Moshe received an awareness of what the best possible world could be.
It can be translated loosely as “the spirit of sanctity” but to get a hint of the true essence requires a lifetime of devotion in trying to understand.
It is something that originated at Sinai and has been condensed around certain people or groups since then. Identifying where it is strongest and truest has been and still is the work of my people. My people because it is my work, not because it is my right or privilege.
והתקן עצמך ללמוד תורה שאינה ירושה לך
אבות פרק ב, משנה יב
Set yourself to learn Torah, because it is not an inheritance for you…
There are other books that have been discussed but these are the 24 that tradition holds onto.
,משֶׁה קִבֵּל תּוֹרָה מִסִּינַי, וּמְסָרָהּ לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ
,וּנְבִיאִים מְסָרוּהָ לְאַנְשֵׁי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה
This is a quote from the Tannitic period. Fathers 1:1. And the translation is:
Moshe received Torah from Sinai, and passed it to Yehoshua,
and Yehoshua to the Elders,
and the Elders to the Prophets,
and the Prophets to the men of the great assembly,
The era this was written in was the era immediately following the biblical era, but it is not necessary in order to glean from the biblical period, rather it is a very simplified summary of that which is found in the text itself.
These sections bring light to different discussions of “leaps of faith” necessary to receive from this tradition:
That there was an event of enlightenment at Sinai which focused ‘divine’ understanding which Moshe became the first to perceive with the divine aspects that can be held as a litmus test to see clearly what is part of this teaching and what is not.
- That Moshe recognized the one worthy of upholding the essence of the tradition.
- That the one that Moshe recognized, Yehosua, recognized Moshe as the source of his understanding.
- That this teaching would be widely recognized and adapted and preserved from an individual to many.
- That the many received the ability to pass on to the many.
- That this “passing on” of the tradition maintains this essence and definable traits as is morphs throughout history.
To sift through the original 24 books to reveal the above would be a rather large task if I was asked to do it today. Of course it can be done, but another guiding aspect of tradition is that we are not expected to invent the wheel. Once we understand the nature of the work, it is only necessary to recognize the “Tzadik” who devoted his life in doing it.
In this case we can turn to “Avot D’Rabbi Natan” who has done the work mentioned above and compiled all the transitions of awareness throughout the biblical era.
More on this tomorrow…