If the Law Isn't In Heaven, Where Is It?

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In one of its more famous passages, the Talmud records a debate about the mundane (but important) issue of whether a certain oven can be used to cook kosher food. All of the rabbis except one, Rabbi Eliezer, rule that the oven cannot be used because it is impure. To prove that he is correct and that the oven is pure, Rabbi Eliezer calls on God to perform miracles in the presence of his colleagues—a carob tree is uprooted and moves across a field, a river reverses its course, and the walls of the rabbis’ study hall magically begin to cave in—but the rabbis remain unmoved. Continue Reading »