Thursday, April 14, 2011

Everything given on Sinai - but not everything was given on Sinai?!

From Daas Torah (2nd  edition) - translations copyrighted - there are obviously many more sources concerning this matter.

Berachos (5a): Rav Levi bar Chama said  in the name of Reish Lakish: What is the meaning of the Shemos (24:12), “ And I gave you the stone Tablets, and the Torah and the Mitzvos which I wrote to teach them.” “The Tablets” is referring to the Ten Commandments. “Torah” is referring to the Five Books of Moshe, “Mitzvos” is referring to the Mishna, “Which I wrote” is referring to Prophets and Writings, “To teach them” is referring to the Talmud. Thus this verse teaches that all of these were given to Moshe at Sinai.

Torah Temima (Shemos 24:12.28): Look at Megila (19b) that learns that G d showed Moshe dikdukei Torah and dikdukei Sofrim and what the Sofrim would generate in the future…. The intent of these statements is that the halachos which would be generated in the future by means of hermeneutic principles and intellectual analysis were in fact inherently contained within the Torah that was given to Moshe. They do not literally mean that also the analyses that were used to generate these halachos were actually said to Moshe as some fundamentalist try to insert this meaning into the drashos I cited. They use these drashos as a banner and insist that the Talmud is saying that all the intellectual analysis as well as the discussion and evaluation that a student would say in the future - were literally already given to Moshe at Sinai. Even though it is self-evident that the intent of these statements is that only the basic laws that were used to generate the details in the future were given to Moshe and not the analysis itself and there is no need to prove this – nevertheless a reliable source that this is true is expressed by our Sages in Menachos (29b). There the greatness of Rabbi Akiva is described in the following manner. “When Moshe went up to Heaven to get the Torah he was shown the sages of every generation. He saw Rabbi Akiva interpreting every detail by means of intellectual analysis and Moshe did not understand what was going on and he got upset. However at some point Rabbi Akiva’s students ask him how he had derived a particular point, he answered that it was the halacha given to Moshe at Sinai. When Moshe heard this he felt better.” Thus we see an explicit proof that our Sages understood that only the fundamental halachos were said to Moshe… and that is why Moshe felt better when Rabbi Akiva said it was halacha given to Moshe at Sinai because that is superior to that which is generated by analysis… A clearer proof that Moshe was not literally given the intellectual analysis that would be used to generate the new halachos is found in Bamidbar Rabba (41), “Did Moshe in fact learn the entire Torah in 40 days. That is not possible since the Torah is described as being greater in size than the earth. Therefore what is meant is that Moshe learned the general principles at Sinai.” This doesn’t need further explanation. There is more to discuss about this general topic but what I have written is sufficient here.

Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvos Shoresh 2): We have already explained in the Introduction to our Commentary to the Mishna that the majority of Torah laws were generated by the use of the 13 Hermeneutic Principles. Furthermore that such laws are sometimes the source of dispute amongst our Sages. However those laws and explanations of the laws which were transmitted by Moshe were never disputed. … The proof to this is Temura (16a) which states that,” 1700 laws derived from kal v’chomer and gezera sheva and dikdukay sofrim were forgotten in the days of mourning for Moshe. Neverthless Osniel ben Knaz rediscovered them through his analysis …” If this large amount is what was forgotten, than obviously the number of unforgotten laws that had been derived by analysis must have been considerably more. This large number of derived laws existed already in the time of Moshe since the forgetting of the 1700 derived laws occurred during the period of mourning for Moshe. Thus we have shown that even in the time of Moshe there were derived laws called dikdukei sofrim (the exactitudes of the Scribes). That is because all that was not heard explicitly at Sinai has been produced by the rabbis….

Rashi (Sukkos 28a): Kalim v’Chomrim – Torah laws deducible by use of kal v’chomer - since they that don’t require a tradition - were not explained at Sinai.

Shaloh (Toldos Adom Beis Chochma):
All that which the sages of all generation have discovered was in fact received at Sinai from the Kol (sound) and it is not the result of human intellect and analysis. Thus in truth it was commanded in the Torah by means of Moshe (Devarim 17:11), “According to the Torah which you were taught and the laws which you were commanded to do, do not deviate from that which you were told right or left.” A person who doesn’t obey is deserving of death (Devarim 17:12).  This Kol was the great sound with did not end (yasaf)…In the Yerushalmi Peah (2:6) the Sages said that even what an experienced student would decide before his teacher was said on Sinai. Thus it is clear that all the words of the sages in every generation and all that they innovated and all their analysis is from Sinai. It is not from human intellect but from the divine intellect. They served merely to actualize the potential Torah which had been given at Sinai.

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