Thursday, January 15, 2009

Connection of Rambam and Chabad Chassidus

Tonight and tomorrow is Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon’s yortzeit. I will not embarrass myself even attempting to talk about Rambam’s greatness and all the treasures one can gain from learning his Torah. I just want to mention that Rambam was one of the Rebbe’s favorite authorities in Judaism. Obviously, every voice is equally loud and important, but the Rebbe was seemingly obsessed (kvayachol) with Rambam and Rashi more than with any other authority outside of Chabad Chassidus. The Rebbe revitalized the practice of learning Rambam and talked at length many times about his importance.

I once overheard two shluchim talking about Rambam. One of them said that Rambam really helps one in one’s shlichus, because his approach to Judaism (both in halacha and philosophy) is so wholesome, available and clear. “The whole Torah”, said the other shliach. “And it’s true,” screamed the first shliach. “It’s mamosh the whole Torah.”

Again, I won’t embarass myself describing the importance of Rambam in Chabad Chassidus. In my personal view of Judaism, there is a great deal of similarity between the innovation and revolution in Judaism that Rambam accomplished and the same role that Chabad Chassidus played and plays in our times. See my earlier post for details.

Rabbi Paltiel talks about Rambam’s life and personality briefly in this class:

Jewish refusal to assimilate and yartzeit of Rambam
[How did the Jews not assimilate in Egypt? Rambam — seeming discrepancy between his personal character and his writings. Very fascinating shiur.]
In the following class, Rabbi Paltiel brings a very interesting analysis of Moshe Rabbeinu’s inability to speak — including Rambam’s philosophical analysis of the question of whether absence of ability to speak is actual characteristic or a lack of characteristic (is darkness an independent entity or is it merely absence of light?). Rabbi Paltiel compares and contrasts Rambam’s (and generally philosophical) approach to that of Chassidus.

The Speech of Moshe
This class includes an analysis of Moshe Rabbenu's difficulty speaking. Sources include Rashi, Rambam, Ralbag, and other classic commentaries followed by insights on the topic from Chassidus.


shmulie said...

In the Farbrengen of 20 Teves 1983, the Rebbe discusses numerous similarities between the personalities and seforim of the Alter Rebbe and the Rambam.

In the Farbrengen of 11 Nissan 1945 the Rebbe talks at length about the universality of the Rambam, his widespread acceptance and his revival of Judaism's mission to gentiles.

The Rebbe's approach to non-Jews is essentially based on the Rambam's.

I don't know if translations exist for all of these, but they're all very interesting.

Crawling Axe said...

Is the first one on Otzar?

Is the second one by the Rebbe or by F"R? Did the Rebbe farbreng in general on his birthdays?

shmulie said...

I'm sorry, I meant 1985.

By otzar do you mean

The answer to that is yes, but they don't have direct links. You would find it in the "Hisvaaduios" set.

Crawling Axe said...


Btw, spoke to a cousin of yours today. :)