Sure -- OK. It was hard to tell with your 'pithy' response to Cackles. I largely agree with you here -- I "may" also agree with Cackles that the Rebbis are a bit more aggressive in their OT exegesis than the Orthodox are, and I wonder why Orthodox folk couldn't be as aggressive. But to pursue that digression would take us down a path we've walked before.
On your post before last -- some questions are more compelling than others. Yeah, its kind of interesting that Laban possessed human heads that told the future. But delving into that strange realm isn't as important as other questions.
I think the Rebbis don't presume, as you say, that any
letter could have started Genesis. I think their presumption is that Genesis begins with a 'Bet' for a reason
, and it's worth knowing that reason.
The second question I listed above, like I said, is a powerful source of my own faith. Someone who knows Hebrew could quote the line better than I could, but suffice it to say that the first sentence of Genesis ends with the word "ET." Spelled aleph tov. It's not actually a word, so what does it mean and why is it there? The Rebbis tell us that ET stands for the Hebrew language
-- since it consists of the first and last letters of the alphabet. So, the first sentence reads something like, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the Hebrew language."
But let's back up -- why start with "In the beginning" at all? Can't we assume that's where we're starting? Long story short, the Rebbis tell us that this is actually better understood as "For Israel, God created the heavens and the earth and the Hebrew language." Church fathers tell us that 'Beginning' = Christ. So, we've got something like "For Christ, God created the heavens, the earth, and the Hebrew language."
This is tremendously powerful for me. Maybe for others. I dunno.
Okay, so bottom line: there isn't any Orthodox exegesis that walks this road or others like it, that I'm aware of. The fathers are good at the "Beginning = Jesus" (John literally spells it out for them); but the rest of it is just glossed over. So what's an Orthodox Christian to do when he or she arrives at that "ET" ?
This is how I interpreted Cackels' post -- that at least the Rebbis are asking these questions and trying to answer them. This doesn't = 'shedding light' or 'knowing our books better than we do' or whatever. It just means they're trying. I wish our folks would try, too.
Also, Rambam, my comment to Cackles had more to do with "The Rabbis know our book so well": if they know our book so well and yet took/take the position on Jesus that they do based on that knowledge, then maybe it is we who are mistaken about Jesus, and not the Rabbis. I don't see the point of calling yourself Orthodox if you think the Rabbis are right about Jesus. On the other hand, if they're wrong about him, they're also probably wrong or misguided about a bunch of other stuff.