[b-hebrew] daughters jacob never spoke of

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Jun 22 18:36:57 EDT 2006

Dear Shoshanna,

>Although it may not be applicable to you, without Oral Torah there 
>are many Mitzvot that we wouldn't know how to perform, because the 
>details of how to perform them were not included in the written text. 
>Deut. 12:21 - "As I have commanded you"  Where did G-d command us how 
>to perform slaughter?

HH: I believe the phrase here could indicate the kinds of animals they 
were allowed to eat. They could have had a herd of camels or donkeys, 
for example, but could not use those for food.

>Or "You shall keep Shabbat holy, as I have commanded your fathers" 
>Jeremiah 17:22.  Where did G-d command us exactly in detail how to 
>keep the Shabbat holy?

Hh: The phrase here can refer back to the commandments in Exodus about 
ceasing from work with the servants and animals. The law mentions a 
coule of other things about the Sabbath.

>I don't mean to be disrespectful to those on this list who don't 
>believe that Torah consists of Oral and Written Torah, but if, from 
>time to time, I am able to cite how some of our Commentaries explain 
>verses that you are discussing, do you mind?  Some of our Sages and 
>Commentaries were famous as Biblical Hebrew linguists, shouldn't 
>their input be included here?

HH: Yes, of course you are welcome to cite them. It is interesting to 
see what past scholars and believers have thought. But there is no need 
for me to agree with them. I do see a slight element of cowardice in 
what Abraham did, even if it was prudential. I am not saying that I 
would not do the same thing myself, but it certainly seems  somewhat 
cowardly to call your wife your sister, only to see her taken away from 
you. And Abraham may not have protested either time. He did not speak up 
for the truth even when the kings took away his wife. It is God who 
intervened on both occasions to save the honor of his wife. There is not 
even mention of Abraham praying about it, though he may have. And one 
would think that after the policy of dissimulating failed in Egypt, 
Abraham would try something else with Abimelech, but he did the same 
thing. Just because Abraham was an admirable man of faith does not mean 
that he was not a human being with weakness and foibles like the rest of us.

The idea that there is an oral law equally as authoritative as the 
written law is highly dubious to me. You say that this prevents 
mistranslation, but it allows the importation of every kind of merely 
human idea and even perversion of God's word. God warns against adding 
to his word, and a proposed "oral law" does just that. It presents 
something as having the same authority as the written word, from what 
you say, and thereby adds to God's word.

Harold Holmyard

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list