Sunday, August 10, 2008

Devarim - Moshe said it on his own

The Eighth Principle of Faith is that the Torah we have was given by G-d to Moshe at Sinai.

רמב"ם (סנהדרין י:א) והיסוד השמיני הוא תורה מן השמים. והוא, שנאמין שכל התורה הזו הנמצאת בידינו היום הזה היא התורה שניתה למשה, ושהיא כולה מפי הגבורה...

However this principle becomes problematic when we come to the book of Devarim.

The Abarbanel says quite bluntly in his introduction to Devarim that it was written by Moshe and then afterwards G-d agreed to it and had it included in the Torah. While one might respond that the Abarbanel was not main stream and his view can be ignored, this is also the view of the Ohr HaChaim. Despite the Ohr HaChaim's stature in the world of Chassidus - the Munkatcher Rebbe declared this view to be heresy

In short, the first four books of the Torah were given directly by G-d, but the fifth book was composed by a godly man who was able to express G-d's views so perfectly hat his words became Torah. Interestingly the Leshem says something similar concerning the views of Chazal - which seriously blurs the distinction between Torah and Rabbinic mitzvos.

I am not sure the readership of this blog is interested in this topic - which many find very disturbing. But it is directly relevant to the other topic - Chabad/Rebbe - concerning which I have received a number of emails saying that they were tired of hearing about it. If there is interest I will be glad to post more on the topic - otherwise I will move in another direction.


  1. But this isn't controversial at all, especially when we remember what Rashi wrote about Aharon's confrontation with the plague angel in parshas Korach, the one about Moshe never doing anything without the Aibishter's okay.

    So Moshe wrote Devarim himself. So what? He would never do anything without God's approval and he would strive to do it in as "Godly" a way as possible.

    I don't see the problem.

  2. I want to hear more about this topic, very important to understand the issue.

  3. Check Rashi at Divrei HaYamim 34:14.

  4. See Likutei Sichos vol. 4, pp. 1087 ff. for a fascinating explanation of this concept, and one that ties in with the sicha that is oh so controversial concerning the revelation of Hashem via Tzadikkim.


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