Archive for 'Maimonidean Wisdom'

The Theology of the Carrot and the Stick

Step aside Pat Robertson! You are not alone. You have Jewish friends who think just like you do! Rabbi Avi Shafran, no stranger to controversy, blames the Haitian earthquake on Eli Valley’s comic  that appeared in the Forward newspaper.[1] Writing for the Aggudat Israel, America’s premiere Haredi organization, Rabbi Shafran comments about the Japanese earthquake that leveled Tokyo and its suburbs on September 1, 1923. This earthquake killed over 100,000 people. So famous was this disaster, news about its destruction ...

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Is God punishing the Hatians for its sins?

Is nature or God punishing the Haitians for its national sins? It all depends who one asks. Pat Robertson blames the Haiti earthquake on a pact the Haitians made with the devil sometime in the early 19th century:

Pat Robertson, the evangelical Christian who once suggested God was punishing Americans with Hurricane Katrina, says a “pact to the devil” brought on the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Robertson said on his “700 Club,” and that “They got together and swore a pact ...

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Did Maimonides really believe in a physical resurrection or not?

Maimonides’ position on the soul is very complex and this subject remains of the more controversial topics of Jewish intellectual history. Certainly in his commentary to the Mishnah, Maimonides includes the belief in bodily resurrection among the basic tenants of faith listed in his famous Thirteen Articles of Belief.

However, in Maimonides’ most mature work, the philosophical tract known as “The Guide to the Perplexed,” the great philosopher stresses the belief in the soul’s immortality and says nothing about physical resurrection.

One ...

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Maimonides’ famous Responsa on “Converting for the sake of marriage”

Maimonides once wrote in his Responsa about a certain Jewish man who was living with a non-Jewish maid-servant. The man was suspected of having a sexual liaison with this woman.  The Beit Din found out about this–what was the man to do? Remove the woman from his house?

In response to this question, the Rambam stated that technically according to the law, the woman should be forced out–period. After it learned of his wrongdoings, the ...

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Maimonides’ Practical Advice: On Feigning Apostasy . . .

Maimonides’ famous Iggerot Hashmad (“A  Letter Concerning Apostasy”) was written in the year 1160 during a time when Almohades Muslims were forcing people everywhere to recite the Muslim Creed. Failure to comply meant execution.

One rabbinical scholar in Fez, Morocco exclaimed that any Jew who publicly uttered the Moslim confession–regardless whether they in truth practiced Judaism incognito—could no longer be considered a Jew. Outraged by this rabbi’s insensitive rabbinical response, Maimonides wrote a letter, where he demonstrates how this Moroccan rabbi  ...

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