Here we have cited passages and scholars pointing out the importance of history and the survival across time of the Jews. What, may I ask you is history and time made of? One response is the rising and setting of the sun. The orbit of the moon around the earth. The Earth around the sun. Years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds are the nitty gritty building blocks of our earthly time perception. That is exactly what is needed for every human society in general and for the Jewish faith community in particular.
All of the timing for
the Biblical holidays were entrusted to the Rabbis. Biblical law demands
that the month of Nissan (Passover) must occur in the spring and the month
of Tishri, with the harvest festival of Succoth, must be in fall, hence
the necessity for a solar and lunar calendar. Deuteronomy 16:1 demands
that Passover be in the spring, ‘FOR IN
THE MONTH OF SPRINGTIME THE L-RD, YOUR G-D TOOK YOU OUT OF EGYPT.’ Numbers, 9/1-3 tells us that the Passover offering needs to be offered on the 14th day of the 1st month (Nissan). ‘THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL MAKE THE PESACH OFFERING IN ITS APPOINTED TIME. ON THE 14TH OF THIS MONTH, IN THE AFTERNOON SHALL YOU MAKE IT, IN ITS APPOINTED TIME, ACCORDING TO ALL OF ITS DECREES AND LAWS SHALL YOU MAKE IT.’ Not only the exact
style and nature of the offering was dependent on oral explanation of ‘decrees and laws’, but the very fixing of the calendar was completely dependent on our oral tradition.
13:9]: ‘MY HAND WILL BE AGAINST THE PROPHETS WHO SEE VANITY AND DIVINE
FALSEHOOD. THEY SHALL NOT SHARE THE SECRET OF MY PEOPLE AND IN THE SCROLL
OF THE FAMILY OF ISRAEL SHALL THEY NOT BE WRITTEN, AND TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL
SHALL THEY NOT ENTER. THEN YOU SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE L-RD G-D.
THEY SHALL NOT BE IN THE COUNCIL OF MY PEOPLE…’ This refers to the council of the calendar inter-calculation. When G-d said to Moses and Aaron, “THIS MONTH SHALL BE FOR YOU THE BEGINNING OF THE MONTHS”, [EXODUS 12:1-2], G-d also transmitted to them the rules of calculating a new month. How to establish the year and month were made known to him Moses in order to fulfill the explicit command. ‘Observe the spring month and offer a
celebration of the Passover sacrifice.’ (Rosh Hashana 25a) This necessitated us having both a solar and lunar year.
According to the Torah, the time between one new moon and the next is “29.5 days plus 793 parts of an hour.” An hour is divided into 1080 parts.
The preceding are modern calculations for the time which elapses between one mean conjunction of the moon and the next. The prophets, the sages, scribes, and the Rabbis have had the sole jurisdiction and direction over the calendar. They have preserved it and synchronized it now for 3300 years. Compare the logic, order and correctness of the Rabbis to the chaos, gross errors and arbitrariness of other world calendars. According to the Discovery booklet from Aish HaTorah, Years of research based on calculations using satellites, hairline telescopes, laser beams and super computers, scientists at NASA have determined that the length of the “syndic month,” i.e. the time between one new moon and the next is:
Let us add the words of Rabbi J. David Bleich, (ArtScroll-Mesorah Pub., pp. 47-48). The origin of the calendric system in general use today the Gregorian calendar can be traced back to the Roman republican calendar, which is thought to have been introduced by the fifth king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus (616-579 BCE)…
By 46 BCE the calendar
had become so hopelessly confused that Julius Caesar was forced to initiate
a reform of the entire system. Caesar invited the Alexandrian astronomer
Sosigenes to undertake this task. Sosigenes suggested abandoning the lunar
system altogether and replacing it with a tropical year of 365.25 days.
Further, to correct the accumulation of previous errors, a total of 90
intercalary days had to be added to 46 BCE, meaning January 1, 45 BCE,
occurred in what would have been the middle of March. To prevent the problem
from recurring, Sosigenes suggested that an extra day be added to every
fourth February. The adoption of such reformatory measures resulted in
the establishment of the Julian calendar, which was used for roughly the
next 1,600 years. During that time, however, the disagreement between the
Julian year of 365.25 days and the tropical year of 365.242199 gradually
significant errors. The discrepancy mounted at a rate of 11 minutes 14 seconds per year until it was a full 10 days in 1545, when the Council of Trent authorized Pope Paul III to take corrective action. No solution was found for many years. In 1572 Pope Gregory III agreed to issue a papal bull drawn up by the Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius. Ten years later, when the edicit was finally proclaimed, 10 days in October were skipped to bring the calendar back in line.
Is the point here clear? The Bible orders us to keep the holidays in a certain way and establish a calendar. This command necessitates an oral body of tremendous information, topics of astronomy, math, seasons, etc., all of which are not to be found in the written Torah by any regular examination.
Textual references abound
to the oral tradition where the text did not specify procedures,
obvious reliance on procedures etc. were described orally. In Numbers
29:1, ‘THE 7TH MONTH (again here is our Rabbinically
supervised calendar), ON THE FIRST DAY OF
THE MONTH, YOU SHALL HAVE A HOLY CONVOCATION, YOU SHALL DO NO MANNER OF
WORK, IT IS A DAY OF BLOWING FOR YOU.’ Blowing what?
A French horn? A flute? The answer, my friend is not
blowing in the wind. No, my friend, the answer is flowing in the Oral Torah. Without debate or contradiction the Torah is talking about the Shofar, the ram’s horn. Leviticus 16/31, on the day of the atonement we are told, ‘you shall afflict your soul’. That this refers to fasting and other minor discomforts has been clearly defined in the Oral Law. The Torah
says to circumcise on the 8th day and it is serious. What kind of operation is this? A heart operation, perhaps? For heavens sake, we are talking about a possible medical procedure which demanded a thorough oral explanation.
The prophet Zechariah
8/19 lists four fast days which only through the oral tradition would be
clear to us. So said HASHEM, (G-d) of Hosts, ‘the fast of the 4th (month),
the fast of the 5th (month), the fast of the 7th (month), and the fast
of the 10th (month) shall be for the house of Judah for joy and gladness
for joyous holidays, for love, truth and peace.’ Here
is an undisputed prophet mentioning fasts for which knowledge of the Oral Law was crucial. For the crucial institution of Sabbath observance again you need to check in to understand the matter with the oral tradition. We learn out from the juxtaposition of prohibition of work next to the work required in the building of the Tabernacle. We learn of 39 categories of prohibitive creative work. From these verses emerge the authoritative definition of work and a Shabbat that has been kept faithfully without debate by millions of Jews for thousands of years. Rabbi Tuvia Singer’s insightful tapes point out that folk who have not had the opportunity to learn about the Oral Torah sometimes say it’s an
invention of the Rabbinic Sages. To say the holy sages have invented something foreign and have no authority regarding the Bible, is like saying the Jewish Israelis occupying Jerusalem are foreign and invented their authority over the city. Jewish Israelite presence in Jerusalem is an expression of Biblical truth and G-d’s desire. Just as the elders, Rabbis, scribes, and sages of the Oral Torah express Biblical truth and G-d’s desire. Groups arose and disappeared who rejected Judaism and its guardianship of the oral tradition. Still, they were at their wits ends to apply the written law without the Oral Law and had to invent their own version. They did indeed, and each and every one of them admit to the absolute necessity of the oral tradition, but merely rejected the age old commitment, devotion, and transmission of the sages. The Christian world lost complete contact with the Oral Law for a host of reasons. Firstly, because the early Church, after the council of Niece had no access to the oral tradition in terms of their total lack of schooling and experience. Hence, since they were lacking access, they demonized it and rejected it. They also never even tried, according to their theology, to fulfill the Written Bible. Without an attempt to keep the written laws, there arose no need to understand in depth how to apply the various written laws. We can go one step further and deeper; even in times of the Messiah, non-Jews will not be obligated in the 613 commandments of the Bible, but rather the 7 universal commandments given to Noah at the revelation of the rainbow, 10 generations before the first Hebrew, Abraham. Gentiles, even in messianic times, won’t need as thorough a comprehension of the oral tradition as your average, Bible keeping, religious Jew.
PROPHETS KEEPING RABBINIC JUDAISM
Daniel and other outstanding,
brilliant, young Jews were recruited by Nebuchadnezzar to be trained to
serve Babylon. The King sent the finest foods and drinks for these up and
coming scholars, but they could not eat or drink of this kingly spread.
Why? It was not pork or shellfish. Because there is a general Rabbinic
prohibition not to eat gentile produces food that did not have Jewish supervision.
You don’t know for sure if its permitted food with some non-kosher ingredient.
However, specifically here, by Daniel and company, there is a Rabbinic
decree created to inhibit
assimilation and intermarriage, which forbids eating and drinking wine and bread products by gentiles. This is a non-Biblical, strictly protective Rabbinic decree, which Daniel and friends kept, risking their lives. Daniel and friends and the nation of Israel have been guided by the same Torah injunction.
17; 8] ‘IF THERE BE A MATTER CONCEALED FROM THEE IN JUDGMENT, BETWEEN BLOOD
AND BLOOD, BETWEEN DECISION AND DECISION, AND BETWEEN PLAGUE AND PLAGUE,
(EVEN) MATTERS OF CONTROVERSY WITHIN THY GATES, THEN THOU SHALT ARISE,
AND GET THEE UP UNTO THE PLACE WHICH THE L-RD THY G-D SHALL CHOOSE.
(VS.9) AND THOU SHALT COME UNTO THE PRIEST THE LEVITES, AND UNTO THE JUDGE THAT SHALL BE IN THOSE DAYS; [Even if he is not like other judges who were before him, you must listen to him; you have only the judge of your own time (R.H. 25)] AND THOU SHALT INQUIRE; AND THEY SHALL DECLARE UNTO THEE THE SENTENCE OF THE JUDGMENT. (VS.10) AND THOU SHALT DO ACCORDING TO THE TENOR OF THE SENTENCE, WHICH THEY SHALL DECLARE UNTO THEE FROM THAT PLACE WHICH THE L-RD SHALL CHOOSE; AND THOU SHALT OBSERVE TO DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT THEY SHALL TEACH THEE. (VS.11) ACCORDING TO THE LAW WHICH THEY SHALL TEACH THEE, AND ACCORDING TO THE JUDGMENT WHICH THEY SHALL TELL THEE, THOU SHALT DO; THOU SHALL NOT TURN
ASIDE FROM THE SENTENCE WHICH THEY SHALL DECLARE UNTO THEE (TO THE) RIGHT (HAND), NOR (TO THE) LEFT. (VS.12) AND THE MAN THAT DOETH PRESUMPTUOUSLY, ON NOT HEARKENING UNTO THE PRIEST THAT STANDETH TO MINISTER THERE (BEFORE) THE L-RD THY G-D, OR UNTO THE JUDGE, EVEN THAT MAN SHALL DIE; AND THOU SHALT EXTERMINATE THE EVIL FROM ISRAEL. (VS.13) AND ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL HEAR, AND FEAR, AND DO NO MORE
Take a good look at Daniel 1/3-16. Miracles were performed for Daniel and his friends because of Rabbinic decrees. The Torah gives the sages the power to protect the Torah, to erect fences around the Torah. Much like a guardrail protects cars from falling off a highway or into a ravine below or a hedge of roses is to a garden. Numerous times the Torah says to guard and protect the Torah. Hence the erecting of protective degrees of Rabbinic origin is in harmony with Biblical demands. A Rabbinic law made to protect a Biblical law is not adding on the Bible. Just the opposite it is fulfilling the Biblical injunction of protecting and guarding the Bible.
The oral tradition makes
protective degrees to keep Jews from intermarrying. These included a ban
on gentile produced wine and cooked foods. Daniel, Chanayah and Mishael
risked their lives not other than transgress Rabbinic ordinances. Also,
Daniel 3/6-13, Daniel was found praying three times a day, just as he had
done before - it has something to
do with the law. What law? Not so much Biblical law, but a Rabbinical law encouraging regular prayer. Yet Daniel, a prophet keeps it.
Many times the prophets
exhort the people to keep the non-Biblical laws that emerge from the Oral
Bible. As safeguards, these non-Biblical laws serve to protect, guard,
and preserve Biblical laws. All of our tradition agrees that Divine inspiration
did not leave the sages. In other cases, the prophets are discussing the
applications of Torah laws. They support the explanations and elucidations
of cryptic, vague, and otherwise non-intelligible Biblical commands. Again
and again, the Torah tells us to listen to prophet or sage. Deuteronomy
17/8-11 and Leviticus 26/46 clearly
implying there will always be sages to go to. Our oral tradition tells us that all that was, is, and shall be, is hidden
in the Torah. Not only in a general was, but in a specific way. Concerning this secret truth, which we have not the ability to completely understand, the book of Job says, ‘Its measure is longer than the world.’
The following will give you a brief insight into one of the mysterious levels of understanding G-d’s eternal love letter, the Torah. I’d like to thank Aish HaTorah’s Discovery booklet for the form of the wisdom to follow.
THE NUMBER 7 is considered
one of the most significant numbers in Judaism:
- Shabbat is the 7th day of the week.
- The Sabbatical Year (Shmita) takes place every 7th year.
- When someone passes away, relatives sit “Shiva” for 7 days.
- At a traditional Jewish wedding, the bride walks around the groom 7 times.
- Gentiles are required to observe the 7 Laws of Noah.
- There are 7 major holidays.
THE NUMBER 49, being 7-
times - 7, has great significance in Judaism.
- Between the holidays of Shavuos and Pesach, we “count the Omer” for seven weeks, or 49 days.
- The Jubilee Year occurs after 49 years, following 7 cycles of the 7-year Sabbatical.
- The Zohar reports that the spiritual world contains 49 levels of spiritual elevation and decline.
RESEARCH OF IVAN PANIN MATHEMATICIAN AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Ivan Panin was a Russian
immigrant know at the turn of the century as a brilliant literary figure,
multi-lingual scholar, and mathematician at Harvard University. He was
also a devout Catholic. Panin knew Hebrew, and began studying the Bible
in its original language. Aware of the numerical values of the Hebrew alphabet,
Panin experimented one day by replacing the letters with their corresponding
numbers. Suddenly, his trained scientific mind picked up an elaborate mathematical
pattern: In the first verse of the Torah alone, Panin discovered over 50
patterns of the number seven. According to Panin, the statistical odds
of this pattern being an accident are one in 33 trillion 0.00000000000003.
Following this discovery, Panin devoted his entire life to the study of Bible Numerics, and eventually submitted to the Nobel Research Foundation over 43,000 sheets of his research. In this verse (the first verse of the Torah), Prof. Panin found over 50 combinations of “seven.” Below are a few examples.
Number of letters in the verse………………….28 (7 x 4)
Numeric value of the one verb………...…….…203 (7 x 29)
Numeric value of the three nouns………………777 (7 x 111)
Numeric value of first-and-last letters, in the first-and-last words…...497 (7 x 71)
Numeric value of the first-and-last letters of every word ……………… 1393 (7 x 199)
Obedience to the Oral
Law is a Commandment