web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Can Hashem Tell Us What The Halacha Is?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

There is a famous pasuk in one of this week’s parshiyos, Parshas Nitzavim, which carries strong halachic ramifications.

The pasuk says, “Lo bashamayim hee – the Torah is not in the heavens.” The Gemara in Baba Metzia 59a-b cites a dispute between Rabi Eliezer and the Chachamim regarding the tumah status of an achinai oven. The Gemara says that Rabi Eliezer brought all of the proofs in the world, but the Chachamim did not accept his opinion. Rabi Eliezer then said that if the halacha is indeed like his view, this carob tree should indicate that to us.

Just then the carob tree uprooted and moved either 100 amos or 400 amos. To which the Chachamim responded that one cannot bring a proof from a carob tree. Rabi Eliezer then responded that if the halacha is in accordance with his opinion, the water would prove it. Just then the stream of water began flowing in the opposite direction. The Chachamim responded that this too couldn’t serve as a proof.

Rabi Eliezer then said that the walls of the beis medrash should serve as proof that the halacha is in accordance with his view. Just then the walls of the beis medrash began shaking and nearly fell, until Rabi Yehoshua told the walls that they should not get involved in a dispute among talmidei chachamim. The walls did not fall out of kavod for Rabi Yehoshua, but did not stand erect out of kavod for Rabi Eliezer; rather they remained in their shaken position. Rabi Eliezer then said that the shamayim would prove that the halacha is in accordance with his judgment.

Just then a bas kol asked, “Why are you bothering Rabi Eliezer when the halacha is in accordance with his view in every dispute?” Rabi Yehoshua stood up, saying, “The Torah is not in shamayim.” The Gemara explains that since the Torah was given on Har Sinai, we no longer must listen to what a bas kol says regarding the determination of the halacha. The Torah says that the halacha follows the majority opinion. In this case the Chachamim are the majority – so the halacha should follow them.

Shortly after, Rabi Nosson asked Eliyahu HaNavi what Hashem was doing right then. Eliyahu HaNavi answered that Hashem was smiling and saying, “You have won me over, my son.”

Tosafos there asks about the Gemara in Yevamos 14a that says that the halacha follows Beis Hillel because a bas kol said that the halacha follows them over Beis Shamai. This seems to directly contradict the drasha that the Gemara in Baba Metzia (see above) made from the pasuk in this week’s parshah. Tosafos answers that there is a simple difference. The bas kol in the Gemara in Baba Metzia instructed us to do something that was against the Torah, namely to not follow the majority opinion. However, the bas kol in the Gemara in Yevamos instructed us to follow the Torah; therefore, we listened to that bas kol from shamayim. The reason for the uncertainty is because Beis Shamai was sharper than Beis Hillel. But Beis Hillel was the majority. Tosafos suggests another answer: the bas kol in the Gemara in Baba Metzia only came out of honor for Rabi Eliezer.

According to Tosafos’s second answer, we would generally follow a bas kol if we knew that it was not said out of kavod for someone. According to Tosafos’s first answer, a bas kol can determine who the halacha follows if it does not contradict a law in the Torah.

The Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 9:3) says that we derive from the pasuk that tells us that the Torah is not in the shamayim any longer that if a navi proclaims that Hashem has told him to add a mitzvah, change one in any form, explain a mitzvah in a new manner, or say who the halacha follows, he is a navi sheker and should be put to death by chenek. This applies even if he performs a sign from heaven. The Kesef Mishnah there questions how we could have listened to the bas kol that said that we should follow Beis Hillel if the Torah is not in the heavens, and that a navi may not determine who the halacha follows?

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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.

3 Responses to “Can Hashem Tell Us What The Halacha Is?”

  1. yes. hashem is the one who diticted it to the rabbis who wrote it.

  2. yes. hashem is the one who diticted it to the rabbis who wrote it.

  3. yes. hashem is the one who diticted it to the rabbis who wrote it.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)
Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price
Latest Judaism Stories
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

The Rambam says that in order to honor Shabbos, one must wash his hands, face, and feet with warm water on Friday.

The talmid is not allowed to speak up due to any fear. If he remains silent, he is in violation of this prohibition.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/can-hashem-tell-us-what-the-halacha-is/2013/08/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: