Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hillel's Golden Rule

Happily_anonymous brought-up Rabbi Hillel's Golden Rule recently. Today, while surfing through some spiritual blogs, I found this painting done in 1961 by Norman Rockwell.

"Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it." ~


Alexander M Zoltai said...

Glorious picture!!!

Here are 9 other "Golden Rules":

Christianity: "So in everything, do to others, what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets"
-- New Testament: MT 7:12 NIV

Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that yourself would find hurtful.
-- Udana-Varga 5.18

Baha'i: Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings

Confucianism: One word which sums up the basis for all good conduct...loving kindness. Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself.
-- Confucius Analects 15:23

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.
-- Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.
-- The Prophet Mohammed, Hadith

Judaism: What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole torah; all the rest is commentary.
-- Hillel, Talmad, Shabbat 31a

Native Spirituality: We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.
-- Chief Dan George

Janism: One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.
-- Mahavira, Sutravitanga

Sikhism: I am no stranger to no one; an no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.
-- Guru Granth Sahib, pg.1299

Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbors loss as your own loss.
-- T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien, 213-218

Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent of all existence of which we are a part.
-- Unitarian principle

Zoroastrianism: Do not unto others what is injurious to yourself.
-- Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

Cookiemouse said...

One could also add the Wiccan rede, "Do what thou wilt as long as ye hurt nobody."

Sophia said...


What an extraordinary example of how many of the world's religions teach some of the same truths. It really does make one wonder if it all comes from the same source.

Thank you so much for finding these!! :)

Sophia said...


Another fine example, thanks!

This reminds me of something I read last night on the Golden Sufi Center's website, about indirectly hurting others. This is the part I read:

"It is true that the ethics on this path are incredibly high. You're not even allowed, for example, to have a chair if you don't use it - that's considered stealing. If you keep an overdue library book that is considered stealing. Maybe somebody else would need it more. You're not allowed to eat more food than you need because even the worms could use it. But these ethics are not imposed." ~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

It makes me so excited to see similarities between all the beautiful world religions. :)

Anonymous said...

Ales, the multipath approaches to teh same ideology as first brought to my attention by a mathematician friend of mine perhaps a decade ago. That's certainly a late in life discovery for me, I am ashamed to say.

I wonder about how to write a valid golden rule for a world described in Orwell's _Animal Farm_.

Depending on what sort of value one places on life (regardless of form) that question takes on an amazing validity.

A very abbreviated version of the now classic work on economic theory resides at:

A more narrowly directed cartoon version in the animal farm genre can be seen at:

Can we apply the golden rule to all facets of human behavior, or are we limited, in thinking about the golden rule, to the individual's realtionship with his surroundings?

To ties this back to my other discussion about evil, is every violation of the golden rule an evil?