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    If a soul is reincarnated, then why do we continue to daven for its elevation? Does it say anywhere that the soul of a loved one watches over you?


    Good question. Maybe the elevation is from something it has to overcome from a previous life, that was not so nice. I really do not understand the concept of gilgul because it does not align with what I was taught about a deserving neshama going to Gan Eden, unless it only happens to those in need of a literal refuas hanefesh.


    A Neshama is not an object that we can ask if it is here how can it be there.

    There are different aspects and levels to a Neshama.

    Gilgul can mean different things and is a deeper topic.

    If R”L the Neshama in question didn’t come to its place then we are Davenning that it get closer to its Tikkun Hashalem.

    If the Niftar has enough Zechusim then they can intercede on the behalf of the living.


    Or you can avoid the question, taking the high road, that gilgul is not a Jewish idea, and thus maybe not real.


    Ahava282: with regards to your first question. My very limited understanding is that when a soul is reincarnated, not all aspects of the soul go back down.

    I don’t know where or if it says that a loved one looks over a person, but there are plenty of midrashim about tzadikim doing so.


    Twisted: Some people pulled the Rashash out of their Gemaros for saying that…


    The high road, being Mal’ig Al Divrei Chachamim. (Zohar Hakadosh, Ramban, Rabbeinu Bachya, seemingly the ibn Ezra, Rikanti, Ramak, Beis Yosef, Arizal and all his Talmidim, Shla Hakadosh, Rama Mifano, Or Hachayim Hakadosh, Chida, Baal Shem Tov, all his Talmidim, Gra, Ben Ish Chay, to list a few.)

    It’s as Jewish as free will.


    Sam, why can’t they just rip out that passage? Reb Chaim Keniyevsky said that it must be that someone stuck that in there and the Rashash didn’t write it. To tell you the truth, I like that approach very much, because the major Kasha is a non starter.


    So we have no proof of anyone other than tzaddikim being a kli?


    HaLeiVi: The Rambam, as a starter, definitely didn’t believe in it. I’m not saying it’s not a Jewish concept. But I think saying that it’s on the level of a near-Ikkar Emunah like free will might be a little much.


    So that when it is reincarnated, it should maintain a similar or better position in life. It should not spend the next Yuga as a worm, and should cry WANNA BIKKIT less often after reincarnation this time around.


    Sam2: I think there is a difference between the Rambam and someone today in that the Rambam didn’t have the benefit of the gedolei Rishonim and Achronim to hash it out for him. For him it didn’t need to be an ikkur, but for us , disbelief in gilgulim represents a lack of belief in the Torah of the previous generations.


    Sam2: I think there is a difference between the Rambam and someone today in that the Rambam didn’t have the benefit of the gedolei Rishonim and Achronim to hash it out for him. For him it didn’t need to be an ikkur, but for us , disbelief in gilgulim represents a lack of belief in the Torah of the previous generations.

    In the same vein, Rava would not have held as he did either had he the “benefit of the gedolei Rishonim and Achronim to hash it out for him”. Rav Chaim whould have showed him right about Yeush, no?

    Neither would have Hillel, Rebbe or Rebbi Akiva. Maybe David HaMelech was on the level that he could have won over the “gedolei Rishonim and Achronim” after “hash(ing) it out for him”.

    Afar L’Pumi

    Rav Tuv

    I think there is a difference between the Rambam and someone today in that the Rambam didn’t have the benefit of the gedolei Rishonim and Achronim.

    You must be joking…Rambam IS gedolei rishonim. Absolutely ridiculous to say that Ramabam needed any rishon or acharon to clarify his shita. And that we have better understanding of Torah. Too funny.


    Either I am misunderstanding you or you misunderstood me because I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean c”v that the Rambam was wrong. Even though he was chozer at the end of his life after he learned nistar, my Rosh Kollel explained to me that it just makes it a machlokes between the first shitah of the Rambam with his later shita, rather than render it invalid.

    What I meant was that as The Rambam, it is within his power to maintain such a shita and it be valid. For us though, he is a mi’ut (possibly even against himself) and we have to follow the consensus, not the individual opinion.

    What I meant about the Rambam not having Rishonim to hash it out was that, had the Rambam been born now he would be like us, subject to the consensus.


    Either I am misunderstanding you or you misunderstood me because I wasn’t clear.

    The second.

    For us though, he is a mi’ut (possibly even against himself) and we have to follow the consensus, not the individual opinion.

    That is a different question. However, since there is no Halacha Pesuka (AFAIK, SA doesn’t mention it) one can “hold” whatever they want. To call reincarnation an “Ikar” is difficult to say the least.

    P.S. That is not to say that it doesn’t exist. The Sefiros are also a strong basis of Kabbalah, but no one will tell you that you must believe in them or be a Kofer.

    What I meant about the Rambam not having Rishonim to hash it out was that, had the Rambam been born now he would be like us, subject to the consensus.

    I’m Moche on this as well (but this obviously didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, so I’ll just ask that you reword it).

    Rav Tuv

    What I meant about the Rambam not having Rishonim to hash it out was that, had the Rambam been born now he would be like us, subject to the consensus.

    If the Rambam were born now..he wouldn’t be the Rambam. Still don’t get your point.

    just my hapence

    GAW – Bother. You got the bikkit line in before me…

    HaLeivi – Added to Sam2’s Rambam we have Rav Hai Gaon (who held it was avodah zorah gemurah), Rav Crescas and the Ralbag. Although in the case of the Ralbag you could arguably claim he held it to be as Jewish as bechira…

    Derech Hamelech – I really don’t get the whole “the Rambam was chozer at the end of his life” thing. So he was vehemntly angainst something all his life, wrote copious amounts in his seforim about why he didn’t hold of it, and then was suddenly chozer and never told anyone about it? He never wrote his retraction? I mean that’s a pretty big chazoro and he never actually publicized it?! There is no contemporary evidence that he was chozer, neither from him nor even from someone who was simply around at the time. Surely a chazoro as big as that would have got some sort of mention somewhere. It would be like one of the Satmar Rebbes turning round and becoming a tzioni, not going to pass without comment… And yet you would have me believe that it did… Hmmmm…


    You probably mean Rav Saadya Gaon.

    Rav Crescas actually says that although it doesn’t make sense to him, since they say that according to Kabbala it exists he’ll accept it.

    Sam, I purposely chose free will, since that is an Ikkar according to the Rambam but not all that important according to everyone else. The Chovos Halevavos quotes those who don’t hold of it, and doesn’t toss it out the window. The Maharal says regarding the Maase Hashem’s Shita of Siluk Yedia, that it is better to hold there is no Bechira. The Rambam himself doesn’t make it into an Ikkar, only S’char Ve’onesh. Although, the Gemara Bava Basra does say that saying Barasa Tzadikim Barasa Reshaim is not correct.

    I didn’t call Gilgul an Ikkar in Judaism, but tossing out the words of plenty Rishonim and most Achronim and the Zohar Hakadosh as a Goyish idea, does bump with an Ikkar.


    Where are these Rambams, R’ Hai Gaons and Rashashs you guys are talking about?

    On a different vein, which Gilgul is going to come back by ????? ?????? The first, the last, or some sort of “we-don’t-understand-these-things-everything-together-mush-guf-neshomo-ruach”? (I think somebody told me once a ?????? about it but I can’t remember)


    Having a belief can be Kfira but not Avoda Zara. As long as I don’t do any of the 4 Avodos or its specific Avoda, I didn’t transgress Avoda Zara.

    The Rambam holds that Kishuf is based on the same system as Avoda Zara. Is every Mechashef Oiver on Avoda Zara automatically? It can’t be, since it is not from the Shalosh Aveiros Chamuros and according to the Rashba it is Muttar to heal with Kishuf, and it is Muttar Lihislamed.

    This reminds me of a story I recently heard. Once, by a meeting of Rabbanim Reb Aaron called out at someone, “Am Ha’aretz!” The Satmar Rebbe heard this and asked, “Really? He’s an Am Ha’aretz?” Someone there explained to the Satmar Rebbe that Reb Aaron uses ‘Am Ha’aretz’ like the Satmar Rebbe uses Apikores.


    What I am trying to say is not that belief in gilgul neshamos should be an ikkur today, but that there needs to be acceptance by the individual of those ideas that were accepted by the greater majority of the previous generations of gedolim.

    To illustrate this point. I have seen a ger who does hishtachavaya with pishut yodayim vraglayim in shemonah esreh, in fact his whole shemoneh esreh looks like an Arab prayer. Maybe there is such a shitah. I actually think he may have based it on a shitah that we can do pishut today, but I can’t recall his crazy rationale.

    The point being that this is an extreme example of what happens when someone latches on to a mi’ut opinion that wasn’t mekubal by the majority of gedolim. It is a dangerous thing to do, it shows lack of emunah in the chachamim that came before the person and leads a person to be porush min hatzibbur.

    On the other hand, the Rishonim, including the Rambam were (in comparison to us, not their predecessors) the mischadshim. They had the ability to write the Mishnah Torah and the Mordechai on their own cognizance. So the Rambam can have such a shitah.

    But we, the collective jewish people, are not just talmidim of the Rambam. We are talmidim of the Rosh, the Ritvah, the Ramban, Rashi, etc. We are also talmidim of the Taz, the Vilna Gaon, the Ba’al Shem Tov, Rav Chaim Salanter, the Ben Ish Chai, Rav Dessler and myriads other gedolim who shaped our views and beliefs into what they are today. In essence, their teachings are the bedrock of all our hashkafos. The consensus among these gedolim is that there exists gilgul neshamos.

    In my opinion, it is not the Rambam himself who carries Klal Yisroel, but all the gedolim together. And to throw out the majority of these gedolim in favor of one, requires strong shoulders, because you are not just taking the Rambam’s shitah, you are also throwing out the shitah of most gedolim from then and since then. If you want to do such a thing fine. But first reach the level of the Meiri or the Mechaber or the Besht.

    To say that there is no gilgul neshamos is to throw out all the gedolim mekubalim and gedolim chassidus as well as many seforim that are based on that principle as being so much air. Who can say such a thing today?


    Just my hapence: I didn’t make it up myself. It is from the Shomer Emunim haKadmon. The mechaber is the Pri Megadim. It seems I’ve been quoting it in the CR for some time already. It’s the paragraph that starts ???.


    Derech Hamelech: To be fair, the Rambam would have dismissed all the Gedolei Kaballah and Chassidus as a lot less than just air…


    Ahava, as others have mentioned, this is a complex topic. Few are familiar with all the sources, because they are seldom studied. (That said, R’ Yaacov Astor wrote an interesting book, called Soul Searching I think, with a chapter on this topic.) But here are some of my thoughts on your original question.

    Neshamos aren’t reincarnated forever. Some souls may never reincarnate, because they fulfilled their tikun in one lifetime, while some may reincarnate numerous times, because it is necessary for the achievement of their soul’s purpose or rectification.

    Even if a departed soul is later reincarnated, we don’t know how long it takes. So your prayers (and kaddish) may help cleanse the soul prior to reincarnation, so that less will need to be accomplished in the next life. Or perhaps your prayers will spare it from having to reincarnate again at all.

    I don’t know if this is really a general rule, but I’ve heard chassidic sources teach that if one sins against G-d and does not achieve forgiveness, the punishment is only some purification in purgatory, but our unforgiven sins against one another make an additional gilgul necessary.

    The Baba Sali asked a well-known kabbalist to tell him whose neshama he (Baba Sali) had. The kabbalist told him he was reincarnated from Chizkiyahu, I think, which pleased the Baba Sali. I believe the Arizal was also known for telling people who they were reincarnated from.

    I don’t remember a particular source saying that departed souls watch over us, but I remember reading that in various places, and I’m sure they do. It’s even possible that part of the soul reincarnates, and part of the soul stays to watch over us. Or even during a reincarnation, one’s soul might watch over the living during sleep (when souls leave the body and do…what souls do.)

    just my hapence

    HaLeivi – Sorry, Rav Saadiah, you’re right. I may also have worded it a little wrong, what I meant was that he says the belief comes entirely from avodah zorah belief systems and is as such completely incompatable with Judaism. Also Rav Crescas does not say that, what he says (according to the best of my understanding) is that he does not believe in it despite the fact that people tell him that it is kabbala, however if someone can prove the truth of it to him then he would.

    Derech Hamelech – And the mekor of the “echod mimeforshei haRamban” is? I didn’t think you were making it up – I had heard the claim long before I’d heard of the CR. What I was saying is that I find it extrememly hard to believe historically. Could you please answer me how when the Rambam, the famous rationalist who dismissed much of the supernatural as non-existent, suddenly turned around completely and said that he now did in fact believe in it absolutely no-one batted an eyelid. Nobody even took the time to write a letter to their acquaintance saying “have you heard the news?”?! How is there not a single note of this momentous chazoro?


    What I am trying to say is not that belief in gilgul neshamos should be an ikkur today, but that there needs to be acceptance by the individual of those ideas that were accepted by the greater majority of the previous generations of gedolim.

    No Psak = no required acceptance.


    GAW – Bother. You got the bikkit line in before me…

    You going to update, or do I win?


    Mareh mokom for R Saadya Gaon is Emunot vDeot, mamar shishi/chet


    Sam2: you’re right. All I’m trying to say is that he has the power to do so as a Rishon. He doesn’t need to worry about the opinion of the majority of Rishonim. We do.

    Just my hapence: the fact that we don’t have any letters today doesn’t mean he didn’t write any. I don’t think he’s making this up. I mean a little later in the paragraph he quotes the Abarbanel and Mahara”m Alashkar, the former who heard about this chazarah and the latter who seems to have seen a letter from the Rambam to one of his talmidim. The mechaber also says he has this letter in ksav yad (I assume of the Rambam).

    The fact that he was a “super rationalist” is exactly the point. The mechaber on page 5 quotes the Rambam himself and explains all his seforim are based on his own shikul hada’as and sevora because he had never been taught nistar. I understand that he was working with what was available to him: his massive intellect and his eyes. Once he was given tools that extended beyond the intellect and the eyes, he was chozer.

    Also I made a mistake. The mechaber is not the Pri Megadim.

    just my hapence

    Derech Hamelech – Look, I’m sorry but the claim is an extraordinary one and asking me to just trust an anonymous pirush on the Ramban (which places him over 100 years later than the story supposedly happened, at the very least) who says a nice story without any corroborating evidence is asking me to take a huge leap of faith that I am unwilling to do, especially seeing as the claim is so out of character for the person involved. Again, I ask you if someone was to tell you that b’sof yamov the Satmar Rav was chozer and became a tzioni would you believe them? The fact that this supposed letter is not mentioned for so many years after the death of the Rambam, during which time his shittos on the supernatural were discussed at length, is suggestive of the fact that it may not be 100% accurate. Why does R’ Avraham be HaRambam repeat his father’s shittos in this regard without ever mentioning that he was chozer? Furthermore, if he was chozer don’t you think his son would have followed? Instead we find that he goes along with his father’s known shittos, and quotes them as being his father’s shittos and as being yodua as his father’s shittos and never once mentions a word about this supposed chazoro. It’s a little hard to swallow…

    GAW – Of course I’m not going to concede defeat to you. I’m biding my time until I find a thread I can get a decent run in…


    just my hapence: I found the Abarbanel that the mechaber is quoting here:

    Personally I find it more difficult to say that the Shomer Emunim and Abarbanel could be making such a mistake. As you say, his position is so opposing that one would expect they would have done adequate research before making such a pronouncement.


    Derech, doesn’t he preface that paragraph with, “If you believe the letter…”?

    The Kasha from Reb Avraham Ben Harambam is a strong one, besides it sure does sound a bit too fantastic. It comes together with Aristotle meeting a Jewish sage and regretting everything, the Gra overhearing a Chassid and changing his mind, Reb Moshe de Leon admitting quietly that he made it all up (at least the parts that he had), among other conspriracy stories some people like conspiracies and some don’t.

    I personally have the approach of another conspiracy, that the Rambam knew Kabbalah, like his friend, the ibn Ezra, and as the Raavad assumed he did. Reb Reuven Margalis showed parallels. That’s what the second letter suggests. The Migdal Oz also mentions having seen that second letter, or something similar.


    HaLeiVi: You mean the Rambam knew Kaballah and rejected it? And I thought the conspiracy was that R’ Moshe De Leon’s wife admitted that he made it up, not he himself.


    HaLeivi: I think he means it as in “if you would like to believe what I have been telling you, then consider the following…”

    Also, if you look at the second paragraph here:

    you will see that he quotes the Rambam in Moreh that his understanding of maaseh merkavah is based on shikul hada’as and not on any nistar that he was mekabel.

    If you tell me that there are parallels between the Rambam and kaballah, then I still won’t say it is because he learned it. I would say it is because the Rambam’s Torah is still Toras Emes so even if it wasn’t written al pi kaballah, its still al pi kaballah.

    Sam2: I actually heard Reb Berel Wein say that he saw a manuscript in YU I think, where his wife says he didn’t make it up. I have to find it again.

    just my hapence

    Derech Hamelech – I find it easier to believe that someone can give over a report that they have heard (he simply says “shomati” and not that it was something that he knows to be the case) and be mistaken about its validity than all the mental contortions that you have to go through to believe that the Rambam was chozer. I mean, apart from all the questions I’ve asked you (to which you have offered no response) there is the issue of the Ramabam controversy which, if you are correct, should have been very easily sorted out by someone standing up and saying “it’s alright, he was chozer.” And yet it took decades to sort, during which time nobody even thought about saying this, instead the Ramban had to make it clear that those were the Rambam’s shittos and he was entitled to them. So the controversy that could have ended because of the supposed chazoro ended because the Ramban said that the shittos that the Rambam was supposedly chozer from were his shittos that could not be denied validity. Again, seems a little strange.

    Furthermore it seems like even after the Abarbanel nobody really believed that the Rambam was chozer; the Gra, for instance, had a lot to say on the Rambam’s shittos on the supernatural and doesn’t mention the chazoro. Nor do any of the seforim that deal with Moreh Nevuchim, nor the nosei keilim on Sefer Hamadah, nor pretty much any sefer that quotes the Rambam’s shittos.

    Please explain how you find all this, and what I have asked above, easier to understand than simply someone (granted an exceptional someone) making one mistake. Doesn’t your position entail believing that all these people – R’ Avraham ben HaRamban, the Ramban, Ra’avad III, Rabbeinu Yonah, everyone else involved in that controversy, the Gra, all the nosei keilim etc. etc. etc. – made multiple mistakes? And yet you find that easier to believe than one or two people making one mistake?!


    DH: The (apocryphal) story is that either he or his wife (or both) went senile at the end of their lives and admitted it was a fake, for whatever that’s worth (not very much).


    I thought the story was that she said that he admitted to her.

    JMH, it’s possible that the letter was unknown until a certain point. Also, the Chazara would protect the Rambam but not his Sefarim. The Gra didn’t embrace this story because he couldn’t be sure of it. But I think your Kasha from Reb Avraham Ben Harambam is strong one. If anyone saw the letter it should have been him. (Maybe an Askan produced the letter — in order to make a Kiddush Hashem)

    Chazi Man Gavra Rabba Ka Mashid Alei only works when it is the Sahadusa of the Gavra Rabba. When you are talking about something that the Ri Irgis or Abrabanel couldn’t have verified it doesn’t add that much validity to the story.

    Sam, he might have voiced opposition to a certain Sefer but that doesn’t say anything about the study of Darkei Hashem. Sure, a discussion of arms and legs, faces and brains, doesn’t sound so metaphysical. But do you think the Ramchal has anything that violates the Rambam’s Ikkrim?

    Besides, as I alluded to in the recent past, when your life’s ambition is to introduce and spread a certain idea, you won’t waste time entertaining every devils advocacy. it was important for the Rambam to demolish any semblance to corporeality and he did so sometimes at the expense of explaining Medrashim and other Sefarim. Think of how the Satmar Rebbe would knock off certain quotes from previous Rebbes, in order not to inhibit his Shitta. We have often in the Gemara where an Amora would quote a Mishna in a different Tanna’s name so that the Mishna should be accepted.

    Let’s not forget that before the Ramban Kabbala was very quietly learned. The Ramban himself only hinted to Gilgul while the next generation spoke openly about it.


    HaLeiVi: I’m not sure about the Ramchal, but the Ari Z”L very much has things that violate the Rambam’s definition of the Ikkarim.

    just my hapence

    HeLeiVi – The point I was making from that was that during the entire course of the controversy not a single mention of the chazoro was made, something which would have calmed the situation immensely. Sure, it might not have saved the whole book-banning thing but the more sordid parts of the affair would have been avoided. So the question must be asked: why no mention?

    I think your point about how open the learning of Kabbala was pre-Ramban is quite a good one, except for the fact that two of the people quoted as being against reincarnation definitely studied it (Rav Saadiah Gaon, R’ Crescas) one of whom was post-Ramban (R’ Crescas) so I’m not sure it entirely explains why some were against reincarnation.


    just my hapence: If you look a little later on, he brings a letter quoted from Mahara”m Alashkar that the Rambam wrote to one of his talmidim and than says he has that ksav yad.

    ????”? ????? ?”? ???? ??? ???????? ???????? ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ??????? ????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ???’ ????…???, ??”? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ????? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ????

    The truth is, you’re right, I don’t think there is anything empirical, because this could have been a conspiracy stretching back a thousand years. When I approached my Rosh Kollel with this shtickel I asked him if it negates all the Rambam we have today and he told me that it means that there are to valid opposing shitos of the Rambam. He called it a machlokes between the Rambam and the Rambam. So in that case I would say that maybe all the nosei keilim were not making a mistake, they were only asking according to that shittah of the Rambam because it is also Torah. The fact that no one mentions could mean that the Rambam was at the end of his life (as he says) and didn’t have the capability to make this new shittah known throughout the world. So instead he wrote a letter or two that never became widely known.

    Sam2: I check Reb Berel Wein and it looks like it wasn’t him, but I’m almost 100% sure I heard it somewhere from someone. Maybe it was Rabbi Tatz. I’ll try to find it.

    just my hapence

    Derech Hamelech – A few points. What could have been a conspiracy? That the Rambam was chozer or that he wasn’t? Also, just to be pedantic, it couldn’t stretch back a thousand years as the Rambam hadn’t been born then. He lived slightly over 880-800 years ago, so who was making conspiracies about his deathbed confessions 200 years before his death?

    Finally, what you write answers none of the questions I asked, especially not the one from his son (who, even if there was some sort of secret letter would have been one of the few to have seen it), it is simply an excuse once you already believe. Saying ‘maybe this, maybe that’ is all very well if you have a belief and need to reconcile it but to create the belief in the first place ‘possibly the letter was secret’ just isn’t convincing. The weight of evidence points to the Rambam not being chozer and if you choose to believe otherwise then that’s your prerogative but please don’t state your belief as fact (“even though he was chozer at the end of his life after he learned nistar”).


    The MAHARSH”O (Shabbos 152b) states that a NESHAMA “could” come back (reincarnated) up to three times. However, the NESHAMA of a perfect TZADIK – TZADIK GOMUR – does not get reincanted:

    ????”? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?

    ????? ??? ????? ????? ???’.

    ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?? ?”? ???? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???”? ??? ????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??”? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ??? ????? ????? ????? ????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ???”? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ??? ??”?:

    However the BAAL HATANYA (Reb Shneuer Zalman of Liadi ZT”L)

    (My explanation:)

    For example, there are MITZVOS that only a KOHEN could fulfill them. So, even a TZADIK who was not a KOHEN, comes back in the next GIGUL as a KOHEN in order to fulfill the mitzvos of a KOHEN:

    See the orignal at:


    Just my hapence: The conspiracy that I am referring to is the one where rumors are spread and a forged letter disseminated in an attempt to invalidate the Rambam’s previous shitos. I think that is what you are implying must have happened.

    Your question about Rav Avraham Ben haRambam is a good one. Maybe since his son was so young he chose to send the letter to an older talmid instead. I don’t know there are a thousand possibilities. I am not saying the letter was secret, only that there is only the one that he sent his talmid. The fact that the chazarah is not well known only means that the chazarah was not well known, not proof that it didn’t happen.

    I don’t think it’s fair to paint me as a conspiracy theorist as though I want to believe in aliens and now I’m looking for excuses to validate that belief. For one thing, I gain nothing by promoting this idea. I have no agenda nor am i looking for an excuse to stop learning the Rambam c”v. There are sufficiently great enough Rabbis who believed there was enough evidence to declare in their seforim that a chazarah happened. You have questions on how such a thing could have happened being as certain figures didnt seem to know it. I dont know what actually happened, but as far as I understand it, all you are asking is why didn’t Rav X know. Who knows? For me it is simply a matter of some gedolim said something happened so I believe it. Bring me a Sefer that says that they were there and saw the letter forged and the rumors started and I will assume the former were duped. But I can’t just throw out the position of accepted gedolim on your questions. In the meantime I will assume Mahara”m Alashkar wondered the same thing but felt the question wasn’t strong enough to dispute his evidence when he defended him against the Sefer haEmunos.


    DH: You’re being ridiculous. The “Chazarah” never happened. If such a thing happened everyone would know. I can’t find a big Rabbi who gets up tomorrow and says that the Satmer Rov, Brisker Rav, etc. all were Chozer on Zionism right before they died. It is a meaningless statement. It is unverifiable and pointless. You can’t make unverifiable statements hundreds of years after the fact and expect to be believed. The Maharam Al Ashkar either was misinformed or (more likely) tore the Sefer he was responding to to shreds (look at what he writes there, it’s the most Charif T’shuvah I’ve ever seen from any Rishon) and pulled out all the stops, even if he had to cite an apocryphal and untrue legend to do it.


    Sam2: I am moche on your suggestion that any Rishon or Achron would stoop to using lies to defend a position. Or for any reason at all.

    I will just say that my position is that when it comes to someone acknowledged as a gadol, there are no boundaries to the emunah one should place in him. For me, these three gedolim have more than enough status to warrant emunas chachamim. I don’t need to understand the how or why in order for me to accept their words.


    Just My Happence,

    Rav hai Gaon is known to have learned Kabbala and even wrote some Kuntreisim on that, but when did you hear about Rav Saadya Gaon? His Pirush on Sefer Yetzira doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Kabbala. Although, there is a reference to an interesting tradition from Rav Saadya, about how to make a Golem, mentioned in the Kol Yehuda on the Kuzri. Also, the Yashar Micandia writes that the fact that Rav Saadya Gaon wrote a philosophy based Sefer doesn’t show that he didn’t know Kabbala as well. But where do we find his name in reference to Kabbala?

    Actually, utilizing the idea of the Yashar Micandia it is in fact possible to say it is not a Stira. I mentioned earlier that his problem with reincarnation is that the Nefesh, being the identity of this particular person can’t be redifined to be the identity of another. But the Magid Meisharim actually explains that a new Nefesh is created for each new Gilgul. So, perhaps being that Gilgul was such a secret in those days (that the Ramban refused to mention it explicitly in his Pirush on Iyuv), he neglected to mention the true concept that is reminiscent of that other idea he was discussing, which is the popular Hindu concept of reincarnation.

    R’ Crescas’ relation to Kabbala seems to be more similar to that of the Sefer Ikrim and the Abrabanel among many others. They respected it, and even looked into what was available, learned through the Sefer Hazohar, but did not consider themselves Kabbalists. The Abrabanel writes of himself, “Eini Mei’anshei Hachachma Hahi”, althoug he does discuss the Sfiros and different ideas from Sifrei Kabbala. In other words, he didn’t say, Oh I have no idea what this means. But, it wasn’t his expertise. The Chinuch mentions the existance of Kabbala, Mekubalim, and that they have much better reasons for the Mitzvos than his.


    If the Maharam Alashkar would really

    have accepted that story as fact, he

    wouldn’t have bothered to answer all

    the complaints of Reb Shem Tov. The Ri

    Irgis also prefaced it with that qualifier.

    I don’t think he means to say, if you

    believed what I said until now I have

    another one for ya.

    The Abrabanel also mentions it at one

    point as an apocryphal idea, that who

    knows might have even happened. Why

    would the Abrabanel bother writing a

    Perush on the Moreh Nevuchim when

    the gist of it was retracted?

    What you said about the Rambam being

    Mechaven to the Sod by learning

    Lishma, is a wonderful point. I’ve heard

    that before as well. But the Raavad (who

    might not have seen the Moreh when

    he wrote the following) wrote in

    Yesodei hatorah, where the Rambam

    explains Panai Lo Yera’u, that there is a

    Sod here and perhaps the Rambam

    doesn’t know it. So, the Raavad wasn’t

    convinced that the Rambam didn’t learn


    Sam, if the Ramban is not considered

    to have violated the Rambam’s

    principles, or the Ramak and the Beis

    Yosef, why would you say that about

    the Arizal? Just because he brought

    more terminology to the table? Every

    and any Sefer of Toras Ari begins with

    warnings not to take things literally.

    The Sifrei Ari were not written in a

    vacuum. They were written for those

    already versed in Toras Ramak, who

    constantly warned and explained

    exactly how things are to be

    understood. The Shla Hakadosh often

    quotes from Kisvei Ari, and yet

    expounds much on the Rambam’s

    principles. Did you ever learn through

    the fourth Be’er of the Maharal’s Be’er

    Hagola or the Ramchal’s Choker



    Derech Hamelech: Why are you favoring the position and truthfulness of one rishon or acharon over another (namely the Ramban and all the others who defended the Rambam’s opinions and all of the rabbanim more recently who have agreed with the Rambam)? Surely they would not have stated or supported such an opinion in the name of the Rambam knowing that the Rambam had recanted… Isn’t that also a form of lying (or rather selective truth)?


    The Ramban defended the Rambam personally, not the Shitos. He argues on the Shitos. The Ritva, in Sefer Zichronos, defended the Shitos as well, but goes on to add that he doesn’t agree with them, but they aren’t nonsense.

    In fact, very few and far between were those who took on the complete approach of the Moreh. It is a recent thing to accept it as the main view, since it appeals more to western thinking.

    Being that it is a reborn Hashkafa and doesn’t come with a long chain behind it, many parts are interpreted freshly that are hardly what the Rambam had in mind. An example is the Bilaam donkey thing. I hear people lovingly quoting that passing statement while imagining what “they” would say if I would have said that, and ignoring the open statements of the Rambam describing the speaking donkey as a Ness carried out by a Malach and being prepared Erev Shabbos Bein Hashmashos.

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