June 1, 2019 at 11:29 pm #2654Reuven Chaim KleinModerator
QUESTION: Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Klein. Very interesting article about the names of about the question concerning Mt. Moriah’s location and the names of Mount Sinai. Given that Abraham was believed to have been tested on Mt Moriah at the site of the Temple Mount, while in the Rabbi poet’s song the site where the commandment to observe the Sabbath which was given at Mt Sinai is also said to be Moriah and hence the conjecturing. If Torah was given from Adam forward (Thou shalt not kill was known to Cain and Abraham most certainly knew to circumcise) then how do we know that Abraham did not receive instructions from Hashem concerning Shabbat at Mt Moriah? To count 7 and honor that day? Instructions which were later codified at Sinai? What am I missing here….because I’m pretty sure I’m missing something. Thank you.
– Lynne Howell
ANSWER: I think we might be confusing a few different issues here, so let’s start with the basics. You wrote: “Abraham was believed to have been tested on Mt Moriah at the site of the Temple Mount.” Just to sharpen that statement, it’s not just believed that Abraham was tested at Mt. Moriah, but this is explicitly stated in Genesis. As you might know, the commandment of the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments, which the Bible in both Exodus and Deuteronomy explicitly says were given at Mount Sinai. The rabbi-poet’s song obviously does not have the force of an explicit passage in the Bible, but he certainly meant to convey something. What you are proposing is something very innovative and new that does not really have any source.
Simplistically, speaking Maimonides (Laws of Kings 9:1) sets out a historical overview of the commandments, in which he views the overall set of commandments as having been given in stages. He writes that six of the seven Noahide commandments were given to Adam, the seventh one was given to Noah, then the commandment of circumcision was given to Abraham…. some more commandments were given to the Jewish People in Egypt and shortly after the Exodus (which, incidentally, some source include the commandment of the Sabbath among those commandments given to the Jews at Marah, before they reached Sinai). There is no reason to think explain the rabbi-poet ass saying that Abraham received the commandment of Sababth at Moriah, because there is no reason to think that the commandment of Sabbath was given that early on (even though, there are traditions which say that Abraham kept all 613 commandments even before they were given).
I wrote about these issues (about pre-Sinaitic Jewry and the interplay between the Noahide Laws and the Torah’s laws) extensively when I was a teenager and you read about it on my old blog. Check out these old posts (in no particular), many of which touch on this issue in various ways:
-Reuven Chaim Klein
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.