“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
Hillel (Hebrew: הלל; variously called Hillel HaGadol, or Hillel HaZaken, Hillel HaBavli or HaBavli, was born according to tradition in Babylon c. 110 BCE, died 10 CE in Jerusalem).
A famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Renowned within Judaism as a sage and scholar, he was the founder of the House of Hillel school for Tannaïm (Sages of the Mishnah) and the founder of a dynasty of Sages who stood at the head of the Jews living in the Land of Israel until roughly the fifth century of the Common Era.
He is popularly known as the author of two sayings:
(1) “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”
(2) And, the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or “Golden Rule:” “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”