Understanding the reasons for mitzvos

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  • #1325228

    gefilte
    Participant

    I often hear people say you shouldn’t try to understand the reasons for mitzvos, rather you should just do them because Hashem says so. But isn’t the entire Torah sheBaal Peh dedicated to understanding the mitzvos and the reasons we do them? After all, understanding the reasons for mitzvos often helps us determine who/when/what circumstances the mitzvah applies. Also, didn’t the RamBan write an entire book dedicated to the reasons for all the mitzvos (Taamei HaMitzvos)?

    #1325246

    Meno
    Participant

    But isn’t the entire Torah sheBaal Peh dedicated to understanding the mitzvos and the reasons we do them?

    No

    #1325399

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    The Sefer Haachinuch explains that he gives the taamei hamitzvos- not the sibas hamitzva- it’s just a taste of what the Mitzva means. The true meaning/reason is beyond our human comprehension. Torah and MItzvos are Divine, and we are mortal. To some degree we can give “reasons” that make it easier to do the Mitzva, but these are just superficial understandings of why Hashem gave us that Mitzva. As much as we can understand and it helps us to do the mitzva, then we should delve into the mitzva. But ultimately, it comes down to one thing, we are doing the mitzva because Hashem commanded us.
    For example, we can say that we have a mitzva of eating matza on Pesach because we ate matza in Mitzrayim, and because our dough did not rise when we left Mitzrayim. Sounds reasonable, makes the mitzva meaningful to us. But we also know that Avraham kept the Torah and ate Matza,. The “reason” for the mitzva is not relevant to him, since it had not happened yet. This shows us that there is more behind this mitzva than we see at face value.

    #1325400

    jakob
    Participant

    torah she bal peh is about EXPLAINING the mitzvos in the torah not about helping you understand them.

    Ever heard of a mitzva thats a “chok” ? its a mitzva that that we do because hashem commanded us even if theres no explanation & has no reason other then Hashem commanded us to do or don’t do something.
    There are many “chok’s” in the torah.

    #1325608

    gefilte
    Participant

    Meno, please elaborate. According to you, what is the Torah sheBaal Peh’s purpose?

    WinnieThePooh, thank you, that is a good distinction. However, not everyone agrees that the Avos kept the Torah before it was actually given, as there are many complications with that. So bringing that as a proof doesn’t work well.

    Perhaps we can state the distinction you mentioned in the following way: We can understand the details of a mitzvah, and we can look for meaning in a mitzvah, but the ultimate reason of why we do the mitzvah is because God commanded us to.

    jakob, I don’t quite get your point. What is the difference between explaining and understanding a mitzvah?
    Also, bringing the idea of a “Chok” to the discussion only strengthens the question, because that would imply that all the other mitzvos ARE able to be explained and understood.

    #1325627

    Meno
    Participant

    Most of the Mishna and Gemara deals with the specific details of the Mitzvos, not the reasons for them.

    #1325636

    gefilte
    Participant

    Right, Meno, and as I said originally, often the way we deduce what the details of the mitzvos are is by understanding the reasons for them.

    #1325642

    Meno
    Participant

    often the way we deduce what the details of the mitzvos are is by understanding the reasons for them.

    This is simply not true. Perhaps on rare occasion the gemara takes the logic of a mitzva into account, but it is certainly not often.

    #1325719

    thinker123
    Participant

    Gefilte
    “not everyone agrees that the Avos kept the Torah before it was actually given, as there are many complications with that”
    Well chaza”l or of the opinion that they did keep the mitzvos (though there is a machlokes exactly which, when). So i dont know what you’re talking about.
    “After all, understanding the reasons for mitzvos often helps us determine who/when/what circumstances the mitzvah applies”
    False.
    We pasken לא דרשינן טעמא דקרא so it would not help understand who when what.
    But still its limud hatorah to (try) to understand the mitzvos. Just its not on a practicle sence. If you’re interested in knowing the mitzvos in the practicle implaction just open a gemara and learn day and night. And so with a שו”ע doing That is sure to help understand the mitzvos. But not writing
    in a coffe room!

    #1325765

    dafbiyun
    Participant

    There is a famous Bais Halavi which explains the Rasha’s question in the Haggadah of “mah haavodah hazos lochem” as reflecting the view of the conservative movement who seek explanations for halachos and then abandon the halocha if the reason seemingly no longer applies. Thus the rasha says: I understand why our ancestors brought a korban pesach thousands of years ago- to show the destruction of the Egyptian god ,but, says the rasha, no one has believed in sheep as gods for thousands of years- so why bother continuing with the korban pesach?
    However, says the Bais Halavi, the opposite is true. we don’t eat matzo or bring the korban pesach because of the events that transpired in Mitzraim, ; to the contrary, klall yisroel was zoche to yitzias mitzraim and to perpetual charus BECAUSE WE KEEP THE MITZVOS OF PESACH! If this were not so, why would we find that Avraham Avinu ate matzos on Pesach? The yidden had not gone into, much less left Mitzraim?
    The answer is that the ultimate purposes of the mitzvos are not known to us. Of course the Torah says we eat matzo because of the chipozon with which we left mitzraim. But that is only one of countless unfathomable reasons for the mitzvah, or any other mitzvah.
    It is for this reason that we answer the rasha ” bavur zeh asah Hashem li” ” it is BECAUSE of this mitzvah that we are and were zoche to geulah and chairus, not the other way around. Thus we are not merely pushing off the rasha but responding directly to his wrongheaded question which he sought to use to excuse his failure to perform those mitzvos he deems obsolete. The korbon pesach was part of the blueprint of the world and is eternal.
    Having said that, the RAMBAM makes it clear that we are nevertheless encouraged to seek out the purposes of each mitzvah. However, we must bear in mind that the ultimate purpose of mitzvos are beyond our comprehension ( aish shachor al aish lavan). We keep the Torah because it is what Hashem commanded us to do- and recognize that each mitzvah will bring benefit beyond our comprehension to the one who performs the mitzvah, to klall yisroel and the entire world.

    #1325816

    gefilte
    Participant

    This is simply not true. Perhaps on rare occasion the gemara takes the logic of a mitzva into account, but it is certainly not often.”

    Okay, even if it’s not often, it is a viable way of understanding the details of a mitzvah. Which then should imply that we are encouraged to do so.

    thinker123, many miforshim are not of the opinion that the Avos kept the entire Torah. Also, I fail to understand your last paragraph.

    reflecting the view of the conservative movement who seek explanations for halachos and then abandon the halocha if the reason seemingly no longer applies..”

    daf biyun, this method is often used by Frum Rabbis when paskening shailos. It would be shortsighted to state that it is purely a tactic of the Conservative movement.

    I do like the rest of your post.

    Edited – Formatting

    #1325823

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    thinker123, many miforshim are not of the opinion that the Avos kept the entire Torah.

    Who? It’s stated in Chazal. Some meforshim say not in the precise form as after matan Torah, but they don’t argue with Chazal.

    #1325824

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    daf biyun, this method is often used by Frum Rabbis when paskening shailos. It would be shortsighted to state that it is purely a tactic of the Conservative movement.

    Chas v’shalom. They don’t reject mitzvos.

    I have a feeling you may be confusing understanding the reasoning behind specific halachos with understand ta’amei hamitzvos.

    Perhaps you should give specific examples, so we can see what you’re referring to.

    #1325837

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Mod, you wrote <span style=”color: #ff0000″>Edited – Formatting</span>, instead of
    <span style=”color: #ff0000;”>Edited – Formatting</span>.

    I don’t think that was the problem. I tried fixing it like you said and it still doesn’t work…

    #1325836

    dafbiyun
    Participant

    I merely quoted the Bais Halavi. I am sure he was not shortsighted.

    #1325841

    gefilte
    Participant

    DaasYochid, the Maharal (Chiddushei Aggados Chullin 91a) says the Avos only kept the positive commandments but not the negative ones, and the RamBam says in Iggros HaRambam that the Avos did not keep the mitzvos, but rather got to their lofty spiritual level by “having understood everything there is to understand in true wisdom and corrected themselves in every way.” Rav Osher Weiss explains this to mean that each mitzvah achieves a certain spiritual effect/tikun, but the Avos had the ability to be able to tap into creating these effects and tikkunim without necessarily performing the technical details of the mitzvah.

    This would actually strengthen the question, because it would mean the the Avos were able to understand how to attain this level of holiness even without performing the mitzvos themselves, which would imply that there is a reason for doing the mitzvos beyond “Hashem said so”.

    Also, I never said the Frum Rabbis reject mitzvos, rather, they often use the logic put forth by dafbiyun in his post in order to pasken shailos. Namely, if there is a halacha about something and someone is unsure of what to do in a particular case, a Rabbi will often determine whether or not the halacha applies in that case based on individual circumstances of that person. For example, a pregnant woman does not need to fast on many taanaisim because of Rabbis determining, through details of the halachos of fasting, that the individual circumstances of this woman make her exempt. It’s not, as you or dafbiyun said, “Abandoning” halacha or mitzvos. It is simply determining if a halacha or a mitzvah applies or not.

    On a grander scale, though perhaps not under the precise realm of mitzvos or halachos but rather one of ideology, are the relatively recent phenomena of the Mussar movement, chasidic branches of Judaism, and Bais Yaakov education for girls. These were all enormous changes in the focus of Frum Judaism that were done as a result of changes in the cultural climate.

    #1325890

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    the Maharal (Chiddushei Aggados Chullin 91a) says the Avos only kept the positive commandments but not the negative ones

    No, he said it about the generations after the Avos.

    null

    For example, a pregnant woman does not need to fast on many taanaisim because of Rabbis determining, through details of the halachos of fasting, that the individual circumstances of this woman make her exempt.

    That has nothing to do with the reason for the mitzvah.

    #1325885

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    DY

    “Who? It’s stated in Chazal. Some meforshim say not in the precise form as after matan Torah, but they don’t argue with Chazal.”

    Anybody.

    Of course they didnt literally keep the entire Torah.
    sippur Yitzias mitzrayim?
    Michiyas amalek?
    writing a sefer Torah?
    building a mishkan/beis hamikdash?
    appoitning a melech
    Giving a get?
    Yibum and chalitza?
    Ben soreh umoreh?
    doing the Avoda
    Giving Teruma/maasros?
    Eating teruma bethara?
    etc etc
    Yes Im sure there are vertelach about some of the above. And soem might be easier to answer than others

    Nobody can literally keep the entire Torah some mitzvahs are exclusivly for Kohanim some exclusively for non-kohanim.
    All the more so the avos, with no sanhedrin, beis hamikdash, kohanim leviim etc..

    #1325894

    baishatalmuder
    Participant

    The reason for all of the mitzvohs of the torah that are not sichliyos, that is those that are based on how its self understood how people should act here in this world, are not because they are proper or improper ways to act here in this world. Rather they are based on what is good and beneficial for the neshama or damaging to the neshama. And this is because neshsama is a spiritual being and there is a whole spiritual world in which things are spiritually good for the neshma or bad and damaging to it.
    And the purpose of not damaging the neshama and doing what is beneficial to it is that the neshama will one day go to a world that is all spiritual and will be dealt with based on its spiritual condition, among other things.
    And since we on live here on earth where we cannot perceive, let alone understand the spiritual world, there is no way for us to understand why certain things are good and others are bad according to the reality of that world.

    #1325902

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Ubiquitin, you quoted my qualification but ignored it.

    As you said, no single person was ever able to keep all 613, but that’s not the point. The point is that just as you and I try to do, they kept all they could.

    #1325908

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Ubiq: If you’re bothered by my using the term “entire”, just know the Chazal use the term “kol haTorah kulah” e.g. Yoma 28b.

    #1325910

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “you quoted my qualification but ignored it.”

    I’m sorry about that
    I commented on that too, but for I guess deleted it leaving behind the mysterious word “Anybody”
    Glad we agree.

    #1325951

    Joseph
    Participant

    Because DaasYochid put a Daf of Gemorah here, I can never close this webpage.

    #1326028

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Interesting, ubiquitin-I’ll take your challenge. 6 of the mitzvos on your list are ones we cannot do today either. (And according to chazal no one ever did the mitzva of Ben Soreh Umoreh, since it never happened, that makes 7) We also have no sanhedrin, no beis hamikdash, etc. Yet, the general statement that Jews keep the Mitzvos today is still valid.
    The mitzva of maaser is attributed to Yitzchak Avinu, by the way.
    Yehuda and sons did a type of yibum.
    and what about “Im Lavan garti, vtaryag mitzvos shamarti”?

    Even if we argue about the extent to which the avos kept the mitzvos, the fact that there is such an opinion with many chazals supporting it, indicates that we cannot take the “reasons” at face value.

    The point is, it is not that we should not be exploring the reasons of the mitzvos as much as we can, but that we should not base our willingness to do them on these reasons. Naase Vnishma means that we do no matter what, then we can delve into understanding the mitzvosto enhance our observance.

    #1326151

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “If you’re bothered by my using the term “entire””

    Im not.
    I’m bothered when people say that they literally kept all the mitzvos.

    WTP
    “6 of the mitzvos on your list are ones we cannot do today either.”
    So the Avos, didnt do them. We are down to 607 that they could have kept

    “And according to chazal no one ever did the mitzva of Ben Soreh Umoreh,”
    606

    “The mitzva of maaser is attributed to Yitzchak Avinu”
    Who did he give it to?

    “Yehuda and sons did a type of yibum.”
    A type of yibum isnt yibum

    ““Im Lavan garti, vtaryag mitzvos shamarti””

    Its an expression. nobody in history literally kept taryag mitzvos as pointed out before (some mitzvos are only to kohanim some are only non-kohanim). all the more so without a beis hamikdash sanhedrin etc…

    I started going through all the mitzvos, there arent many that they could have literally kept (nor us for that matter). Yet I still claim to be a “shomer torah umitzvos”

    1- Pru urvu – IS machlokes if Avrham had a daughter. IF he didnt then he wasnt mikayem (as we pasken like Beis hillel).
    2 Bris Milah – not for the first 99 years of Avrhom’s life
    3- Gid Hanashe – ITs possible though passuk sounds like a new restriction
    4 – Kiddush hochodesh – Needs beis din
    etc etc

    #1326204

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    gefilte,

    I often hear people say you shouldn’t try to understand the reasons for mitzvos, rather you should just do them because Hashem says so.

    Sometimes the Torah gives us the reason for a mitzva. Sometimes, especially for many bein adam l’chaveiro mitzvos, the reasons seem evident. But for most mitzvos, no reason is given at all, and we cannot fully understand why it was given. The risk of inventing reasons for mitzvos that sound good to us, is that we can unintentionally cheapen the mitzvos by replacing Hashem’s infinite wisdom with our limited wisdom in a desire to ascribe meaning to things. And if our finite wisdom subsequently changes, we might CV”S see the mitzva “based” on that wisdom as obsolete.

    But isn’t the entire Torah sheBaal Peh dedicated to understanding the mitzvos and the reasons we do them?

    No. The oral Torah and our traditions based on it are dedicated to understanding how to do the mitzvos.

    After all, understanding the reasons for mitzvos often helps us determine who/when/what circumstances the mitzvah applies.

    And that’s precisely the danger. We can’t invent a reason for a mitzva and then use that invented reason to say the mitzva does or does not apply here or there. And even if a reason for a mitzva was given to us, we cannot throw it out because we now think that reason no longer applies. You will not see fish and meat together on my plate, even though non-Jews eat gumbos and “surf and turf” all the time with no visible sakana.

    #1326225

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    Im not.
    I’m bothered when people say that they literally kept all the mitzvos.

    Are you sure that the “people” who bother you really mean “literally” in the absolute, given that the tehillim attest that Dovid Hamelech kept “all” of the mitzvos, even though he was not a Kohen or Levi, and himself stated, “I have sinned to Hashem!”?

    Nobody can “literally” keep all 613, sense we cannot simultaneously be a Kohen, Levi, and Yisroel, but we can still be credited with keeping “all” of the mitzvos.

    #1326278

    gefilte
    Participant

    DaasYochid, thank you for embedding the Maharal here, although:
    1) He doesn’t mention Yitzchak, only Avraham and Yaakov
    2) Even by Avraham and Yaakov, he never actually says they kept the Torah as we do. Rather, the were “fit to accept the Torah” through their attributes of chesed and emes, which implies something more similar to the Rambam I quoted.
    3) On that note, the Rambam’s opinion is still one that clearly expresses they did not keep the Torah as we do.

    WinnieThePooh, I like the final point you made in your last post.

    Avram in MD, you made some good points.

    #1327201

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Are you sure that the “people” who bother you really mean “literally” in the absolute,”

    Yes. Ive encountered many people who insist that the Avos litteraly kept all the Mitzvos and I am a kofer for poitning out that it isnt possible

    See this thread
    https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/academies-of-shem-and-ever

    (though nobody there called me a kofer)

    #1327287

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    I skimmed through that thread, and if anything it strengthens my question to you. Not a single poster in the thread claimed that the Avos literally kept every single one of the 613 mitzvos, i.e., giving terumos to a kohen and then eating them in a pure place as a kohen.

    The strongest assertion in there was by dafyomi2711, that the Avos had the same Chumash, Mishna, and Gemara that we have, and therefore, they would do the mitzvos exactly how we do them today. He was quickly stymied by questions from on the ball, however, and subsequently accepted that the Avos may have had a different perception of the Torah than we do today, and even followed mitzvos differently.

    I think the source of your bother is a misconception.

    #1327295

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Not a single poster in the thread claimed that the Avos literally kept every single one of the 613 mitzvos”

    first of all, I interact with people in real life too.
    Secondly “Not a single poster in the thread claimed that the Avos literally kept every single one of the 613 mitzvos”

    not quite, as you identify one poster who DID claim that, read through it there were few others as well. Granted when shown how it couldnt be literal he changed hsi mind (others less so) if not for people who it “bothered” and corrected him, he too would still have the misconception.

    ” giving terumos to a kohen and then eating them in a pure place as a kohen.”
    when I mentioned that to an aquantance who insited the Avos literally kept the Torah he brought a Rayah from a befirish Rashi that Yaakov did in fact do that.

    Though the Rayah turned out to be from “Im lavon Gart ves Taryag Mitzvos shomarti” (too people not think that Rashi is well known?) He called me a Kofer when I said that Rashi (and the midrash he was quoting couldnt be literal)
    He wasnt the only one.

    #1327303

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    first of all, I interact with people in real life too.

    I’m sure you do, but the only supporting example you brought was that thread, which wasn’t really a good support.

    Secondly “Not a single poster in the thread claimed that the Avos literally kept every single one of the 613 mitzvos”

    not quite, as you identify one poster who DID claim that, read through it there were few others as well.

    Nope, sorry. I did read through it. And again, the strongest assertion that was made was that the Avos followed the mitzvos the way we follow them today. If you think I missed something, supply a quotation.

    Though the Rayah turned out to be from “Im lavon Gart ves Taryag Mitzvos shomarti” (too people not think that Rashi is well known?) He called me a Kofer when I said that Rashi (and the midrash he was quoting couldnt be literal)
    He wasnt the only one.

    You and the Wolf need new acquaintances, that’s for sure! However, you seem to think that posters in the thread you linked to above are making the same point, which is not the case.

    #1327305

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    “Im lavon garti” cannot possibly mean literally all 613- besides all the other examples, we know that Yaakov married two sisters, davka when he lived with Lavan.
    Bottom line, as ubiquitin said (I think we are actually on the same side here), we consider ourselves shomer torah umitzvos, even though none of us can possibly do all 613, and even though we sometimes mess up.
    So why is it so hard to accept that chazal said that the avos kept the mitzvos? why does it have to be all or none? And why assume that they kept them in the exact way that we keep them after receiving the Torah?

    #1327404

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “’m sure you do, but the only supporting example you brought was that thread”

    Sorry, I didint record the conversationg in real life.

    ” which wasn’t really a good support.”
    I disagree., as do you see below.

    ” And again, the strongest assertion that was made was that the Avos followed the mitzvos the way we follow them today. ”
    Yes and that sint true. For example we are mikayem pidyan haben which the Avos didnt as there were no kohanim.
    Im confused are you saying nobody there said this ?

    “You and the Wolf need new acquaintances, that’s for sure!”
    Agreee

    ” However, you seem to think that posters in the thread you linked to above are making the same point, which is not the case.”
    Read my discussion with Halevai, on that thread. As I understood him and he seemed to be understanding me he was arguing that the Avos literally kept the entire mitzvah. At no point does he say he doesn’t literally mean the entire Torah.

    Again if you think i misunderstood him. Im not that invested in this, that isnt really my . Fine Nobody on YWN ever understood that Gemara as being absolutely true in a literal sense.

    Ok I accept.

    #1327408

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Yes and that sint true. For example we are mikayem pidyan haben which the Avos didnt as there were no kohanim.

    They did exactly what we would do if we didn’t have kohanim.

    You can’t give examples where the ability to do the mitzvah isn’t there; that’s not the point of the gemara’s statement that the Avos kept kol haTorah kulah.

    The best example of them not keeping kol haTorah kulah is Yaakov Avinu marrying two sisters, and the meforshim deal with that kashya without rejecting the gemara.

    #1327428

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “They did exactly what we would do if we didn’t have kohanim.”

    I dont know what that means. We do have kohanim. and If we didint (or if a person doenst have a bechor) then he is never mikayem the mitzvah

    “The best example of them not keeping kol haTorah kulah is Yaakov Avinu marrying two sisters,”

    “the best” is subjective. While it is a good question since you cant use your cop-out “They did exactly what we would do” I think the best is the Mitzvah to write a sefer Torah and a close second is Zechiras AMalek.
    I suppose you can say that Yaakov wrote a sefer Torah but didnt pay attention to the words and Avrham “remembered” what the a nation that hadnt been born yet did.
    But those are very far fetched. Though arguably guess these mitzvahs fall into the category of “where the ability to do the mitzvah isn’t there”

    But I dont think I at any tiem disputed that

    “without rejecting the gemara.”
    I dont reject it either.

    #1327441

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I dont know what that means.

    It means if we didn’t have kohanim we would do piyon haben either. It’s just another example of a mitzvah which they didn’t keep, not because it was before matan Torah, but because it was a physical impossibility.

    But those are very far fetched. Though arguably guess these mitzvahs fall into the category of “where the ability to do the mitzvah isn’t there”

    Right. I don’t know why you think it’s far-fetched. They kept shechitah, ate matzah on Pesach, and even eruv Tavshilin. They only didn’t keep things which were impossibile to keep in the literal sense, or in cases where a different cheshbon took priority over the mitzvos which were considered only eino metzuveh (e.g. Yaakov Avinu marrying two sisters).

    #1327443

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Gefilte started this subthread by challenging Winnie the Pooh’s point, for which she gave the example of the Avos eating matzah on Pesach.

    Does anyone disagree that they ate matzah on Pesach?

    #1327454

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    There may not have been kohanim from Aharon in the time of the avos, but there was a concept of kohanim- Check out Parshas Lech Lecha. Shem (MalkiTzedek melech Shalem) was a Kohen to Kel Elyon. Avraham gave him maaser from the spoils of his war with the 4 kings. Rashi says that it was because Shem was a kohein.
    Also by Yitzchak, Rashi states that when he measured his produce and found that it had produced 100x more than he expected (Meah Shearim), he was measuring it to give maaser. Does not say to whom, but we know Shem was still alive. When delineating the mitzvos, the Rambam attributes maaser specifically to Yitzchak. (I don’t know how he explains the above episode with Avraham).

    Mechiya amalek- we can’t do this mitzva now either in its literal sense. We fulfill it the best we can, for example, by reading parshas zachor and “klapping” out Haman’s name during the megilla. The concept of amalek exists even when the nation itself does not. I would suggest that perhaps the Avos were able to fulfill the mitzva in a non-literal sense, by blotting out the concept of chance and denial in Hashem’s hashgacha pratis tha Amalek represents?

    #1327472

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “It means if we didn’t have kohanim we would do piyon haben either”

    I know what the words mean. I dont get what you are getting at.
    Yes I agree they kept the Mitzvos that they could. Ie not all 613. I thought I was clear on this

    ” I don’t know why you think it’s far-fetched.”

    I think that they wrote a sefer Torah and remembered what Amalek did is far-fetched. dont you?

    “Does anyone disagree that they ate matzah on Pesach?”
    not me.

    WTP
    “but there was a concept of kohanim”
    “concept of Kohanim” arent kohanim. I f I redeem my bechor with a big tzadik who I say fullfils the “concept of khanim” you would say (correctly) that I didnt do the mitzvah

    “Mechiya amalek”

    I didnt mention mechiyas amalek, I said Zechiras Amalek, which we can (and do) do in the literal sense, but I dont beleive the avos where able to. (Yes as DY points out because it was impossible, otherwise they would have done it)

    ” I would suggest that perhaps the Avos were able to fulfill the mitzva in a non-literal sense”.

    Again, so they did int literally do it.

    #1327487

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Ubiquitin- I did not use the word concept to suggest someone is pretending to be a kohein but is not, rather to refer to kehuna in general without directly meaning a kohein who is a descendants of Aharon Hakohein. Aharon earned the kehuna, so from then on all kohanim descend from him, but kehuna preceded him. In the time of the avos, they had a kohein, he just was not from Aharon and he did not serve in the Beis Hamikdash, but he did teach Torah and bring people closer to Hashem. The passuk clearly calls MalkiTzedek a Kohein, and rashi uses that term too, and not stam a kohein like Yisro, but a Kohein to Kel Elyon.
    I think we agree that for some mitzvos, the form probably differed from the literal sense that we are familiar with now. That does not mean they did not keep the mitzvos.

    #1327516

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “(I took “bullet points” literally I think it makes it easy to read keeps it short and to the point while covering the key information)”

    So I met MalkiTzedek the other day, (he is really old) can i give him pidyon haben money? and If I do am I mikayem the mitzvah of pidyon haben?

    “that does not mean they did not keep the mitzvos.”
    I never said otherwise

    BTW Avram if you are still reading, note WTP who correctly points out that we agree, still says “the form PROBABLY differed from the literal sense that we are familiar with now.”
    ITs this hesitency and equivocating that throws me off.

    #1327531

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    This is from the king of ‘not literal’:

    Halevai so you are saying the avos didnt keep the torah. They can meditate with sticks fun heint biz morgen, thats not wearing tefilin.

    Keeping “secrets of the torah” is beautiful but meaningless (to us).

    They either wore tefilin or didn’t, and sticks aren’t tefilin.

    Hence, your issue is that you are actually extremely literal.

    As I’ve written on the aforementioned thread, the Medrash was given to study not to dismiss. Yes, we all know by now that Aggados are very deep and aren’t necessarily meant to take at face value. This is step one. We see a strange Maamar and we understand that it is something deeper than what meets the eye.

    That is what we are taught when we start out. There is, however, a level two. We go the next step and actually try to glean an understanding. Only a fool would insist on level one when faced with level two.

    Using the same neutralizing ‘not literal’ spray on every Maamar Chazal doesn’t really get you far. The idea is to learn what it does mean. For this there are Sefarim — of many types with different approaches and to varying depths.

    #1327538

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Back to the OP, when people say we shouldn’t try to understand the reason, that is as a response to doing things because of your understanding.

    לכל תכלה ראיתי קץ, רחבה מצותך מאד.
    Although obviously there is a reason for each Mitzvah, we don’t, and cannot, understand the full reason even for a relatively well-understood Mitzvah.

    Most of Torah Shel Baal Peh is about learning the exact classification of a Mitzvah and therefore how it applies. We can then draw an understanding built upon its Halachos.

    And so, it is important to realize first and foremost that your motivation to act is because Hashem commanded you to do so. Then, on top of that, the more you understand about the Mitzvah accomplishes more.

    But it is important never to think that the reason at hand is the reason. I know of a certain Tzaddik who preferred as a Baal Toke’ah someone who didn’t know the Kavanos of the Arizal. This way he can’t mess up.

    So, think of it as a base, which is about being an Eved Hashem, and on top of that many understandings, meditations, and achievements.

    #1327539

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The Baal Hatrumos has a Tshuva about Paskening through trains we learn in Aggadah. He mentions how although the Gemara says that a Bris is on the eighth day so that the parents are happy (Mide’oraysa at that point there is D’mei Tahara), obviously the day doesn’t change when this is not the case.

    Interestingly, we do find some examples of the Taamim being invoked. The Shallos Tshuvos Min Shamayim has an answer that women make the Brachah on Shofar and Lulav since the reason for these Mitzvos apply to them as well.

    There are examples of Geonim Paskening by a Derabanan based on the original motivation of the Takanah. I recall this happening by Nesu’ei Ketanah.

    #1327540

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    Sorry, I didint record the conversationg in real life.

    In your follow-up, you did paraphrase a conversation you had, and that’s fine. But your lead-off example (and people usually lead off with a strong example) didn’t seem to match the point you were trying to make.

    Yes and that sint true. For example we are mikayem pidyan haben which the Avos didnt as there were no kohanim.

    Ah, now the goalposts are moving. I understood your original statement to be that you are bothered by people who believe the Avos somehow literally kept all 613 mitzvos, a feat that is technically impossible for a single individual to do, in any historical period, since certain mitzvos are dependent on identity, place, and time (e.g., an individual cannot both offer the pesach and pesach sheini). This is a very strange notion, and I probed you on it a few times to make sure I understood, and you confirmed it each time. That notion, however, is quite different from an argument that the Avos kept the mitzvos the way we do today, or rather, the way our forefathers did in the days when the Beis Hamikdash was standing. If you want to switch your argument to that, then fine, we agree.

    Im confused are you saying nobody there said this ?

    Nobody there claimed that the Avos performed the impossible feat of keeping all 613, simultaneously being Kohen Gadol, Kohen, Levi, Yisroel, male, female, have a brother pass away childless, being tahor and on time on the 14th of Nissan, and simultaneously not, etc. The strongest claim was that the Avos performed mitzvos like a regular Jew, and even these claimants were quickly refuted.

    Read my discussion with Halevai, on that thread. As I understood him and he seemed to be understanding me he was arguing that the Avos literally kept the entire mitzvah. At no point does he say he doesn’t literally mean the entire Torah.

    I’ll reread it, though I don’t recall him making that point. Looks like he’s here to respond himself as well, so I’ll read that with interest too.

    Again if you think i misunderstood him. Im not that invested in this, that isnt really my .

    Ksssshhhh <crackle> Houston! You’re breaking up! Kssssshhh I didn’t fully receive your last transmission! Please repeat your message! Ksssshhhhh

    Fine Nobody on YWN ever understood that Gemara as being absolutely true in a literal sense.

    Ok I accept.

    What?? You’ll go back and forth with Health dozens and dozens of times, but I get this? Guess what! I have a supreme court case that backs me up! Pay me a million dollars and I’ll give you the name of it!

    #1327541

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    “concept of Kohanim” arent kohanim. I f I redeem my bechor with a big tzadik who I say fullfils the “concept of khanim” you would say (correctly) that I didnt do the mitzvah

    The Torah attests that Shem (Malchitzedek) had a form of kehuna. So yes, you are correct that there was no Aharon or bnei Aharon alive yet, so Avraham Avinu did not have access to the kohanim that we are supposed to give maaser to, but I don’t get how you say they could not have fulfilled the mitzva, since they did have access to a kohen.

    #1327542

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    HaLeiVi himself writes in this very thead:

    Yes, we all know by now that Aggados are very deep and aren’t necessarily meant to take at face value. This is step one. We see a strange Maamar and we understand that it is something deeper than what meets the eye.

    Doesn’t sound like his position is anything like what you say it is.

    #1327555

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    So I met MalkiTzedek the other day, (he is really old) can i give him pidyon haben money? and If I do am I mikayem the mitzvah of pidyon haben?

    No – because Malchitzedek I believe ultimately lost the kehuna to Avraham and his descendants. If one Kohen Gadol “steps down” and another Kohen Gadol takes his place, is the former man still Kohen Gadol?

    BTW Avram if you are still reading, note WTP who correctly points out that we agree, still says “the form PROBABLY differed from the literal sense that we are familiar with now.”
    ITs this hesitency and equivocating that throws me off.

    I personally am much more bothered by misplaced certainty than uncertainty.

    #1327567

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    My reference to Geonim Paskening based on reasons of Derabanans is in Kedushin 45b in Tosafos. As you can see there, Rishonim had an issue with that.

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