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I would like to know why the rabbis disagree with God on Halacha in Baba Metzia 86a:

סָפֵק הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אוֹמֵר טָהוֹר וְכוּלְּהוּ מְתִיבְתָּא דִרְקִיעָא אָמְרִי טָמֵא וְאָמְרִי מַאן נוֹכַח נוֹכַח רַבָּה בַּר נַחְמָנִי דְּאָמַר רַבָּה בַּר נַחְמָנִי אֲנִי יָחִיד בִּנְגָעִים אֲנִי יָחִיד בְּאֹהָלוֹת

The heavenly debate concerned a case of uncertainty as to which came first, the spot or the hair. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says: The individual is pure, but every other member of the heavenly academy says: He is impure. And they said: Who can arbitrate in this dispute? They agreed that Rabba bar Naḥmani should arbitrate, as Rabba bar Naḥmani once said: I am preeminent in the halakhot of leprosy and I am preeminent in the halakhot of ritual impurity imparted by tents.

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    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first question Michael. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Mar 18 at 18:12
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/a/89476/21. The point is that this has been answered before in the discussion on several similar questions. To recap: "God, You told us the Torah is no longer in Heaven, You told us to do our best job making judgment calls. So that's what we will do now." (And again. The rabbis weren't saying that black is white, or that pig is kosher. They were given the rules of "intact tools", and the rules of "broken shards", and had to make a judgment call about which category better fit this particular device.
    – Shalom
    Mar 18 at 23:04
  • @Shalom But if the rabbis DID say black is white, you must listen to them. This story mentioned and ripping "no longer in heaven" out of context is preposterous. They argue with God over who has authority to interpret Torah and God concedes? It's beyond arrogant. It's breathtaking, frankly.
    – user34203
    Mar 19 at 15:13

1 Answer 1

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B"H

Chassidus Chabad explains the deeper meaning of the debate.

https://chabadlibrary.org/books/4001380169

Short answer: the specific term "the holy One blessed be He" doesn't refer to Hashem in essence, it's only referring to how He limits Himself in some way (Boruch=Hamdhacha), and relative to that lower level, it's possible to "debate" with Him because the Torah is not in heaven, and through the mesivta of the rakia (and even the beis din in earth) learning the Torah, they reach a level that's beyond the specific level of "The holy one blessed be He", and are able to debate with Him.

Longer answer:

Rough summary:

The passage begins by mentioning a debate in the Gemara, specifically in the tractate Bava Metzia, regarding an argument between the yeshiva in the firmament and the holy one blessed be He. The debate centers around the order of occurrence between a white hair and a leprous spot. If the white hair precedes the leprous spot, the spot is considered impure. Conversely, if the spot appears before the white hair, the hair is deemed impure. In this uncertain situation, the text mentions that the Holy One, blessed be He, declared it pure. Different opinions are presented, with some considering the spot impure and some expressing uncertainty.

Rabba bar Nachmani is mentioned in connection with this debate, stating that he is unique concerning plagues and tents, possibly referring to his expertise in matters related to impurity and the laws of purification.

The passage then refers to another discussion in the Gemara, this time in the tractate Nazir. It explains the reason behind the ruling of purity in the previous scenario. The verse "to pronounce him clean or unclean" is mentioned, indicating that the scripture begins with purity first, and this is cited as the basis for the ruling.

The text emphasizes the need to understand the significance of the conditions and the scholars mentioned in these discussions. It acknowledges the tremendous wonders and miracles performed by certain individuals, such as Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair. An example is given from the tractate Chullin, where he requested the river to divide, and it immediately happened, resembling the splitting of the Red Sea by Moses and the Israelites.

Additionally, the text mentions the concept that the dead were revived through the study of Torah, highlighting the power and impact of Torah study.

The passage then delves into the meaning of pronouncing the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the term "firmament" mentioned in the Gemara. It explains that the term "holy" refers to the aspect of the Crown (Keter) and that sometimes the aspect of beauty in Atzilut (the World of Emanation) is also referred to as "holy." The connection between Tiferet (Beauty) and the Crown is explored, emphasizing their interrelation and the concept of glorification.

The text suggests that through the illumination of the Crown, a greater revelation of the Infinite (Ein Sof) is achieved compared to the attributes of Chesed (Kindness), Gevurah (Severity), and Tiferet. It further discusses the integration of these attributes and the role of the Crown in completing this process.

The passage concludes by stating that the Crown is called holy because it transcends the limitations of the chain of descent, and the Holy One, blessed be He, is associated with both the aspect of the Crown (Keter) and Wisdom (Chochmah), which represents the beginning of the chain of descent and revelation.

Some snippets:

בגמרא דב"מ פרק הפועלים קא מפלגי במתיבתא דרקיע אם בהרת קודמת לשער לבן טמא ואם שער לבן קודםלבהרת טהור ספק הקב"ה אמר טהור וכולהו מתיבתא דרקיע אמרי טמא ואמרי מאן נוכח. נוכח רבה בר נחמני דאמר רבה בר נחמני אני יחיד בנגעים אני יחיד באהלות כו' עד אמר טהור טהור, ובגמ' במסכת נזיר (דס"ה ע"ב) פי' הטעם דאמר קרא לטהרו או לטמאו הואיל ופתח בו הכתוב בטהרה תחלה (והובא בהר"ש ספ"ד דנגעים). וצריך להבין ענין התנאים ואמוראים שאנו רואים ...

והנה לתוספת ביאור בענין קוב"ה אומר טהור י"ל עפמ"ש בזהר פ' בא דל"ו ע"ב בשעתא דקוב"ה אתחזי על גנתא כו' עד ולא מתפרש מעדן. נמצא שהתגלו' זו הוא מבחי' עדן שהוא בחי' חכמה וכתר משא"כ השגת המתיבתא דרקיעא בעצמם בג"ע הוא נמשך מבחי' בינה דאצי' שהיא בחי' רקיע העליון כו'. אבל בחי' הגילוי דקב"ה אתי לאשתעשע עם צדיקייא בג"ע זהו הגילוי מלמעלה מעלה מבחי' בינה. ועמ"ש ע"פ באתי לגני כו' וע"פ הזהר בפ' בראשית דכ"ז ע"ב אעשה לו עזר בענין מעלת גילוי זה דקב"ה אתי כו'. וזהו ג"כ כענין המבואר במ"א ע"פ ויהי קול מעל לרקיע. דפי' קול ר"ל המשכה וגילוי מלמעלה מבחי' הרקיע והפרסא והוא מבחי' סכ"ע. וכך ענין גילוי זה היא מלמעלה משרש השגת המתיבתא דרקיע ששרש השגתם מבחי' רקיע העליון דבינה. אבל המשכה זו מבחי' עדן זהו מעל לרקיע כו' וכ"ז נמשך להם ע"י שבעסק תורתם בהיום לעשותם המשיכו ג"כ מבחי' כתר עליון מבחי' סוכ"ע ועי"ז זוכים ג"כ בג"ע לגילוי הארה זו להיות קב"ה אתי לאשתעשעא כו' .. {See https://chabadlibrary.org/books/4001380176 and on for the full answer}

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