. . . et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.
And the Life of the world to come. Amen.
Hillel and Shammai, two well-known and perpetually quarreling rabbis, play prominent roles in Avot d'Rabbi Natan. Here, as in talmudic stories about these characters, Hillel is patient and lenient, while Shammai is strict and easily irritated.
In one story, a man comes to Shammai asking to be converted on the condition that Shammai make him a high priest. Shammai responds, "Don't we have anyone in Israel to make a high priest rather than this proselyte?" and dismisses the man. The man then approaches Hillel with the same request. Rather than rebuke him, Hillel suggests that this man begin studying the biblical laws of the priesthood. As he learns about the difficulties and dangers of the priesthood, the man abandons this ambition but commits himself to conversion. In a final rebuke to Shammai, the man comments, "Your impatience, Shammai, almost made me remove my soul from the life of this world and of the world to come; and your patience, Hillel, made me worthy to inherit the life of this world and the life of the world to come."