Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Are Orthodox Jews classed as literalists?
(21 March, 2018, 5 Nisan, 5778)
Orthodox Jewish Commentaries and Interpretations are considered literal to those who use them. The sources are in Hebrew. There are nuances in the Biblical usage of Hebrew that allow for different interpretations.
How it is decided which solution to accept is a combination of tradition, linguistics, and logical deduction.
A great Rabbi who deserves recognition for having shown how the principles of the Oral Law are part of the literal meaning of the Torah was
Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg (1784-1865 ). He was the author of 'Haketav VehaKabbalah' (HaKsav VeHaKabalah) i.e. "The Written text and Tradition."
He served as Rabbi of Konisberg which was then part of Prussia.
His explanations connect the literal meaning (peshat) to the hidden meaning (derash), focusing on the traditional Jewish sources (the Mishna, the Talmud, and the Midrash).
One point that impressed me greatly was the explanation by Rabbi Mecklenburg as to how the various prohibitions against eating meat with milk etc, are derivable from the Scripture.
Rabbi Meklenburg (on Exodus 23:19, 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21 THOU SHALT NOT SEETHE A KID IN HIS MOTHER'S MILK) examined the exact meaning of each word in Hebrew of this commandment.
From his linguistic he showed how the precise meaning of the text encompassed the prohibitions against preparing such mixtures, against eating them, and against deriving benefit from them.
In other words not only are Jewish Interpretations really LITERAL ones but they are the only ones that get to the literal meaning!