Our Sages, of Blessed Memory


It seems that the words of Chazal have absolute authority in Judaism. ‘Chazal says’ means ‘end of discussion’. I also agree that all Chazal are outstanding tzaddikim, but a tzaddik can also makes a mistake. Chazal are also imperfect individuals like us who do human errors. Then, why does the word of Chazal have so great an authority? Isn’t it a bit “dangerous”?



  1. While it is true that is dangerous to rely only on the words of one person, or even only a few people, Judaism does anything but that. The body of scholars who are called “Chazal” (which is an acronym for Chachameinu Zichronam Livracha – Our Sages of Blessed Memory) spans over four hundred years. Their words have been self-scrutinized and self-critiqued for several generations before the Talmudic period came to a close. More than that, they were imbued with Ruach HaKodesh – Divine Inspiration. However, most tellingly is that there are immeasurable occasions in the Talmud where they disagree with each other’s approaches and with each other’s final interpretations. The debate can rage over generations until there is a definitive answer. It is the definitive conclusion that we accept and is looked upon as being the accepted interpretation.

    What makes the whole process even more fascinating is that, even within the Talmud, there are numerous times when the final conclusion of the Sages is that they do not know. There is a word found at the end of such debates – “teiku” – which means that we shall have to wait until the Prophet Eliyahu will arrive and he will then reveal to us the correct answer and ruling.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team