Live the Torah - as a way of life

Our package deal from G-d consists of the whole Torah - Written and Oral, Talmudic and Rabbinic Law, and a mix of Minhag and Tradition.

Phil Chernofsky,

Torah scroll
Torah scroll
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That's the description of Natarat Nedarim in the Mishna, Chagiga 1:8. It explains the phrase by explaining that Heter Nedarim is a mitzva/procedure from the Oral Torah, without a chapter and verse to anchor it.

In fact, from the words of the Written Torah (second pasuk in Matot) is might seem that there is no such thing as having one's vows nullified. It says, If a person makes a vow or takes an oath... he shall not profane his word, all that comes out of his mouth he shall do.
The Mishna in Yoma (1:5) tells us that the 'Elder Kohanim' would have the Kohein Gadol swear that he would carry out all the Avoda of Yom Kippur exactly as instructed.

Why would a Kohen Gadol have to swear to do things correctly? Does anyone think he wouldn't?

During the time of the Second Beit HaMikdash, when Israel was ruled by others (Greeks, Romans), their were times when the Kohen Gadol was a political appointee and was often a Tzidoki (a sect that follows the Written Word meticulously but does not accept the Oral Law and Traditions). This was done to purposely have the Kehuna at odds with the Sanhedrin, so we would be busy with infighting and be less likely to unite and rebel.

One major point of contention had to do with when the KG would place the incense on the firepan - before or after entering the Kodesh Kodashim.

Since no one was allowed to be present in the Beit HaMikdash when the KG entered the KK, the Sanhedrin was afraid that if he were a Tzidoki, he might fail in his Avoda and the atone- ment of all of Israel would be affected.

But how would administering an oath help? The KG could do Hatarat Neda- rim and then do what he wanted when no one was around to see.
Ah, but a Tzidoki cannot have his oath nullified. They don't accept the Torah She'b'al Peh (Oral Law). A Tzidoki is bound to his oath even when coerced into swearing. Hence, proper Avoda on YK was guarranteed.

Back to the Mishna in Chagiga for a moment. Heter Nedarim is described as floating in the air. Shabbat (and other mitzvot) are described as Moun- tains hanging by a hair - because there is relatively little text in the Written Torah and many, many details from the Oral Law. Civil Law (among other mitzvot) is described as having significant text in the Written Torah. The Mishna concludes with 'this and this (and this) are all the essence of the Torah.

And that is the point of this Lead Tidbit. Torah Judaism is guided by the Torah's two parts - the Written Word and the Orah Law, which are inseparable and interdependent.

Our package deal from G-d consists of the whole Torah - Written and Oral, Talmudic and Rabbinic Law, and a healthy mix of Minhag and Tradition. This is our commitment as Jews to G-d and His Torah.




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