Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Baba Kama 38a - Distorting Torah

In kiddushin, I quoted a few teshuvos from r' moshe regarding double ring ceremonies. 
In one of the teshuvos (E.H. 3:18) he makes a fascinating point based on the maharshal in this gemara.
R' Moshe writes that there is an "issur gadol" to do any type of distortion of a halachic process, even if it is benign, which will cause people to forget dinei torah. He cites the Yam Shel Shlomo (9) that one cannot distort any din even for pikuach nefesh purposes (like tosafos says in his first answer was the case of the 2 sardiyotos), because it is like being kofer against toras moshe. Even though there wasn't any chashash of kilkul because it would have been said to goyim, not jews, it was still assur. We see that it is b'etzem assur to distort any din torah, even if it won't directly lead to a kilkul. Just as it is assur to say something is a din torah when it isn't, it is also assur to do a ma'aseh implying something is a din torah, when it in fact, is not.

2 comments:

Michael said...

How is this rule different than the Targum 70. The gemara says the sages puposely changed some words in the translation (and it was a miracle that they all changed the same things)?

Avi Lebowitz said...

The Yam Shel Shlomo himself deals with this question. He says that in the story with talmai in megillah 9a Hashem was maskim with their decision implying that their decision to deviate from the peshat was with ruach hakodesh. Furthermore, they did not change anything from its true intent, they just changed the literal definition to conform more to the true intent. But in our situation where they would have had to change the din from chayev to patur or the reverse, it would be assur.