David Hartman, Jewish Political Tradition
When the Talmud announces that "It is not in heaven," human beings replace God and take responsibility for applying the law without need for further revelation. The signs and wonders of our text serve the ironic purpose of providing an occasion for the Rabbis to admonish God. To paraphrase the madras, God is told politely: "Please stay out of this discussion. Your presence here is inappropriate. You gave us Torah, but we must now apply it in our own lives according to our own understanding. And" -this point is crucial for grasping the religious phenomenology of Rabbinic thought- "we are n to going to try to intuit Your thoughts about what is right. We have to make sense of the law in particular situations through our own practical reasoning."
In the Bible, the community is called upon to choose between "life and death," between "good and evil" (Deut. 30:15). Revelation provides a law for the community but leaves responsibility for fulfilling the law in the hands of the community itself.
Michael Walzer, Jewish Political Tradition
Speech of this sort [disruptive prophetic preaching] undermines authority. It challenges the status quo and the people who benefit from it.
But these prophets are not agitators in the modern sense. They don't aim to create a political or social movement; they make no effort to organize their audience; they aren't looking for the responsibility that Shakespeare's Marc Antony wins from the Roman crowd. On the other hand, they are also unlike modern social critics, who sit in their studies writing books and magazine articles and can hardly be imagined speaking in the streets.
The prophets are religious preachers, something like contemporary revivalists, and although they criticize the whole of society and hope for its moral transformation, their precise demand is for individual teshuvah -"repentance"; the literal meaning is "a turning back" to the laws of the covenant. What they want is that people repent of their sins (sometimes the emphasis is on idolatry, sometimes on injustice and oppression) and then turn, as it were, in place: each person to enact the covenant in his or her sphere of activity. The goal is a series of turning, not a change of political regime - although if princes and judges repent, the effect may be something like a change of regime.