Sunday, 28 November 2010

How is Following the BeHaG Less Halachically Authentic than Following the Rambam

•. Halachot G'dolot was written in Bavel closer in SPACE to the Talmud and the G'onim than was Andalus and Egypt
• Given The HG was written 300 years EARLIER than the Mishneh Torah thus closer in TIME to the Talmud and the G'onim than the Mishneh Torah [circa 1170 CE]

So it would seem rational, logical, and natural to see the BeHAG as more akin to Talmudic standards and norms than the Mishneh Torah which was compiled after a significant drift over space and time [different era, different society]

So why do many fundamentalists choose MT over HG? What is their rationale?



micha berger said...

When push comes to shove, the real attraction of the Rambam is ease-of-use. All that other stuff about link to ge'onim or whatnot is post-facto. They just want an easy-to-reference clear guide. The whole thing is about reducing halakhah from an Oral Tradition based on weighing competing rules of thumb to black-and-white clarity with the certainty of Textuality.

Two side notes:

I would have thought the Behag is a gaon, not just close in time and style to the geonim.

If the issue really was the geonim's chain of mesorah, why aren't they davening from R' Saadia's siddur?


Mikewind Dale (Michael Makovi) said...

Simple: most RambaMists know that they aren't on the level to start learning the entire Gemara and all the Gaonim and start pasqening themselves. So they choose someone who did it for them.

But those who are on that level, will indeed learn the entire Gemara, and the Yerushalmi, and the Gaonim, and the RambaM, and start doing whatever they think it right. Of course, they usually give the most weight to the RambaM because, after all, he already did what the given person here is himself trying to do. Even if you feel on the level to reinvent the wheel, it couldn't hurt to still intensely study the man who invented it, and in any case, you'll probably end up inventing a wheel a lot like his.

micha berger said...

Mike: Howe does that distinguish the Rambam from the Behag.

(Realize that it's entirely possible, and even likely, that the Behag's rulings were so accepted than many of them were inserted into the text of the Bavli as a final "Vehilchita" comment.)