Avodah Mailing List

Volume 35: Number 129

Tue, 07 Nov 2017

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2017 17:54:02 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Torah precheit?

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 05:47:09AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
: R' Chaim Manaster asked:
:> I have been trying to understand what the geshtalt of Torah
:> was precheit of the eitz hadaas...
:> The many consequences seem to be as follows: there would be
:> no avdus in Mitzrayim, therefore no......

: One can ask similar questions about other turning-points in history.
: What if Kayin had not killed Hevel? What if the world has not gone to
: Avodah Zara a few generations later? What if Yishmael and/or Esav had
: not gone of the derech? What if Moshe Rabenu had acted differently by
: the rock?

To get really confused... The Torah, like it's Author, is lemaaleh min
hazman. What aspect of the Torah we mean by that aside for a moment,
that means it wasn't written before the eitz hadaas, Kayin killing Hevel,
Dor Enosh, galus Mitzrayim, etc...

Torah doesn't enter the timeline until it is revealed at Har Sinai.

Which means that there is no question about Hashem's "foreknowledge"
and bechirah chafshi about anything written in the Torah that happens
before Matan Torah. We can't talk about Hashem Knowing what we *will*
decide until that Knowledge enters the timeline. There is no "before"
or after to His knowing, only to when He informs others of it.

So, for events that precede Har Sinai, the Torah can contain those
decisions. There is no "what if" because Hashem Knows that that what
wouldn't. No more a problem than if the Torah were written /after/
those events.

Hey, I warned you I was opening the door to confusion.

Then there is the question of the supernal Torah vs the form we got.
As per the Ramban about the Torah without the letters separated into
the words we have now.

(Tangent: If one were to take that shitas haRamban at face value,
there is meaning to the pesuqim with the words redivided. So, why
isn't that one of the Middos shehaTorah Nidreshes Bahen?)

: And there are yet others. Torah manifests itself differently to a
: kohen than to a levi, and differently to a woman than to a man. And so
: on...

And on Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 04:15:49PM -0400, RCM replied:
: R. Akiva Miller wrote: ""If there is life on other planets, might they
: possibly have a Torah? But Mitzrayim doesn't exist there, and Moshe
: never lived there!" That question bothered me for a very long time,"

: Strangely enough, I had similar thoughts years back. As a young bachur
: in yeshivo, my rebbi was teaching us that their was a period during
: which the progenitor of kelal Yisroel would happen. I asked what would
: have happened if there had been another deep thinker who came to the
: same realization and belief that Avraham did. He answered that there
: would have been two (or more) chosen peoples to eventually be mekabel
: Torah. It didn't occur to me at the time to ask, would they each have the
: "same" Torah or each get a tailored version to their (eventual) am? Or,
: would there be one Torah that talks of both of the chosen peoples?

Is there on some planet far away, an intelligent alien species with
their Am haNivchar? How would the Torah be manifest to them? And if
they didn't have a Migdal Bavel like event, did Hashem do that whole
Mamlekhes Kohanim model, with castes within the alien Am haNivchar,
or castes with everyone "nivchar"? Would they have a Holy Land?

If we made contact with these creatures, would we recognize their
perception of the Torah as another expression of Yahadus, or would it
be too alien?

I know this example seems less serious than yours; I meant it as a test
case on which to check these ideas that doesn't have to involve "what if"
histories that Hashem timelessly knows didn't / aren't / won't happen.

:                                                                    Years
: later when discussing what is the purpose to us of the trillions of stars
: and galaxies so distant that they could never possibly affect us here
: on Earth? Then it occurred to me, what if those stars had planets with
: intelligent beings on them and they too went through a similar period
: wherein they too had some allien being come to the same conclusions as
: Avraham did and they then became the chosen people of that planet and
: received a Torah possibly tailored to their experiences and appropriate
: there etc.? ...

Or maybe they do affect our lives here on earth.

Omphalists believe that the universe was created at some point in the nearer
past, eg 5778 years ago -- or Last Thursday -- and everything before that is
fake. And this is the position of the LR and R' Avigdor Miller. (Although
Last Thursdayism is a mock-religion posed by atheists trying to ridicule
their position.)

The usual challenge by those who like to be more rationalist is that this
would imply Hashem is out to fool us, creating light en route from stars
to make it look like they shown billions of years ago, tragectories that
if you work backward converge from a Big Bang, geological and archological
records, fossils, cave paintings, remains of pre-Adamic farming...

But there is a more thoughtful response: Perhaps the only way we can
have teva today is if the universe we have now looks like it always
ran by teva. Otherwise, the effects of nissim would still be causing
anomolies we could pick up today. So much for hesteir Panim.

In which case, we need a universe that is so big that our place is in
looks like some unnoticable backwater. We need a universe that looks
like it had a Big Bang and Inflation area in order for us to live with
the set of laws of nature we have.

And then their existence does impact us.

: Moshe when he went lamorom to accept Torah. They too wanted Torah in a
: version suitable to them which would deflect all of Moshe's responses. If
: memory serves, I think some meforshim try to make sense of the malachim
: in such a manner.

Unlike RAM's or my hypothetical aliens, mal'akhim have no free
will. Without having that much Tzelem E-lokim, would they qualify for
revelation? I think the problem with the mal'akhim that the medrashic
Moshe highlights in his response to their claim on the Torah is that
they do Retzon haBorei automatically, they lack the challenges one would
need the Torah to address. Without challenges, they cannot grow into
more than they are; there is no need for a Torah to help show them how.

Jumping back to RAM's post:
:> As there would never be an Eretz Yisroel, then there would not
:> be all the mitzvot hateltuot ba'aretz -- trumos, masros etc., etc.
: Or perhaps Gan Eden would have had that status. Eretz Yisrael is
: actually a great example: Consider the idea that true nevuah can exist
: only in Eretz Yisrael...

Tangent: Yechezqeil? Yonah's qiqayon was outside Nineveh. Etc...

:                                       .... Rather, my point goes to
: this "Torah with 613 mitzvot" that you refer to. It doesn't exist
: today, and I don't know if it ever has existed. There has certainly
: never been a person to whom they all applied, and I wonder whether
: there was ever a generation when they were all in force.

There is also the idea of mitzvos that were never expected to be applied.
Like the gemara suggests about ben soreir umoreh and ir hanidachas.

Perhaps they exist because history could have played out differently
and these mitzvos would have had an applicability beyond derosh veqabel

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
mi...@aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Anonymous MD, while a Nazi prisoner


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