The right track for every Jew

The ups and downs of different authority systems.

Phil Chernofsky ,

Western wall and the Temple Mount
Western wall and the Temple Mount
Mati Amar/TPS

Two of the 613 mitzvot - one of the 248 positive commands and one of the 365 prohibitions - are found in D'varim 17:11 -

You must keep the Torah as they teach it to you, and follow the laws that they legislate for you. Do not stray to the right or left from the word that they declare to you.

TAASEH is the positive mitzva to follow the dictates of Sanhedrin.

LO TASUR is the companion prohi- bition of veering from what they tell us is halacha...

These are no ordinary mitzvot. They enable all mitzvot to be fulfilled. They teach us what we are supposed to do and what we are forbidden from doing.

Judaism (simplified) means believing in G-d, and that He created the world and everything in it, and that He gave the Torah to the People of Israel and that we are to live by the teachings and values of the Torah and that we are to keep faithful to G-d and His Word.

The commitment to a Torah life is based on The Torah's two inseparable parts, the Written Word and the Oral Law. And it is based on Rabbinic Laws, which have G-d's backing, as stated in D'varim 17:11, above.

So if we can say that Judaism is a package deal of the Written and Oral Law and Rabbinic Legislation (and we'll add into the miture, as the Rambam does, Rabbinic decrees and customs), then we also must say that D'varim 17:11 is the great ENABLER.

By commanding us to follow the dictates of Sanhedrin (and by extension, Mishna and Gemara, and Halacha as enbodied within Shulchan Aruch and hundreds of years of Rabbinic Responsa and Literature), we are able to keep our commitment.

Keep the Shabbat! How? By following the teachings of the Sanhedrin (et al) which transmits the Oral Torah AND which legislates many laws to protect the Torah Law (again, to oversimplify).

Dwell in a Sukka for seven days. Right - what's a Sukka? Chazal (our Sages) teach us what G-d explained to Moshe about Sukkot during their 40 days and 40 nights on Sinai, following the day of Matan Torah. Chazal give us the guidelines and parameters (if these are not significantly different terms, then I apologize for the redundancy) for the proper observance of the mitzva.

BASUKOT TEISHVU (Vayikra 23:42) commands the mitzva. TAASEH (D'varim 17:11) enables us to fulfill it.

Eat Matza... (several p'sukim) - but D'varim 17:11 gives us access to the recipe and the dos and don'ts. In enables us to keep the Torah.