© Copyright 2016 Leaving Christianity and Finding the Truth in Judaism
Web Maintenance: JWFoto
Rabbi Chaim Coffman: Rabbinic commandments on how they do violate the prohibition of adding to the Torah by Rambam in his Mishneh Torah.
These 613 mitzvot were given to Moses on Mount Sinai together with their general principles, particular points, and details. These general principles, particular points, and details represent the Oral Law, which each court received from the previous court.
There are [also] other commandments that were instituted after the giving of the Torah. They were established by the Prophets and Sages and spread throughout Israel, for example, the reading of the Megillah, [lighting] a Chanukah candle, fasting on Tish'ah b'Av, [setting up] Eruvim, and [washing one's] hands [in preparation for prayer and eating]. Each of these commandments also possesses explanatory aspects and details. All of this will be explained in this text.
We are obligated to accept and observe all these commandments which [the Rabbis] instituted, as [implied by Deuteronomy 17:11]: "Do not deviate from the instructions that they will give you, left or right."
They are not considered to be additions to the commandments of the Torah. [If so,] what was the intention of the Torah's warning (Deuteronomy 13:11): "Do not add to it and do not detract from it"? That a prophet is not permitted to introduce a new measure and say that the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded this mitzvah to us and that it should be added to the Torah's mitzvot, or [say that He commanded that we] eliminate one of the 613 mitzvot mentioned above.
However, if a court, together with the prophet of that age, adds a commandment as an ordinance, a lesson, or as a decree, this is not considered as an addition. He is not saying that the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded us to make an eruv or read the Megillah at its [appointed] time. Were he to say so, he would be adding to the Torah.
Instead, we are saying that the prophets and the courts ordained and commanded that the Megillah be read at its [appointed] time in order to recall the praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, the salvation He wrought for us, and His response to our cries, so that we will bless Him, extol Him, and inform the future generations of the truth of the Torah's promise (Deuteronomy 4:7): "What nation is so great that it has G-
The wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet with the letter -
The Beis is the second of the Holy Letters. G-
The Midrash relates that the beis was chosen because every being -
With its gematria [numerical value] of two, beis represents the concept of duality, for there is diversity in every part of Creation. Only in the Creator Himself does the absolute Oneness prevail. Literally, beis means house and alludes to the focal point of holiness on earth -
Maharal connects the beis of plurality with the beis of blessing and the beis of creation: G-
1. heaven and earth
2. light and darkness
3. and male and female
Some Phenomena seem to complement each other while others seem to oppose each other, yet all opposite are woven into a complete unity which guarantees the function of the universe.
Adam and Eve were a pair in which one was not complete without the other -
The proper functioning of nature, however, is contingent on man's capacity to overcome the duality of his nature by subordinating his inclination for evil to his inclination for good, in accordance with the Creator's covenant -
As its upper left corner, the beis points upward to Heaven, symbolically acknowledging the existence of the Creator, and testifying that the marvelous, intricate patterns of nature and the universe did not come about by chance, but were woven by One G-
The base of the beis also points back to the aleph, the letter that symbolizes G-
The Torah begins with a large Beis, as if to emphasize that the creation of the Universe is only the second factor. It is up to man to go in quest of the first factor, which is aleph the Creator, the cause of everything [Kol HaTorah]
Beis, with its gematria of two, symbolizes our world, since everything earthly is embedded in plurality. All that was created for man's use came in pairs:
1. Torah -
2. Mitzvos -
3. Intermediaries -
4. World -
5. Luminaries -
6. man -
The Oral Torah is like a detailed commentary to the Written Torah which reveals the innermost meaning that is hidden in the written text [R' Bachya]
The Talmud teaches that the Holy One, Blessed is He, establish a covenant with Israel only on the basis of the Oral Laws -
For on the basis of these spoken words have I establish a covenant with you and with you and with Israel [ Exodus 34:27]Two Tablets: The Ten
Two Tablets: The Ten Commandments
One Tablet contained five commandments governing ma's duty toward G-
The word two, indicates that the tablets were equal to one another in every way; physically they were of the same size and weight; spiritually, they correspond to each other and are of equal importance. That they are halves and constitute a whole only in combination is implied by the torah defective spelling of[without the vav of plurality] as if it were meant to be pronounced, one tablet.
As the Tablets formed one singled physical unit when they were placed together, so both together constitute the One Divine law [R' Hirsch]. This implies the dual nature of the torah, in which duties toward G-
Since there are five commandments on each of the tablets of the law, the midrash seeks a relationship between each commandment and one parallel to it on the other tablet.
The first commandment and the sixth commandment:
Paralllel to the first commandment, I am Hashem your G-
The second commandment and the seventh commandment:
Opposite the second commandments, you shall not have strange gods, was the seventh, you shall not commit adultery, for he who leaves G-
The third commandment and the eighth commandment:
The eight commandment, you shall not steal, corresponds to the third, You shall not take a false oath, for an accused thief will feel compelled to swear falsely to protest his innocence.
The fourth commandment and the ninth commandment:
Remember the Sabbath day corresponds to You shall not bear false witness, for he who observes Sabbath by desisting from creative work testifies to the fact that G-
The fifth commandment and the tenth commandment:
Honor your father and your mother corresponds to You shall not covet. This proximity teaches that one who covet will bear children who will curse their parents and honor those who are not their parents [just as one who covets shows disdain for his own possessions by favoring that which belongs to others, so will his children disregard for him while honoring strangers] [R'chanina ben Gamliel, cited in Mechilta]
Commandments and Prohibitions
The commandments of the torah represent another duality:
1. Positive commandments -
2. and Negative commandments -
The ten commandments appear twice in the Torah.
1. Exodus records the text of the first pair of tablets which were subsequently broken by Moses. There the Fourth commandments -
2. Safeguard the day of the Sabbath to sanctify it [Deut 5:12] Midrash teaches that when g-
Two leaders: Moses and Aaron
Moses as a teacher ,receive the Torah and taught it to Israel and Aaron as a high Priest, demonstrated the actual observance of the law through his service in the Temple [Maharal, Tifers Yisrael].
Moses the chief of all the prophets and Aaron the chief of the priest but both were of equal importance [Bereishis Rabbah 1:5] To indicate this equality, the torah gives precedence sometimes to moses and sometimes to Aaron [Exodus 6: 26-
The Two complemented each other through their specific character traits Moses instructed the people about right and wrong behavior, and did not refrain from acting with firmness in admonishing then when necessary.
Aaron went out of his way to act with compassion by bringing people into harmony with one another. Therefore, the attributes of justice acribed to Aaron [Shemos Rabbah 5:10 see Pslams 85:11]. In their harmonies brotherly unison they formed a leadership which is unequaled in history.
Two Genders: Adam and Eve
In Regard to duality in living beings the fundamental duality is male and female, as R' Yehudah taught in the same name of Rav, all that G-
This dichotomy is not limited to the animal kingdom, for we even find a distinction between male and female in the vegetable world [Bereishis Rabbah 41]. The Talmud cites the cedar and palm as examples of trees with male and femal natures, which complement each other in their growth [Shabbos 157a; Pesachim 56a]. In all of nature, with the exception of mankind, the harmonious interaction between male and female components is innate and result from the circumstance of their creation. Both sexes sprang from the earth simultaneously and independently. Neither requires the presence of the other except for purposes of breeding.
Woman was separated from man to become an helpmate [Genesis 2:18], literally, a helper against him -
Man and Woman represent two opposites which, if they are worthy, merge into a unified whole. but when they are not worthy the very fact that they are opposites casuses her to be against him.
In order to bring about completeness of the man-
1. If he is worthy, she is a helpmate;
2. or If he is unworhty, she is an opponent [Yevamos 63a]
That is, if man carries out his mission properly, his wife should encourage and assist him, but if he goes wrong, it is her duty to stand up to him, making him aware of his weak points and offering constructive criticism. For all people have a blind spot when it comes to seeing their own flaws objectively -
Thus we see that a wife can be an in two ways:
1. in a direct manner, by suggestion and encouragement;
2. by adopting an adversary approach which ultimately will be for her husband's benefit.
According, the Sages comment that the expression, G-
Two drives -
There is another pair created by G-
Man is commanded to subugate his yetzer hara [evil inclination] to the service of G-
You shall love G-
Man has two drives so that he can choose to which he wants to give priority -
In order to make the right choice, man must first distinguish good from evil and identify evil masquerading as good. To this end, he was endowed with [binah] understanding, the power of differentiation and deduction .
Our task in This World is to prepare ourselves for the World to Come or as the mishnah express this concept: This World resembles a vestibule before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the vesitbute so that you may enter the banquet hall [Avos 4:21].
For the Sake of Reishis
The fundamental doctrine that the Creation of Heaven and earth is only a means to an end -
Torah is Reishis
Torah is called reishis in the verse: Hashem had aquired [the torah] as His primary path, before His other activities [ Proverb 8:22] . Torah did not merely precede the Universe chronologically; it was the very blue print of the world -
Israel is Reishis
Israel is called Reishis in the verse: Israel is holy to Hashem, Bereishis, the first of his harvest [Jeremiah 2:3] eventually, all nations will recognize G-
Challah is Reishis
In addition to torah and Israel as definitions of reishis, the Midrash teaches: For the sake of challah, the world was created [Bereishis Rabbah 1:6]. Challah is called reishis in the verse: From the beginning of your kneading you shall separate challah [Numbers 15:20].
Challah is a portion of dough to be set from each batch, and given to a Kohen [priest]. The Challah portion, as well as terumah tithes and first fruits [bikkurim], have the status of reishis. They attain this lofty position becasue the Jew who gives his first produce to the servants of g-
Aleph and beis; parent and offspring
The letter aleph and beis form a fundamental partnership. aleph represent the indivisible Divine intelligence in torah that it existed in G-
Thus the aleph which represent the torah, preceded beis, which represent the physical creation. As Mishnas R' Eliezer [chapter 7] puts it: aleph [the Torah] gave birth to beis[ the world] forming a union of beis -
The Three intellectual
1. Father represent understanding
2. mother represent wisdom
3. and the son represent knowledge
Beis stands for [lit. between and between], the power of differentiation and deduction. Theses are the intellectual traits that give birth to binah, understanding.
Binah is G-
Bayis: House Bayis is a focal Point
The letter beis related to [bayis] house or home. A home is more than shelter from the elements; it is the place where one has the feelings of belonging, an enclosure in which to develop his personality in he defines himself emotionally and spiritually.
Bayis is the Holy Temple
Bayis is the symbolic expression for the place where the Jewish spirit prevails [Otzar Chaim]. Thus we find that after our forfather Jacob slept at the site of the temple, he arose and exclaimed of all that he saw before him Mount Moriah and Eretz Yisrael: this is none other than the House of G-
When Jacob called the place house, it was in anticipation of the holy Temple, in which the Shechinah would find its resting place. The midrash say that Abraham had called the temple site a mountain, and Isaac had called it a field. As R' Shimon shalom of Amshinov explain, when Avraham spread the knowledge of G-
Isaac called the site a field for by his time Godliness was more recognized as the source from which mankind ultimately draws sustence. with the advent of Jacob, however, the Shechinah had found a bayis, a "home" on earth [Mayanos Netzach, Otzar Chaim]
Indeed the torah refer to the Sanctuary as the Bayis of Hashem [Exodus 23:19-
The difference between house =412 and temple 444 amount to 32 which is the numerical value of heart. This teaches us that only by putting one's heart into a house can it become a sanctuary in miniature.
Bayis denotes wife
One is his wife [Yoma 36]
This concept is established in the verse: He shall atone for himself and for his house [Leviticus 16:6] The verse refers to the High Priest who on Yom Kippur, before he atoned for the sins of Israel, first had to "atone for himself and his wife.
Hence the Mishnah deduces that the high Priest from G-
That Bayis alludes to the women is further inferred from G-
Bayis denotes Hospitality
The form of the letter of beis resembles a house with one side to teach us that our bayis should be open to welcome guests as the Mishnah teaches: Let your house be open wide [Avos 1:4]
The tents of Abraham and Sarah, in which hospitality was practiced in its most profound degree were open on all four sides so that the travelers could enter from any direction. The host and hostess treated them to food, drink and lodging. through their hospitality, they attracted many people to the belief in one G-
Abraham's pursuit of the mitzvah of hospitality was so great that after his circumcision he was more anguish by his lack of guest than by the physical pain from his wound. when G-
Kehillas Yitzchak views the episode from a different perspective. Why did G-
Aleph and Beis; oneness and multiplicity
The message of beis and aleph is in the theme of the traditional simple song which is recited at the end of the Seder. It is the song, who knows one which describes certain phenomena of the universe and various phrases of Jewish life in numerical fashion
Aleph taught the oneness of G-
Gimmel and dalet stand for one of these pairs: benefactor and beneficiary.
Rabbi Chaim Coffman:
Rabbi Tovia Singer: Oral Law Predated the Written Torah:
Critics of the Jewish faith often claim that the Oral Torah was an “after-
It wasn’t until 40 years later, just prior to Moses’ death and the Jewish people’s entering the Land of Israel, that Moses wrote the scroll of the Written Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and gave it to the Jewish people. Following the death of Moses, Joshua added the final eight verses to the Book of Deuteronomy.
In fact, this chain of oral tradition dates back long before Moses’ encounter with God at Mount Sinai. For example, God instructed Noah to board the ark with his family, seven pairs of the birds and the clean animals, and one pair of the unclean animals (Genesis 7:1-
(Let's Get Biblical, Volume 1, p. 257)