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The First Keepers of Torah
There are commentaries that teach that the Patriarchs accomplished the spiritual intent of certain mitzvot, i.e. to bring down the spiritual benefits (as opposed to elevating the physical realm to a higher level), by doing other actions. A case in point: when Yaakov/Jacob stripped the bark off the rods that he placed in the water troughs for the sheep, in spiritual terms he was accomplishing what his descendents the Jewish people accomplish when they don Tefillin. When Abraham wore Tzitzis, it was not considered a garment for him as it is only a garment for a Jew; thus when he wore the Tzitzis on the Seven Day, he was not wearing them as garment, and it was considered as the labor of carrying. Thus he did not observe a Sabbath in total, and therefore he did not transgress the prohibition against a Noahide fully observing the Sabbath as a Jew is commanded to.

The dispute between Joseph and his brothers was based on whether they were Noahides or Israelites. The brothers held themselves as Israelites; thus they held that they were allowed to eat of a slaughtered animal before it stopped thrashing. Joseph held them to still be Noahides, as the Torah had not been given yet at Sinai. For Noahides, meat from a thrashing animal (i.e. in its death throes) - though it had been ritually slaughtered - is still forbidden as a Limb from the Living (but with a lesser penalty). Thus he accused them of this to his father. So the dispute between them was not at all a petty matter. It hinged on a point of fundamental doctrine.

To sum it up, the Talmud says that if the Patriarchs were like angels, then we can be considered "human." But if the Patriarchs were mere humans, then we are like donkeys. So we can not compare our generations to them.
Rabbi Yitz

Messages In This Thread
The First Keepers of Torah - by James7 - 06-02-2007, 01:00 AM
RE: The First Keepers of Torah - by rabbiyitz - 06-09-2007, 12:32 AM
RE: The First Keepers of Torah - by ChaimLeyb - 02-25-2009, 05:55 PM

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