Michael LinetskyThe writer is director of the Torat Eretz Yisrael Institute (www.torateretzyisrael.org).
The Torah states: "These are the Lord's times, Holy Occasions, which you shall designate in their designated time" (Lev. 23:4).
God does not merely teach the Jewish People how to reckon the Holy Occasions, but gives them the responsibility of reckoning them for future generations.
The Rabbis expanded on the theological significance and implications of this commandment. The Talmud of Eretz Yisrael teaches us:
Rabbi Ila said: "If you call them 'My Times' they are are 'My Times' but if not, they are not 'My Times'. (Rosh Hashanah 1:3 7b)
God hands over not only the responsibility of reckoning and keeping track of the Holy Occasions to the Jewish People, but also the universal authority in reckoning them.
Prior to the Exodus from Egypt, God Himself reckoned the Holy Occasions and enforced them in the Universe. However, after the Exodus from Egypt God handed off their reckoning to the Jewish Court.
Only when the Jewish People declare the "Holy Occasions" does the declaration propagate in the cosmic realm. God in effect, hands off control of the Universe to the Jewish People. In this instance, He and the Universe are subordinate to them.
The Rabbis did not see this subordination as a mere abstraction or mystical phenomenon, but as a living and tangible reality.
The Talmud of Eretz Yisrael teaches us further:
"Rabbi Abin said: "I shall call upon God Most high, the Almighty who concludes for me" (Ps. 57:3) - A girl who is three years old and one day, if the Court decided to inter-calculate the month, her virginity returns to her and if not, her virginity does not return to her. (Sanhed 1:2 6a)
The presumption here is that the virginity of a girl of three which was not extant at a certain date can be assumed if there is a declaration of the Jewish Court to inter-calculate the month. That has the ability to set time back causing the girl's virginity to be reinstated.
In this astounding statement, Rabbi Abin teaches us of the incredible stature of the Jewish People in the world and the Universe.
God gives the Jewish People power over Nature and the Universe and even over Himself. They not only occupy the Universe as other nations but are integrated into its very workings