web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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?

The Sefer Avodas Hamelech suggests that there are two types of nevuos. One type is when Hashem tells a navi a commandment and to relate it to klal Yisrael. Another type of nevuah is a gilui (revelation) regarding something. When the Rambam said that a navi cannot claim that Hashem told him that the halacha follows a certain opinion, he was referring to the first type of nevuah, e.g. that the navi would command us to follow that opinion. However, in the case of the bas kol the nevuah was simply revealing who Hashem decided the halacha should follow. It did not command us to follow that opinion. Therefore, we can follow the bas kol that said that the halacha is in accordance with Beis Hillel.

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
Photo: Rotter.net / Tikonist
Live Updates: Ashdod Shul Hit by Rocket (Latest Update: 4:04 pm)
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

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.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Daf-Yomi-logo

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

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

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
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.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

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.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: