Rambam vs. Riaz (and Thomas Jefferson vs. Pirkei Avos)


Manage episode 285164936 series 2846801
By Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Note: This is essentially the same shiur I gave in my Rambam Bekius chavurah at YBT on 2/15/21, but this one is slightly shorter, due to the length of the periods at Lomdeha. Also, I didn't mistakenly refer to the Riaz as the Rid in this shiur!
This morning (2/16/21 at Lomdeha) we took up a side-quest: to defend the Rambam against a charge leveled by the Riaz (R' Yeshaya Acharon di'Trani). The Rambam famously held that one who believes that Hashem has a body or an appearance qualifies as a "min" (heretic). The Riaz, like the Raavad, disagreed with the Rambam's psak and explains his reasoning. Our defense was drawn from the best Rambam defender of them all: the Rambam himself! The Rambam reveals the mistaken premise on which the Riaz's conclusion is based. Since yesterday was Presidents Day, we then read an excerpt from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson on the topic of Jewish morality in which he relies on an "expert" historian of philosophy who commits the same error as the Riaz. Lastly, we read an excerpt from Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman's book, "Ani Maamin: Biblical Criticism, Historical Truth, and the Thirteen Principles of Faith," which frames the errors of both men as an example of fallacious anachronistic thinking.
ריא"ז - קונטרס הראיות סנהדרין דף פח עמוד ב - צ עמוד א
רמב"ם - פירוש המשניות, מנחות ד:א
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (10/12/1813)
Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman - "Ani Maamin: Biblical Criticism, Historical Truth, and the Thirteen Principles of Faith," pp.191-193
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