The roles of God and human beings in determining Halacha (Talmud, Berakhot…
The roles of God and human beings in determining Halacha
Talmud, Berakhot 5a
God gives everything to Moses on Mount Sinai, which makes up the whole torah. We now are able to develop God's teachings but the core values given to us will never change.
The pshat is that the commandments, tablets, and the torah, are promised to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.
Clothing has always been around to cover our bodies and protect our skin. Throughout the years clothing styles have changed, although the core purpose of covering and protecting has always remained. This is similar to the Torah, which can be interpreted and applied in many ways, but the main value can never be changed.
Bava Metzia 59b
God can no longer make decisions because the torah is now on earth, and the power is in the hands of the sages in the Beit Midrash. They are able to make decisions with the majority vote, on topics in Halacha.
The pshat is that Halacha is no longer in heaven, rather it is on earth where the rabbis are able to make decisions as a group rather than listening to a heavenly voice.
When we are young our parents control our behavior and give us rules we must follow, although as we grow up we obtain full control over our actions. As adults we keep the values given to us by our parents, although we ultimately decide how we act by using our internal moral compass.
Seder Eliahu Zuta 2
God gave us raw materials, such as the written torah, in order for us to make something great of it, just as one of the servants made something great from raw materials. It is our obligation to share the laws and traditions, to the future generations.
The pshat is that God gave the torah to Israel, like the king gave wheat for the purpose of making flour out of it, and like flax for the purpose of making a garment out of it.
Just as the jewish people must share and use the torah given to us by God; we must follow a recipe and use the ingredients in order to make something delicious. In both cases we are using the resources provided to us, to make something remarkable.
The quality of a person is important when developing jewish law because the person's character and personality will show through their interpretations. It is also important to look at all opinions when determining Halacha, to make sure the correct interpretation is being chosen.
The pshat is that the house of Hillel has been chosen as the leading rule that we must follow for Halacha, because they put the words of the house of Shamai first, and are pleasing and humble.
When running for president we must make sure that they have good values and charisma, because they will ultimately be making important decisions for the nation. We must see that they are fit for the job, and have the integrity to make good choices. When appointing a person as president they swear on the Bible that they will uphold their responsibilities in a righteous manner.
At first Jews were forced by God to accept the torah, which was an outside motivation. Although later on they willingly embraced the covenant of the Torah by their own internal will.
The pshat is that God gave the jews a choice to either pick accepting the torah or death, and it resulted in the jews returning to accept the torah on their own will. Another peshat is that the jews fulfilled and accepted the holiday of Purim.
At a young age students are praised for their well behavior with a gold star. This extrinsic motivation continues to push them to do good deeds, although as we grow up these actions become habitual and we do it on our own will.