The Precariousness of Oral Torah
This chapter focuses on the Sifre Deuteronomy, a tannaitic midrash on the book of Deuteronomy. It tries to fully elucidate chapters 41 and 48–49 of the Sifre to Deuteronomy and complements them with chapter 306. Chapter 41 treats Deuteronomy 11, 13 and serves as an introduction to Deuteronomy 11, 13–21—a section of Deuteronomy that was recited liturgically twice daily (Vehaya im shamoa). The mishna at Tamid 5,1 records a tradition that these scriptural verses were already part of the Temple liturgy and were recited immediately after Deuteronomy 6, 4–9, the Shema. The Tannaim considered the recitation of the Shema to be mandated by the Torah itself. This liturgical coupling of the two sections, Deuteronomy 6 and 11, well reflects the close linguistic parallel between them.
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