Greetings from a non-Jew. I am a Christian who just started exploring Judaism. I have a lot of questions and I hope you don’t mind answering to help me in my spiritual journey. These are my first questions:
- How literal do you see Pirkei Avot 1, which says that the Torah is transmitted successively from Moses to Hillel? This actually sounds a lot like the Christian apostolic succession.
- Were the necessary conditions for the true Messiah (for example, that there should be universal peace and universal knowledge of God) part of the transmitted teaching from Moses to Hillel?
I am asking these questions to understand whether there was already a recognized authority in interpreting the Tanakh during the second temple. Who decided, for example, that the idea of the second coming of the Messiah was not a faithful interpretation of the Tanakh? Thanks!