5. Given all this background where does this leaves us today. The vast majority of Orthodox rabbinic leaders and thinkers, both Hareidi and Modern, at least publically, affirm the traditional notion of Torah Min Hashamayim as outlined by the Rambam. In addition, some writers and thinkers go further and maintain that the weight of Jewish history and the “consensus” of rabbinic statements in the last five hundred years have rendered the discussion moot. They maintain that Rambam’s view has been adopted as the only legitimate view and any other approach is heretical. Others do not take such a strong position, and thus while affirming the Maimonidean view, believe that someone who maintains the actual view of that the last 8 verses of the Torah are post –Mosaic from the pen of Joshua or that other isolated verses were post-Mosaic, are not maintaining heretical views. Indeed, Rav Breuer himself, while rejecting Dr. Knohl’s expansion of the view of Ibn Ezra and others, writes explicitly:
“I do not know if these words (of Ibn Ezra) were to the liking of the rabbis. In any event, they were uttered by Ibn Ezra, and we can therefore not reject their legitimacy”.
6. The more challenging issue is the attitude towards the view that expands and builds upon the view of these medieval rishonim to include wide swaths of the Torah. As in the previous paragraph, the mainstream Orthodox view maintains that such a position is out of the pale and cannot be part of traditional Jewish thought. On the other hand there are thinkers who do not take this view and have articulated a more nuanced view. Rav Hirscenson z”l almost a century ago, already noted that the Rambam’s read of the Talmudic passage in Sanhedrin was not the plain sense of the words. In recent years, Rav Yoel Bin Nun (in personal conversation) and Rav Yuval Cherlow, two leading thinkers/leaders in the Dati Leumi community, while not personally advocating the expansive understanding of Torah Min Hashamayim articulated by Dr. Knohl have maintained that someone who does has not violated the parameters of Hazal’s dictum of “Haomer Ein Torah Min Hashamayim”. This view has also been cited in print by a number of writers to the noted Rosh Yeshiva Rav Shlomo Fisher of Yeshivat Itri. Namely, he does not believe that maintaining such a position does not put one out of the pale. The key in this formulation is as Rav Yuval has written: ל כן, בשעה שמאמינים במוצא העליון המוחלט של כלפסוקי התורה אין איסור להרחיב את מה שאמרו חכמינו על הפסוקים האחרונים בתורה לעוד מקומות בתורה, בשל העיקרון הבסיסי הקיים בדברים אלה – התורה היא מוצא “פיו” המוחלט של ריבונו של עולם.
7. Given all this, and my general inclusivist inclinations, I would argue that we not write, people who maintain this more radical position, out of traditional Judaism. This is especially the case given the fact that if I were to look at large swaths of Orthodoxy today, there are hundreds of thousands of Jews who believe things about God and His actions, or His emotions and feelings or about prayer to intermediaries or the nature of the sefirot that would clearly put them outside of the pale in the eyes of the Rambam. I, of course, realize that the 8th principle of the Rambam was one of the central points of contention between Orthodoxy and heterodox movements in the last two centuries and thus has greater resonance and emotional power. However, if we are not going to read out of orthodoxy those who directly violate the fifth ikar of the Rambam or his clear words in the Guide to the Perplexed- Section 1:36 than I am reticent to do so in the case of those who do not adopt the Rambam’s formulation in the 8th ikar, especially if they conform to the notion of the Divine origin of the Torah, a principle that has been rejected in-toto by so many modern Jews.