[Avodah] The Halakhic Status of an Epicurian

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Jul 15 19:47:05 PDT 2015

On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 11:33:13AM -0400, Kaganoff via Avodah wrote:
: 1)      Can one count someone who denies the historicity of *matan torah*
: and *yetzias mitzrayim* but is other completely *shomer torah u-mitzvos*
: for a *minyan*?
:  There is an halakhic category of *mumar l'hachis* who cannot count for a
: *minyan* according to many *poskim*. But that is on the assumption that
: they are violating *halakhah*. If they are not violating halakhah, can they
: be counted in a *minyan*?

I don't know if we hold like the Rambam, but Hil' Teshuvah ch. 3 is
the only discussion of the categories of heresy I know of.

A min is an atheist or polytheist, a trinitarian, etc... (3:7)

An apiqoreis, the category in the title, is defined with a list of
theological errors. It's someone who, like Epicurus, denies that
Hashem runs the world. A Deist, someone who denies prophecy, or that
He doesn't know man's actions. (3:8)

Leshitaso, someone who doesn't believe in the historicity of Torah
miSinai would be a kofer baTorah. (ibid)

A mumar is a consistent sinner (ledavar achas, lekhol haTorah kulah),
not a heretic. {3.9) Then the machti'ei rabbim (10), poreish midarkei
hatzibur (11), moserim (12), and one who terrorizes the community --
not lehsim shamayim (13).

That list -- 3 kinds of heretic and 5 kinds of sinners -- lose their olam
haba, if they die without teshuvah (3:14). And then he says there are
also smaller ones that still carry a similar price.

Anyway, R' Aharon Soloveitchik held that "nebich an apiqoreis" (not
using the term in the Rambam's technical sense) can be counted for
a minyan. As long as his beliefs include those ideas that make
tefillah meaningful. So a min couldn't, nor an apiqoreis who believes
G-d doesn't know every little thing going on down here.

(This was a common idea among Artistotilian, although obviosuly not among
ours. Since facts change with time, and the Creator does not, how could
the Creator know such facts? Would that mean His knowledge changes?)

But a tinoq shenishba (by which RAL intentionally includes Jews not
raised O) who doesn't believe in Sinai, but does believe that there
is One G-d Who Listens to prayer and is Mashgiach, should be countable.

Not because their heresy makes them heretics and thus michutz lamachaneh.
But because they are incapable of prayer.

RAS didn't discuss the person who isn't a tinoq shenishba, but also
not a rebal. Someone who grew up in a Torah setting, but in his studies
reached the wrong conclusion.

The Tashbetz and the Radbaz (eearly 16th cent CE, not the Ridbaz who
wrote on the Y-mi) famously hold that such people are not heetics even
if they believe heresy. (As least on the list list it's famous, anyeay.)
I just can't assume RAS agrees without proof.

RAL also doesn't discuss a Deist who believes G-d Hears prayers, but
won't act any differently. Can he make a brikhas hoda'ah, but not a
baqashah? Since prayer is not al menas leqabel peras, do we even make
baqashos for the sake of gettin a "yes", or just to have a moment
with Him talking about what is bothering you?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The thought of happiness that comes from outside
micha at aishdas.org        the person, brings him sadness. But realizing
http://www.aishdas.org   the value of one's will and the freedom brought
Fax: (270) 514-1507      by uplifting its, brings great joy. - R' Kook

More information about the Avodah mailing list