Topics from Sanders, Judaism,

Chapter Nineteen: The Pharisees II

Introduction

Use of sources: Importance of distinguishing between distinctive Pharisaic beliefs and "common Judaism" (e.g., monotheism, goodness and justice of God and creation, covenant, binding Torah laws, etc.)

Free Will

Consistency of Josephus and Rabbinic traditions.

Mishnah Avot 3:15:

Rabbi Akiva...used to say: Everything is observed; and permission is given; and the world is judged for good; and all is in accordance with the majority of deeds.

Berakhot 33b, etc.:

R. Hanina said: Everything is in the hand of Heaven, except the fear of Heaven. As it says (Deut. 10:12) "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God reauire of thee but to fear."
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Leniency

Difficult to summarize mass of details. Capital punishment laws cited by Sanders are only part of the story, and did not necessarily reflect consensus. (cf. "rebellious son"; "eye for eye"; idolatrous city).

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"Laying of Hands" Controversy:

Mishnah Hagigah 2:2:

Yose ben Yo'ezer says: Not to lay on hands.
Yose ben Yohanan says: To lay on hands.
Joshua ben Perahiah says: says: Not to lay on hands. Nittai the Arbelite says: To lay on hands.
Judah ben Tabbai says: Not to lay on hands. Simeon ben Shetah says: To lay on hands.
Shema'iah says: To lay on hands. Abtalion says: Not to lay on hands.
Hillel and Menahem did not dispute the point. Menahem went out, Shammai came in.
Shammai says: Not to lay on hands. Hillel says: To lay on hands.
The former were Patriarchs and the latter were Heads of Courts.

Mishnah Yom Tov (Besah) 5:2:

...And which activities are forbidden as "Shebut" [=Rabbinic extensions of the Biblical requirement to rest on the Sabbath and festivals]?
...And not to ride on the back of an animal.

Leviticus 1:3-4:

If his offering be a burnt offering of the herd...he shall bring it to the door of the tent of meeting...and he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burn-offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him...

Exodus 12:16:

And in the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you.

Tosefta Hagigah 2:9:

Said Rabbi Yose: At first there were no disputes in Israel. Rather, there was a court of seventy-one in the Chambre of Hewn Stone, as well as other courts of twenty and twenty-three in the towns of the Land of Israel.

There were two courts of three judges each in Jerusalem: One was on the Temple Mount, and one in the rampart ("Hel").

If somebody had a question, they would go to the court in their town.

  • If there were no court in their town, they would go to the court that was closest to their town.
    • If they had heard a tradition they would tell them.

    • Otherwise he and the most distinguished of them would proceed to the court on the Temple Mount.
      • If they had heard a tradition, they would tell them.

      • Otherwise all of them would proceed to the court that was in the Chambre of Hewn Stone.

        Even though it was composed of seventy-one judges, it required a minimum quorum of twenty-three. Should one judge need to leave, he must check whether there are twenty-three, and then he leaves; otherwise he may not leave unless twenty-three remain there...

      • When a legal question was submitted,
        • if they had heard a tradition they would tell them.
        • Otherwise, they would stand for a vote.
          • If the majority declared it impure, they pronounced it impure.
          • If the majority declared it pure, they pronounced it pure.

From there, law went out and spread in Israel.

When there was a proliferation of disciples of Shammai and Hillel, who did not adequately serve, there was a proliferation of disputes in Israel, and they became two Torahs...

Tosefta Hagigah 2:10:

Which is the "laying on hands" that was the subject of the dispute?
The House of Shammai says: It is forbidden to lay on hands on a festival; hence one who wishes to celebrate by means of a peace offering must lay hands on it prior to the festival.
The House of Hillel say: It is permitted to bring peace offerings and to lay hands upon them.
The House of Hillel said: If at a time when you are forbidden to perform an act for the sake of a private individual [i.e., to cook on the Sabbath], you may nevertheless do it for the sake of the Almighty [i.e., mandatory sacrifices are offered on Sabbaths and festivals]. Then does it not stand to reason that at a time when you are permitted to do something for a private individual [i.e., on a festival, when it is permissible to prepare food (Exodus 12:16)], you should also be permitted to do so for the sake of the Almighty [i.e., to lay hands on an offering]!!
The House of Shammai said to them: The case of freewill and votive offerings will refute your argument: For on days [i.e., festivals] when you are permitted to perform an act [i.e., cook] for the sake of a private individual, you are nevertheless forbidden to offer them to the Almighty!
The House of Hillel said: You can not compare votive and freewill offerings for which there is no assigned time, to the pilgrimage offering ("Hagigah") for which there is an assigned time...

Tosefta Hagigah 2:11:

It once happened that Hillel the Elder laid hands on a burnt offering in the Temple court, and the disciples of Shammai gathered around him.
He said to them: Come and observe that it is a female animal, so I must offer it as a peace offering.
In this manner he distracted them with mere words, and they went on their way.
Immediately, the the House of Shammai had the upper hand and they wished to determine the law in accordance with their opinion.
There was however one Baba ben Buta, who was a disciple of the House of Shammai, but he knew that the law invariably accords with the House of Hillel. He went and brought all the sheep of Kedar and placed them in the Temple court, declaring: Anyone who has to bring burnt offerings or peace offerings may come and take them, and lay hands upon them.
People came and took the animals, and offered them as burnt offerings, laying hands upon them.
On that day the normative law was determined in accordance with the words of the House of Hillel, and nobody objected.
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