Re: Yeshiva Shem V'Ever
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 06:26:29 -0500 (EST)

Baruch Cohen wrote:
>Biblical personalities Shem and Ever formed a Yeshiva called Yeshiva Shem
>V'Ever. Our forefather Yaacov learned there for 14 years. This was all prior
>to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
>My son, Yehuda Meir, who is 6.5 years old and a first grader at Yeshiva Rav
>Isacsohn - Toras Emes Academy in Los Angeles, stumped me with the following
>analysis and question(s):
>"Aba, what did they learn at this Yeshiva? What Seforim (books) did they read
>"Did they learn the Written Law - Torah Shebechsav "- if so, Yaacov probably
>read the sections dealing with him and his family, and knew what was going to
>happen to him - and to them.
>"Did they learn the Oral Law - Torah Shebaal Peh "- if so, wouldn't it have
>been more interesting and relevant for the codifiers of the Gemoroh (Talmud)
>to quote the disputes of Shem & Ever on a given topic, over quoting
>Babylonian scholars such as Bais Shamai & Bais Hillel?
>"Did they learn about the 613 laws in general - Mitzvos "- if so, did Yaacov
>wear Tzitzis and Tefillin (as we wear them today)?
>"Did they learn portions of Torah that are not included in today's Torah? Who
>else learned in this Yeshiva? Was this the only Yeshiva in the neighborhood?
>Where was this Yeshiva located? How come they did not write down and record
>any of their Torah that was discussed so that we could benefit from it?"

We know that Avaham Avinu possessed knowledge of mitzvos. For example, he
knew about the eventuality of matzo and must have taught Lot about it since
Lot prepared it for the malochim (angels) when they came to S'dom.

Avrohom Avinu, with his superior intellect, detected G-dliness in the world
about him. His reasoning helped him see the mitzva possibilities in every
aspect of creation.

It is entirely possible that in the Yeshiva of Shem v'Ever that similar
reflections on G-dliness were discussed. By the same token, they were in a
situation of ainom m'tzuvim - not subject to the commandments. For them
to commit to writing ideas that were not mitzvos - or at least weren't yet
mitzvos - was unlikely.

Your son's question about knowing the future can be asked about any number
of references in the Torah. For example, Moshe Rabbeinu made statements
that indicated awareness, on some level at least, that he knew he would not
lead B' nei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel long before he was actually told by
HaShem that he would not be allowed to do so. Apparently, there is a
level of knowing something that is not a complete knowing. We find this
with Yaakov Avinu who refused to be comforted for the "loss" of Yoseph.
Since Yoseph was in fact alive, he could not be comforted since nichum can
only occur if someone is niftar . Thus, he may have been aware on some
level that "all was not what it appeared to be" but he was still held back
from complete knowledge. That may be what occured with all the Avos and
with Shem v'Ever.
Shabse Werther