Friday, January 21, 2005


When God leads the Jewish people out of Egypt, in the beginning of this week’s parsha, He takes them the ‘long way,’ purposely bypassing the shorter route since it would lead through the land of the Philistines. Hashem sees that these people, slaves yesterday, cannot magically become warriors today and be willing to encounter a hostile nation -- they might just turn back in fear and return to Egypt. God knows that human nature cannot change overnight

Using this verse as his proof text, the Rambam argues [Guide for the Perplexed 3:32] that God used our order of sacrifices as a "ruse", ie: “the long way” to wean people from the idolatrous and pagan sacrifices they were accustomed to. The Rambam seems to be suggesting that our order of sacrifice, in and of itself has no religious meaning, and that the Temple, the status of priests, the laws of ritual purity and impurity, were all a concession to the need to wean people from idolatry

The RambaN (surprise) (VaYikra 1:9) reports the Rambam’s position, vehemently rejects it, and articulates his own view.

We're not choosing sides -it's irrelevant until Moshiach arrives, anyway. We're just letting the olam know about the controversy.