Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Lech Lecha - Discovering G-d

I gave a shiur last night (and a big 'Thank You' to Katy for arranging and hosting the shiur).

The shiur is on Lech Lecha and whether Avraham perceived G-d in the same way that Moshe Rabbeinu did. Was Avraham a believer in the Platonic concept of creation, or in the creation ex nihilo of Torat Moshe Rabbeinu? (I think Rambam is deliberately contradictory in this, meaning that I'm not sure there is a straight answer).

I am hopefully giving a shiur tonight on Web Yeshiva using the same source sheet, but I have a feeling that it will not be the same shiur. You can sign up for the class on their website:

Here is the audio shiur (and the pdf sheets to download if you want).

Lech Lecha - G-d of Creation

(Right click and then 'download as')

Lech Lecha source sheet

Your feedback is welcome and appreciated. I would love to continue giving a shiur to this group of women on a weekly basis, but to do that I would need some kind of sponsorship. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a shiur (either l'ilui nishmat someone, or just for no reason) please contact me.

1 comment:

  1. Three thoughts:

    1- You ask the question of what the Rambam would have said had Aristo's proof been more solid. The Rambam, in that very chapter, asserts that there is but one Truth. In short, he considered that eventuality to be impossible. The question is therefore akin to, "But if you had a brother, would he like noodles?"

    2- In the case of Aristotilian eternity, the 2nd problem was that it runs against a foundation of the mesorah. Well, what if it ran against mesorah, but not a foundation?

    The two most famous cases in which the Rambam allegedly reinterprets the text to fit his philosophy aren't really reinterpretations of his. In the case of anthropomorphications, the Rambam cites Targum Unqelus and others. And when it comes to the three angels visiting Avraham being a dream, he also seeks support in Chazal.

    It could well be that the Rambam only allows for allegorization when there is a mesoretic basis for doing so.

    (In the case of "Yad Hashem", though, it is more like declaring it an idiom than an allegory.)

    3- I don't think the Rambam could have considered the eternity of G-d as greater in a Cantorian sense of infinities of different cardinality. To Aristo, infinity only exists in potential -- no matter what finite number you pick, the thing being measured is more. To the Greeks "parallel lines meet at infinity" and "parallel lines do not meet" say the same thing. Infinity isn't real. (Thus Xeno's paradox.)

    Besides, G-d only has negative attributes.

    I think the Rambam means that HQBH is more eternal than simply having infinite time. He is truly timeless (lemaalah min hazeman), time isn't a meaningful concept in describing Him. The Rambam could be calilng that "more eternal".