Both the pious pre-Talmudic Book of Jubilees1 and the Talmudic Gemara2 agree that Angels kept the Torah in Heaven long before it was finally revealed through Moses to the people of Israel.3 My question would be whether traditional Judaism believes that this observance is still going on today. (The concept of not in Heaven seems unrelated, but I am not sure).
Note to a footnote: In the above-linked text of Jubilees, from the beautiful Sefaria site, the verse numbering differs from the one provided below by the Jewish Encyclopedia; nevertheless, all one has to do is scroll a few verses below the ones referenced to obtain the intended passage.
As a sign of its [ Israel's ] union with God, both the Sabbath and circumcision have been given to it, privileges which it shares with the angels (ch. ii. 18-21, xv. 26-27).
[T]he Hasidæan author represents circumcision as ordained in heaven from the beginning of Creation (ch. xv. 25-27).
The Sabbath that comes at the close of the twenty-two generations (ch. ii. 23) was also ordained in heaven, and was, therefore, given to no other nation but Israel, to celebrate as it is celebrated by the angels in heaven (ch. ii. 30-31; comp. Sanh. 58b).
It [ the Feast of Weeks ] was celebrated in heaven from the days of Creation until God ordained it to Noah.
2 A small passage from the much larger context of Shabbat 88b-89a:
[ The angels ] said before Him: [ The Torah is a ] hidden treasure that was concealed by you 974 generations before the creation of the world, [ and ] you seek to give it to flesh and blood?
A scholarly footnote, paraphrasing Rashi's commentary, adds the following:
As it is stated: “The word which He commanded to a thousand generations” (Psalms 105:8). Since the Torah, the word of God, was given to the twenty-sixth generation after Adam, the first man, the remaining 974 generations must have preceded the creation of the world.
Another plausible explanation for the presence of the mysterious number 974 would be Deuteronomy 7:9, ultimately amounting to the same conclusion.
3 From Chabad.org :
A question is asked: which is greater? Eino metzuvah ve’oseh — One who is not commanded and who observes Torah on his own volition or metzuvah ve’oseh — one who is commanded and fulfills what he has been commanded?
While at first thought one may reason that the former is greater, the Gemara (Kiddushin 31a) says “one who performs a precept having been commanded to do so, is greater than one who performs a precept without having been commanded to do so.”
Though Hashem had not specifically given the Torah to the angels they were content since they held that observing Torah voluntarily is more commendable and receives greater reward. However, when they saw that Moshe had come up because Hashem was going to give him Torah (though the Jews too observed Torah voluntarily for many years) so that they would be a metzuvah ve’oseh — one who is commanded and performs — they suddenly realized that they were in error all these years, and in reality one who is commanded and performs is greater.
In the comments below, a user has suggested the possibility that I might have misrepresented or misunderstood the Rabbi's words, and proposed that I get in touch with him, so as to clarify any possible misapprehensions, which I eventually obliged. Emailing him, I asked:
Is it only a mere academic or intellectual pursuit for them, or do they actually perform (some of) its Commandments ?
To which he rather promptly replied:
This is based on what is related in tractate Shabbat. Th[at] there was opposition from Angels to Moshes taking the Torah down to earth
which sentence is as clear as it is also cryptic. (Feels weird emailing him a second time to ask for yet further clarifications, though; I don't want to seem too pushy). Just thought it commonsense to mention it here, in the spirit of total transparency.