According to the Talmud, or the collected writings on the Jewish oral law
and tradition, 'the best preacher is the heart; the best teacher is time; the best book is the world.'
Six years ago, Tablet's Adam Kirsch began his reading of Daf Yomi, the page-a-day cycle of oral law
and rabbinic exegesis that covers all 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud.
Karaite Judaism generally dispenses with the Oral Law
, as embodied in the Talmud, instead offering its own interpretations of Jewish ritual law by analysis of Biblical verses based on scholars accepted by the movement, especially Anan Ben-David, who lived in Babylon in the eighth century.
In other words, general hand washing was not mandated by the Law of Moses itself but was a custom included in the oral law
which is here called "the tradition of the elders." The Pharisees are strong proponents of this body of unwritten law, which by the time of Jesus has developed into 613 precepts.
Particularly burdensome was the enormous compendium of oral law
that had accrued to the commandments mediated by Moses at Sinai.
(8) To create this living Torah, Berkovits believed that the written law could not be without the oral law
, which must remain oral to preserve its flexibility.
Many essayists refer to the Torah and Oral Law
as revealed by God at Sinai, while Moshe Weinfeld in "Bible Criticism" and Jacob Neusner in "Oral Law
" aim to expose the Jewish scriptures as created in time by humans.
This was meant to demonstrate a belief in Jewish tradition, namely the Oral Law
. And if this is in fact the case, then the eighth principle calls upon us to believe not only in the divinity of the Written Torah, but in the Oral Torah as well.
Meanwhile, The Talmud - the comprehensive written version of the Jewish oral law
- advises us: "If one man says to thee 'Thou art a donkey' pay no heed.
His topics include God, demons and evil spirits, astrology, communicating with the dead, and the oral law
Likewise, the Talmud (a repository of the ancient Jewish oral law
and wisdom) states, "whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world.
According to the tradition, Revelation encompassed not only the Written Law, but also the Oral Law
that provided explanations and elaborations upon the Written Law.