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TORAH SHEBALPEH------rashi and r tam tefillin


Nachalat Shimon Posted - 12 February 2001 19:32

I understand the fact that the machloktim of the Rabbis in the Talmud determined the halacha, of which there is no "one way of deciding halacha."

But if they were arguing about how to observe halacha, about 2000 to 2500 years after the Torah had been given--what did Jews do, halachicly, before it was decided by the Talmud?

Did each Jew do, as Shoftim puts it "what was right in his own eyes"?

If so, why can't Jews do that today?

Why must the halacha be decided to include only one way of thinking?

MODERATOR Posted - 12 February 2001 20:13

Many Halachic disputes in the Gemora were cases that were sufficiently rare or new occurrences that there was no tradition on it.

But the Ritva explains that in all cases, Hashem did not give a final ruling to Moshe on Mt. Sinai, but rather he gave Moshe all the possible opposing opinions on each issue, then provided him with the guidelines as to which opinion becomes the Halachah.

The most common of such guidelines is the majority rules.

So Hashem wants us to disagree if we are qualified to do so, and he wants each of us to rule between the opinions based on the principles of psak halachah. Whatever emerges from those principles becomes the bottom line Halachah.

Chaim C-M Posted - 05 May 2002 18:47

So Moshe Rabbeinu decided the halachos that were pertaining to the time before the Rabbis of the Talmud had all their discussions?

MODERATOR Posted - 05 May 2002 20:33

Yup. After all, as soon as the Torah was given, the Jews had to live Halachic lives.

That includes cases where there is a dispute in Chazal. SO Moshe Rabbeinu had to rule one way or the other.

BaronPhilip Posted - 29 November 2002 11:33

I think I have a tidbit to add here that will fit in with what the Moderator has been saying.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls both Rabbeinu Tam and Rashi tefillin were discovered!

For those who don't know, the Dead Sea Scrolls is the name we use for a massive collection of documents found in several caves in Eretz Yisrael (Qumran) in 1948.

The stuff in these caves was written during the times of the early Tanaim and sometimes even much earlier. (Unfortunately, it is clear that the people who lived in the area were very strange apikorsim, but there is still a lot of normal Jewish things there that prove to doubters how old many authentic Torah traditions are.)

I was bothered, as a kid in mesivta, with the fact that Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam could argue in the Middle Ages over something as basic as how to make tefillin.

Like the kid above, I asked "What were Jews doing beforehand?"

The answer is that there was an ancient mesorah for BOTH, and Rabbeinu Tam was paskening one way and Rashi the other.

Although real Bnei Torah don't need "proofs" like this, they certainly can enjoy hearing such an interesting piece of information.

Remember: the tefillin that were found were in the range of 2000 years old! (And photographs of the insides of these tefillin were published in a book.)

MODERATOR Posted - 29 November 2002 12:54

That’s very, very interesting. Considering the Arizal (quoted in Ateres Zekeinim OH 34) writes that both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin are true, and you really need both of them to accomplish what Tefillin are supposed to accomplish, and then he quotes the same from the Zohar.

So in other words, the machlokes between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam is different than other machlokesim in that with this one, everyone agrees that both versions of Tefillin are needed - and that even in the days of the Zohar, way before the machlokes between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, they were wearing both pairs of Tefillin.

Abcyr Posted - 01 December 2002 0:28

Didn't the Gra say that R.T. tefillin are unnecessary?

About the Dead Sea Scroll Tefillin: In two ways their tefillin were different than ours: the Dead Sea people's tefillin had in the 10 commandments - our's don't; and some of their tefillin sets were not square, but elongated, like a rectangular box - ours are always square.

Square ness is a halocha L’Moshe Misinai. Obviously the Dead Sea people didn't hold of halocha L’Moshe Misinai, therefore they must have been descendants of Sadducees (Tzedukim).

They were similar to Tzedukim in many other ways too. They didn't believe in Torah Shebaal Peh, and they mocked and fought with the Chachamim.

BaronPhilip Posted - 01 December 2002 11:49

Okay, this is more complicated than you realize.

If my memory serves, there were actually _FIVE_ different types of tefillin found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. And two of them were Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. And one of the OTHER ones had the Aseres HaDibros (Ten Commandments) in them.

I believe there is a drasha (in the Sifrei?) where Chazal learn out that you do NOT put the Aseres HaDibros in tefillin.

At first glance, this drasha seems a little odd. Why would you ever think of putting the Aseres HaDibros in there? What was the hava amina?

But now that we have the Dead Sea Scrolls, we understand!

Chazal were telling us to NOT do like that particular custom, which was around in their days!

As far as whether the people who lived there are to be considered Tzaddukim or something else: This is actually a subject of discussion among historians.

Yes, there are MANY things those people said and did that are totally Tzadduki.

And there is a big scholar, Professor Lawrence Schiffman, the head of Jewish Studies at NYU, who takes that view. Schiffman holds that the people of the Dead Sea Scrolls were a breakaway group of extremely devoted, fanatical, messianic Tzaddukim.

But it's not so pashut, and many other scholars disagree with him and hold they were something completely different. (I would like to mention that Professor Schiffman is a totally frum, Orthodox Jew, and has smicha. He's also a really nice, schmoozy guy; I've met him.)

BaronPhilip Posted - 05 December 2002 20:59

One more interesting thing I can't resist telling you all about:

In the Middle Ages, the Karaim (apikorsim who claimed they only believed in Torah SheBiKsav) had a spokesman and scholar named Qirqisani.

In the 1890s someone found a long letter written by Qirqisani in the Cairo Genizah.

In this letter, this apikores Qirqisani describes and quotes extensively from a very ancient document he says he has in his hands, and which he claims is the "mesorah" of his group. He claims that Tzedukim wrote it, and that the Karaim are descended from them.

He quotes from the document all sorts of bizarre history and weirdo halachos in it, and although sometimes it does seem Tzadukki, sometimes it doesn't.

Some professor in the 1910s read this letter and said "this Qirqisani got his documents wrong; whatever he had in his hands wasn't Tzadukki, it was a completely different, unknown Jewish sect that died out!"

And then, in 1948, the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered, and we found the whole document, the one Qirqisani was quoting, right there! We discovered the weirdo sect that wrote it!

So were they a kind of weird tzaddukim or something else completely?

Who cares? They were apikorsim and loonies.

MODERATOR Posted - 05 December 2002 21:22

The GRA didn’t say Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin are unnecessary, he said that there are hundreds of shitos for proper Tefillin and if you are going to worry about Rabbeinu Tam's you should worry about them all.

But this is in disagreement with the Arizal quoted above, that Rabbeinu Tam tefillin are not just another shitah, and that even before the Rishonim, Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin were worn together.

Re: Qirqisani. There were different sects of Karaim, some of which were influenced/related to/sympathetic toward the Jewish Christians.
Qirqisani's sect was one of those.

By Jewish Christians I mean pre-Paul Christianity. This group held that Yoshka, not as Moshiach, but as a teacher, and they held that Yoshka's teachings were similar to those of Tzadok - the founder of the Tzadukim.

Qirqisani says that the divinity of Yoshka and the elimination of the Mitzvos was really a concoction of Paul, but Yoshka was more or less a Tzaduki.

Weird, yeah. There were really many such weirdo sects. It's amazing how people can believe such stuff. (But I guess the same thing happens today as well...)

nree613 Posted - 06 December 2002 14:11

I was under the impression that Rabbeinu Tam holds that the Parshious have to be laying down. What we have the top would be facing forward.

The reason why we wear Rabbeinu Tam's is that a lot of Rishonim held like Rabbeinu Tab's order. Rabbenu tam just the greatest among them.

As for the Parshious lying down he was a Daas Yachid.

MODERATOR Posted - 06 December 2002 14:26

Yes, but the GRA did not hold like that.

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