Friday, June 13, 2008
Moshe Rabeinu or Moshe the Navi
There is an interesting letter relating to the dual role of Moshe Rabeinu/ Moshe the Navi from the Chasam Sofer to the Mahartz Chiyus which the Mh”C responds to at the end of the section of his sefer called Toras Nevi’im. The Chasam Sofer claims that the rule of “lo bashamayim hi” did not apply to Moshe Rabeinu. The proof he offers comes from the case of the megadeif. The Midrash portrays the megadeif as coming to court to press his claim for a stake in the camp of Klal Yisrael and being rebuffed by Moshe because his father was not Jewish -- the megadeif was conceived during an act of z’nus between his mother and an Egyptian. Yet how did Moshe know this without DNA testing? The halacha regarding determining paternity is clear: rov b’eilos achar haba’al. The assumption is that if a woman is married and conceives, the child’s father is the women’s husband, even if she is known to be promiscuous or known to have committed adultery. The Chasam Sofer writes that Moshe must have ruled on the basis of prophetic insight, nevu’ah. Even though the world of halacha and nevu’ah are normally separate – it is reason and logic, not prophecy, which governs decisions in the Beis Medrash – these worlds overlapped and intersected for Moshe, who was entitled to rule on the basis of prophetic insight. Coming back to the Minchas Chinuch’s point, ultimately all of Moshe’s Torah knowledge sprang from his prophetic experience at Sinai, a unique encounter which no other Navi shared or can ever share in the future.