• June 29, 2022
  • 30 5782, Sivan
  • פרשת חקת

Reasons for the Commandments

Reasons for the Commandments

The topic of ta’amei hamizvot raises a number of important theological questions. Do the mizvot have reasons or are they simply the Divine will? Should humans speculate as to what the reasons are? Can those reasons be situated in a historical context? If we do offer reasons, should we try to find symbolic import in every single halakhic detail? Can proposed reasons ever impact on halakhic rulings? This series will explore these issues with help from Rambam, Ramban, R, Hirsch, and others.

September 6, 2011 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Reasons for the Commandments: Lesson 1
Class description

Do the Commandments have Reasons?- Dear Participants, I look forward to five enjoyable weeks of study with you. The first shiur will explore whether the mizvot have reasons. What does the Biblical and Talmudic evidence suggest? What are the relevant philosophic arguments? We shall analyze some of the classic sources in our tradition regarding this topic. All the best, Y Blau

Handouts
September 13, 2011 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Reasons for the Commandments: Lesson 2
Class description

Are there Non- Rational Mizvot?  What does the category of hukim refer to? Are there mizvot with no reason whatsoever? Why do Hazal identify particular mizvot as the hukim? I look forward to learning and discussing these questions with you. Y Blau

Handouts
September 20, 2011 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Reasons for the Commandments: Lesson 3
Class description

Historically Contextual Reasons for the Commandments: Can reasons for the commandments depend upon historical context? If they do, what creates the ongoing obligation throughout Jewish history? We shall use Rambam’s approach to sacrifices as springboard for our analysis. I look forward to learning with you. Y Blau

Handouts
September 27, 2011 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Reasons for the Commandments: Lesson 4
Class description

Can our speculations about reasons for the commandments ever impact on legal rulings? If so, what are the criteria for such halakhic analysis? We shall investigate the classic Talmudic discussion and explore a few different categories. I look forward to learning with you. Y Blau

Handouts
October 4, 2011 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Reasons for the Commandments: Lesson 5
Class description

Reasons for the Commandments and Halakhic Rulings Part 2-During last week’s shiur, we outlined various categories regarding when reasons for the commandments could affect psak halakha. This week, we will explore three mizvot as examples of this phenomenon. What are the potential reasons for the mizvot of sending away the mother bird, writing a sefer Torah, and eating on erev Yom Kippur? How do those reasons impact on halakhic rulings? I look forward to learning with you. Y Blau

Handouts