Torah Shel Baal Peh

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    While I was away, a thread started and ended. A discussion ensued about Torah Shel Baal Peh, with questions about who is right.

    Let’s call to mind the Gemara in Gittin 6b, where there was a Machlokes in the Gemara between Rav Evyasar and Rav Yonasan about the Pilegesh Begiv’a. Rav Evyasar met up with Eliyahu Hanavi and asked him what Hashem is doing now. Eliyahu answered that Hashem is learning the Sugya of Pilegesh Begiv’a, and He is saying, ‘Evyasar my son says like this, Yonasan my son says like this.’ He asked, ‘is there uncertainties in heaven’? Eliyahu replied, ‘Eilu veEilu Divrei Elokim Chaim. Both are true.’ He then went on to explain how both happened.

    We find this concept in Chagiga, too. The Gemara there describes how Hashem is saying Torah in the name of the Chachamim.

    We must realize what Torah Shel Baal Peh means. Torah Shel Baal Peh is the Torah that is created ‘by the people’, to the extent that even when Hashem, the giver of the Torah, is saying Torah, He will say it in the name of the Chacham that said it. This is because that is the Torah. IT wasn’t Torah until a Chacham said it.

    We find that when Hashem taught Moshe Rabbeinu the Torah, He told him everything that future Talmidim will ask. The Medrash also relates that when Moshe Rabbeinu saw the Parsha of Para Aduma, Hashem told him that someone in the future will Darshen all of it.

    The Gemara in Bava Metzia relates how Reb Yehoshua dismissed a Bas Kol, saying that the Torah is not in heaven. That was not a rebellion, Chas Veshalom. That was the truth. The Torah is like a tree that is still growing. All Torah that is learned Lishma, is added to the tree. The Torah is the words of the Chachamim.

    The idea that one is right — that his understanding is what Hashem had in mind — and the other is wrong, is wrong. Obviously, in Halacha, we can only follow one approach. But, as far as being Torah, they both are Torah. Let’s not forget that the Torah is not something that was found in an old attic, that we are trying to decipher. Hashem gave it to us to learn an expand.

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