Maimonides

Where Jesus and the Maimonides collide:WWJD?

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Maimonides or Rambam is one of the most influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages and codified the “613 commandments’ in his Misneh Torah which is considered by most to be a significant canonical authority in  Talmudic law.  Although many of his interpretations commandments are followed by Jew and Christian alike there are a few which Jesus directly countermanded.

Specifically these are the commandments to hate and destroy.  While some of these were specifically to the people of Israel as they entered the land, some are expressed as a commandment forever.  Deuteronomy 20:16& 17 and Deuteronomy 25:17-19 are commands to wipe out the Canaanites and the Amalek.   Deuteronomy 25:19 says” ..”you must destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory for under heaven”.  By Rambam’s caculations this accounts for 5 commandments.

I cannot imagine having to live under such hateful commands, but fortunately Jesus addressed these specifically in the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 5:44-48 commands us to love our enemies and to pray for them.  In fact, it states that in loving our enemies we show by our actions that we are truly the children of God.  Romans 13:10 states that “love does no wrong to others, so love fufills the requirements of God’s law.  Proverbs states: “If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.  If they are thirsty give them water to drink”.

This causes a sticky problem in that God does not change.  However,  the Lord is one God therefore Jesus’ teaching must be taken as authoritative. In spite of this anomaly, I think we can safely assume that Maimonides, writing thousands of years after the crucifixion and resurrection may have missed the mark by calling these commands permanent.  I believe these were given only to the Israelites as they entered the land.

 

 

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