[Avodah] taking a stand?

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Tue Jun 21 13:42:32 PDT 2022

On Fri, May 27, 2022 at 02:44:18PM -0400, David Riceman via Avodah wrote:
> Though, arguably, the author may be a disciple of Socrates, who thought
> that people do evil only through ignorance. She may just be rejecting
> the concepts of yetzer tov and yetzer ra.

The Rambam, in the Moreh 1:1-2 explains the effects of the sin of the
Eitz haDaas as introducing aesthetics and desire. That previous
to the cheit, Adam and Chava only had to distinguish between the truth
and falsehood.

And then the key to nevu'ah is da'as and a person's humanness and
consequently their HP is proportional to their yedi'ah (3:18). Da'as
is also the key feature in his Palace metaphor (3:51).

And in case you don't get the idea that he thinks everything depends
on knowledge... 3:54 closes with a ranking of 4 kinds of perfection
(in ascending order): financial, bodily, moral and intellectual. Yes,
intellectual perfection is loftier than moral, in the Rambam's opinion!

But it all makes sense... If you figure he believes that knowledge is what
leaves to making right decisions, then even if a person was subject to
taavos (being born after the eitz hadaas), the person with right ideas
would have mastered them. So that even thought the last pereq places
intellectual perfection above all, this is in the middle of a discussion
about how man's highest calling is chessed umisphat utzedaqah.

Going back to RDR's point... I think that the Rambam agrees that human
evil (as defined by the antonyms of chessed, mishpat and tzedaqah)
depends on ignorance. But not because he rejects yh"t vs. yh"r, but
because he feels the sufficient yedi'ah is what allows the yh"t to win.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The goal isn't to live forever,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   the goal is to create so mething that will.
Author: Widen Your Tent
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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