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.


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