Monday, November 09, 2009


Tefillin Is (only) A Rabbinical Mitzvah!

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

So went one of the comments to the article, “Spiritual or Physical.” Is this correct? Are the majority of the mitzvahs that we hold so dear today only additions to the Torah, invented by the rabbis?

This is not a new argument. In fact, we find an example of it in Torah itself, when Korach challenged Moshe and Aaron.[i] “Who are you Moshe to make up these rules, appointing yourself over us? G-d did not tell you to do this. This is of your own doing.” This was the gist of Korach’s complaint.

Throughout our history, we have seen many groups of Jews come and go, making this same accusation. Perhaps the most famous are the Sadducees and the Karites which both claim that only the written Torah is from G-d, and the rest is merely rabbinical additions, i.e. invented by men.”

Is there any basis for their claim? Are tefillin a rabbinical mitzvah just like Shabbos candles? Can you prove that their point is not valid?

If the Sages were unable to convince their dissenters, I doubt that I can say anything that will change a drop of their thinking, but I can give you a defense against them.

Actually, in one way, they are right. The Torah that we have in our hands today has been given to us by the Sages. None of us received it directly from G-d, not even from Moshe. In this sense, it is all “rabbinic.” True, the Sages did not invent it. But still, who could make the least bit of sense of the written Torah without our mesorah (tradition)? If it were not for the Sages, would we even know the difference between an aleph and a beis (A and B)? Not only do we owe our understanding of the Torah to them, but the Hebrew language has been handed down from generation to generation only because of their perseverance.

There are many places where we see that the written Torah had to have had an Oral Torah accompanying it right from the beginning. And what is the Oral Torah? The Talmud, which comprises the sayings and teachings handed down from Moshe to Joshua, to the Elders, to the Prophets, to the Men of the Great Assembly, to the Sages, to the rabbis, and on to us.

From where do we know that a man is not allowed to have intimate relations with his daughter? The Torah only tells us that he is not allowed to have such a relationship with his wife’s daughter and with his granddaughter, but his daughter is not mentioned. Ah, we can say, if he is not allowed to have such a relationship with his granddaughter, then certainly he is not allowed to have one with his own daughter. True. But now you are discussing the Oral Torah, not the written Torah.

In the book of Numbers,[ii] a man is locked up and killed because he was gathering sticks on Shabbos. Where does the written Torah say that we are not allowed to gather sticks on Shabbos? It doesn’t. We learn it from the Oral Torah.

The Torah tells us that punishment must be “an eye for an eye.”[iii] Would it enter your mind that a Jewish court would ever blind someone? G-d forbid! The Oral Torah explains that “an eye for an eye” means that the punishment must be monetarily equal to the crime.

“Bind the money to your hand”[iv] certainly seems to tell us that that we are to tie that money to our hand when we come to Jerusalem to distribute a certain tithe. No. The Oral Torah explains that “bind the money to your hand” means that you are not to spend the money on the way. It must be spent only in Jerusalem.

The written Torah says, “These are the decrees, judgments and Torahs which G-d gave….”[v] What does it mean by “Torahs” here? These are the Written and Oral Torahs.

When we look at the history of the Jewish people, we see many ups and downs, many opinions, many cults and groups. We even see wars among ourselves. Who was right? Whom did G-d bless? He has blessed the ones who have survived and produced a vibrant Jewish population today. Those who veer from the Written and Oral Torah have no real reason to guard the Shabbos, so they don’t. They have no real reason not to intermarry, so they do. They have no real reason to keep their families Jewish, so in one or two generations they are gone.

The truly sad thing about this reader’s comment is that he is treating the Sages’ teachings as if they are an unnecessary burden. These teachings, when done properly, not only do not increase our burdens, they actually lighten them.

[i] Numbers 16:3
[ii] Numbers 15:32
[iii] Exodus 21:24
[iv] Deuternomy 14:25
[v] Leviticus 26:46


Shiloh said...

Ah, so you want to continue the argument. Gee, why did you nbot address it to me. I am offended. First of all, there is no problem with Moshe and the Torah. I would like you to show me where in the entire Tanach is there a mention of an Oral Torah? There is none. That to is a fact. Now, I don't have a problem per say of commentaries of the Torah. Even the Karaites have commentaries. But that simply does not change the fact that the Oral Torah or Talmud we have today is not, nor ever has been from the time of Moshe.

One interesting teaching from the Jerusalem Talmud is the following. If one does not believe that the written Torah is from haShem, he should be stoned. Now the interesting variance in the Bavli. If one does not believe that the 'oral' Torah is from haShem, he should be stoned. Ah, why, control of the Erev Rav is the ONLY reason for this variance.
I side with the Jerusalem obviously.

Now, again, if one does not perform a rabbinical commandment, prove again what haShem say's will happen? You can't. Even with reincarnation, very religious Jews do in fact reincarnate. That better be worrisome to you as ones that the Erev Rav so hates will haunt them until the end.

The Torah, even by it's admission say's that it is easy to follow. It is. It also states that when you add to it like the religious have, the results too. Which we have for 2000 years now.

Don't follow the majority to evil. HaShem has kept us here, why, according to the Tanach because He promised to. Not by your actions. The ego which is entirely increased by performing jumping jacks because the rabbi's dictated it, does only one thing, inflate the ego and nothing else. The ego is the satan as you know.

If one eats kosher according to the Torah, the religious won't eat his food. Like Avraham had rabbinical endorsment of his special meal with the two guests. Read again what he served. You are better then him. Give it up. I personally refuse to eat anything served by religious Jews as they continually offend others who don't follow the Erev rav controls placed on them.

Keep on doing your insane mitzvoth additions. Your worship of the minute. Continue to live in the dark ages. That's your choice. But don't teach that they give you a place in the world to come or that they are derech haShem. They are not. They are religion. By justifying them you give credence to the other false religions that plague the planet.

It has grown into a monster that was never intended by Moshe. One thngs is a fact. He should never had allowed the Erev Rav along as they have ruined the Torah into a man made religion. Sadly, sincere Jews believe it's the truth as the rest has been masked by them. Moshe freed us from the control of the Egyptians. The Mashiach will do the same to us as they still have a grip on us. Hopefully the Erev Rav won't kill him to keep power. Another fact!!!

Need to work now, as I don't get donations. Oh, I think haShem mentioned something about lazy people too. We will do it the hard way, remember that.

Even the goyim pick specific lines to support their claims to their false religion. You can do better then that too.

Shavua Tov.


Neshama said...

I'm not finished digesting your post, but would like to offer this about:
"None of us received it directly from G-d"
When we stood at Har Sinai we ALL heard Hashem communicate directly to us, it went thru every fibre of our being (our genes), so much so that our neshomas flew out of our bodies, and had to be pulled back. I would think that this is still reverberating in our very neshomas to this day.
Just like the chessed that Avraham brought to the world is still embedded (not like a journalist) in our genes, and the method of "learning" was taught by Moshe Rabenu to the 'elders', and likewise by Yehoshua.
And there is that chassidishe saying that even Hashem "wears Tefillin".
We have potent genes in our bodies that impregnate our lives with spirituality.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe has said that this last generation before Moshiach's arrival is the same generation of Yetzias Mitzrayim. So, I believe we possess microcosms of spiritual energy passed on in our genes.
Rabbi Brody spoke about a dear friend of his that during his army service at one point found himself crawling on the ground between bases and suddenly was confronted by a HUGE COBRA poised to kill. He froze and had to stay in that position for 8 hours, at the end of which time he simply said one word: "HASHEM" and the Cobra slivered away. Now this was NOT a religious guy, nor did he have any connection to religion. This cry from deep inside him to Hashem came from his neshoma!!
Long, but important. So far, great post.

Neshama said...


Not a Kofer said...

Rav Gil student addresses this at:

and Rav Mizrachi has a whole discussion and proofs on it from

in part 2

Neshama said...

to Not a Kofer

Please give better link.

Shiloh said...

Neshama, we have a direct line with haShem. To be honest with you, when I would call out to haShem, I would get answered instantly many, many times. You know when it stopped dead in it's tracks, when I became a baal t'shuva. Ya, exactly then. When I follow the Torah of Moshe to the best of my ability, I speak to haShem as a Father in the heavens, my connection to Him continues.

I hope we all have a direct connection and He does not remain concealled for most. Just a side note Neshama, with all due respect, haShem does not wear tefillin. Like He, Blessed be He, needs a reminder to think of the Torah and do it. Oy va voy!

s said...

The main thing people need to understand is what you pointed out in your message about that the written only says what to do, but the oral one says How to do it

s said...

Also what people should know is that both Torahs are Divine, it's just that one was passed orally until written down.

Neshama said...

Shiloh, I truly believe it doesn't STOP DEAD, the answers come in a different path, because you now have the responsibility to OBSERVE MITZVOS.
The accounting is different. Before, Hashem personally was leading you to the Torah, from which you are/will relearn how to think al pi the Torah way. (I know of which you speak, to continue, am getting a software download notice)

Neshama said...

Shiloh, in continuation.

Please don't stop speaking from your heart to Hashem, because that is the original way to daven, and is the most sincere way of davening, albeit we are not on the same level as our Avos. We have changed, but Hashem didn't/doesn't/wont change, and He still wants to hear from inside your heart. There is no reason to stop this type of communication. In fact, Rav Arush has come out with a new sefer that deals with this exactly, by the title, IN FOREST FIELDS. I am true advocate and believer in the 'direct' method of speaking to Hashem.

Shiloh said...

Neshama, I have the responsibility to be a living Torah, following what haShem gave us to do. Nothing more, nothing less according to the Torah. Even by Gutmans admissions which I commend him for, the mitvoth of the rabbi's are just that. They are no different then any other religion of men. I can think of two other false ones. By worshipping the minute, or by following a fence based on medieval thinking does not elevate my soul, does not increase my connection to the Source, it actually stops it. I know the teachings of the rabbi's. I completely disagree that they are correct in everything. Oh, while I remember, in the Tanach haShem states that the Torah will be in the hearts of men and will NOT be taught by men in the geulah. Interesting motive to delay the geulah as they will all be out of a job. I believe the Baal Shem Tov stated they will delay it. That's effecting you and me. I don't like it either. The faithless leaders are also quoted in the Tanach.

Who knows what level I am on, or you, or anyone else. Neshama, this is not a game, and I am not arguing to just argue. I have better things in life to do then to type on this blog. haShem has placed us here, returned us here to finish our task, whatever that may be for each of us. Mine won't be too popular with some. But I respect those who disagree, but does it happen in reverse? I am aware of certain things that in hindsight would be better if I had never known, shown by haShem or figured it out. Am I settled with it, absoulutly now. Is it popular, na.

Anonymous said...

tefillin come from moshe rabbenu m'har sinia, moshe at mt sinai.

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