Do we, however, adopt the restrictions of two [authorities who differ from one another]? Was it not in fact taught: The law is always in agreement with Beth Hillel, but he who wishes to act in agreement with the ruling of Beth Shammai may do so, and he who wishes to act according to the view of Beth Hillel may do so;
[he, however, who adopts] the more lenient rulings of Beth Shammai and the more lenient rulings of Beth Hillel is a wicked man, [while of the man who adopts] the restrictions of Beth Shammai and the restrictions of Beth Hillel Scripture said: But the fool walketh in darkness.(Eccl. 2:14)
A man should rather act either in agreement with Beth Shammai both in their lenient and their restrictive rulings or in agreement with Beth Hillel in both their lenient and their restrictive rulings?
Or page then gives a series of instances in which the restrictions of both are followed – creating a more difficult environment – one of walking in darkness.
One resolution of how it possible to say that the law is always in accordance with Hillel, but one is permitted to follow Shammai (isn’t that by definition illegal?) is to argue that this statement was made after the “bat kol” – the Divine Voice which spoke from Heaven and stated that the law is always in accordance with the School of Hillel.
And some (represented by Rabbi Joshua) don’t agree that a Divine Voice should determine the law. Lo ba Shamayim, he – the law is not in Heaven, it is in human hands!