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16

The oldest written Torah Sheb'al Peh (though not exactly a manuscript) would seem to be the recently-discovered mosaic of the ancient shul in Beit Shaan. The Hebrew Wikipedia article about that shul (which was destroyed 1300 years ago, and existed a few hundred before that) can be found at this link. Here is their image of the mosaic (I hope I'm allowed to ...


14

The Jews believe in the Written Torah as it was given word for word from God to Moses. But additionally, we believe that Moses was taught by God an Oral Torah, that is, a tradition of how to explain the text of the Written Torah, how certain laws are applied, how we practice certain mitzvos, and other additional concepts pertaining to Jewish law. Moses ...


10

The statement "all the words of the Law" is modified by the next phrase "the blessing and the curse". The simple meaning of the verses is that Joshua explained benefits of keeping the law and vice versa. Not necessarily all commandments. There are interpretations of the verse that all commandments were taught, but your question is based on a literal ...


9

Frankly, kaveh, we don't know it's 100% the same. Traditional rabbinic literature is riddled with arguments about legal details. But, that is part of traditional Judaism. G-d expected unclarity in areas, that is why he gave us the laws of Deuteronomy 17- the Supreme Court on the Temple Mount. This becomes the absolute law even if a greater scholar ...


9

The Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 47:1) says that one reason was to maintain one portion of the Torah as a uniquely Jewish possession. The gentiles have the written Torah (ever since, under order of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, it was translated into Greek, and later into other languages); but so long as the Oral Torah remained orally transmitted, it was unavailable to ...


8

This question is dealt with at great length in the Sefer "The 13 Principles of Faith" (Gutnick edition) by Rabbi Chaim Miller in the Eighth Principle, Lesson Seven, based on the teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He summarizes the chapter as follows: The Sanhedrin of each generation was authorized to overrule any of the derived laws of the previous ...


8

In order for the Torah Shebal Peh to be "added" to the Torah it would be necessary to conclude from independent evidence that it wasn't part of the Torah to begin with. To argue that Torah Shebal Peh is not divine because it was "added" is to either argue in a circle or merely beg the question. The verse does not proscribe adding to the "written" Torah but ...


7

Evidence for an oral torah: In addition to what Hacham Gabriel said, the written torah itself provides evidence that it is incomplete, e.g. in D'varim 12:21 God tells Moshe to slaughter animals "as I have commanded you", but nowhere in the written torah is how to do that discussed. Thus, there must have been some supplementary instruction that Moshe ...


7

Joshua tought the oral law as well. Just because it doesn't specify the MILLIONS of Halachot it doesn't mean he didn't teach them. The Torah is the basic outline for the commandments, but without the Oral Torah we are clueless. Like it says "don Tefilin." What are Tefilin? What shape? What color? How does it stay on my head? He didn't just say "put ...


6

There are many answers given to this question: The Midrash cited in the other answer refers to the exclusive relationship that the Oral Torah allowed. The Christians may read the written Torah, but only the Jews had the Oral Torah. (The Gemara in Gittin also quotes that Passuk.) The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (I.71) takes this further and says that by ...


5

A possible meaning of the following verse: ספר הושע פרק ח (יב) אֶכְתָּוב {אֶכְתָּב} לוֹ רֻבֵּו {רֻבֵּי} תּוֹרָתִי כְּמוֹ זָר נֶחְשָׁבוּ (as I heard from Rav Yonason David and is most likely from an earlier authority) is "If I allow them to write down the bulk of my Torah (which is clearly the Oral Torah) then they (Klal Yisrael) would be considered like ...


5

I am collecting the arguments that has been given in one answer. I am making this a community wiki answer, so please feel free to improve this summery and add the summery of new answers in future. (Note that we are assuming that there has been an oral Torah that was revealed by God to Moshe, and we are assuming the authenticity of written Torah, and we are ...


5

It is not inconsistent to say that Joshua read only the written Torah yet read every word that was commanded (in the written Torah). It's like a student who gets a C on a test for not including in the answers very basic information that was expected, and then complains to his professor, "But I memorized the textbook that you yourself wrote, and I wrote down ...


5

I saw the following ideas in The Encyclopedia of Talmudic Disputes and Perspectives: R. Yochanan and Resh Lakish by R. Nachman Cohen, which attempts to apply a few "big ideas" which divide R"Y and R"L as the reasons behind their many disagreements: Resh Lakish holds that the Yetzer Hara is a creation unto itself and enters the human causing him to sin. ...


5

Currently, there exists a small Karaite community which claims to follow only the written law from teh tanach. On a website purporting to represent them, they give a history which lists other sects which, over history, have mirrored their beliefs (including "Sadducees, Boethusians, Ananites"). It is important to note two other points, though. One is the ...


5

See Yerushalmi Peah Perek 2 Halacha 4, Shmos Rabbah Begining Parsha 47, Vayikrah Rabbah Begining Parsha 22 where it says that it was all said to Moshe at Har Sinai. ריב"ל אמר עליהם ועליהם כל ככל דברים הדברים מקרא משנה תלמוד ואגדה אפי' מה שתלמיד ותיק עתיד להורות לפני רבו כבר נאמר למשה בסיני For a lot on this subject please see this and the following pages


4

אמר ר"ל הוא שטן הוא יצר הרע הוא מלאך המות The Gemara Bava Basra 16. says that the Satan, the Yetzer Hara, and the Malach Hamaves are all one.


4

There are different views as to nature of the truth of the Oral traditions. Many Geonim felt it almost entirely originated from Sinai and was passed down. The kaarites argued that the existence of Machloket showed that the oral tradtion wasn't authentic. However, Rambam emphasized how there were certain principles and halachot which were passed down, while ...


4

According to Shu"t Min HaShamayim 3, the question of whether Rashi tefilin or Rabbeinu Tam tefilin is correct is a dispute between G-d and the yeshivah shel maalah. Therefore, when Mosheh got the mesorah from G-d, he only got one opinion.


4

One might ask: if, as we established in Chapter One, all the basic explanations if the laws of the Torah were received from Moses, (the general wording of the laws {written in the Torah} and also the particulars and details of all the laws of the entire Torah were spoken on Sinai- the Tora Kohanim, B'har) then what is that special class of laws ...


4

The Rambam, towards the end of his commentary to Sanhedrin 10:1, explicitly mentions the oral Torah. ... Similarly, the transmitted explanation of the Torah was also received from G-d. This is what we do nowadays with the forms of the sukah, lulav, shofar, tzitzis, tefilin, etc., which are the exact same forms that G-d gave to Mosheh. ...


4

The question as currently phrased is asked by, among others, R. Yosef Albo in Sefer HaIkarim 3:23 (which is why I'm unsure as to why it still has a negative score). Since I don't have a better way of doing this, I'm going to just paste here what I wrote to this similar question, with a couple of variations. 1. Idiomatic Expressions Some differences between ...


3

There's another way to approach this question. Consider the US constitution, l'havdil. We have not only the original document, and a record of all the debates during it's composition, but also extensive writings of each of those that participated in it's writing regarding exactly what they meant when they wrote it. Additionally we have a great body of ...


3

The Rambam lists the chain of people that it went through from Moshe on down. Its not perfect as it does not go to the present day, but I dont think that most would argue the authenticity of the rambam. In addition, if you are interested, this is a lecture that is online about the subject given in an easy to understand, fairly logical way. Warning, it is ...


3

There is a discussion of this topic here. The author there brings the gemara (Gittin 60a) regarding Chazal's exeptions to the rule of not writing down Torah Shebaal Peh and fragments of Torah Shebiksav based on "עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך", then the dispute between poskim: We see that in order to facilitate Torah learning, Chazal permitted the writing of ...


3

I'm not sure if this is precisely what you mean, but the oldest rabbinic text (so old in fact that it's perhaps better described as proto-rabbinic) is Megillat Taanit. It comprises a list of dates on which it is forbidden to fast, or on which it is forbidden to recite a eulogy. There is an accompanying text that scholars term the scholion, which serves as a ...


3

The Rambam in Moreh Nevukhim 3:41 (2nd paragraph) explains the reason behind "an eye for an eye" literally, then says that we should not be bothered that the law is that one pays, because his goal is to explain the written Torah, not the halakhah, and one who wants an explanation of the halakhah should consult the Rambam in person. The commentator Narboni ...


2

The most obvious answer is to allow the Oral Torah to grow, shrink, and flow as needed based on the changing nature of the times and places. You can witness the danger that a "fixed oral Torah" has done to some communities, and how it has made the Jewish people separate. However, at some points in time, that danger was minimal compared to the danger of ...


2

Rav Hirsch explains that it is the temptation toward the physical. As a result of this definition it is not categorically bad (nor is the yetzer tov necessarily good). Only the majority of the time does it lead people to negative/destructive things. However, when it overtook the yetzer tov, that was enough to seal the world's fate for annihilation by flood.



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