אהבת ה' ויראתו במשנתו של הרמב"ם

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Abstract

In his "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah", Maimonides treats the love and fear of God as two of the six hundred and thirteen commandments. The sole way to fulfill them in his view is by knowledge of the natural sciences and metaphysics. The study of philosophy thereby becomes a legal obligation. This article explores Maimonides' approach to these commandments from several perspectives. The first part is devoted to a comparison between Maimonides' view of the love and fear of God in the "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah" and his earlier views in the Commentary on the Mishnah and in the Book of the Commandments. Some of the medieval Jewish sources that helped pave the way for Maimonides' novel legal approach to this subject are also explored. Most notable among them are R. Saadiah Gaon's Book of Beliefs and Opinions, R. Baḥya Ibn Paquda's Duties of the Heart, and R. Ḥefeẓ ben Yaẓliaḥ's Book of the Commandments. The second part of the article shows that Maimonides' view of the love of God presented in the "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah" is crucial for appreciating the significance of his organization and formulation of other commandments in the Mishneh Torah. Special attention is paid to the Book of Love, "Laws of Repentance", and "Laws of the Sanhedrin". The article also points out how the hints scattered by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah to his views on topics related to the love of God are further amplified in the Guide of the Perplexed. A study of the love of God in Maimonides' thought reveals that the esoteric writing style characteristic of the Guide can be detected in Maimonides' earlier writings. Noteworthy also is the fact that while his approach to love in the "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah" has parallels in his other writings, and allusions to it can be found in the rest of the Mishneh Torah, the same cannot be said of his approach to the fear of God. The treatment of the fear of God as a commandment that is fulfilled solely by means of intellectual apprehension appears to be unique to the "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah". This too is important for appreciating Maimonides' legal-pedagogical approach.

Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)127-151
Number of pages25
Journalדעת: כתב-עת לפילוסופיה יהודית וקבלה
Volume37
StatePublished - 1996

Keywords

  • God
  • Jewish philosophy
  • משה בן מימון, 1138-1204 -- ביקורת ופרשנות

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