There are a couple of iconic arguments in our Gemmorah and Tanuro Shel Achnai (BM 59)is surely one of them. Here's a short recap:

R' Eliezer had an argument with some Chachamim, and R' Yehoshua was the greatest of them regarding ritual purity of a special sort of an oven... eventually...
... A Divine Voice emerged from Heaven and said: Why are you differing with Rabbi Eliezer, as the Halakha is in accordance with his opinion in every place that he expresses an opinion!

Rabbi Yehoshua stood on his feet and [disagreed with the Voice and] said: It is written: “It is not in heaven”, etc.

In continuation of my question "does eilu-veilu-apply-to-every-rabbi", why didn't the Heavenly Voice admit that R"Y and all Chachamim's opinion is also a legitimate one?

  • This is the opposite question to judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/30225/… which asks why a bas qol was able to say "eilu va'eilu" in the case of batei Hillel vaShammai given "lo bashamayim hi". There I repeat Ency Talmudit's list of resolutions between the two gemaros. Sep 23, 2019 at 19:48
  • By the way, the bas qol implicitly did by sticking up for the truth of the opinion Hashem didn't want us to follow. Sep 23, 2019 at 19:49
  • Because this was during the period before "everything was a Machlokes". There had to be 1 Din - and the majority would decide and the rest would follow. By continuing to argue he was creating division - and the Bas Kol surely didn't want to be part of that. כך נראה לי Sep 24, 2019 at 11:53
  • @DannySchoemann Thank you for participating. I don't see any Chidush in saying "had to be 1 Din" - the final Halacha could be one, but why couldn't there be different opinions? You enter the argument about what exactly R"E contradicted. It appears to me that they were in the middle of the Machlokes, not after the final voting. Do you agree? If so, what is the problem with having a different opinion and trying to convince others?
    – Al Berko
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


According to the ultimate truth of Heaven, the חכמת אלקים, Rabbi Eliezer was correct. However ultimate truth isn't given to us, Torah is. The truth on earth differs from the truth in heaven because we do not have the capacity to understand that much. Heaven can only pasken according to the ultimate truth, so Heaven could not pasken: ''eilu v'eilu" as that is not the ultimate truth, that is the truth on earth.

This is based upon the teachings of Rabbi Moshe Schapira זצ''ל on the י''ג עיקרים.

  • I don't understand your answer. The question shows that the Heaven didn't conform with R"E and you say "According to the ultimate truth of Heaven, the חכמת אלקים, Rabbi Eliezer was correct". What source do you base it on? Your second sentence is also irrelevant as I didn't ask for the meaning of לא בשמים היא.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 23, 2019 at 14:36
  • 1
    @AlBerko the heavenly voice did conform with R''E
    – nosh
    Sep 23, 2019 at 14:39
  • If this is correct, how do you explain Eruvin 13b where Heaven did say Eilu V’eilu?
    – Alex
    Sep 23, 2019 at 22:58
  • @Alex In eiruvin the psak of heaven is not eilu v'eilu, in the story of Tanuro Shel achnai, Heaven is called upon to pasken.
    – nosh
    Sep 24, 2019 at 7:05
  • Would you kindly cite the exact source for R. Schapira’s teaching so it can be ascertained before he’s critiqued.
    – Oliver
    Sep 24, 2019 at 14:06

The fact that un-anointed and un-appointed Sages, Rabbinim openly stated that they were taking the power of Hashem to themselves and creating their own unending additions, removing and creating new laws answers many statements in Torah. Also, in Eruvin 21b, the Rabbinim explained to their student of the fact that Hashem's law and commandments were punitive while the laws of the Sages resulted in the violator to be boiled in excrement.

It seems that the Talmudic response was that Hashem related that His children had beaten Him. This seems that men of finite wisdom decided to become gods and create the second Rabbinical Judaism Oral Torah.

Eruvin 21b:7-11


אמר ליה וכי תורה פעמים פעמים ניתנה אלא הללו מדברי תורה והללו מדברי סופרים

Rav Ḥisda said to him: This cannot be so, for was the Torah given on two separate occasions, i.e., were the more lenient and more stringent mitzvot given separately? Rather, these, the old, are mitzvot from the Torah, and these, the new, are from the Sages.

דרש רבא מאי דכתיב ויותר מהמה בני הזהר עשות ספרים הרבה וגו׳ בני הזהר בדברי סופרים יותר מדברי תורה שדברי תורה יש בהן עשה ולא תעשה ודברי סופרים כל העובר על דברי סופרים חייב מיתה

Rava expounded another verse in a similar fashion: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And more than these, my son, be careful: of making many books [sefarim] there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)? My son, be careful to fulfill the words of the Sages [soferim] even more than the words of the Torah. For the words of the Torah include positive and negative commandments, and even with regard to the negative commandments, the violation of many of them is punishable only by lashes. Whereas with respect to the words of the Sages, anyone who transgresses the words of the Sages is liable to receive the death penalty, as it is stated: “And whoever breaches through a hedge, a snake shall bite him” (Ecclesiastes 10:8), taking hedges to refer metaphorically to decrees.

שמא תאמר אם יש בהן ממש מפני מה לא נכתבו אמר קרא עשות ספרים הרבה אין קץ

Lest you say: If the words of the Sages are of substance and have such great importance, why were they not written in the Torah, therefore, the verse states: “Of making many books there is no end,”

  • Thank you for this interesting answer. I fail to see, however, how it answers the question - the Bas Kol conformed R"E's approach and clearly discarded the rest. Please try to address this specific point.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 24, 2019 at 16:50

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