[b-hebrew] oral law

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sun Jun 25 18:48:19 EDT 2006

On 25/06/2006 01:27, Yigal Levin wrote:
> ...
> First of all, Hillel is NOT credited with having "invented" his way of 
> eating the lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. A traditional view would 
> say, Hillel was faithfully passing on what HE had learned to do from HIS 
> rabbis, all the way back to Moses! In any case, the very first generation, 
> that of the Exodus, must have done it in one way or another - however Moses, 
> speaking for God, told them to. ...

No! This is a non sequitur. Moses told them to eat these things, 
according to God's command, but it is possible and in my opinion highly 
probable that he left it up to each individual eater or family to decide 
exactly how to eat it. In practice there may have been a way in which 
most people ate it, as no doubt the kind of meal was not entirely novel 
to them, but that does not imply any kind of divine command on such 
matters. If my pastor gives me some food to eat at home, he doesn't tell 
me how to eat it. He knows that I will probably eat it with a knife and 
fork as that is normal in our culture. But he wouldn't care whether I 
ate it with my fingers, with chopsticks or whatever. Such matters are 
unimportant and a matter neither for divine command nor for human 

> ... They then taught their children, who then 
> taught their children, all the way to Hillel! In other words, assuming that 
> there actually WAS a Moses, who actually DID give the Torah to the people of 
> Israel, and that those people immediately began observing every law, they 
> MUST have had to deal with the details.
Each family had to deal with the details. No doubt there quickly arose a 
normal polite way of eating the meal - although this may have changed 
many times in the multi-millennium history of the meal. But the 
existence of such a normal way by no means implies that it goes back to 
the conscious command of any one person.

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

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