The Promise - Study Guide Book Three, Chapter Fifteen Summary & Analysis

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The first section of Chapter Fifteen covers Reuven's smicha exam. The exam starts off easily, with Rav Gershenson asking questions on his area of expertise and Reuven passing easily. When Kalman begins, he deliberately asks about a passage that Reuven was not supposed to be tested on. The Dean in the room and Rav Gershenson express dismay, but Reuven is prepared. He goes out of his way to show how the passage could not be interpreted according to commentary sources internal to the Talmud but instead the various sources had to be supplemented with commentaries from outside the Talmud.

This argument shocks all three men because it suggests that the Talmud did not entirely contain the principles of its own interpretation. This, they thought, threatens the completeness of the Talmud. Reuven notes that this external commentary (which he found in Gordon's...

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