28 June 2006

Rambam and Sleep, Part 2: Sleep in "The Guide for the Perplexed"

Prior to Passover this year, I had looked into Rambam's "Guide of the Perplexed" (using Pines' version (no, I don't know Arabic, so, yes, I used an English translation)) for statements on sleep (although I have posted on my interest in sleep, I'm thinking it might be somewhat incomplete, therefore I hope ot post again on that). As I had mentioned nearly half a year ago, I started to look at Maimonides' conception(s) of sleep, as this is also fertile ground for an article (though I need to work on what I can do for now and return to this later) and have posted on some of my findings earlier.
Here is what I found:
Accordingly, Midrash Qoheleth has the following text: When man sleep, his soul speaks to the angel, and the angel to the cherub (n. 28: Midrash Qoheleth, 10:20). Thereby, they have stated plainly to him who understands and cognizes intellectually that the imaginative faculty {265} is likewise called an angel and that the intellect is called a cherub. (2.6) (pp. 264-265)

In this way will he who wants to understand the prophetic riddles understand them. And he will awaken from the sleep of negligence, be saved from the sea of ignorance, and rise up toward the high ones. (2.10) (p. 273)

It is known that a matter that occupies a man greatly – he being bent upon it and desirous of it – while he is awake and while his senses function, is the one with regard to which the imaginative faculty acts while he is asleep when receiving an overflow of the intellect corresponding to its disposition. (2.36) (p. 370)

Now a men’s bed is not exactly his size, for it is not a garment, which one puts on. The bed is rather always bigger than the individual who sleeps on it. And the usual and well-known thing is for it to be longer than the individual by a third of his length. (2.47) (p. 407)

With regard to what is indispensable, like eating and drinking, he must confine himself to what is most useful and to what corresponds to the need for nourishment, not to pleasure. (3.8) (pp. 433-434)

Also, I think section 2.43 (on p. 391 of the Pines version (vol. 2)) also has something about dreams and awakening.
What's interesting is that all of the statements about sleep are found in the first section of the Guide, but none in the first, and only one sort of related to sleep in the third section. If anybody thinks I have overlooked any, feel free to point them out to me. Also, if you have anything in the Mishneh Torah, feel free to let me know, as well (though, I already indicated that most of them are to be found in the fourth chapter of הלכות דעות (hilkhos de'os)).
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1 comment:

David Guttmann said...

Hil Ysodei Hatorah 7:2, 7:6,

an important one Moreh 3:51
another important one in 1:3 there are probably more.

In Schwartz's edition he lists dreams 11 times, Yakov's dream 4 times.

It pays to get that edition in two volumes. Without the 4, Tibon,Pines, Kafah and Schwartz no serious study of Moreh can be undertaken.