Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Can A Navi Innovate New Laws? - Part 1

This series should be a zchus that Hashem should help Elchanan ben Henna Miriam spread Torah in good health and prosperity.

Let us begin with a summary of the sugya in Temurah [16, based on dafyomi.co.il] and we will then start asking questions - or better "dropping BOMBS" [all of these questions were asked by the Rishonim and Achronim and our analysis is based on the Be'er Miriam of HaGaon HaGadol Meod R' Dovid Mann ztz"l [Melachim 5/2]. The Maharatz Chiyus has a entire sefer called Torah Haniviim which deals with these and similar issues. Also there is a Rav from Chicago named Rabbi Sender who has written sefarim - easy to read with copious sources - that focus on these topics]: 

Don't be superficial:-)!

I would like to note that before we begin, a cursory glance at the sources we quoted do not turn up many significant problems. Daf yomi shiurim cover these sugyos in minutes. However, thought and focus reveal serious problems whose solutions create a state that can be described as ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר. And ולכל בני ישראל היה אור במושבותיהם!

Gemara in Temurah - A Navi may not reinstitute forgotten laws based on his nevuah

Rav Yehudah said - Three thousand Halachos were forgotten during the mourning over Moshe's death.

1. They asked Yehoshua to ask Hashem. He refused, for "Lo va'Shamayim Hi." They asked Shmuel (400 years later) to ask Hashem. He answered "Eleh ha'Mitzvos" שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר - a Navi may not teach a new (mid'Oraisa) law through prophecy [even though the law had been previously known - this is important!].
R. Yitzchak Nafcha: One of the forgotten Halachos was a Chatas whose owner died;

1. They asked Pinchas to ask Hashem. He refused, for "Lo va'Shamayim Hi." They asked Elazar to ask Hashem. He answered "Eleh ha'Mitzvos" - a Navi may not be Mechadesh Halachos.

Rav Yehudah: Before Moshe departed to Gan Eden, he asked Yehoshua to ask any doubts he had.

1. Yehoshua: (I have no doubts, for) I never left you, like you wrote in the Torah "u'Mesharaso Yehoshua... Lo Yamish mi'Toch ha'Ohel"!

2. Immediately, Yehoshua's strength waned. He forgot 300 Halachos and had 700 doubts. Bnei Yisrael wanted to kill him.

3. Hashem: I may not tell the Halachos to you. Go distract Bnei Yisrael by beginning the war - "Acharei Mos Moshe... va'Yomer Hash-m... "

Braisa: During the mourning over Moshe's death, they forgot 1,700 Kal va'Chomerim, Gezeiros Shavos and Dikdukei Sofrim (Halachos that were later quantified, e.g. 13 laws of the Nevelah of a bird of a Tahor species).
R. Avahu: Osni'el ben Kenaz restored all of them through his Pilpul - "va'Yilkedah Osni'el ben Kenaz Achi Kalev va'Yiten Lo Es Achsah Bito l'Ishah". 

End of sugyaץ

Gemara in Megillah - A Navi MAY reinstitute previously known laws based on his Nevuah

In the gemara in Megilla the gemara says that the Neviim decreed the אותיות סופיות of מנצפ"ך. The gemara asks from the pasuk אלה המצות that a Navi is not permitted to say anything new [שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר]. Answers the gemara that שכחום וחזרו ויסדום - it was forgotten and the Neviim reinstituted it. 

We see from the gemara in Megilla that the pasuk of אלה המצות does not prevent the Neviim from reinstituting forgotten halachos. 

Now we are in trouble because we saw in the gemara in Temurah that based on the pasuk אלה המצות Neviim are NOT allowed to reinstitute halachos. 

Question - Arava was reinstituted based on nevuah 

The gemara in Succah [44] teaches that the custom to take the Arava in the Beis Hamikdash on Succos was from the Neviim. The gemara asks that it was actually halacha li-moshe mi-sinai. The gemara answers that it was originally halacha li-moshe mi-sinai but was forgotten and reinstituted by the Neviim al pi hadibbur - prophetically [Rashi].

How does that fit with the gemara in Temurah that Neviim may not reinstitute forgotten halachos based on nevuah because אין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר?

Two sources for the prohibition of a Navi to innovate

The gemara in Temurah offers two sources for the איסור of אין נביא רשאי דבר. One learned from the mouth of Yehoshua - לא בשמים היא. The other learned from Shmuel - אלה המצוות. 

Why the two disparate sources?

This begs for Brisk!!!

In fact, the Brisker Rov answers that לא בשמים היא teaches that one may not clarify which halachos were already given. 

אלה המצוות teaches something completely different, namely, that a Navi may not innovate new halachos based on his nevuah.

The Rambam integrates the two sources

The Brisker Rov himself points out that his theory is highly questionable because the Rambam writes [Yesodei Hatorah 9/1] "לא  "בשמים היא הא למדת שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה - From לא בשמים היא we derive that אין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר which is derived from ואלה המצוות. So we see that the Rambam actually fuses the two sources into one limmud and thus it is clear that according to him they are not teaching us two different laws as the Brisker Rov suggested. So why then do we need two sources to teach us the same thing? 

Why does the Rambam omit the pasuk of ואלה המצות?

It is also puzzling that the Rambam omitted mention of the pasuk אלה המצות [he just alluded to it, as the כסף משנה notes]. Why does he ignore the gemaros in Temurah, Megilla, Shabbos and Yoma which quote the pasuk??

Does claiming that one received a halacha through prophecy turn one into a false prophet?

The Rambam writes [Yesodei Hatorah 9/1]: 

הא למדת שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה לפיכך אם יעמוד איש בין מן האומות בין מישראל ויעשה אות ומופת ויאמר שה' שלחו להוסיף מצוה או לגרוע מצוה או לפרש במצוה מן המצות פירוש שלא שמענו ממשה או שאמר שאותן המצות שנצטוו בהן ישראל אינן לעולם ולדורי דורות אלא מצות לפי זמן היו הרי זה נביא שקר שהרי בא להכחיש נבואתו של משה ומיתתו בחנק על שהזיד לדבר בשם ה' אשר לא צוהו שהוא ברוך שמו צוה למשה שהמצוה הזאת לנו ולבנינו עד עולם ולא איש אל ויכזב:

This teaches that a prophet can no longer add a new precept [to the Torah].

Therefore, if a person will arise, whether Jew or gentile, and perform a sign or wonder and say that God sent him to:

a) add a mitzvah,

b) withdraw a mitzvah

c) explain a mitzvah in a manner which differs from the tradition received from Moses, or

d) if he says that the mitzvot commanded to the Jews are not forever, but rather were given for a limited time,

he is a false prophet. He comes to deny the prophecy of Moses and should be executed by strangulation, because he dared to make statements in God's name which God never made.

God, blessed be His name, commanded Moses that this commandment is for us and our children forever, and, God is not man that He speak falsely. 

We learn from this Rambam that a false prophet is one who adds or subtracts or gives a false interpretation to the mitzvos. 

However, later on [halacha 4] the Rambam says that he is a false prophet if he claims that Hashem taught him a halacha through prophecy: 

או שאמר בדין מדיני תורה שה' צוה לו שהדין כך הוא והלכה כדברי פלוני הרי זה נביא השקר ויחנק

or states with regard to one of the Torah's laws that God commanded him to render such and such a judgment, or that such and such is the law regarding a particular instance and the decision follows a certain opinion, he is a false prophet and should be [executed by] strangulation.

He again writes explicitly in his preface to Seder Zraim that the very claim that Hashem taught him a law, renders him a false prophet [and NOT because he was contradicting the Torah]. How does that dovetail with what the Rambam writes earlier where this is omitted and one is only considered a false prophet if he contradicts the Torah?