Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Inner Unity in the Machlokes Btw Ramban & Rambam Re "Dinim"
We've talked before about Toraso Shel Moshiach, and how one can discern the unity behind the various machlokes'n (disputes) between major Jewish authorities throughout history.
Tuesday night, September 9th, 2008, I was talking to Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim on the way back from Ma'ariv during his speaking trip to the U.S. We were talking about the fact that I was in law school we were talking about being Jewish in a non-Jewish court system and I brought up the opinion of the Ramban (on Breishis 34:12) that non-Jews must keep all of the civil laws that the Jewish people have to keep under their mitzvah of "Dinim" (which is one of the 7 Mitzvos for Bnei Noach). This is in contradistinction to the Rambam's opinion that under "Dinim" gentiles only have to enforce the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach.
The next morning on the way to Baltimore, I told him that I was curious whether or not he had a mehalech (method) of learning any inner unity between the opinions of the Rambam and the Ramban with regard to whether or not Bnei Noach's civil laws are simply an incorporation of the laws of the Jewish people. He asked me if I was asking this because I had my own mehalech or because I wanted to hear if he had one. I told him that I didn't have a mehalech, but that after learning many of the Torahs in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Al HaTorah, I had a feeling that he would have a mehalech in learning what the inner unity in this machlokes is.
Without hesitation, he began to explain his pshat in this machlokes to me. He pointed out that there is a question; "How is it shiach (possible) for the Ramban to hold that gentiles have any shaychus (relationship) at all to the Torah's civil laws for the Jewish people, when they come from such a completely different reality than the Jewish people come from?"
He began to answer this by pointing out that in Yemos Hamoshiach, it is stated in the Rambam that on a certain level, the nations of the world will become Avadim to the Jewish people. Which Torah laws does an Eved Kena'ani have to keep? All of the negative Mitzvos and all of the positive mitzvos aside from time-bound commandments. So even though he is still not Jewish, he will keep almost all of the laws of the Jewish people, including the civil laws.
And it is this reality that Bnei Noach actually do have a relationship to the Jewish Civil laws because they will apply to them in the times of Moshiach that makes it possible for them to have any shaychus at all to those laws. And it is this reality that makes it possible for the Ramban to hold that our civil laws are applied to them within their mitzvah of "Dinim."
Amazing insight, eh? I asked him if this is written in any of the seforim and he said he didn't know. (!) Not sure if that's true, but it was certainly an amazing thing to see that he doesn't only unify dispirate aspects of Yiddishkeit in certain areas that he's pre-selected, but even in a machlokes that I just brought out at him from left field, he still had a mehalech at the ready. Ashreinu sheyesh lanu Madrich kazeh!
(Picture courtesy of jurylaw)
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