Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Questions on the Essay by R. Avraham Ben Ha-Rambam

Dovid Kornreich asked me to post the following questions that R. Moshe Meiselman honestly posed in the interest of open discussion about the passage by R. Avraham ben Ha-Rambam regarding the sages of the Talmud and science (see this post and this comment):

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1) There is an obvious disagreement between the Rambam in Peirush HaMishnayos and the author of this piece in the understanding of the gemorroh in Chulin 124a. The author of this piece says that this means that one would not have to listen to Yehoshua bin Nun.

The Rambam writes that this means that prophecy has no place in altering halochoh – a basic foundation of the Rambam's view of halochoh. Are these positions consistent? If not, where do we find that the son ever disagrees with his father on basic issues.

2) The Rambam writes that one may use an even tekumah to prevent miscarriage and go out with it on Shabbos. The Rambam also says this in Moreh Nevuchim. The Rashba says that the Rambam was of the opinion that this was a result of Chazal's experimentation, not that of the general culture.

According to this author, this is not so and one may not wear it because of darchay ho'emori and certainly not on Shabbos. Where do we find that the son ever disagreed with the father on an explicit halochoh in Mishneh Torah?

3) While the Cairo Geniza does have a partial version of the work by Rabbeinu Avrohom ben hoRambam, is there any indication that this segment quoted in the Ein Yaakov actually appears in that work? Furthermore, if that work expressed mainstream ideas why is it that we only find it in the genizah?

4)Where did Reb Shlomo Zalman say that one may not question this opinion?

5) To say that it agrees with Rambam because he quotes the gemoroh in Pesochim is rather outlandish. Everyone had that gemoroh. Only Rabbeinu Tam had a unique view of it.
Please keep your responses respectful. Without getting into any of the details, I would just start by pointing out that no one had questioned this passage until after the controversy began over R. Slifkin's books, so the onus of proof is on those who claim that the passage is a forgery/insertion.

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