Thursday, September 13, 2018

Halakhah in heaven?

MOSAIC MAGAZINE: What Happens in Heaven? Study. Of What? Jewish Law. “In heaven there will be no law,” an American legal giant once wrote. For Jews, it’s exactly the opposite (Chaim N. Saiman). Adapted from Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law by Chaim N. Saiman. Princeton University Press, 2018. Excerpt:
The rabbis of the Talmud also frequently describe heaven through the image of God’s throne, an emblem of His sovereignty over all created things. But, in one particular text, the Talmud presents a picture of heaven quite unlike anything in the Bible, an image that is indeed unthinkable, if not blasphemous, outside of its uniquely rabbinic context. It opens as follows (Bava Metzia 86a):
They were arguing in the Academy of Heaven.
Sit with these words for a moment. First, focus on the noun “academy.” In this talmudic passage, heaven is not a place of angels, halos, lyres, pearly gates, or fluffy clouds, or of chariots, smoke, lightning, or thunder. The essence of heaven is an academy—a yeshiva—a place of Torah study.
Remember, you can access only three free articles per month from Mosaic. This is the second one I have linked to in September.

Cross-file under New Book.

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