfied when it is like the major premise. In other words the conclusion is equalized to the premise and neither a stricter nor a more lenient view is to be taken. (m.BK 2:5) Rabbi Tarfon rejected the dayo principle in certain cases (b.BK 25a)
There are several examples of kal v'khomer in the New Testament. Yeshua often uses this form of argument. For example:
If a man recieves circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the sabbath? (Jn. 7:23)
What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. (Mt. 12:11-12)
Other examples of Yeshua's usage of kal v'khomer are:
Mt. 6:26, 30 = Lk. 12:24, 28
Mt. 7:11 = Lk. 11:13
Mt. 10:25 & Jn. 15:18-20
Mt. 12:12 & Jn. 7:23
Paul uses kal v'khomer in:
Rom. 5:8-9, 10, 15, 17; 11:12, 24
1Cor. 9:11-12; 12:22
2Cor. 3:7-9, 11
Heb. 2:2-3; 9:13-14; 10:28-29; 12:9, 25
2. G'zerah Shavah (Equivalence of expresions)
An analogy is made between two seperate texts on the basis of a similar phrase, word or root.
Judges 13:5 & 1Sam. 1:10
3. Binyan ab mikathub echad (Building of the father from one text)
One explicit passage serves as a foundation or starting point so as to constitute a rule (father) for all similar passages or cases.
Ex. 3:4 God addressed Moses "Moses, Moses..." all the time.
Heb. 9:11-22 aplies "blood" from Ex. 24:8=Heb. 9:20 to Jer. 31:31-34
4. Binyab ab mishene kethubim (Building of the father from two or more texts)
two texts or provisions in a text serve as a foundation for a general conclusion.
In Heb. 1:5-14 Paul sites:
Ps. 2:7 = Heb. 1:5
2Sam. 7:14 = Heb. 1:5
Deut. 32:43/Ps. 97:7/(Neh. 9:6) = Heb. 1:6
Ps. 104:4 = Heb. 1:7
Ps. 45:6-7 = Heb. 1:8-9
Ps. 102:25-27 = Heb. 1:10-12
Ps. 110:1 = Heb. 1:13
to build a rule that the Messiah is of a higher order than angels.
5. Kelal uferat (the general and the partcular)
Gen. 1:27 > Gen. 2:7, 21
a general statement is first made and is followed by a single remark which particularizes the general principle.
6. Kayotze bo mimekom akhar (analogy made from another passage)
Two passages may seem to conflict until a third resolves the conflict.
Lev 1:1 & Ex. 25:22 > Num. 7:89
2Sam. 24:9 & 1Chr. 21:5 > 1Chr. 27:1
Ex. 19:20 & Dt. 4:36 > Ex. 20:19 (m.Sifra 1:7)
Paul shows that the following Tenach passages SEEM to conflict:
The just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17 = Hab. 2:4)
There is none righteous, no, not one... (Rom. 3:10 = Ps. 14:1-3 = Ps. 53:1-3; Eccl. 7:20
[God] will render to each one according to his deeds. (Rom. 2:6 = Ps. 62:12; Prov. 24:12)
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man whom YHWH shall not impute sin. (Rom. 4:7-8 = Ps. 32:1-2)
Paul resolves the apparant conflict by citing Gen. 15:6 (in Rom. 4:3, 22):
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Thus Paul resloves the apparant conflict by showing that under certain circumstances, belief/faith/trust (same word in Hebrew) can act as a substitute for righteousness/being just (same word in Hebrew).
7. Davar hilmad me'anino (Explanation obtained from context)
the total context, not just the isolated statement must be considered for an accurate exegesis.
From: Rabbi Edward Nydle
Subject: 7 Rules of Hillel
The Seven Rules (Middot) of Torah Interpretation as Taught by Rabbi Hillel
- By Rabbi Edward L. Nydle-B'nai Avraham
A Little Background
The Seven Hermeneutic Rules of Rabbi Hillel the Elder (late First Century BCE to the early First Century CE) existed long before they were ever recorded on paper for future generations of Torah scholars. Rabbi Hillel was the first sage to write them down. Rabbi Hillel was one of the leading rabbinical authorities during the Second Temple Period. Hillel studied under Shemaiah and Avtalyon He along with Rabbi Shammai constituted the last pair of the zugot sages. Rabbi Hillel was a master at teaching the "spirit of the Torah" and Shammai the "letter of the Torah". He was known for his love for people and his patience. He taught, "Be like disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing it, loving human beings and bringing them close to the Torah."There was a saying in his day, " Let a man always be humble and patient like Hillel, and not passionate like Shammai."Later Rabbi Ishmael, a tanna (Torah teacher) from the late first and second Century CE, would expand Hillel's rules to thirteen and Rabbi Eliezer ben Yose ha-Gelili would enlarge the code to a total of thirty-two to connect the laws to morals, ethics, and etiquette.
Our Rebbe Yahshua's teachings and halakah more closely resembled the teachings of Rabbi Hillel rather than the halakah handed down from the House of Shammai. The essence of his teachings were a love for mankind, and leading Yisrael to a knowledge of the Torah.The teaching of Rabbi Hillel in b. Shabbat 31a reads, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor that is the whole Torah."This is the fundamental principle of the Yisraelite moral law in the Torah AND Brit Chadasha."Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbor, for certain, and bear no sin because of him. Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people.and you shall love your neighbor as yourself-V'ahhavta l'rayahcha kamoecha." Wayyiqra 19:17-18. Our Rebbe Yahshua taught in Mattithyahu 7:12, "Therefore, whatever you wish B'nai Adam to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Torah and the Neviim." This is also expounded upon in Mark 12:31 and Luke 10:27. Rav Shaul also wrote in Galatians 5:14, "For the entire Torah is completed in one word, in this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Also in Romans 13:8, " Owe, Be indebted/obligated nothing to anyone except achoiv (debt) of ahavah (love), for he who has ahavah has fulfilled the Torah." Yochanan also teach this in 1 Yochanan 3:11, "Because this is the divrei Torah which we heard from the Beginning, that we have ahavah for one another.." and in 1 Yochanan 4:21, " And we have this mitzvah we have from Him, that one having ahavah for Elohim should have ahavah for ach (brother) b'Moshiach of him."
Hillel later became head of the Sanhedrin and was called the Nasi (prince). He was the master of the great school or Beit, at first associated with Menachem and afterward Shammai, his peer. His School advocated the milder HALAKHIC rulings. His influence as a restorer of Scriptural exegesis is his most significant contribution to the Yisraelite world. He lived as a great teacher who lived what he taught-the practice of tzedakah, fear of Elohim, and humility. After Hillel's death the mantle of his rabbinical leadership fell upon his son, Simeon.Later, it was passed on to Rabbi Gamliel, who was Rav Shaul's teacher and Gamliel supported the early talmidim of Yahshua.
Gamliel was the first to carry the title "Rabban" (our master or great one), rather than the more common title "rabbi" (my teacher). His name means "El is also for me". He was the grandson of Hillel and a leader of a yeshiva. He was a Parush (Pharisee) and a great Torah scholar. According to the Mishna he was greatly respected (see Sotah 9:15). Gamliel paved the way for a more liberal Pharisaism by his takkanot (Rabbinical regulations-or improvements). His counsel for moderation was accepted in Acts 5:35-39, but was later abandoned in Acts 7:51-58.Tradition holds that he later become a Believer in HaMoshiach Yahshua but there is no clear evidence from history of this report from "Christian Tradition".
 "I am an ish Yahudi, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but having been brought up in a yeshiva in this city of Yahrushalayim at the feet of Rabban Gamliel, having learned with irreproachable frumkeit according to all machmir chumra strictness the Torah of avoteinu and I have kinat Elohim just as all of you do today." Acts 22:3
 'And Rabban Gamliel said to them, "Anshei Yisrael, pay attention to yourselves what you are about to do with these anashim..And now I say to you, stay away from these anashim, and leave them alone, because if this cheshbon (plan) or this matter is of B'nai Adam, it will be overthrown. But if it is from Elohim, you are not able to overthrow them-in that case you may even be found to be fighting keneged (opposing) Elohim" And they were persuaded by Rabban Gamliel.' Acts 5:35-39
Rav Shaul wrote to Timothy his pupil in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Do your utmost
to present yourself approved of Elohim, a worker that does not need to be
ashamed, RIGHTLY HANDLING THE WORD OF TRUTH (EMET)."Rav Shaul was indicating
that there was a appropriate way and a improper way to handle and interpret
the Torah.Since Rav Shaul sat at the feet of Gamliel to learn the Torah,
then I am sure in this letter to Timothy he was referring to the methods he
had been taught as a yeshiva student of Hillel's grandson. When we closely
investigate his letters in the Brit Chadasha, we will find that they are
filled with usages of these Seven Rules-Middot of Hillel the Elder.
The Seven Rules of Hillel the Elder
Kal V'Khomer (the light and the heavy): The kal v'khomer is used to make an argument from a lesser weight based on one of the heavier or greater weight.
The philosophers called this a fortiori (Latin for "with even greater strength"). Example: If X is true of Y then HOW MUCH MORE X must be true of Z (this would be where Z is of the greater weight than Y). Watch for the phrase "HOW MUCH MORE THEN-kol sh'khen"There are two forms of kal v'khomer: KAL V'KHOMER MEFORESH- This is were the kal v'khmoer argument is explicitly apparent in the text. KAL V'KHOMER SATUM- This is when the kal v'khomer argument is implied by the teaching given by the rabbi. EXAMPLE in the TaNaK: "See, the righteous in the earth shall be rewarded, HOW MUCH MORE the wrong and the sinner!" Mishle 11:31; "If you run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then HOW do you contend with horses?" Yirmeyahu 12:5a; Also look up Devarim 31:27; 1 Shemu'el 23:3;Yechezqel 15:5;Hadassah (Esther) 9:12.) EXAMPLES of the implied: Bemidbar 12:14 & b. BK25a; Devarim 21:23 & m.San.6: 5;Wayyiqra 21:16-21 & Bemidbar 8:24-25 & b.Hul.24a. The limitation of the kal v'khomer argument is the dayo principle or enough principle. This is that the conclusion of an argument is satisfied when it is like the major premise. The conclusion is equalized to the premise and neither a stricter nor a more lenient view is to be taken. This principle is used over 21 times in the Brit Chadasha. Our Rebbe Yahshua used the kal v'khomer in Yochanan 7:23, "If a man receives brit milah on the Shabbat, so that the Torat Moshe should not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a man entirely well (refu'ah shleimah) on the Shabbat?" also in Mattithyahu 12:11-12, And He said to them, " What man is there among you who has one sheep (keves), and if it falls into a pit on the Shabbat, shall not take hold of it and lift it out? HOW MUCH MORE worth is a man than a sheep! So it is mutar (permissible) to do hatov (the good) on the Shabbat." Our Rebbe used this principle in His teaching in these other verses: Mt. 6:26,30;Mt.7:11;Mt.10: 25;Mat.12: 12;Luke 12:24,28;Luke 11:13;Yochanan 15:18-20;Yochanan 7:23. Rav Shaul used this argument in Romans 5:8-10, "But Elohim proves His own ahavah (love) for us, in that while we were still chote'im (sinners), Moshiach died for us. HOW MUCH MORE THEN, having now been declared right (yitzdak im Elohim) by His dam (blood), we shall be saved from wrath-burning anger of Elohim (Charon Af Elohim) through Him.For if, being enemies (oyevim), we were restored to favor with Elohim through the death (mavet) of His Son, HOW MUCH MORE, having been restored to favor, we shall be saved by His life (Chayyim)." Also look up: Romans 11:12,24; 1 Cor.9: 11-12; 1Cor.12:22; 2 Cor. 3:7-9,11;Phil.2: 12;Phil.1: 16;Ivrim 2:2-3;Ivrim 9:13-14;Ivrim 10:28-29;Ivrim 12:9,25.
G'zerah Shavah (Equivalence of expressions): This is when an analogy is made
between two separate texts based upon a similar phrase, word, or root word
in Hebrew. EXAMPLE from the TaNaK of Shemu'el: 1 Shemu'el 1:10, " And let no
razor come upon his head." Shofetim 13:5 of Shimshon,"And let no razor come
upon his head, for the youth is a Nazirite to Elohim." We can conclude then
Shemu'el was a Nazirite as was Shimshon (Samson) by comparing these two
related verses. In the Brit Chadasha the writer of Ivrim (Hebrews) compares
Ivrim 3:6-4:13 to Tehillim (Psalms) 95:7-11.Ivrim 3:7-11 is compared to
Bereshith 2:2. Ivrim 4:4 uses the word "works-ma'asim" and "day/today
-hayom". So the writer concludes that there will a 1,000-year REST-Shabbos
menuchah following a literal 6,000 years of this world for those who are
obedient (mishma'at) to the Torah (Ivrim 4:11-13) and Moshiach.
Binyanab mikathub echad (Building of the father from one text): One explicit
text serves as a foundation or a starting point so as to constitute a rule
or FATHER for all similar texts or cases. From the Brit Chadasha: Ivrim
9:11-12, " But when Rebbe, Melek HaMoshiach came as the Kohen HaGadol of the
coming tovot (good things), he entered through the Mishkan Gadol, the
greater and more perfect Mishkan, not made with hands, that is, not of this
B'ri'ah (creation); not through the dam of se'irim (goats) and of agalim
(bulls) but through his own dam he entered the Kodesh HaKodashim once and
for all, having secured for us the Geulah Olamim (Eternal Redemption)". The
writer applies the word "blood"-dam from Shemot 24:8 to Ivrim 9:20 then
compares it to Yirmeyahu 31:31-34 in Ivrim 10:16-17.
Binyab ab mishene kethubim (Building of the father from two or more texts):
This means two texts or provisions are a text to serve as a foundation for a
general conclusion. EXAMPLE from the TaNaK: Shemot 21:26-27, "And when a man
smites the eye of his male or female servant, and destroys it, he is to let
him go free for the sake of is eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of his
male or female servant, he is to let him go free for the sake of his tooth."In the PASHAT these texts provide for only an eye or tooth, but we can
conclude it may also be applied for other body parts as well. In the Brit
Chadasha book of Ivrim, the writer in 1:5-14 sites from the TaNaK Tehillim
2:7 and compares Ivrim 1:5; 2 Shemu'el 7:14; Ivrim 1:6 is compared to
Devarim 32:43 and Tehillim 97:7;Tehillim 104:4 is compared to Ivrim
1:7;Tehillim 45:6-7 is compared to Ivrim 1:8-9;Tehillim 102:25-27 is equal
to Ivrim 1:1-12; and Tehillim 110:1 is equal to Ivrim 1:13.All this is to
build an argument that Rebbe Yahshua Ha Moshiach is of a higher order of
being than the malakim (angels).
Kelal uferat (the general and the particular): A general statement is first made and is followed by a single statement that particularizes the general principle stated. EXAMPLE from the TaNaK: Bereshith 1:27, " And Elohim created the man in His image, in the image of Elohim created him-male and female He created them."Then in Bereshith 2:7,21 we have this general statement particularized.
Kayotze bo mimekom akhar (analogy made from another passage): This is where
two passages that seem to contradict each other are resolved by a third
passage that solves the apparent conflict. EXAMPLE from the TaNaK: Wayyiqra
1:1, "And Yahweh called to Moshe, and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting,
saying.." But Shemot 25:22 says, "And I shall meet with you there, and from
above the lid of atonement, from between the two kerubim which are on the
Ark of the Witness, I shall speak to you all that which I command you
concerning the Bnai Yisrael."This seems to be a contradiction in
Scripture.When we look at Bemidbar 7:89, " And when Moshe went into the Tent
of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of ONE speaking to him from
above the lid of atonement that was on the Ark of the Witness, from between
the two kerubim. Thus He spoke to him." This reconciles the apparent
conflict and we realize that Moshe entered the Tent of Meeting to hear
Yahweh speak to him. 1 Dibre ha Yamim (Chron.) 27:1 explains the numerical
conflict between 2 Shemu'el 24:9 and 1 Dibre ha Yamim 21:5. Shemot 19:20, "And Yahweh came down upon Mount Snai, on the top of the mountain." This
appears to disagree with Devarim 4:36, " From the heavens He let you hear
His voice, to instruct you, and on earth He showed you his great fire, and
you heard His words out of the midst of the fire." Shemot 20:19-22
reconciles these two accounts by stating that Elohim brought the heavens
down to the Mount and spoke with Yisrael. In the Brit Chadasha Rav Shaul
shows that Romans 1:17 (Hab.2: 4), "For the righteousness of Elohim (Tzedek
Olamim) is revealed from belief (emunah) to belief, as it has been written,
But the just shall live by belief-V'tzaddik be'emunato yiche'yeh." Seems to
conflict with Tehillim 14:1-3;Tehillim 53:1-3;Qoheleth (Ecc.) 7:20 in Romans
3:10, " As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one-Ein Tzaddik
Ba'aretz!" Then He uses Romans 2:6 (Tehillim 62:12;Mishle 42:12), "Who
shall render to each one according to his works-k'ma'a'sei hu." With Romans
4:7-8 (Tehillim 32:1-2), "Blessed (ashrey) are those whose lawlessness (or
lawless deeds) is forgiven, and whose sins are covered over, blessed is the
man to whom Yahweh shall by no means reckon sin-Ashrey Adam Lo Yakhshov
Yahweh Lo Avon." This apparent conflict is resolved by quoting Bereshith
15:6, "And he believed in Yahweh, and He reckoned it to him as
righteousness." Rav Shaul as a rabbi resolves the conflict by showing that
under certain circumstances, BELIEF /trust-Emunah can act as a substitute
for righteousness or being just.
Davar hilmad me'anino (Explanation obtained from the context): This means that the total context of the verse in question must be considered for an accurate exegesis of the verse. Otherwise stated, you cannot isolate a verse from its context or the book in which it is written to arrive at the full meaning of the text. A verse out of context ends up as a pretext. This is where most commentators make mistakes.
 Context: Contextus-connection of words,coherance.1.the parts of a discourse which surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning2.the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
In the Brit Chadasha in Romans 14:14 Rav Shaul writes, " I know and am
persuaded in the Master Yahshua that none at all is common (tamai) of itself
(beetzem-intrinsically). But to him who regards whatever to be common, to
him it is common-profane." Rav Shaul, from the tribe of Binyamin, a Yahudite
would NOT be teaching against the Torah of Kashrut (clean and unclean
foods). Nor is he advocating moral relativism. He knew Wayyiqra 11-17 and the laws of ritual uncleanness. These are chukim-or commandments without any apparent reasons. He is merely pointing out to the congregation at Rome that things are unclean not of themselves but because Elohim said they are unclean in His Torah then they are indeed unclean. This is very similar to a statement in the Talmud N'darim 15a, "It was taught: If there are things which are allowed but which some treat as prohibited, you must not permit them in their presence."They must also be aware of their behavior and the deliverance of the unbelieving Yahudim who are watching their Torah observance, as they are looking at the Ephraimites coming back to the belief of Yisrael to be acting in an inappropriate manner as a true test of Rav Shaul's ministry to the lost Sheep of Yisrael and also the Messiahship of our Rebbe Yahshua.
By looking at these Seven Rules of Rabbi Hillel we can conclude that both our Rebbe Melek HaMoshiach Yahshua, and Rav Shaul used and were taught these Seven Rules. Rav Shaul clearly uses them in his exegesis of Scripture.
This proves from Scripture that the men who penned the Brit Chadasha participated in the Hebraic thought pattern of the sages and rabbis of their time period in interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures. We cannot justify ignoring the culture, historical, religious, social, and intellectual ambiance of this time (Second Temple Period), and try to isolate Yahshua and His talmidim from this environment. The Middot were part of everyone's background in how to approach the Torah and Scripture.It is gratuitous to assume our Rebbe Yahshua and all the writers of the Renewed Covenant constituted the exception from the traditional rabbinical viewpoints. If these Rules were used by Rav Shaul and our Rebbe, then we as Messianic Yisrael must also use these same rules to teach, study, and interpret the Scriptures.It will allow us to follow the command given to Timothy to "rightly divide the Word of Truth (D'var Emet). May Yahweh bless your study of His holy Torah. Rabbi Edward L. Nydle B'nai Avraham
Newsgroup Archives Main Page
Return to our Main Webpage
�2011 Hebraic Heritage Ministries International. Designed by Web Design by JB.