"...Years after, Rabbi Natan encountered Elijah the prophet and said to him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do at that time, when Rabbi Yehoshua issued his declaration? Elijah said to him: The Holy One, Blessed be He, smiled and said: My children have triumphed over Me; My children have triumphed over Me." Bava_Metzia.59b

In this discourse, a relatively minor issue of ritual purity of utensils was discussed. And God was happy to accept Rabbis' triumph over His divine laws.

Would God be equally happy if the sages canceled more severe issues, such as Shabbat, or allowed some Arayot?

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    The Sages didn't knowingly cancel anything; they tried their best to recognize G-d's teaching as revealed in the Torah. If they did try to cancel something, G-d would surely not be happy. – N.T. Mar 9 at 18:34
  • This question assumes G-d has emotions and that He can be happy or sad, a change in G-d's unity. – Jonathan Mar 9 at 18:45
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    @Jonathan THis is the explicit Gemmorah, not my interpretation – Al Berko Mar 9 at 18:46
  • True. Well said. – Jonathan Mar 9 at 18:56
  • @NT They did knowingly cancel Kinyan Kesef for example. – Al Berko Mar 10 at 15:05

As long as a ruling is logically derived from the Torah and enacted by majority vote, God will be happy. That is the import of the Talmudic teaching. Also, there can be more than one logical derivation, as the Talmud says: "Ellu v'ellu divrei Elokim hayyim" [Eruvin 13b].

But how do you "cancel Shabbat" by logical derivation from Torah?

  • Are you saying it's OK for rabbis to change the Torah laws? – Jonathan Mar 9 at 18:45
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    My last question says exactly the opposite. – Maurice Mizrahi Mar 9 at 18:50
  • @MauriceMizrahi +1. You are pointing out that the sages need to be "erlich". It isn't a game, where the goal is to make it come out the way you want. Rather, to do your best job of figuring out what Hashem wants. – MichoelR Mar 9 at 18:55
  • so your saying it's OK to change Torah laws but then not OK? – Jonathan Mar 9 at 18:55
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    You ask how they would cancel Shabbat? The same way they reinterpret other things. R. Saadia Gaon in fact gives an example of what such a reinterpretation regarding Shabbat would look like: “for example, the statement of the Torah: Ye shall kindle no fire [throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day] (Exod. 35:3) might allegorically be taken to mean “Do not set up armies in battle array on the Sabbath day,” corresponding to Scripture’s remark elsewhere: For a fire is gone out of Heshbon, a flame [from the city of Sihon; it hath devoured Ar of Moab] (Num. 21:28). – Alex Mar 9 at 23:42

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