Letters | December 15, 2021

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It is not in heaven

The book review on “A page a day” (Dec. 9) reminds me of what a group of 10 of my friends and I are doing every Sabbath: reading the Torah, the Prophets and other writings. We are now discussing a fascinating book “Not in Heaven” by Eliezer Berkovits. The book discusses the ways our sages developed the process of generating halachah by carefully interrupting the sacred Torah. A very fascinating passage describes a session on “ritual purity” where the rabbis are disagreeing with each other. A heavenly voice from above interrupts, saying that “Whatever Rabbi Eliezer says is correct so stop arguing.” Then a dissenting rabbi replies, “The Torah has already been given to us at Sinai and we are not to listen to a heavenly voice in matters of halachah. ”Afterwards it is said that God laughs and says, “My sons have defeated me, my sons have defeated me.” Basically halachah is for us on earth and “not in heaven.”
Albert Jacobs
Silver Spring

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