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Chazal

For the 20th-century writer, see Malcolm de Chazal. For the village in Iran, see Chahzal.

Chazal or Ḥazal (Hebrew: חז"ל‎) is an acronym for the Hebrew "akhameinu Zikhronam Liv'rakha" (חכמינו זכרונם לברכה, "Our Sages, may their memory be blessed"), is a general term that refers to all Jewish sages of the Mishna, Tosefta and Talmud eras, essentially from the times of the final 300 years of the Second Temple of Jerusalem until the 6th century CE, or c. 250 BCE – c. 625 CE.

Rabbinical eras; eras of the Halakha

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Chazal are generally divided according to their era and the main writing done in that era:

Chazal's authority

Until the end of the Savoraim era, the Chazal had the authority to commentate on the Torah according to the Talmudical hermeneutics standards required by the Halakhah le-Moshe mi-Sinai [1] (The non written laws handed to Moses at Sinai), sometimes even expounding a word or phrase outside of its plain and ordinary sense. Nowadays in Orthodoxy, this authority is not delegated to the current generation's sages, and thus the Torah can not be commentated on, in matters concerning the halakha ("tradition"), if it contradicts the Chazal's commentary.

Until the midst of the Tannaim era, when there was a Sanhedrin (a High Court of Jewish law), Chazal had also the authority to decree restrictions and to enact new religious regulations, in any matter they saw fit, concerning issues that were not included in the written Torah, or were not handed in Biblical Mount Sinai. These rabbinical mitzvot ("commandments") include the holidays of Purim and Hanukkah, the laws of muktzah ("set-aside items") on Shabbat, the ritual washing of one's hands (netilat yadayim) before eating bread, the construction of eruvim (liminal gateways), and the institution of the current schedule of daily prayer services – shacharit (morning prayer), mincha (afternoon prayer), and ma'ariv (evening prayer).

See also

References

  1. ^ "הלכה למשה מסיני" [1] (Hebrew wikipedia); HALAKHAH LE-MOSHE MI-SINAI, Jewish Virtual Library

External links