Category Archives: Written Law

The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 10

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz continues explaining the verses regarding Yom Kippur, and how they are interpreted by the Oral Tradition of the Written Law.

The Talmud in Yoma 70b-71a discusses verse 23 (Vayikra chapter 16) which seems to be in the wrong place.

Rav David Tzvi Hofman explains that this second time Aharon was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies without the cloud of incense.

The section of sacrifices in Pinchas (Bamidbar 29:7) discusses the communal sacrifices. However, the Gemara (Yoma 71a) tries to connect those communal sacrifices to the service of the Cohen Gadol (through a dispute between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer).

On a tangent, Rabbi Triebitz discusses the argument between the Saducees and the Rabbis regarding the correct order of incense/entering the Holy of Holies and connects it to their fundamental dispute regarding the validity of the Oral Law.

This is the last shiur in this series.

This shiur is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.
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At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 09 – Yom Kippur Continued

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In this shiur, Rabbi Triebitz gives his explanation and understanding of some of the verses in the Torah regarding Yom Kippur. Last week he asked questions on the explanation of the Chayei Adam. This week, his own explanation has to do not with purity and impurity, but with connecting to the Divine.

This shiur will not only give you a new understanding of the Chumash, but also show the connection between Rambam’s hilchot Teshuva and the mishnayot, and bring it all back to the Written Torah.


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 08 – Yom Kippur

This shiur is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.
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Rabbi Triebitz now turns to the verses in the Torah which describe the service of the Cohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. He begins by looking at Parshat Acharei Mot (Vayikra chapter 16).

Chazal tell us that verse 23 is out of order. Furthermore, why does the Torah not mention that this should occur on Yom Kippur until the very end (verse 29)?

Chochmat Adam (at the end of Hilchot Aveilut) cites an answer from the Vilna Gaon explaining the unusual order of verses, and the use of Aharon instead of Cohen.

Rabbi Triebitz explains this answer, then challenges it from a verse in Parshat Tetzaveh. And finds a resolution. Next week he will explain his alternative answer to the Vilna Gaon on the verses in Acharei Mot.


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 07 – Korban Pesach II

This shiur is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.
Anyone interested in sponsoring future shiurim should please contact me.

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz shows how Chazal understood that the Torah itself contains structures which look like derashot, mishnayot and gemara. He shows this through the different verses of Korban Pesach.

Hopefully when I have time I’ll put links to the sources. In the meantime, enjoy the shiur (and if anyone wants to leave a comment with a summary and sources feel free to do so).


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 07 – Korban Pesach II

This shiur is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.
Anyone interested in sponsoring future shiurim should please contact me.

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz shows how Chazal understood that the Torah itself contains structures which look like derashot, mishnayot and gemara. He shows this through the different verses of Korban Pesach.

Hopefully when I have time I’ll put links to the sources. In the meantime, enjoy the shiur (and if anyone wants to leave a comment with a summary and sources feel free to do so).


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 07

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 06- Korban Pesach

This shiur is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.
Please contact me if you would like to sponsor a shiur.

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz looks at the different references to Korban Pesach in the chumash. He shows that Ramban explains, and Chazal understood, that Devarim is a commentary on Shemot, that the references in Devarim to Pesach are only to be understood in light of the pesukim in Shemot (and vice versa).


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 06

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 05 – Ramban

This series of shiurim is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.

In his introduction to Devarim, Ramban discusses the nature of the book. In this shiur we will look at Ramban’s understanding of Devarim, and the orality of the Written Torah.

In his commentary to Devarim 1:1 Ramban mentions the dual function of the book of Devarim:

ואמר עוד כי הואיל משה באר את התורה, וזה רמז במצות שנאמרו כבר שיחזור אותם לבאר אותם ולחדש בהם דברים.

וטעם “הואיל משה”, שרצה לבאר להם את התורה, והזכיר כן להודיע כי מעצמו ראה לעשות כן ולא צוהו השם בזה, מלשון הואל נא ולין (שופטים יט ו), ולו הואלנו ונשב (יהושע ז ז), וכן רבים:

1. It is an explanation of the Torah
2. It introduces Moshe’s novellae
3. Moshe Rabbeinu initiated both of these things

On Devarim 5:11 Ramban explains the difference between the first and second sets of Ten Commandments. He rejects the simple understanding of “Remember” and “Observe” were said at the same time, and instead explains that only “Remember” was written (in both sets of tablets) but that Moshe received an oral tradition of “Observe” at the same time. When he explains the meaning of the Ten Commandments in Devarim, he chose to explain the second meaning which he had received.

Clearly Moshe did not make up anything himself, because as Ramban says, the Shechina was speaking from his throat. Nevertheless, it is presented as if Moshe said these things himself.

The Talmud in Berachot 20b learns from the duality of “Remember” and “Observe” that women are obligated from the Torah to say kiddush. According to Ramban’s reading this limmud is valid because it is implied within the word “Remember” and was given with it, but as an oral tradition as opposed to a written tradition.

Perhaps this also explains Rambam’s halacha (Hilchot Shabbat chapter 30) that the positive mitzvot of Shabbat begin mainly before nightfall. If the positive mitzvot, “Remember” is the same as the negative mitzvot “Observe” then their obligation should both begin at the same time.

The Talmud in Bava Kama 54b55a contains a surprising question and answer:

(Soncino English translation)

R. Hanina b. ‘Agil asked R. Hiyya b. Abba: Why in the first Decalogue is there no mention of wellbeing, whereas in the second Decalogue there is a mention of wellbeing? � He replied: While you are asking me why wellbeing is mentioned there, ask me whether wellbeing is in fact mentioned or not, as I do not know whether wellbeing is mentioned there or not. Go therefore to R. Tanhum b. Hanilai who was intimate with R. Joshua b. Levi, who was an expert in Aggadah. When he came to him he was told by him thus: ‘From R. Joshua b. Levi I have not heard anything on the matter. But R. Samuel b. Nahum the brother of the mother of R. Aha son of R. Hanina, or as others say the father of the mother of R. Aha son of R. Hanina, said to me this: Because the [first tablets containing the] Commandments were destined to be broken.’ But even if they were destined to be broken, how should this affect [the mention of wellbeing]? � R. Ashi thereupon said: God forbid! Wellbeing would then have ceased in Israel.

Look at the Pnei Yehoshua on the gemara, who stresses how shocking it is that Rabbi Hiyya appears to not know the text of the Chumash (and look at his explanation and answer there)

Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky, in Emes le-Yaakov on Devarim 5:12 discusses this gemara, and explains that the differences between the two sets of Tablets is because there was a ‘ketiv’ and a ‘keri’. And that is the basis of Rabbi Hiyya’s doubt.

However Rabbi Triebitz offers a different explanation. He says, based on Ramban, that the differences are Moshe’s explanation. The reason the question is only on the word ‘tov’ and not on any of the many other differences, is because all the other differences are halachic. ‘Tov’ is reward in the world to come and is therefore an aggadic difference.
This is why Ramban says that some things are explanation of what was given at Sinai (halacha) and some things are Moshe’s novellae (based on the Shechina speaking through him) which are aggadic.

Ramban also explains similarly in his commentary to Devarim 7:9 that Moshe alludes to reincarnation in his explanation of the Torah.


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 05

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 04

This series of shiurim is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.

Last week Rabbi Triebitz explained that the Vilna Gaon, in Safra de-Tzne’uta explains that the three concepts of Sefer, Sapar and Sipur correspond to chochma, binah and da’at.
In other words, the Gra views sefer as the text, sapar as the interpretation, and sipur as the speech connecting to the tradition.
When a person recovers the meaning of the text he connects directly in conversation with the author of that text. He is able to recover the oral tradition as transmitted from Moshe Rabbeinu.

In the footnote 1 there the Gra writes: “With these three books the world was created, and the Torah was given…”

This means that the Vilna Gaon understood that there was an earlier oral tradition, which was redacted by Moshe Rabbeinu (at Divine command) at the time of the Giving of the Torah.

We find a similar idea in the Rashba. In his responsa (vol 1 number 12) he writes that “the text does not keep the exact words, but retains the intent – even in the text of the Torah itself”
This means that the Rashba held that the written text was created from an earlier oral tradition.

Even though Rav Chaim Heller (in his introduction to Sefer HaMitzvot) rejects this responsa and claims that it must be a forgery, the Rashba is basing himself on Ramban’s commentary on Chumash. See Bemidbar 2:14 and Devarim 2:10

Next week Rabbi Triebitz will look more closely at Ramban’s understanding of Chumash, and we will see that he understood that Devarim is a commentary on Shemot.


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 04

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 03

This series of shiurim is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.

In the last two shiurim Rabbi Triebitz showed how there was an oral tradition of the written Torah before it was actually written down. There is an argument between Amoraim as to how the writing process happened. Rabbi Yochanan says that Moshe Rabbeinu redacted existing texts (megillah, megillah nitna) whereas Reish Lakish claims that the entire text was created without any written precedent.

In this shiur Rabbi Triebitz compares these two approaches to the two views of Rav Tzadok HaCohen and the Vilna Gaon.

In Resisei Laila (p. 65a) Rav Tzadok writes that Moshe Rabbeinu represents the yesod of da’at. The function of da’at is to combine the two mochin of chochma and binah. Binah represents the details, chochma is the ‘big picture’. Da’at combines the two. Therefore Moshe was like a redactor (a la Rabbi Yochanan) turning the details of the ‘megillot’ into the big picture of the Torah.
Further on, in Resisei Laila (p. 69a) Rav Tzadok explains that the month of Adar (which is the month when Moshe was born and died) is the shoresh of da’at which represents the combination of chochma and binah.

Rav Tzadok also says that although Moshe was the greatest prophet in Jewish history, a chacham is greater than a prophet (chacham adif me-navi). Therefore the insights of the Arizal, which come from Ruach HaKodesh (chochma) are higher than those of Moshe Rabbeinu. (This argues with Rambam who writes in Moreh Nevuchim 1:52 that Moshe was also the greatest chacham – Rabbi Triebitz alluded to this last week in his resolution of the apparent contradiction between the 7th and 8th of Rambam’s Principles of Faith).
For an overview of prophecy versus ruach hakodesh see Ramban on parshat Tetzave and Rabbeinu Bachaye on Devarim 33:8)

In contrast, the Vilna Gaon, in Safra de-Tzne’uta explains that the three concepts of Sefer, Sapar and Sipur correspond to chochma, binah and da’at.
In the introduction to that book, by Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, he explains that the Safra is like the Mishna for which the Zohar became the ‘Gemara’. He says that the view of the Gaon is that the principles of kabbalah were passed down from person to person, going back to Moshe Rabbeinu.
This the view of the Gra is more similar to that of Reish Lakish that there was a creation of Torah without any written precedent.


We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 03

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The Oral Tradition of the Written Law 02

This series of shiurim is sponsored anonymously and is l’ilui nishmat Michael Yirmiyahu (Jeremy) haCohen Barkan.

Chazal worked with the assumption that there was an oral tradition before the Torah was written down. Here are some examples of this:

Parshat Vayera (Bereishit 18:20-22)

Rashi ad loc. mentions the concept of tikkun soferim.

Look at Tosefot Bava Metzia 60b (s.v. lama chilkam hakatuv) who discusses why the Torah chose to use two separate phrases for the same halacha.

According to Rabbi Yochanan, who says that the Torah was given as separate scrolls, we cannot say that at the end of 40 years Moshe simply glued all the scrolls together, because of the concept of “there is no earlier or later in the Torah” which means that there must have been another, later, redaction.

Look at Lech Lecha (Bereishit 16:8).

Talmud Berachot 7b

Tosefot asks why the Talmud does not learn from the earlier mention of ‘Adon’ a few verses earlier (verse 2). He answers that Brit bein ha-Betarim occurred several years before the war of the kings.

The dual role of Moshe Rabbeinu as recipient of the scrolls, and as final editor, explains the apparent contradiction in Rambam’s 13 Principles. In the 7th principle, Rambam stresses that Moshe was the most suitable to receive the Torah because of his great intellect. Yet in the 8th principle, Rambam states that Moshe was like a scribe copying from a text, which implies an activity which does not require great intelligence (and in fact intelligence may be a disadvantage for such a task).

Next week Rabbi Triebitz will show how this idea is understood by Rav Tzadok HaCohen and by the Vilna Gaon.

We hope you enjoy these shiurim.
At the moment, these shiurim are free of charge because Rabbi Triebitz has generously volunteered his time and there are no overheads. If you would like to show your appreciation to Rabbi Triebitz, please contribute to this site by pressing the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Contributors will receive American tax receipts for charity upon request.

You can watch and download the shiurim below. As always please send any comments, thoughts, ideas or criticisms to admin at hashkafacircle.com


Video of shiur 02

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Oral Tradition of the Written Torah 02
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