Divine "Speech" : ( Shaktipat, some time ago.... )
Maimonides writes in explicating this principle of faith that the Torah was given to Moshe in its entirety in a manner "which is referred to metaphorically as 'speech'; only the one to whom it was given, may his memory be blessed, knows the essence of that transmission." Maimonides finds it necessary to emphasize that God did not dictate the Torah to Moshe through the human faculty of "speech" as we know it, and only Moshe, who heard this dictation, could grasp how this transmission took place. Indeed, the concept of Biblical anthropomorphism is an important theme in Maimonides' thought, and he devoted a lengthy section in his Guide for the Perplexed (1:4647) to identifying and explaining the anthropomorphic references to God's behavior in the Bible. The emphasis in this context on the inscrutable quality of God's "speech" perhaps serves an additional purpose, as well. Maimonides perhaps anticipated the challenge that the very
description of God dictating a text to Moshe negates the possibility of such an occurrence. Earlier, Maimonides had articulated the third article of faith, which affirms divine incorporeality, the impossibility of attributing any physical properties to God. This belief, one may have contended, runs in direct opposition to Maimonides' eighth principle – the belief in God's dictation of the Torah to Moshe. For this reason, it would appear, Maimonides here clarifies that the Torah tells of God "speaking" to Moshe only because "speech" is the mode of direct communication familiar to us as human beings. In truth, however, the nature of this communication differed fundamentally from human speech, and its true essence was known to only Moshe.
J.S. : I will try to explain in a more clear or precise way this concept, that unfortunately tends to slip into abstraction anytime we want to catch it. When we try, then, it is only personal faith that will help us. But we said that G-d should not be a personal matter, and so should our understanding of the divine spheres. Thus, accepting a personal abraction, this idea would appear in some or another way, similar to us. Water takes the shape of the cup. Explanations of this kind tend to help the humble in many ways, but are the first step of the ladder. Not by using words, then, G-d spoke to Moses. Divine light shows itself harmonically. Order and perfection would rather be understood as harmonics, pure sound, frequency, vibration, standing waves within each other, interconnected in a multiversal sephirot. Communication, then, took place in a different manner, because of the limitations of our languages, that keep falling into ego and dualistic materiality and interpretations.
So, as the instrument itself of inter-communication is blunt, it would be very unusual for a G-d to chose that one to explain or to speak to someone. Imperfection would be there, and misunderstanding with it. So, let's put it this way: that, which is not human, we will receive direclty by simple acquisition, proximity, sensorial perception, insight, when our conscience will reach the trascendental flux state that enables light to shin upon dark matter, and ultimately, transparence to take place. Later, we will rationalize it into words, and the meaning of the divine "touch", will be clear, but only by trasforming it into human meaning, we will be able to share it's light, because this side density, has slower and limited opportunities to interlock with creation itself, since we believe that rigidity is better, and mimic eternity by using stones, with which we build temples, that should contain eternity in some way or another. The meaning of the sentence :"I have seen the light..." should be translated into the idea of "being able to sense, at once, and instantaneously, every possible perception", not limiting this flux to light itself. So, words or sounds, and light or vision, are a human consequence of our density within conscience, or, to give another example, of our spirit within our soul, or the greater One. Our position, then, truly depends on what holds us where we are, otherwise we would eventually fall. Our shape, depends on the flux of energy that cymatically generates the container for the water we are, which is utimately, a condensation of life, within life, in any form, without any limitation of selfish identity, which is clearly a misunderstanding of the Harmonic Laws of the Multiverse, since all of it, is here, together with the image our consciousness perceives.
Later, Maimonides writes:
There is no difference between "And the sons of Cham were Kush, Mitzrayim, Put and Canaan" (Bereishit 10:6), "And his wife's name was Meheitavel, daughter of Matred" (Bereishit 36:39), or "I am the Lord" (Shemot 20:2) and "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God – the Lord is one" (Devarim 6:4) – it was all [transmitted] directly from the Almighty, and it is all the Torah of God, complete, pure, sacred and true.
Maimonides here addresses those verses in the Torah which appear, at first glance, bereft of sanctity and perhaps unworthy of having been transmitted by God. The first two verses cited in this passage are selected from genealogical records in the Book of Bereishit which seem to contribute nothing in terms of theological doctrine or normative practice. While it is readily understandable why God would dictate to Moshe the fundamental precept of "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God – the Lord is one," it is difficult to explain why God would bother to tell Moshe that Cham (a son of Noach) fathered a child named Put. Indeed, as Maimonides comments based on the Talmud (Sanhedrin 99b), the Rabbis branded the wicked Judean king Menashe a heretic specifically due to his denial of the divine origin of seemingly peripheral data recorded in the Torah. Maimonides applies to skepticism of this sort the Talmud's comment (Sanhedrin 99a) that one who accepts the divine origin of the entire Torah with the exception of a single verse, which he attributes to Moshe's independent initiative, is deemed a heretic. For in truth, he writes, "each letter contained in it [the Torah] contains profound wisdom and wonders for the one whom God has allowed to understand… A person can only pray, as did David.. 'Open my eyes, that I may behold the wonders of Your Torah' (Tehillim 119:18)." Belief in the divine origin of the Torah must extend to the entirety of the Torah, even to those verses which might appear less important or altogether superfluous. Maimonides resoundingly rejects any system of gradation assigning different levels of importance to different verses or sections of the Torah. Maimonides' vehemence in this regard is perhaps most clearly expressed in a famous responsum he wrote condemning the common practice to stand during the congregational reading of the Ten Commandments (printed in Teshuvot Ha-Rambam, 263). The Talmud (Berakhot 12a) tells that congregations used to read the Ten Commandments together with the shema recitation each day. However, with the advent of heretical groups who argued that only these ten commandments represent the binding law of God, this practice was discontinued. The Rabbis feared that singling out these commandments would lend credence to this heretical claim. Following this example, Maimonides strongly denounces the custom to stand during the reading
of the Ten Commandments, which demonstrates a higher regard for this section of the Bible than for others. At the conclusion of his letter, Maimonides makes reference to his remarks in his commentary to the Mishna, where he emphasizes the divine origin and equal stature of each and every word of the Torah. Recognizing the importance of this precept and the grave danger posed by any indication to the contrary, Maimonides sharply condemns practices that afford greater respect to a specific section of the Torah than to others. Very often, curricula in school systems and adult education programs are arranged very selectively, prioritizing specific areas of Torah scholarship over others to accommodate time constraints or to draw interest. As a result, many parts of Torah are neglected and rarely studied. While the need for selective study is understandable, Maimonides' vehement insistence on the equal stature of all words of the Torah should warn us not to allow this selectivity to intimate a scale of relative importance and value. Educators must endeavor to impress upon their students the intrinsic value and significance of all areas of Torah knowledge, even those which time constraints and other considerations necessitate their omission from the regular course of study.
Torah She-be'al Peh – the Oral Tradition
In his concluding remarks regarding this principle of faith, Maimonides extends the belief in the Torah's divine origin to the Torah she-be'al peh, or oral tradition. The eighth principle demands that we accept the divine origin of not only the five books of the Torah, but also the basic system of the oral tradition. Maimonides mentions as examples the mitzvot of sukka, lulav, shofar, tzitzit and tefillin. The written Torah explicitly requires that we affix "tzitzit" to fourcornered garments (Bamidbar 15:38), but nowhere does it clarify what kind of strings must be used or how they are to be tied to the corners of garments. This information was conveyed orally to Moshe at the time when he received the Torah, and subsequently conveyed from one generation to the next. Similarly, though the Torah indeed contains explicit reference to the obligation to dwell in a sukka during the festival of Sukkot (Vayikra 23:42), it provides no guidelines as to how these structures are to be built, or what activities must be performed in the sukka. Once again, the written Torah presents merely the generalities of the mitzva, whereas the oral tradition outlines the specific details regarding its performance. In his Code (Hilkhot Shechita 1:4), Maimonides returns to this point in introducing the laws of shechita – the ritual slaughter of animals before partaking of their meat. Here, too, the Torah itself presents the law in very general, ambiguous terms: "You shall sacrifice some of your cattle and sheep… and you shall eat in your gates, as much as you desire" (Devarim 12:21). Only through the oral tradition, Maimonides stresses, do we understand how this "sacrifice" is to occur, the specific procedures required to render animal meat permissible for consumption. In his introduction to his Code, Maimonides elaborates on the divine origins of the Torah she-be'al peh. He begins by citing a Scriptural source to the divine origin of both the written Torah and oral tradition, a verse which describes God's summons to Moshe after the Revelation at Sinai: "The Lord said to Moshe: Ascend the mountain to Me, and stay there, and I will give you the stone tablets, and the Torah and the commands that I have written to instruct them" (Shemot 24:12). Maimonides claims that the term "Torah" in this verse refers to the written text of the Torah, whereas the word "mitzva" ("commands") refers to the oral tradition. (Ibn Ezra, in his commentary to this verse, cites this interpretation from Sa'adya Gaon.) Accordingly, the Torah explicitly tells that God summoned Moshe to the mountaintop to receive both sections of the divine law – the written Torah and the oral law.
After advancing this textual proof to the divine origin of the Torah she-be'al peh, Maimonides proceeds to delineate very specifically the process of its transmission. He traces the forty generations from Sinai through Rav Ashi, the final redactor of the Talmud, demonstrating how the deliberations in the Talmud stem directly from the oral tradition that originated at Sinai. In addition, Maimonides explains the reason why the oral teachings were ultimately written and compiled into what is now known as the Mishna. He writes that during the time of Rabbi Yehdua Ha-nasi (Judah the Prince), the number of scholars began dwindling, Jewish communities became more dispersed, and the influence of the hostile Roman Empire continued to rise. Rabbi Yehuda Ha-nasi concluded that without a written record of the oral tradition, it could not be sustained. He thus compiled the entire corpus of the oral tradition, including the many debates that arose over the course of the process of transmission, and arranged it into the form we know today as the Mishna.
J.S.: Here, we express the idea of something that even in the holy book we could not find, by the use of words, which are a translation of different planes of reality, showing us possible shapes of interpretations that take place whithin the possible meanings that our conscience is allowed to reach according to our spiritual work. Understanding this principle, is to comprehend that "The One", is Multiversal, and this is why we keep comparing, denying, fighting, trying to impose "our" visions and traditions, as a better way to..., or eventually, the best way to..., and utimately teach others by using confortable plagiarism turned into what pays better the egoic mind: such as dogma itself, example, instructions, imprinting or mass morality and ethics. That, which we call oral tradition, goes beyond the limit of the shape of a sacred book.
Maimonides & Karaism
This issue was of crucial importance to Maimonides, who was among the leading opponents of the Karaitic sect of Jews, who accepted the written Torah but denied the rabbinic tradition of Biblical interpretation. This sect, which insisted on complete freedom of interpretation, ridiculing rabbinic exegesis, wielded considerable influence in the Jewish world during the early Middle Ages. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Maimonides found it necessary to emphasize the divine origin of the oral tradition as part of the belief in the divine origin of Torah generally. Maimonides addresses the theological origins of Karasim both in the aforementioned responsum and in his commentary to Masekhet Avot (1:3), where he identifies the Karaites as the ideological heirs of the Sadducees and Baytosees. The Talmud the vigorous campaign launched by these groups, particularly the Sadducees, against the rabbinic oral tradition during the time of the Second Temple. According to Maimonides (commentary to Avot), these groups were established by two heretics who denied the concept of reward and punishment. Figuring that no reward awaited them for observance or punishment for violation, they decided to abandon the Torah, and small numbers of followers joined them. These groups realized that they could not attract a large following by promoting such a radically heretical ideology, and therefore formulated and disseminated a philosophy that accepted the written Torah but scorned rabbinic interpretation. The Karaites, Maimonides claimed, simply championed the philosophy of the Sadducee and Baytosi groups. This historical development may offer us some insight into an importance characteristic of the Torah she-be'al peh. It is very revealing that the Sadducees could not attract a large following so long as they rejected the Torah in its entirety, yet became a dominant force in Jewish life once they accepted the written law while denying rabbinic interpretation. Apparently, the rabbinic tradition of the Torah she-be'al peh is far less appealing and more difficult to accept than the written Torah. The splinter groups cleverly intuited that a rejection of the oral tradition could be very appealing and win them a large following. Indeed, a famous passage in the Midrash Tanchuma (Parashat Noach) tells that whereas Benei Yisrael anxiously accepted the written Torah at Sinai, the oral tradition had to be forced upon them. (This resolves the famous contradiction between the Torah's account of the nation's willful acceptance of the Torah, and the Talmudic tradition that God "suspended the mountain over them like a tank.") For some reason, the concept of a written law is far more easily embraced than that of an oral tradition. The Sadducees
capitalized on this instinct, and drew a very large base of support for their cause, opposing the rabbinic establishment. What makes the oral tradition less appealing than the Scriptural text? One answer might be that the Torah she-be'al peh necessitates the acceptance of rabbinic authority and submission to the decisions and interpretations of the scholars. Once a person accepts the divine origin of the written Torah, submission to its dictates comes naturally. Torah she-be'al peh, by contrast, demands submission to the scholars who have mastered the tradition. It calls upon us to accept their interpretations and even their legislation. Submission of this sort is, of course, far less intuitive and runs in opposition to man's instinctive egotism. (See Rabbi Herschel Shachtar, "Why was the Torah Forced Upon Us?" – www.torahweb.org/torah/2004/moadim/rsch_shavuos.html). The Sadducees' claim that the rabbis fabricated laws and enacted unnecessary measures for their own aggrandizement (accusations which continue to be promulgated even today) appealed to the masses' innate drive for equal standing and aversion to authority. By including the Torah she-be'al peh within the rubric of the eighth article of faith, Maimonides emphasizes that the Torah we received on Shavuot consisted of not only the actual Biblical text, but also an interpretative tradition and a system of guidelines for halakhic decisionmaking and legislation. Although the Almighty did not actually transmit to Moshe the laws of Purim, for example, which obviously came into being only centuries later, He unquestionably did convey to Moshe the guidelines and principles for establishing festivals in response to miraculous events. In effect, then, our observance of this festival, and of all other measures enacted by the Sages, indeed constitutes a direct fulfillment of the Torah conveyed to Moshe at Sinai.