In addition to our learning, Rabbi Klapper will continue to give his evening שיעורים (lectures), the schedule of which I have updated on the lectures page. Last night, Rabbi Klapper gave his first public lecture at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah of the season on Should Poskim be Doctors of the Soul? Maimonides on the relationship between the universal halakhah and the specific spiritual needs of individuals". One quote I wanted to pull out was one that involved fellow blogger Menachem Butler:
What we’re going to see, though, is that the Rambam uses this metaphoric connection between law and medicine in two other places and the other two places, he seems to draw two startlingly different conclusions. And our job is to figure out how we can reconcile these claims. I should point out that we are going to be reading three texts: one from the Guide of the Perplexed, one from the Code, and one from his commentary to the Mishnah. One can always cheat and claim that the contradictions between these are just because they were written for different audiences and really the Rambam doesn’t have to be consistent. I tend not to like that approach. And I think that, in this case, the fact that he uses the medical analogy in each of these cases will tell you that he is presenting a consistent, comprehensive position.------------------------
I think Menachem Butler quoted an old – or perhaps a variant of an old - Purim piece of mine in which the contradictions between the Guide and the Code were resolved on the claim that the Code was written by the Rambam and the Guide was written by Maimonides (it was some Judeo-Arabic philosopher who can’t be held responsible). No, I think that they’re the same person and I think you’ll see the analogy will actually convince you that he’s trying to say the same thing, even though at first glance, they sound wildly contradictory.
Index: Summer Beit Midrash & Maimonides
Tags: Summer Beit Midrash, Maimonides, Rambam, Guide of the Perplexed, Mishneh Torah, Menachem Butler, SBM, SBM 5766, Rabbi Klapper