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Talmudic scholar of the 1st century B.C.E. He was the contemporary and rival of Hillel and founder of a school named after him. Hillel was president of the Sanhedrin, and Shammai, the vice-president. The Talmud records a number of differences of opinion between Hillel and Shammai. In most instances, Shammai and his followers were more strict in their interpretation of the law. The opinions of the School of Hillel were accepted by the sages. The stories about Shammai reveal his inflexible personality. But Shammai also preached friendliness; one of his favorite sayings was: “Welcome every man with a friendly face.” Shammai and Hillel were the last of the “pairs,” or zugot, of scholars whose teachings formed the basis of the Talmud.

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