[b-hebrew] oral law

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Jun 25 00:11:29 EDT 2006

I did originally mention the verse:  Deut. 12:21

The commandment of Tefilin is actually mentioned 4 times in the 
Torah:  Deuteronomy 6:8,  Exodus 13:9, Exodus 19:16, Deuteronomy 11:18

And while it is your opinion that details of how to follow the law do 
not matter to G-d, our opinion - those of us who are careful to 
observe Torah - is completely the opposite.  A commandment that is 
mentioned 4 times, must be important enough not to be left to random 
interpretations about how to perform it.

And of course principle behind it is also important, but there are 
many cases where we don't know the principle behind a commandment.


You wrote:
> I am looking at the Hebrew in this verse.  You can slaughter the 
>animals as I have commanded.

But you didn't say which verse. Presumably we are permitted to 
discuss the interpretation of the Hebrew of a particular verse, but 
we can't do so if you don't tell us which verse. You also wrote
> The written text tells us which texts to put into the Tefillin, but 
>it doesn't tell us how to make them, how to tie them, and more.

Of course it doesn't. That's because such matters, like so many 
details of religious practice, are not divinely specified. If this 
verse, I suppose you mean Deuteronomy 6:8, is intended to be taken 
literally at all, God did not choose to specify exactly how these 
commandments were to be tied to hands and foreheads because this was 
a matter for each person, or each community, to decide for 
themselves. And that is what happened; one community's decision on 
these details has become traditional Jewish teaching and practice. 
But what matters to God is not the details the principle behind it.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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