Friday, 7 May 2010

Avot and the Great Paradigm Shift - Answers

By way of background, it will be helpful to view the separate tractate Avot as an evolving document, instead of it being separated into its own tractate by Rebbe - the editor of the Mishnah.

However, Avot refers to a position, that is Av Beit Din. This masechet is specifically geared to the Avot Beis Din throughout our history. (Another possiblity it that Avot means "principles", for example, Arbo'o Avot neizkin, Av melocho, etc., but, I prefer the first answer.}

Regardless of what Torah was received at Sinai as opposed to what was received later on, Moshe received the position of Av Beit Din at Sinai. This dovetails well with those who date the the "mimochorat" in Yisro as the day following Mattan Torah.

Specifically he gave to Yehoshua not the body of the Torah, rather the administration, or the authority of the Torah. Yehoshua was Moshe's successor as "Trustee" of the Torah. While all of Israel could learn the Torah, and had to follow the Torah, only Yehoshua, and his successors were responsible for adjudicating, legislating, and administering the Torah.

Since it refers to the guidelines and the wisdom of Avot Beis Din, therefore it is connected to Tractate Sanhedrin.

Kol Yisroel indicates a tremendous paradigm shift. That which was the private province of the Avot Beis Din is now being taught to and learned by ALL of Israel. This paradigm shift is hinted at by the dictum of the Anshei Knesses Hagdolo -Ha'amidu Talmidim Harbei. As a reaction to the Babylonian exile, the Beis Din was concerned that if a future exile were to occur, all of the Torah theory could be lost since it was concentrated into a small elite body. The solution was to disseminate Torah widely, in order to preserve the tradition and not to keep all of the Mesorah's proverbial eggs in one basket.

The Mishna Kol Yisroel serves to underline the paradigm shift. Avos is no longer the exclusive province of Avos Beit Din, but now becomes the possession of all of Israel. Also see the connection above to Tractate Sanhedrin.

PIRKA is the Term used for Shabbat Afternoon studies. PIRKEI Avot originally referred to the sereis of 5-6 Shabbat Afternoon Seessions that were instituted between Passover and Shavuot>

Kol Tuv- Best Regards,
Rabbi Richard Wolpoe
Originally Posted on on Fri, 29 Jan 1999 08:40:59 -0500

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