Through the power of interpretation, the Jews were able to free themselves from the laws of the Torah, which they found difficult, unethical, harsh, or unreasonable, but they would rarely admit that they were overturning the sacred text. They would insist that they were merely interpreting it…. The same attitude can often be found in the Talmud’s approach to the Mishnah….
Shaye J.D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987), 181.