I’ve recently started learning more about Orthodox Judaism, and this of course involves learning about the Oral Torah, Mishnah, Talmud, and Gemara. Upon learning about the Mishnah, my first question was basically, “if the Oral Torah was meant to be oral, and the idea (you could even say the law) was to not write it down, why do we have the Mishnah?”
This was answered by the famous (but at the time, new to me) history of Rabbi Judah the Prince, and his statement quoted in this post’s title. At the time, I accepted the explanation, but it’s been at the back of my mind bugging me and I only recently figured out why.
It seems a statement like that assumes a great deal. As in, it assumes that those knowledgeable on the Oral Torah would be completely wiped out, and so the only option to preserve the Oral Torah would be to violate one of its foundational precepts and write it down.
This strikes me as a fundamental lack of faith in Hashem. In every other scenario I can think of, I’ve been led to believe that difficulties are placed in our path sort of as halachic obstacles, and we benefit from staying on the path and not assuming we know better than God.
Am I misunderstanding something here, or is there more to it that I just haven’t learned yet?
This is of course a conversation I intend to have with my Rabbi as well, but since I only see him once a week I figured I’d get some input from the Reddit Jews as well. I appreciate any insights.
Edit for clarification, and TL;DR:
If all the mitzvos are binding, because we aren’t the arbiters of God’s will, then how can we decide that this one should be violated? And if the prohibition against writing the Oral Torah isn’t a mitzvah, then why is writing it down referred to as “breaking the Torah”?