Concepts in the Oral Tradition

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Concepts in the Oral Tradition


LEGAL EXPLANATIONS AND DEFINITIONS

  • Definitions of terms, concepts and descriptions of objects.
  • For example: The definition of prohibited work on the Sabbath, the exact appearance of Teffilin, and the times of the beginning and end of the day for legal purposes.
  • In short, these traditions provide the knowledge that is necessary to translate the Written Torah into actual practice.


The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

RULES OF EXEGESIS

  • There are thirteen basic rules of logic and style that govern the interpretation of the Written Law. They ensure that the Torah is explained in a rational and consistent fashion and in a way that conforms to the grammar and style of Biblical Hebrew.
  • These rules, known as the 13 rules of Rabbi Yishmael, are listed in the Introduction to Sifra and provide the basic tools for understanding the Talmud.


The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

ORAL TRADITIONS

  • There are non-textual traditions, which are known in Hebrew as "Halachot LeMoshe MiSinai,"or "Laws from Moses at Sinai." These are neither interpretations nor definitions of something in the text of the Written Law. They are laws and practices that were given by G-d to Moses verbally at Mt. Sinai and have since been transmitted from generation to generation.


The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

ETHICS

  • Jewish ethics are neither a matter of personal preference or a social contract; rather they are an integral part of both the Written and Oral Laws that were revealed at Sinai, and go hand-in-hand with the Jewish legal code.
  • These ethics can be found in a Tractate of the Mishna called "Pirkei Avot," or as it is commonly known, "Ethics of the Fathers" and also throughout the Talmud in the "Aggadata," - the sections dealing with moral issues and homiletics.


The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

KABBALAH (MYSTICISM)

  • "Kabbalah," - "tradition" - deals with the relationship of the physical and the spiritual worlds.
  • The 3 main parts of the Kabbalah are:
    1. Bereshit, the deeds of Creation, creation ex nihilo, the concept of the Infinite G-d creating a finite reality.
    2. Maasei Merkava, the deeds of the chariot, Divine Providence.
    3. T'aamei Hamitzvot, reasons of the commandments, the rationale of the commandments and the effect of the physical on the spiritual.


    The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
    Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

    SANHEDRIN

    • The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court and legislative body of the Jewish people, as well as being responsible for the accurate transmission of the Oral Law.
    • Each town and city, (depending on size) and each of the 12 tribes had its own Sanhedrin, consisting of 23 judges for capital crimes and 3 judges for other matters.
    • The Great Sanhedrin consisted of 71 judges and was situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


    The Written Torah | The Oral Torah | Talmudic Works | Post-Talmudic Period | Concepts in the Oral Tradition:
    Legal Explanations and Definitions | Rules of Exegesis | Oral Traditions | Ethics | Kabbalah | Sanhedrin

    Compiled by Rabbi Mordechai Becher and Rabbi Moshe Newman
    HTML Design: Michael Treblow

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