Monthly Archives: May 2011

13 Ikkarim 17 – Reward and Punishment

This shiur discusses the 11th of Rambam’s principles. The principle is the belief that G-d rewards and punishes people in Olam HaBa (or by lack thereof).

However, in Moreh Nevuchim (section III; chapter 17 – on in English) Rambam states clearly that reward and punishment is something that happens in Olam HaZeh (the physical world).

Furthermore, he attributes the concept of Yesurim shel Ahava (afflictions of love) to a minority position of Chazal, and not part of Toras Moshe. And claims that such an opinion was influenced by th Mu’tazilites.

According to this doctrine it is possible that a person be afflicted without having previously committed any sin, in order that his future reward may be increased; a view which is held by the Mu’tazilites, but is not supported by any Scriptural text. Be not misled by the accounts of trials, such as “God tried Abraham” (Gen. xxii. 1); “He afflicted thee and made thee hungry,” etc. (Deut. viii. 3); for you will hear more on this subject later on (chap. xxiv.). Our Law is only concerned with the relations of men; but the idea that irrational living beings should receive a reward, has never before been heard of in our nation: the wise men mentioned in the Talmud do not notice it; only some of the later Geonim were pleased with it when they heard it from the sect of the Mu’tazilites, and accepted it.

(Rambam does accept Olam HaBa for the righteous, and discusses it in Mishne Torah, but it does not seem connected with the concept of the 11th principle of reward and punishment).

Therefore it would appear that there is a contradiction between the Ikarim (Perush HaMishnayos) and Moreh Nevuchim.

Rabbi Triebitz offers to solutions to this problem – listen to the shiur to find out more.

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Video of shiur 17

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Thirteen Ikarim 17
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Thirteen Ikarim 17