[Avodah] Diverei Soferim

Jay F. Shachter jay at m5.chicago.il.us
Tue Aug 10 14:09:34 PDT 2021

> MiDivrei Soferim is a subcategory of derabbanan that is effectively
> a middle-ground between regular derabbanan and deOraisa.  The Soferim
> are the generation of Ezra haSofer and the period when rabbis could
> pass a law that the nevi'im tell them Hashem approved.

This is misleading.  Different writers use the term differently, and
sometimes the same writer uses the term differently.  You are
describing an idiosyncratic usage that most writers do not follow, and
an idiosyncratic distinction that most writers do not make.  Most
writers who use the term, use it as a synonym for derabbanan, without
making the idiosyncratic distinction that you make.

What is more interesting, as stated above, is that sometimes the same
writer uses the term differently in different places.  Rambam is one.
This is a bold statement to make about a writer who was very careful
with his words.  But take a look at Hilkhoth Evel 2:7, and read the
Kesef Mishneh and the Lexem Mishneh on it (you have to read them
both).  You can also look at Hilkoth Ishuth 1:2, and Hilkhoth `Eduth
13:1, but I think Evel 2:7 is the clearest example.  Make sure you
read both the Kesef Mishneh and the Lexem Mishneh.

(In all fairness to Rambam, there are manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah
in which the term does not appear, in any of those three places.)

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
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