Rambam Bekius

Rambam Bekius

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss, and this is the podcast for my Rambam Bekius Chavurah at Yeshiva Bnei Torah (YBT). We typically meet four days a week for an hour and learn the writings of the Rambam on a bekius level (i.e. with the aim of covering ground rather than doing an in-depth analysis). Our focus is on the Mishneh Torah, but we will frequently delve into the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, the Peirush ha'Mishnayos, the Moreh ha'Nevuchim, and other writings from the Rambam when our learning takes us there. If you're interested in attaining fluency in the Rambam's Torah, then this is the podcast for you!

Episodes

October 21, 2021 54 min

Rambam: On Women Learning Torah - Part 2 (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:13)

This afternoon (10/21/21) in our Rambam Bekius chavurah we continued in our attempt to understand the Rambam's shitah on teaching Torah to women. I say "attempt" because the tasked proved to be quite difficult. I can't say we really arrived at a firm understanding. Unless you REALLY want to be thorough, I might even recommend skipping this one. The ...

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This afternoon (10/20/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we took up the "hot topic" of women learning Torah. We began by reviewing an unrelated side-question: "What's the deal wth the paragraph breaks in the various editions of the Mishneh Torah?" We then read the two halachos in the Rambam about women learning Torah and fathers teaching their daughters Torah, and we analyzed them step by step, drawing upon the...

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This afternoon (10/19/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we continued our sidequest to understand the Rambam's view of learning talmud, on the one hand, and learning Talmud, on the other (and if that distinction is lost on you, then you REALLY need to listen to part 1). After reviewing what we learned yesterday, we set out to understand what the Rambam means in his statements about Davar Katon in Yesodei ha'Torah 4:13. We ...

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This afternoon (10/18/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we went on a little bit of a sidequest. Last week we read the Rambam's tripartite talmud Torah curriculum: a third Torah she'bi'Chsav, a third Torah she'baal Peh, and a third the ACTIVITY of Talmud. Today we delved into the questions of: What, exactly, does the Rambam mean by "talmud," and what is the relationship between HIS "talmud" and what...

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This afternoon (10/14/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we FINALLY found a satisfactory answer (or answers) to the question of how the Rambam could be supported by his brother while he learned Torah, thanks to R' Shelat's footnotes on several of the Rambam's letters - plus a halacha we missed in Hilchos Sanhedrin. The first letter we read also showcased the Rambam's human side, revealing the depths of his grief ov...

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This afternoon (10/13/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we devoted one more day to analyzing the Rambam's statements about being paid for Torah. We decided to pursue a tangent that came up about avodah zarah and Chazal's approach to non-prohibited superstitious practices. We then went back and attempted to understand the Rambam's statements about the relationship between work and benefiting from Torah. Although we did...

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This afternoon (10/12/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we analyzed the Rambam's fivefold enumeration of why it's bad to treat Torah as a job. Although we didn't complete our analysis, we did come up with a unified approach which I'm happy with. Tomorrow (God willing) we'll take another stab at it, and continue our analysis with the Rambam's next paragraph.
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מקורות:
רמב"ם - משנה תורה, ספר המדע, ...

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This afternoon (10/11/21), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we continued our exploration of the Rambam's view on the permissibility of being paid to learn, teach, or adjudicate Torah. We began with his (vehement) codification of his view in the Mishneh Torah. We then read and discussed the foonotes of R' Makbili (the editor of the critical edition of the Mishneh Torah we use), looking up some of the relevant primary sources h...

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This afternoon (10/7/21) we took a brief detour from Hilchos Talmud Torah to read through the Rambam's famous diatribe against "profiting" from Torah, in his commentary to Avos 4:7 (or 4:5, depending on your edition). We began with the Aruch ha'Shulchan's concise summary of the heter that the world relies on, just so we can have a point of contrast, and then we read through the Rambam's lengthy remarks. Our ...

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This afternoon (10/6/21) in our Rambam Bekius chavurah we finished the initial halachos about teaching Torah in Chapter 1. We covered three topics: (1) If botha  father and son need a basic Torah education, who takes precedence? (2) What comes first: learning Torah or marriage? and (3) Is it permissible to pay or charge Torah teachers? Before we move on in Hilchos Talmud Torah, we're first going to learn through the Rambam'...

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This afternoon (10/5/21) we went over everything we did yesterday in an attempt to sharpen our questions and start to explore ways to answer them. I think we got as far as we can get for now. The next step is to read on, and to at least finish the next few halachos about the obligation to teach - if not the full first perek. Once we do that, we'll have a better shot at forming a comprehensive theory.
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מקורות:
רמב"ם -...

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October 4, 2021 25 min

Since today (10/4/21) was our first REAL session of Rambam Bekius in the 2021-2022 academic year (now that the moadim are over), I decided it would be a good idea to review what the Mishneh Torah is and what approach we will be taking in our Rambam Bekius chavurah. We reviewed the essential excerpts from the Rambam's statements about the purpose and scope of the Mishneh Torah and we gave a recap of our methodology.
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מק...

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This afternoon (10/4/21) in our Rambam Bekius chavurah we began Hilchos Talmud Torah. As is our custom, we started by comparing the Rambam's formulation of the mitzvah in the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, the Reshimos at the beginning of the Mishneh Torah, the Koseres, and the first halachos. Not surprisingly, we already have a plateful of questions! Tomorrow we'll begin by reading the Torah she'bi'Chsav and then reviewing ...

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This afternoon (9/14/21) we attempted to answer the questions we raised yesterday. Using a combination of our own minds and the sources provided by R' Qafih in his digest, we were able to arrive at a decent understanding of two ways to learn the Rambam. We had a nice tangential discussion about the tension between the notion that our sins are completely erased by teshuvah and the idea of "my sin is before me always." We...

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This afternoon (9/13/21) we took up the question: Which sins should a person publicize his teshuvah on and which sins should he keep private? After reviewing the Rambam on the basic mitzvah of vidui, and going over a few "side ideas," we learned Hilchos Teshuvah 2:5, raising all the major questions and starting to develop an approach. Tomorrow we'll attempt to answer all of our unanswered questions.
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מקורות:
רמב...

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This afternoon (9/6/21) we had a special edition of Rambam Bekius in which we examined the three places where the Rambam utilizes the metaphor of "waking up." The three are (1) in Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4, when he explains the "message" of shofar, (2) in Hilchos Mezuzah 6:13, in his explanation of the purpose and importance of mezuzah, and (3) in Hilchos Avel 13:11-12 when he talks about how a person should react when a...

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This afternoon (8/4/21 at YBT), in our last Rambam Bekius chavurah of the 2020-2021 year, we completed Hilchos Deios. After reviewing the Rambam's treatment of nekimah (taking revenge) and netirah (bearing a grudge) in the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, we did the "hidden" source on revenge in the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, in the Rambam's discussion of the prohibition to curse a fellow Jew. We then read the halachos about nekima...

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This afternoon (8/2/21 at YBT), in our Rambam Bekius chavurah, we finished the topic of lashon ha'ra, explaining the last couple of halachos in Deios Chapter 7 and then attempting to understand as much as we could of the end of Tumas Tzaraas, where the Rambam discusses another dimension of the harm of lashon ha'ra. We concluded by reading the Sefer ha'Mitzvos on our two remaining mitzvos in Hilchos Deios: the prohibitio...

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This afternoon (7/29/21 at YBT) we focused on two topics: avak lashon ha'ra (the "dust" of lashon ha'ra, i.e. the four categories of partial lashon ha'ra, which is still prohibited) and the halachos about other forms of lashon ha'ra, including the wide misconception that "if it's public, then it's okay to talk about."
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מקורות:
רמב"ם - משנה תורה, ספר המדע, הלכות דעות ז:ד-ה
---------...

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This afternoon (7/28/21 at YBT) we revisited the question we spent yesterday working on, namely, "What is rechilus?" Thanks to some non-Rambam sources, we were able to come up with a clear definition of rechilus according to the Rambam and explain how lashon ha'ra is a subcategory. We then analyzed the statements the Rambam cited about the harm of lashon ha'ra.
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מקורות:
רמב"ם - משנה תורה, ספר המדע, הלכות ...

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