VCU Menorah Review
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VCU Menorah Review Winter/Spring 2009
Number 70
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

From the Classics

The Laws of Moses Interpreted

Rabbi Judah said in the name of Rav: When Moses ascended on high [to receive the Torah] he found the Holy One, blessed be He, engaged in affixing taggin [crown-like flourishes] to the letters. Moses said: Lord of the Universe, who stays Your hand? [i.e., is there anything lacking in the Torah so that these ornaments are necessary?] He replied: There will arise a man at the end of many generations, Akiva ben Yosef by name, who will expound upon each tittle, heaps and heaps of laws. Moses said: Lord of the Universe, permit me to see him. God replied: Turn around. Moses then went [into the academy of Rabbi Akiva] and sat down behind eight rows [of Akivas disciples]. Not being able to follow their arguments, he was ill at ease; but when they came to a certain subject and the disciples said to the master: How do you know it?, and the master replied, It is a law given to Moses at Sinai then Moses was comforted.

Talmud Menachot 29b

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