Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rambam Sefer Zemanim (Part 2)

The content of Sefer Zemanim is almost identical to the content of Seder Moed in Shas. The only difference is that Chazal placed Massechet Chagigah at the end of Seder Moed, while Rambam placed Hilkhot Chagigah in Sefer Korbanot. It is interesting to note that many Halakhik seforim (notably the Rif, and the Tur/Shulchan Aruch) only discuss and posken halakhot that are relevant today. They do not discuss the halakhot of the Mikdash and Korbanot because they have no relevance for practical halakhah (הלכה למעשה). The Rambam discusses all 613 mitzvot whether they are observed today or not - thus the fact that the Mishneh Torah poskens halakhot about the Mikdash and the korbanot makes it a unique sefer. However, Rambam dedicated two seforim of the Mishneh Torah to discuss all of the halakhot relating to Korbanot and the Mikdash. Chazal mixed practical halakhot with halakhot about korbanot and the Mikdash in Seder Moed.

For example, the first four perakim of Massechet Pesachim discuss the halakhot of chametz and matzah. The next five perakim are concerned with the details of the Korban Pesach. The final perek discusses the halakhot of the Pesach Seder. One massechet analyzes all of the halakhot of Pesach.

The Rambam places the halakhot of the Korban Pesach in Sefer Korbanot and the rest of the halakhot of Pesach in Sefer Zemanim. Unlike Chazal, the Rambam wanted to place the practical halakhot in a separate section from the halakhot that are not currently observed. Another explanation (דבר אחר): Rambam wanted the mitzvot that applied to all the Jewish people in one section, and the mitzvot that focused on the kohanim in another section. Once you begin to realize the different halakhik structures between the Rambam and Chazal - the perushim are endless.

Here is the list of halakhot that appear in Sefer Zemanim:
  • Hilkhot Shabbat
  • Hilkhot Eruvin
  • Hilkhot Shevitat Assur - Laws of Yom Kippur
  • Hilkhot Shevitat Yom Tov
  • Hilkhot Chametz u'Matzah
  • Hilkhot Shofar, Sukkah and Lulav
  • Hilkhot Shekalim - Laws of Annual Half-Shekel Tithe
  • Hilkhot Kiddush HaChodesh - Laws of Declaring Rosh Chodesh
  • Hilkhot Ta'aniot
  • Hilkhot Megillah u'Channukah
Happy learning.

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