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Rambam: Introduction Part 2 - Q&A

20 min

Class Summary:

This is the Q&A at the end of the class by Rabbi YY Jacobson presented on Sunday, 20 Tamuz, 5780, July 12, 2020.

Please leave your comment below!

  • SM

    Sara Metzger -3 years ago

    Questions from Part 2

    Introduction Part 2 Q and A

    Aron Ziegler

    Ha'Orah on Shalshelesh haKabbalah

    According to the text of Avos 1:4, קבלומהם, it would seem that Yose ben Yo'Ezer Ish Tzereida and Yose ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalayim received Torah BOTH from Antignos Ish Socho AND from Shimon haTzaddik.


    Chaim Ekstein


    Hi Rabbi YY 

    I listened to lecture # 2 and I have a Question on Minhogim. I would appreciate it if you can address it. 

    In your example of Kitnuios. I understand why they made this minhag. But why should this obligate us when we don’t live there anymore and the issue is not relevant anymore. 

    Thanks a lot for this amazing Shiur. 



    two הערות on today's Shiur:

     1) I remember learning that תלמוד ירושלמי was written in טבריא and not in ירושלים, which at that period was no longer welcome to Jewish and Torah life. They only called it "ירושלמי" as a זכר to our holy city.

    This fits with the fact that רבי יוחנן, who was מחבר the ירושלמי according to the Rambam here, lived in צפורי and then in טבריא (see ירושלמי ביצה א:א, מן קומי אילין תרתין מילייא נחת רבי יוחנן מן ציפורין לטיברייא). [Even if you say (as is brought down in הערה ס in the רמב"ם לעם) that it was רבי מנא and רבי יוסי ברבי בון, it is משמע that they lived in צפורי as well. (See ירושלמי פסחים ו:א, אף רבי חנינא דציפורין לרבי מנא).]

    2) The question you raised about the 40 generations being enumerated מלמעלמ"ט and then again מלמטלמ"ע.

    It was nice to hear the various answers provided ע"ד הדרוש, ואין משיבין עליה.

    I'm thinking a bit more ע"פ פשט, and בהקדם another question that was raised, why the Rambam in the 40 generations back up does not count רבי עקיבא (and רשב"י) who were the pillars of תושבע"פ!?

    As we can see, throughout the period of the תנאים, the Rambam is only counting the נשיאים. So although the Rambam at first gave us the list of all the 'major' תנאים, he wants to be מדגיש the direct שלשלת from רב אשי to משה specifically through the נשיאים (at least for the parts of history when there were נשיאים). Obviously, this would not necessitate going through all 40 generations, but יש לומר that אגב גררא the Rambam goes through all 40.



    Electrifying !

    Bechasdei Hashem I am really really enjoying these Rambam shuirim. I was zocheh to see in the original a teshuva written by the holy Rambam on a small scrap of paper ( about the size of a small matchbox ) with a clear signature in hebrew 'Moshe ' . To see that was electrifying ! This was some years ago in the British Museum in London .

     And very recently , at the end of February this year , friends of mine went to visit the university of Cambridge , Cairo Genizah collection where they have a letter that was received by the Rambam from his brother and the curator said that the stains or holes in the letter may be from the Rambam's tears. 


     Pinchus Krieger

    Does the Rov know in which city in Eretz Yisroel  was the Talmud Yerushalmi written? Secondly, why is there gemara in seder Zeraim in Talmud Yerushalmi but not in talmud bavli?

    Pinchus (Yerushalayim)



    Maybe because in Eretz Y was more applicable  because there is  ( even today) mitzvos  that are to be done with agriculture 

    However in Bavel these halachot of Zeraim wer not applicable


    Mordechai Litzman

    Question for Rabbi YY

    Is it possible that the Rambam repeats the 40 generations in reverse order in order to teach that even though the Torah came from Heaven, once we got it, it belongs to us, and we now have the authority to interpret it as the story in the Gemara about a discussion where Hashem declares that his children are victorius in a debate with Hashem.



    Question for Rabbi YY

    So if a person is Ashkenazi, can they decide to have rice like sephardic, take on that custom? or is it strictly assur?



    If an ashkenazi takes on Sefardi minhagim, be must also say selichos all of elul and not just the week of rosh hashana! Sefardim are also more machine (strict) about bishul yisroel (food cooked by a yid). 


    Andie Pfeffer

    Question for Rabbi YY

    I would like to appear live at this event

    The system to protect us and keep us from harm. Maybe you could find a rabbi who would be capable of helping us with a class designed in our confusing world how to stay on the straight path. The classes are amazing but when they end many of not most of us are swimming in a world unsure where the fences are ... in regards to internet and politics and disharmony around us.



    Question for Rabbi YY

    To "master" all those books, etc would take lifetimes. When would we have time to in this limited time we have in this lifetime do the other things we are here to do? 🤔😊



    On a hunch last year during the nine days I asked

    A frum Yemrnite whether they eat chicken during the  nine days. The answer was that they do. The gezera of the rabbonim that chicken was no longer to be considered parve like fish  but fleishig, did not reach them. This shows ab aspect of how the mesorah works. 



    Moshe Rabbenu was taken forward in time

    To hear a shiur from R. Akiva who said that a particular law was given to Moshe ar Har Sinai. Moshe thought to himself that he didn't recall it! Rather it's like an onion being peeled away to reveal inner truth.  Moshe didn't realize all the layers of the Torah he was being given and handing over. This shows a certain bilateral relationship between the future and the  past, hence the the repetuon of the mesorah forward and backwards.  



    A psak today that porch minyonim must be a certain way

    Is the latest link in this mesorah.  



    Similar to the description of the Mesorah, is the Kuzari

    That gives the "proof" of the historical authenticity and veracity of Mattan Torah from then until now. The Kuzari relies on a three prong test of "historicity, i.e. those principles that historians use to separate from historical fact from fiction. 

       Those principles verify the truth of known historical facts like a George Washington, and lehavdil Matran Torah.  The historical record is also supposed to be true and unadulterated. 

      Therefore when an Achminijad tries to  distort the historical truth of the holocaust, he is shut down. In 100 years from now,  when eyewitnesses are long gone,  they should not be able to say about the holocaust that "some say this way some say that way".



    Question for Rabbi YY

    Why does the Rambam end the links of the mesorah with the writing of the talmud. Perhaps he could have included later meforshim, and the entire line of mister, the Rashbi, etc.? The mesorah goes on until today, including this class!


     chaim akerman

    Question for Rabbi YY

    why can't i find the hakdomo in the mishna torah



    Why did the Rambam repeat the list of the mesorah first forwards and then backwards?

    Perhaps it was to show that just as we receive the tradition unbroken as recipients, being that Hashem is above time , somehow, by reaching back into the past, we can today  affect  those historical links in the chain.

     We often see in Chumash how an act at a point on time  e.g. saving one child from being immured in a brick wall in mitzrayim was later shown to be disastrous.  Hashem is above time and events that are in the future for us, isn't for  Him. 

      So we today somehow can affect actions in the past, people in the past, etc. So the list of links is given again,the second time  backwards. 

       We today can retroactively affect the  Rambam as a link in the chain. .

      We are not only recipients of effects from grandparents long gone, but can affect them in their lives even before we were born by our present conduct.  

       The repetition going forward and backwards can be related to the concepts of 'arousal from above" and "arousal from below".



    2 questions from First Class

    1)      Why did some of the commentators question why Rambam included information about converts who transmitted the Oral Torah?

    2)      How do we know for certain that the transmission of the Oral Torah from one person to the next was accurate? You know the telephone game where someone starts off with a message that gets transmitted from person to person and then at the very end the message is nothing like what it was in the beginning. With all of the people who heard it from Moshe to Yehoshua to the next and the next, with all of those people involved, how do we know they heard it correctly up until Yehuda HaNassi wrote it down?



    Yehuda Hanassi was confronted with a rule that Torah she'Baal peh was not to be written down.  He was also confronted with yidden becoming spread out and discrepancies in the oral law. Do he broke the rule and wrote down the range as it was at that time.

      The truth is somewhere in  the range that he arrested. 



    Timeline of Transmission of Oral Torah

    A timeline of the transmission of the Oral Law

    2448 – Moses receives the Torah on Mount Sinai

    2488 – Joshua – Elazar

    2516 – Phinehas – Elders and Judges:

                   Othniel till 2566

                   Ehud till 2636

                   Shamgar till 2636

                   Barak & Deborah till 2676

                   Gideon & son till 2719

                   Tola till 2742

                   Jair till 2764

                   Jephthah till 2787

                   Ivtzan (Boaz) till 2793

                   Elon till 2803

                   Abdon till 2811

                   Samson till 2830

    2830 – Eli and his court

    2870 – Samuel and his court

    2884 – David and his court

    2924 – Ahijah of Shiloh and his court

    2962 – Elijah the Prophet

    3047 – Elisha

    3055 – Jehoiada the Priest

    3070 – Zechariah the priest

    3090 – Hosea

    3110 – Amos

    3140 – Isaiah

    3160 – Micah

    3190 – Joel

    3240 – Nahum

    3254 – Habakkuk

    3280 – Zephaniah

    3316 – Jeremiah

    3350 - Baruch son of Neriah

    3370 – Ezra and his court (the Men of the Great Assembly — including Daniel, Mordechai, Nehemiah, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah)

    3400 – Simon the Just

    3460 – Antignos of Soho

    3500 – Jose son of Yoezer and Jose son of Yochanan

    3560 – Joshua son of Perachiah and Nitai the Arbelite

    3621 – Judah son of Tabbai and Simon son of Shetach

    3722 – Shemaya and Avtalyon

    3728 – Hillel and Shammai

    3768 – Rabban Siimon son of Hillel and Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

    3800 – Rabban Gamliel son of Simon and disciples of Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

    3810 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel and Rabbi Akiba

    3828 – Rabban Gamliel and disciples of Rabbi Akiba

    3881 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel

    3910 – Rabbi Judah the Prince – Redactor of the Mishnah

    3979 – His sons, Rabbi Simon and R. Gamliel, R. Chiyah, Rav, Samuel and Yochanan

    4010 – R. Huna, R. Judah, R. Nachman, R. Kahana

    4060 – Rabba and R. Joseph

    4085 – Abaye and Rava

    4127 – Rav Ashi and Ravina

    4260 – Completion of the Talmud through R. Ashi, Ravina and their disciples


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