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The Rambam Qualifies!

Hi Rav Ally

I saw your post on "Dying to teach Torah". You wrote as follows:
"Problem is that one is NOT PERMITTED to risk ones life in order to keep any Mitzva in the Torah besides the three cardinal sins [See Rambam at the beginning of the fifth perek of Hilchos Yesodai Hatorah]"

It is true that Yesodei haTorah 5:2 limits the hereg ve'al yaavor to the three cardinal sins. However, one halacha later (5:3), Rambam qualifies this with the following:

וכל הדברים האלו שלא בשעת הגזרה אבל בשעת הגזרה...יהרג ואל יעבור אפילו על אחת משאר מצוות

This is all based on Sanhedrin 74a (4 lines from the bottom, which Rambam quotes nearly verbatim, adding in the part about Gezeira being like Nevuchadneztar).

So why can't we simply say that Rabi Akiva defined his time (when the Romans were prohibiting public Torah study, among other things) as a time of gezeirat hamalchut, in which everything becomes יהרג ואל יעבור?

Yaakov Ellis

Dear Rabbeinu Yaakov!!!


From now on when I have a question I don't have to look in the Maharsha - I can just ask you!! See there [Brachos 62] for an additional answer.

But see Eruvin 21b with Tosaphos.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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