Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Debate over the Rambam's 13 Principles - Post 1

The present-day debate over the Rambam's Principles and its force in Orthodox Jewish life really began with Rabbi Parnas' article in the Torah U'Madda Journal and Dr. Mark Shapiro's response to it in a subsequent edition of that Journal. Subsequently, though, Dr. Shapiro expanded upon his article in his book "The Limits of Orthodox Thought" which, in turn although not surprisingly, brought forth responses itself.

One of those responses, to some extent, was Rabbi Zev Leff's article in a recent edition of Jewish Action on "The Thirteen Principles of Rambam." This article can be viewed at

We hope, in subsequent posts on this subject, to follow the debate from this point and to offer our own comments


micha berger said...

My own opinion was largely shaped by something R' Gil Student wrote that I believe he failed to get published.

There are places where aggadita impacts halakhah. So, even if pesaq in aggadita is impossible (something I believe), there are pesaqim in halakhah which imply limits to hashkafah.

In other words, one can not pasqen that there will be a messianic king, as opposed to a messianic era with no actual king (as Rashi understands R' Hillel's position). However, one can pasqen that one can't drink uncooked wine touched by a Jew who doesn't believe there will be a messianic king.

I would therefore argue that the laws of stam yeinam, geirus, and minyan do limit which beliefs can be held by people we wish to count as "one of us". And in practice, we do invoke some loose basically like Ani Maamin or Yigdal version of the Rambam's articles of faith when deciding these issues.


Gil Student said...

The article was published in Modern Judaism 24:3 (2004) -