ASBI Parsha Class #14: Sanhedrin 90b and Parshat VaEra


(ג) וָאֵרָ֗א אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל־יִצְחָ֥ק וְאֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֖ב בְּאֵ֣ל שַׁדָּ֑י וּשְׁמִ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖עְתִּי לָהֶֽם׃ (ד) וְגַ֨ם הֲקִמֹ֤תִי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אִתָּ֔ם לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן אֵ֛ת אֶ֥רֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־גָּ֥רוּ בָֽהּ׃ (ה) וְגַ֣ם ׀ אֲנִ֣י שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי אֶֽת־נַאֲקַת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִצְרַ֖יִם מַעֲבִדִ֣ים אֹתָ֑ם וָאֶזְכֹּ֖ר אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי׃ (ו) לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֥ר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָה֒ וְהוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֙חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵעֲבֹדָתָ֑ם וְגָאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים׃ (ז) וְלָקַחְתִּ֨י אֶתְכֶ֥ם לִי֙ לְעָ֔ם וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָכֶ֖ם לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים וִֽידַעְתֶּ֗ם כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם הַמּוֹצִ֣יא אֶתְכֶ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת סִבְל֥וֹת מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ח) וְהֵבֵאתִ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר נָשָׂ֙אתִי֙ אֶת־יָדִ֔י לָתֵ֣ת אֹתָ֔הּ לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹ֑ב וְנָתַתִּ֨י אֹתָ֥הּ לָכֶ֛ם מוֹרָשָׁ֖ה אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃ (ט) וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר מֹשֶׁ֛ה כֵּ֖ן אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְלֹ֤א שָֽׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מִקֹּ֣צֶר ר֔וּחַ וּמֵעֲבֹדָ֖ה קָשָֽׁה׃ {פ}
(3) I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name יהוה. (4) I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. (5) I have now heard the moaning of the Israelites because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. (6) Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am יהוה. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements. (7) And I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God. And you shall know that I, יהוה, am your God who freed you from the labors of the Egyptians. (8) I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I יהוה.” (9) But when Moses told this to the Israelites, they would not listen to Moses, their spirits crushed by cruel bondage.


מתני׳ כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא שנאמר (ישעיהו ס, כא) ועמך כולם צדיקים לעולם יירשו ארץ נצר מטעי מעשה ידי להתפאר ואלו שאין להם חלק לעולם הבא האומר אין תחיית המתים מן התורה ואין תורה מן השמים ואפיקורוס
MISHNA: All of the Jewish people, even sinners and those who are liable to be executed with a court-imposed death penalty, have a share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “And your people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, for My name to be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21). And these are the exceptions, the people who have no share in the World-to-Come, even when they fulfilled many mitzvot: One who says: There is no resurrection of the dead derived from the Torah, and one who says: The Torah did not originate from Heaven, and an epikoros, who treats Torah scholars and the Torah that they teach with contempt.
  • Why do you think resurrection of the dead is so integral to Judaism according to this mishna?

(אמר ר' יוחנן) מניין לתחיית המתים מן התורה שנאמר (במדבר יח, כח) ונתתם ממנו [את] תרומת ה' לאהרן הכהן וכי אהרן לעולם קיים והלא לא נכנס לארץ ישראל שנותנין לו תרומה אלא מלמד שעתיד לחיות וישראל נותנין לו תרומה מכאן לתחיית המתים מן התורה....
תניא ר' סימאי אומר מניין לתחיית המתים מן התורה שנאמר (שמות ו, ד) וגם הקימותי את בריתי אתם לתת להם את ארץ כנען לכם לא נאמר אלא להם מכאן לתחיית המתים מן התורה:

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan says: From where is the resurrection of the dead derived from the Torah? It is derived from this verse, as it is stated with regard to teruma of the tithe: “And you shall give the teruma of the Lord to Aaron the priest” (Numbers 18:28). And does Aaron exist forever so that one can fulfill the mitzva by giving him the teruma of the tithe? But is it not so that Aaron did not enter Eretz Yisrael, the only place where the people would give him teruma? Rather, the verse teaches that Aaron is destined to live in the future and the Jewish people will give him teruma. From here it is derived that the resurrection of the dead is from the Torah....
§ It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Simai says: From where is resurrection of the dead derived from the Torah? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated with regard to the Patriarchs: “I have also established My covenant with them to give to them the land of Canaan” (Exodus 6:4). The phrase: To give to you the land of Canaan, is not stated, as the meaning of the verse is not that God fulfilled the covenant with the Patriarchs when he gave the land of Canaan to the children of Israel; rather, it is stated: “To give to them the land of Canaan,” meaning to the Patriarchs themselves. From here is it derived that the resurrection of the dead is from the Torah, as in the future the Patriarchs will come to life and inherit the land.

  • What do you think about our parsha being the source of this idea?


Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Heavenly Torah: As Refracted through the Generations

“It is clear that the intention was to determine that the understanding of Torah was entrusted to the Sages; that is, the Torah was not given exclusively from the mind of God; it is refracted also through the interpretation of the Sages.” - p. 660.

“We must distinguish between factual truths and eternal verities. Every fact depends on time, and when its time has passed, the fact disappears. Yet there are moments that are like eternity, and what happens in them transcends time. The passage of time brings forgetfulness; the present moment makes us forget the moment past. Two moments in time cannot coexist. They crowd each other out. But the opposite is the case with eternity, for there is not forgetting at the throne of glory, and for God, past and future come simultaneously. So the giving of Torah is past as a factual truth, but endures as an eternal verity. God’s voice, as it emanated from Mount Horeb, was never muted.” - p. 670.

  • How does this provide a different angle to the verses above?