Translate

1.11.16

Oral and Written Law, Physics, and Metaphysics.

In math we have necessary and sufficient conditions for certain solutions to apply for some differential equation.  In a parallel vein I have the idea that the approach of Maimonides  is necessary and sufficient. That is the Oral and Written Law, Physics, and Metaphysics. [These last two are  necessary because the Rambam considers them to be what the Sages of the Talmud called מעשה בראשית ומעשה מרכבה the Work of Creation and the Work of the Divine Chariot that are both refereed to in the first mishna in the second chapter of tractate Hagiga. The Rambam is not thinking all secular knowledge is a good thing Rather he has a specific reason for emphasis these last two subjects.

His approach to this Physics and Metaphysics is scattered over many places in the Mishne Torah and the Guide and also in the commentary on the Mishna. The basic idea is that while most people think the Gemara is referring to kabalah the Rambam clearly disagrees. Saadia Geon wrote a commentary on Sefer Yetzira and the Rambam was familiar with everything that Saadia Geon wrote. Still niether him nor Saadia Geon thought the Kabalah was the Work of Creation and the Work of the Divine Chariot.

The problem I have is that the religious world seems to me to be "off the derech (path)." The fanatic religious people from Israel seem to me to be clinically insane. But even the more down to earth rational approach of New York seems a bit off. And I can not figure out what the problem is.  At best I have a workable solution for myself. I try to stick with this basic approach of the Rambam which was clearly also the approach of my parents. But in what way the religious world has gone wrong seems to me to be a mystery.

Some people seem to believe the Rambam gives a blank check to all secular disciples.-even those that are obviously pseudo science. Other think the only added things outside of the Oral and written Law are Kabalah. The Rambam clearly disagreed with both of these opinions.

[Incidentally I met a fellow  who had the entire Mishne Torah of the Rambam as one book. I do not remember if it was the Yemenite version of Rav Kapach. He also had with him the letters of the son of the Rambam  print by the Rav Kook Institute, However at this point in my learning the Oral Law I would prefer to learn the Gemara straight with Rashi Tosphot and the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach.]