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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Conclusion

Scripture, according to the Rabbis, is the abiding evidence of God's presence and continued love for His people, but the rabbinic relationship to Scripture is not one of pas‐ sive acceptance. Scripture provides the basic material and some of the ground rules for rabbinic interpretation, but the elements ofScripture—passages, verses, words, even individual letters—are integrated in a way that is both scriptural and rabbinic. One consequence of this mutuality is the assumption that a reasoned argument has the force of a scriptural decree [b. Pes. 21b, Ketub. 22a, B. K. 46b, Ḥul. 114 b, Nid. 25a]. The sovereignty of reason and of rabbinic authority is thereby affirmed.

It has been taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forth every imaginable argument, but they did not accept them. [Finally, in frustration,] he said: If the law follows my opinion, let this carob‐tree prove it! Thereupon the carob‐tree was torn a hundred cubits out of its place—others affirm, four hundred cubits. No proof can be brought from a carob‐tree, they retorted. Again he said to them: If the law agrees with my opinion, let the stream of water prove it! Thereupon the stream of water flowed backwards. No proof can be brought from a stream of water, they rejoined. Again he urged: If the law agrees with my opinion, let the walls of the schoolhouse prove it! Thereupon the walls inclined to fall. But R. Joshua rebuked them, saying: When scholars are engaged in a legal dispute, what have you to interfere? Hence [the walls] did not fall, out of deference to R. Joshua, nor did they resume standing, in deference to R. Eliezer, and they still stand inclined. Finally he said to them: If the law follows my opinion, let it be proved from Heaven! Thereupon a heavenly echo cried out: Why do you dispute with R. Eliezer, seeing that in all matters the law agrees with his opinion? But R. Joshua arose and exclaimed: “It is not in Heaven!” (Deut. 30.12 ).

What did he mean by that? Said R. Jeremiah: Since the Torah has already been given at Mount Sinai, we pay no attention to a heavenly echo, because You have long since written in the Torah at Mount Sinai: “After the majority must one incline” (Exod. 23.2 ).

R. Nathan met Elijah [the Prophet] and asked him, What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do at that time [in response to this statement]? He laughed [with joy], he replied, saying: My sons have defeated Me, My sons have defeated Me! (b. B. M. 59 b.)

Appendix: The Orders and Tractates of the Mishnah

  • Zera'im (“Seeds”):

    • Berakhot
    • Pe'ah
    • Demai Kil'ayim
    • Shevi'it
    • Terumot
    • Ma'aserot
    • Ma'aser Sheni
    • Ḥallah
    • 'Orlah
    • Bikkurim
  • Mo'ed (“Season” or “Festival”):

    • Shabbat
    • 'Eruvin
    • Pesaḥim
    • Shekalim
    • Yoma
    • Sukkah
    • Betzah
    • Rosh Ha‐Shanah
    • Ta'anit
    • Megillah
    • Mo'ed Katan
    • Ḥagigah
  • Nashim (“Women”):

    • Yebamot
    • Ketubbot
    • Nedarim
    • Nazir
    • Sotah
    • Gittin
    • Kiddushin
  • Nezikin (“Damages”):

    • Bava Kamma
    • Bava Metzi'a
    • Bava Batra
    • Sanhedrin
    • Makkot
    • Shevu'ot
    • 'Eduyyot
    • 'Avodah Zarah
    • 'Avot
    • Horayot
  • Kodoshim (“Sacred Things”):

    • Zevaḥim
    • Menaḥot
    • Ḥullin
    • Bekhorot
    • 'Arakhin
    • Temurah
    • Keritot
    • Me'ilah
    • Tamid
    • Middot
    • Kinnim
  • Teharot (“Purifications”)

    • Kelim
    • 'Ohalot
    • Nega'im
    • Parah
    • Teharot
    • Mikva'ot
    • Niddah
    • Makhshirin
    • Zavim
    • Tevul Yom
    • Yadayim
    • 'Uktzin

[YAAKOV ELMAN]

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