web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Torah M’Sinai According to Professor Tamar Ross

The revelation continues as the world progressed and however the Torah was emended or edited after Sinai was part of revelation.
Prof. Tamar Ross

Prof. Tamar Ross
Photo Credit: Based on an original image by Dan Porges

Professor Tamar Ross was interviewed by Professor Alan Brill over at Kavvanah about Torah M’Sinai and Biblical Criticism. To be honest, when I read the interview I was unable to comprehend what she was trying to say. Only after a lengthy Facebook conversation and some posts by Gideon Slifkin did I get her approach, sort of.

Her words are very dense and quite cryptic but I think this what she is trying to say.

In her opinion, we have two immovable objects. We have Divine Revelation and the requisite belief that God gave the Torah to us in its complete form and we have Biblical Criticism which in her opinion asserts that the Torah has evolved from multiple authors and multiple eras. Something has to give. For most people, ignorance about one or the other is the turning point. People who know more about Biblical Criticism than TMS are more likely to think that the Torah is not Divine. Those who know more about (the Orthodox Jewish) approach to Torah than Biblical Criticism are more likely to think that Biblical Criticism is just a theory or soft science with more biases than religious approaches to Torah.

I am not here to take sides and apparently neither is Professor Ross.

Ross’s basic idea is that “revelation” was not a one time thing. The revelation continues as the world progressed and however the Torah was emended or edited after Sinai was part of revelation. In order to make this sound religious, Professor Ross uses all kinds of fancy kabbalistic “logic” to make this approach kosher. In short, God is not bound by time so everything is really happening at once. Revelation can’t be just a moment in time and God is continually revealed through the evolution of Torah. Apparently there are allusions to this kind of theology in classical sources. Also, the thing that make our tradition unique is only that it is our tradition. I’m not sure how and why this fits in, but she does say it.

Read the entire interview because the bulk of it is really about what this approach is not as opposed to what this approach actually is. But what is it?

Well, it’s not Orthodox. That’s for sure. But as has been pointed out, it’s not that far off. In terms of how the charedi world sees Mesorah and Daas Torah, the assumption is that God is “signing off” on the developments of Orthodox Judaism is part and parcel of how charedi Judaism works. So is it so hard to hear that God functioned the same way with regard to how the text of the Written Law evolved? Granted, the Written Law and Oral Law have different parameters and roles and I am not saying that these two ideas are the same. I am merely pointing out that the two ideas are similar.

Is this idea viable or useful?

I don’t think so. First of all, simple ideas are popular. There is a reason that more nuanced positions are less popular than bombastic theories of everything. People like when things are simple. The fundamentalist version of Torah M’Sinai is simple and not nuanced at all. It’s also pretty popular. If you want a theory to be popular it needs to be simple. Professor Ross has proposed a very complicated theory that is very difficult to articulate. It’s not going to gain much traction because of this fatal flaw.

More importantly, I think that an idea like this is not likely to help actual people. People who believe in the fundamentalist version of Torah M’Sinai don’t need this. People who reject Torah M’Sinai are not usually looking for creative way to believe in Torah M’Sinai. Further, I am not sure that this path will lead people who reject fundamentalist Torah M’Sinai to mitzvah observance. I think they want to do what God says to do, not what men say to do as a part of God’s slow revelation.

However, there are a few people in the middle who I am confident that this approach can help. Some people just want some theological basis to be orthodox and this can potentially serve that small group. If we believe in the primacy of keeping Torah and Mitzvos then we should welcome creative ways that are somewhat theologically sound to help more people accomplish this goal.

Melt your brain and read the interview here: Kavvanah

Visit Fink or Swim.

About the Author: Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, J.D. is the rabbi at the famous Pacific Jewish Center | The Shul on the Beach in Venice CA. He blogs at finkorswim.com. Connect with Rabbi Fink on Facebook and Twitter.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Torah M’Sinai According to Professor Tamar Ross”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Blogs Stories
"Shiloh"

Shiloh, where the Mishkan stood for near 400 years, was the spiritual capital of the Jewish Nation.

Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

European Union

Is the EU “Jewish challenged”?

Car in Light Rail Runover

The headlines refused to scream “ARAB TERROR ATTACK;” instead the phrase “Suspected Terror Attack.”

I’ve heard many times I write what others think, making them extremely happy; that’s why I continue.

Though secular, Hitman’s CV includes writing music for, recording, and popularizing religious songs.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Has the Jewish world adapted to the times? Hear the answer with Doug and his guest, Rabbi Berel Wein.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Kids bring in the light and let out the darkness through breathing exercises; it changes people.

If I make a million dollars in 2 weeks, how can I observe something like this and sit by quietly?”

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

How long will it take for Israel and the Jewish World to admit that we are in very serious danger?

How do changes in technology affect the human life and our interactions with each other?

Palestinians (and Jordanians) often use the term “provocation” regarding Israeli action in Jerusalem

The zealots who engineered the ban have been publicly disgraced.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Fink
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

People act not because they think it’s right; they do what they do because it’s what they want to do

Dusk in the early morning hours seen from Mt Meron, Northern Israel. March 26, 2014.

What do we do when we want to be mad at God but we also want God to make it all better? Indeed, what do we do?

Rambam would also allow charity from a mumar as long as the person maintains basic belief in God and Judaism.

There is no song that tells the story of freedom like Shir HaShirim.

It is unfair to judge a 52 year old man with the glasses of a person who lives in a different world.

Adegbile was not making a moral statement by representing a man convicted of killing a cop.

Women learning Torah is becoming increasingly permissive, but women wearing tefillin is becoming increasingly stringent.

When the “offensive” statements in our Talmud were stated, no one thought they were offensive.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fink-or-swim/torah-msinai-according-to-professor-tamar-ross/2013/06/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: