How Does a Jew Know What To Do? Sources of Authority in Ancient Judaism and Beyond
1 א

(ח) כִּ֣י יִפָּלֵא֩ מִמְּךָ֨ דָבָ֜ר לַמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט בֵּֽין־דָּ֨ם ׀ לְדָ֜ם בֵּֽין־דִּ֣ין לְדִ֗ין וּבֵ֥ין נֶ֙גַע֙ לָנֶ֔גַע דִּבְרֵ֥י רִיבֹ֖ת בִּשְׁעָרֶ֑יךָ וְקַמְתָּ֣ וְעָלִ֔יתָ אֶל־הַמָּק֔וֹם אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְחַ֛ר יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ בּֽוֹ׃ (ט) וּבָאתָ֗ אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִים֙ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם וְאֶל־הַשֹּׁפֵ֔ט אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִהְיֶ֖ה בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֑ם וְדָרַשְׁתָּ֙ וְהִגִּ֣ידוּ לְךָ֔ אֵ֖ת דְּבַ֥ר הַמִּשְׁפָּֽט׃ (י) וְעָשִׂ֗יתָ עַל־פִּ֤י הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יַגִּ֣ידֽוּ לְךָ֔ מִן־הַמָּק֣וֹם הַה֔וּא אֲשֶׁ֖ר יִבְחַ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֣ לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יוֹרֽוּךָ׃ (יא) עַל־פִּ֨י הַתּוֹרָ֜ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר יוֹר֗וּךָ וְעַל־הַמִּשְׁפָּ֛ט אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְר֥וּ לְךָ֖ תַּעֲשֶׂ֑ה לֹ֣א תָס֗וּר מִן־הַדָּבָ֛ר אֲשֶׁר־יַגִּ֥ידֽוּ לְךָ֖ יָמִ֥ין וּשְׂמֹֽאל׃

(8) If a case is too baffling for you to decide, be it a controversy over homicide, civil law, or assault—matters of dispute in your courts—you shall promptly go up to the place that the LORD your God will have chosen, (9) and appear before the levitical priests, or the magistrate in charge at the time, and present your problem. When they have announced to you the verdict in the case, (10) you shall carry out the verdict that is announced to you from that place that the LORD chose, observing scrupulously all their instructions to you. (11) You shall act in accordance with the instructions given you and the ruling handed down to you; you must not deviate from the verdict that they announce to you either to the right or to the left.

2 ב
(טו) נָבִ֨יא מִקִּרְבְּךָ֤ מֵאַחֶ֙יךָ֙ כָּמֹ֔נִי יָקִ֥ים לְךָ֖ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ אֵלָ֖יו תִּשְׁמָעֽוּן׃ (טז) כְּכֹ֨ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁאַ֜לְתָּ מֵעִ֨ם יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ בְּחֹרֵ֔ב בְּי֥וֹם הַקָּהָ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר לֹ֣א אֹסֵ֗ף לִשְׁמֹ֙עַ֙ אֶת־קוֹל֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֔י וְאֶת־הָאֵ֨שׁ הַגְּדֹלָ֥ה הַזֹּ֛את לֹֽא־אֶרְאֶ֥ה ע֖וֹד וְלֹ֥א אָמֽוּת׃ (יז) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֵלָ֑י הֵיטִ֖יבוּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֵּֽרוּ׃ (יח) נָבִ֨יא אָקִ֥ים לָהֶ֛ם מִקֶּ֥רֶב אֲחֵיהֶ֖ם כָּמ֑וֹךָ וְנָתַתִּ֤י דְבָרַי֙ בְּפִ֔יו וְדִבֶּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲצַוֶּֽנּוּ׃ (יט) וְהָיָ֗ה הָאִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־יִשְׁמַע֙ אֶל־דְּבָרַ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְדַבֵּ֖ר בִּשְׁמִ֑י אָנֹכִ֖י אֶדְרֹ֥שׁ מֵעִמּֽוֹ׃ (כ) אַ֣ךְ הַנָּבִ֡יא אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָזִיד֩ לְדַבֵּ֨ר דָּבָ֜ר בִּשְׁמִ֗י אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־צִוִּיתִיו֙ לְדַבֵּ֔ר וַאֲשֶׁ֣ר יְדַבֵּ֔ר בְּשֵׁ֖ם אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים וּמֵ֖ת הַנָּבִ֥יא הַהֽוּא׃ (כא) וְכִ֥י תֹאמַ֖ר בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ אֵיכָה֙ נֵדַ֣ע אֶת־הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־דִבְּר֖וֹ יְהוָֽה׃ (כב) אֲשֶׁר֩ יְדַבֵּ֨ר הַנָּבִ֜יא בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֗ה וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ וְלֹ֣א יָב֔וֹא ה֣וּא הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־דִבְּר֖וֹ יְהוָ֑ה בְּזָדוֹן֙ דִּבְּר֣וֹ הַנָּבִ֔יא לֹ֥א תָג֖וּר מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃ (ס)
(15) The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet from among your own people, like myself; him you shall heed. (16) This is just what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the LORD my God any longer or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.” (17) Whereupon the LORD said to me, “They have done well in speaking thus. (18) I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like yourself: I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command him; (19) and if anybody fails to heed the words he speaks in My name, I Myself will call him to account. (20) But any prophet who presumes to speak in My name an oracle that I did not command him to utter, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet shall die.” (21) And should you ask yourselves, “How can we know that the oracle was not spoken by the LORD?”— (22) if the prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the oracle does not come true, that oracle was not spoken by the LORD; the prophet has uttered it presumptuously: do not stand in dread of him.
3 ג

(א) פרק ל

הוא אלכסנדרוס מקדון שמלך י"ב שנה, עד כאן היו הנביאים מתנבאים ברוח הקדש, מכאן ואילך, הט אזנך ושמע דברי חכמים (משלי כב יז)

He is Alexander of Macedon who reigned twelve years. Until then prophets would prophesy through the Holy Spirit; from hear and on “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise” etc (Proverbs 22:17)

4 ד
ת"ר משמתו נביאים האחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי נסתלקה רוח הקודש מישראל ואף על פי כן היו משתמשין בבת קול פעם אחת היו מסובין בעליית בית גוריה ביריחו ונתנה עליהם בת קול מן השמים יש כאן אחד שראוי שתשרה עליו שכינה (כמשה רבינו) אלא שאין דורו זכאי לכך נתנו חכמים את עיניהם בהלל הזקן וכשמת אמרו עליו הי חסיד הי עניו תלמידו של עזרא

The Sages taught: After the last of the prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, died, the Divine Spirit of prophetic revelation departed from the Jewish people. But nevertheless, they were still utilizing a Divine Voice. One time, a group of Sages were reclining in the loft of the house of Gurya in Jericho, and a Divine Voice was bestowed upon them from Heaven, saying: There is one here who is fit for the Divine Presence to rest upon him as it rested upon Moses our teacher, but his generation is not deserving of this distinction. The Sages set their eyes upon Hillel the Elder.

5 ה

האומר לחבירו מנת בכרם אני מוכר לך סומכוס אומר לא יפחות מג' קבין א"ר יוסי אין אלו אלא דברי נביאות... אמר רבי אבדימי דמן חיפה מיום שחרב בית המקדש ניטלה נבואה מן הנביאים וניתנה לחכמים ... אמר אמימר וחכם עדיף מנביא שנאמר (תהלים צ, יב) ונביא לבב חכמה מי נתלה במי הוי אומר קטן נתלה בגדול

One who says to another: I am selling you part of a vineyard, Sumakhos says: He may not give him less than an area large enough to plant three kav. Rabbi Yosei said: These are nothing other than words of prophecy, i.e., I do not see the logic behind this statement...

Rabbi Avdimi from Haifa says: From the day that the Temple was destroyed prophecy was taken from the prophets and given to the Sages: ....Ameimar said: And a Sage is greater than a prophet, as it is stated: “And a prophet has a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12), who is compared to whom? You must say that the lesser is compared to the greater.

6 ו

(כח) הַ֨נִּסְתָּרֹ֔ת לַיהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹ֞ת לָ֤ׄנׄוּׄ וּׄלְׄבָׄנֵׄ֙יׄנׄוּׄ֙ עַד־עוֹלָ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֕וֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ (ס)

(28) Concealed things are for the LORD our God; and revealed things, are for us and our children ever to apply all the provisions of this Teaching.

7 ז

According to commentators, the dots are meant to erase the words. They should have gone on top of the words ליהוה אלהינו but out of respect for God, they were put onto לנו ולבנינו. If we erase the words "to the Lord our God" then the verse reads "concealed things and revealed things are for us..."

8 ח

Rule of the Community 8:11-16

And every matter hidden from Israel but which has been found out by the Interpreter, he should not keep hidden from them for fear of a spirit of desertion. Blank And when these have become /a community/ in Israel /in compliance with these arrangements/ they are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there His path. As it is written (Isa 40:3): «In the desert, prepare the way of ****, straighten in the steppe a roadway for our God». This is the study of the law wh[i]ch he commanded through the hand of Moses, in order to act in compliance with all that has been revealed from age to age

9 ט

Pesher Habbakuk, Columns 7-8

And as for what he says: Hab 2:2 «So that /may run/ the one who reads it ». Its interpretation (פשרו) concerns the Teacher of Righteousness, to whom God has made known all the mysteries of the words of his servants, the prophets.

Hab 2:3 For the vision has an appointed time, it will have an end and not fail. Blank Its interpretation (פשרו): the final age will be extended and go beyond all that the prophets say, because the mysteries of God are wonderful.

Hab 2:3b Though it might tarry, wait for it; it definitely has to come and will not delay. Blank Its interpretation concerns the men of truth, those who observe the Law, whose hands will not desert the service of truth when the final age is extended beyond them, because all the ages of God will come at the right time, as he established for them in the mysteries of his prudence...

Hab 2:5-6 Surely wealth will corrupt the boaster, ...Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest, who was called loyal at the start of his office. However, when he ruled over Israel his heart became proud, he deserted God and betrayed the laws for the sake of riches. And he robbed and hoarded wealth from the violent men who had rebelled against God. And he seized public money, incurring additional serious sin. And he performed re[pul]sive acts by every type of defiling impurity.

10 י

"והתורות"-- מלמד ששתי תורות ניתנו להם לישראל; אחד בכתב ואחד בעל פה. אמר ר' עקיבא, וכי שתי תורות היו להם לישראל? והלא תורות הרבה נתנו להם -- "זאת תורת העולה" "זאת תורת המנחה" "זאת תורת האשם" "זאת תורת זבח השלמים" "זאת התורה אדם כי ימות באהל". "אשר נתן ה' בינו ובין בני ישראל"-- זכה משה ליעשות שליח בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים. "בהר סיני ביד משה"-- מלמד שניתנה התורה הלכותיה ודקדוקיה ופירושיה על ידי משה מסיני.

10) (26:44) "And the Toroth": This teaches us that two Toroth were given to Israel, one written, and one, oral.

R. Akiva said: Did Israel have only two Torahs? Were not many Torahs given to them? "This is the Torah of the burnt-offerings," "This is the Torah of the meal-offerings," "This is the Torah of the guilt-offerings," "This is the Torah of the sacrifice of peace-offerings," "This is the Torah — a man if he die in the tent." "which the Lord set forth between Himself and the children of Israel": We are hereby taught that the (entire) Torah — its halachoth, inferences, and interpretations — was given by Moses at Sinai.

11 יא

(ח) הֶתֵּר נְדָרִים פּוֹרְחִין בָּאֲוִיר, וְאֵין לָהֶם עַל מַה שֶּׁיִּסְמֹכוּ. הִלְכוֹת שַׁבָּת, חֲגִיגוֹת וְהַמְּעִילוֹת, הֲרֵי הֵם כַּהֲרָרִים הַתְּלוּיִין בְּשַׂעֲרָה, שֶׁהֵן מִקְרָא מֻעָט וַהֲלָכוֹת מְרֻבּוֹת. הַדִּינִין וְהָעֲבוֹדוֹת, הַטָּהֳרוֹת וְהַטֻּמְאוֹת וַעֲרָיוֹת, יֵשׁ לָהֶן עַל מַה שֶּׁיִּסְמֹכוּ. הֵן הֵן גּוּפֵי תּוֹרָה:

(8) Releasing vows flies in the air, there is no basis for it.

Laws concerning shabbat and the festival offering and embezzlement of holy property, these are like mountains hung from a hair: they have few verses and many laws.

Judgment and worship and purity and impurity and improper sexual relations, they have plenty to be based on. They themselves are the body of Torah.

12 יב

יבוננהו - בעשרת הדברות; מלמד שהיה הדיבר יוצא מפי הקב"ה, והיו ישראל מסתכלים בו, ויודעים כמה מדרשים יש בו, וכמה הלכות יש בו, וכמה קלים וחמורים יש בו, וכמה גזירות שוות יש בו:

"He invested them with understanding": with the ten commandments. We are hereby taught that the Word left the mouth of the Holy One Blessed be He, and Israel perceived it and knew how many midrashim it contained, how many halachoth it contained, how many leniencies and stringencies it contained and how many gezeiroth shavoth (identities) it contained.

13 יג

Paul's Letter to the Galatians 1

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

14יד

מגיד מישרים, ר׳ יוסף קרו

אני אני היא המדברת עמך נשמתך לא הנפש ולא הרוח אלא הנשמה בעצמה והלא אם פסקה נבואה מישראל ממך לא פסקה כי בכל פעם אני בא אליך להדריכך בדרך זו תלך

Maggid Mesharim, R. Yosef Karo

I am the one speaking to you, your soul (neshamah), not life, not spirit but the soul itself. And although prophecy has ceased in Israel, from you it has not ceased, for every time that I come to you to teach you the path which you shall follow.