In our Blog this week we will be deviating momentarily from our ongoing research topic: “How will HaShem circumvent His Own Torah restriction against receiving His divorced harlot Bride (The House of 10-Israel) back as His Beloved Spouse (together and reunited with Judah)?”
The Ten Commands – written by HaShem on 2 Stone Tablets – encompass all there is to be known in the World about His Will (Torah).
All the rest are either written or conveyed through humans or resort under Oral Interpretation by human commentators. Resistance against Divinely mandated Oral Torah (Rabbinic Judah Mechoqeck guidance) has been rampant throughout time to this day, like the Sadducees, Karaites, (historically and to this day), modern Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism – and of course, within Orthodox Judaism itself. Jews live with it daily – it can be differences of opinions of Oral guidelines – even on small issues like using an umbrella to synagogue on Shabbat.
Self-interpretation, personal preferences and justification is what the natural human mind prefers. Rabbinic Oral Torah interpretation unleashes this human preference and resistance. No consideration is given to the fact that ALL employ Oral interpretation – every human being, Sadducees, Karaites, Christians (ALL denominations), Muslims –But It is Jewish Mechoqeck (God mandated) Oral Torah which is the ‘cancer’ for all – while it truly should be the Cure. Why do we make such a statement? For experience prove to us constantly and consistently that, where anti-Rabbinism and anti-Oral Torahism is removed or conquered, UNITY immediately becomes the result! THIS exact same anti-Judah spirit of rejecting Judah’s Torah interpretation and guidance, was what earned the House of 10-Israel of Solomon’s time exile from the Land. Their mighty World Empire was tumbled and they were exiled into oblivion amongst the nations … but with the Divine Oath of return – thus, to end one day up in discussions like this, Baruch HaShem!
So what is the real problem underlying Rabbinic Oral Torah? The answer is astounding:
All but the Ten Commands written by ‘the Finger of HaShem’ amount to either interpretation of reference to the all encompassing Will of God or is ‘Oral’ Torah (interpretation, guidelines).
This is not always clearly understood, even by Jews and Torah teachers because of confusion about what really entails “Written Torah”.
Clear specifications are given by the intensive research by the Saadiah Gaon (882/892 – 942).
“By profound examination and deep analysis we found in our contemplation that the Ten Commandments which our fathers heard on Mount Sinai, correspond to these ten categories, so that no law remains there but falling under them…. So it is proved that the Ten Commandments embrace all there is to be known in the world.“ (Paradigms in Jewish Philosophy – edited by Raphael Jospe)
“As long as it is true, and since the 613 laws are among what is in the world, these 613 laws are necessarily falling under the Ten Commandments, so that no one of these remains outside them.”
“I started classifying them and including into each Commandment what resembles it, I found 80 [laws] included into the first Commandment, 60 into the second, 48 into the third, 75 into the fourth, 77 into the fifth, 50 into the sixth, 58 into the seventh, 59 into the eighth, 52 into the ninth, and 54 into the tenth, which makes up 613.” “Immediately after that, Sacadiah informs us that the number Of the letters with which the Commandments are written, is 620, of which 613 correspond to 613 laws and 7 are superfluous.”
(Refer also “The Significance of the Ten Statements of the Decalogue” – Rabbi Bernie Fox)
Based on these conclusions we can now construe the following:
- There is the Creator’s Will encompassing ALL (=Torah), call it ‘literal’ Torah’. It is unwritten, not fully known but to Him. In written format it would fill many sky-scraper buildings in volume. This does NOT exist anywhere – perhaps on Heavenly record systems.
- There is Written Torah by HaShem – 10 Laws on 2 Stone tablets – NO MORE written by Him– (Ex. 31:18 Deut. 5:22). He conveyed the rest to Moses to teach His People.
- there is ‘written Torah’ by man in the 5 Books of Moses.
- The rest is written interpretations, commentary and guidelines by Moses’s academy throughout the centuries – Talmud, Mishnah, Gemorrah, Chazal (Sages) etc etc. libraries upon libraries in volume.
- and then there are non-Jewish commentaries, interpretations – Christian theologians, Islam, plus plus plus … ALL classified as ‘Oral commentary’.
Now how do we select amongst these? HaShem is not on the phone or mail line to advise – of course, Christians claim a ‘direct line’ – yet cannot agree on even 2 words! Work this one out and you have the answer.
This should all be so elementary but for the huge traditional barrier set in our minds regarding even the ‘Written Torah’. Much is written – but what is “God written?” So, the Sadducees, Karaites or anyone claiming to “follow the Written Torah only” has to define ‘Which written Torah’? – do they even realize the difference and that ONLY 10 were truly written by HaShem to encompass His entire Will (Torah)? All other references to ‘the Written Torah’ refer human written documentation and thus already touches on ‘Oral rendering’ even if it appears in the Bible. Add to this realization, that there is proof that certain Laws were NOT given to Moses and were not mentioned by him in the 5 Books written by him.
“Some mitzvot were not revealed at Sinai”
This analysis is relevant to a disturbing question posed by Nachmanides. The Talmud states that 613 commandments were given to Moshe at Sinai. …. The Torah describes HaShem revealing various commandments after Moshe descended from Mount Sinai. For example… the laws determining the apportionment of the Land of Israel. … Moshe (afterwards) received a prophecy in which HaShem revealed the laws of inheritance. Clearly, some of the Torah’s commandments were not given to Moshe at Sinai.”
“Some mitzvot were withheld from Moshe at Sinai”
A slightly different response to Nachmanides’ question is suggested by a comment of Rashi. Rashi is bothered by an interesting question regarding the incident involving the daughters of Tzlafchad. These women came to Moshe with a question. He presented their question to HaShem. HaShem responded by teaching Moshe the laws of inheritance.”
“According to Rashi …these laws already existed as part of the Torah. The inquiry of the daughters served only as the catalyst for the revelation or communication of the laws. In other words, these laws were always part of the system of 613 commandments. “
“The same analysis can be applied to all of the mitzvot that were communicated to Moshe after he descended from Sinai. These mitzvot were not new commandments that were added to the Torah in response to evolving events. They were always elements of the system of taryag mitzvot. However, the communication of these elements was initially withheld from Moshe. Only after he descended from Sinai were these elements revealed.”
There are other considerations which emphasize the importance of the Torah “Written by HaShem”: Moses could have changed things in ‘writing the Written Torah’ – or the later copiers? Perhaps he misunderstood some? However, and this also applies to all Rabbinic Judah-mandated Oral interpretations: i.e. Judah was Divinely mandated as the ‘Lawgivers of HaShem’, His Judicial Arm – referred to as His Mechoqeck (Gen. 49:10).
This raises the prospect: Where are the Written Tables of Stone? Imagine the Testimony when they find it again – and it is here, somewhere in the Land of Israel. This is why it is called the ‘Testimony’.
The Mechoqeck status of Judah must be what underlies the Prophecy of Ya’akov for the ‘latter days’, i.e. that ‘his brothers would yet bow before him’ – surely for having held the Light of Torah throughout Time, to share with the Returning brothers from exile.
Awesome Time that we are blessed to be living in and be part of the Process of Reconciliation to make the Final Redemption (Geulah) possibble.
If this can be grasped out there: i.e. that ‘the Written Word’ as we have it (the Bible) is NOT nearby a complete record of God’s Will (Torah). It cannot be. It will require a written Library that reaches the heavens in size to accommodate all. There are TEN WRITTEN LAWS only, containing 620 Hebrew letters (613 + 7). The 613 laws defined by Rabbis from Scripture are merely references, forming 10 categories, of the Real wider Torah (which one of your terms used may refer to as ‘literal Torah’).
Thus, the 613 extracted from the ‘Written Torah’ are already a form of wider Oral interpretation – yet it is rejected by most ‘believers’.