Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The severity of rabbinic law


"Rabbi Zerika said, citing Rabbi Elazar: One who takes the mitzvah of hand-washing [before eating bread] lightly will be uprooted from the world."

(Talmud, Sotah 4b)

Rashi explains, citing the Talmud elsewhere: "For one who violates the words of the sages is liable for death, as it is written (Ecclesiastes 10), 'One who breaks through a fence will be bitten by a snake.'"

This ought to provide pause on both sides - by those who would violate rabbinic law, obviously, but also by those who would create it. Creating laws which others will take lightly presents a serious stumbling block to the public.

Have a great day,

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