Monday, 5 October 2009

Talking Torah and History 2

Another topic we discussed was Rashi vs. Tosafos vs. Rambam

Rashi was not privy to much of the Yerushalmi.

However, both Rambam and Tosafos make extensive use of Yerushalmi and Tosefta.

With this common denominator, I had presumed that Rambam and Tosafos had a similar approach to the Talmudical Sugya

And how Halachah is derived forthwith.

But the good Historian disabused me of my simplistic understanding.

Essentially he said the following [these are paraphrases and not literal quotes]:

"While it's true that both Rambam and Tosafos add Yerushalmi and Tosefta to the mix with the Bavli - but how they use them is different.

"Rambam takes ONE sugya as the controlling sugya. It might be Bavli or Yerushalmi or Tosefta etc. But the Rambam loyally sticks to his selected sugya without deviation.

"OTOH Tosafos, conflates and uses dialectics to come up with a synthesized approach. Instead of the Rambam's pure sugya, a hybrid of several sources emerges as the controlling sugya for Tosafos.

I found this point very enlightening. So Rambam can be a strict constructionist in the sense of staying in the box without straying. Yet Rambam is not at all confined JUST to Bavli. Rather he has a broad range of sources to select from.

Next topic BEH:

Another quick look at la'asukei shma'ateta...



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