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Ḥasdai Crescas on the Philosophic Foundation of Codification

  • Ari Ackerman (a1)

Abstract

Ḥasdai Crescas briefly adumbrated his halakhic methodology in the introduction to his philosophic work, 'Or ha-Shem. He followed Maimonides by arguing for the importance of a comprehensive and succinct legal code and opposed himself to those who ascribe independent value to Torah study. However, Crescas disputed Maimonides on the proper goals and character of a legal code. Unlike Maimonides, he designated his code for Torah scholars and focused on the bedrock principles that are the bases for particular laws. According to Crescas, these principles allow the codifier to capture the infinite and boundless halakhah in a finite and accessible form. They also serve as exegetical rules that allow the Torah scholar to create new laws. In this regard, the halakhic enterprise resembles the process of creation and the scholar resembles God.

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1. Crescas, Ḥasdai, ’Or ha-shem, ed. Fisher, Shlomo (Jerusalem: privately published, 1990), 19; Marciano, Yoel, “Me-Aragon le-Kastiliyah—le-toldot shitat limmudam shel ḥakhmei Sefarad ba-me'ah ha-ḥamesh ‘esreh,” Tarbiẓ 77 (2008): 587588; Ackerman, Ari, “Zeraḥia Halevi Saladin and Thomas Aquinas on Vows,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 19 (2011): 4951. This source has been briefly but incisively analyzed in Ravitzky, Aviezer, Derashat ha-pesaḥ le-Rav Ḥasdai Crescas (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1988), 159160. See also Silman, Yochanan, Kol gadol ve-lo yasef (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1999), 112115.

2. The introduction is composed of two sections: his criticism of Maimonides's methodology of codification (’Or ha-Shem, 1–7) and his criticism of Maimonides's philosophy (’Or ha-Shem, 7–9).

3. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2.

4. On approaches to codification in the Jewish legal tradition see Elon, Menachem, Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles, trans. Auerbach, Bernard and Sykes, Melvin, vol. 3 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1994), 11381452; Elon, Menachem, “Mini‘im ve-‘ekkronot be-kodifikaẓiah shel ha-halakhah,” in Hagut ve-halakhah (Jerusalem: Ministry of Education, 1968), 75119; Kahana, Isaac, Meḥkarim be-sifrut ha-teshuvot (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1973), 888; Twersky, Isadore, “The Mishneh Torah of Maimonides,” Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 5 (1976): 265296; Twersky, Isadore, “The Beginning of Mishneh Torah Criticism,” in Biblical and Other Studies, ed. Altmann, Alexander (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963), 161182; Twersky, Isadore, “Rav Yosef ’Ashkenazi ve-sefer Mishneh Torah la-Rambam,” in Salo Wittmayer Baron Jubilee Volume, ed. Lieberman, Saul (Jerusalem: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1974), 183194; Twersky, Isadore, “Shulhan Arukh: Enduring Code of Jewish Law,” in Studies in Jewish Law and Philosophy (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1982), 130147; Urbach, Ephraim, “Me-darkhei ha-kodifikaẓiah: ‘al sefer ha-turim le-Rav Ya‘akov ben Rabi Asher,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research 56–57 (1979–1980): 114; Galinsky, Judah, “Ashkenazim in Sefarad: The Rosh and the Tur on the Codification of Jewish Law,” The Jewish Law Annual 16 (2006): 323.

5. M. Makot 3:17; M. Avot 6:11.

6. M. Pe'ah 1:1.

7. Shir Ha-Shirim Rabbah, section 2 in Midrash Rabbah, vol. 2, (Vilna: Ahim Rom, 1885), 18b. See also B. Kiddushin 40b and Y. Pesaḥim 3:7 (30b).

8. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2–3: “ולזה היה מן ההכרח, כאשר גזר חסדו יתברך ויתעלה לשומנו אנחנו קהל עדת ישראל שלמים, להרבות לנו הפעולות. כמאמר רבי חנינה בן עקשיא: ‘רצה הקב”ה לזכות את ישראל, לפיכך הרבה להם תורה ומצוות’. ולהיות המעשה במצוות מביא השלמות הזה, והמעשה בהם נמנע מזולת הידיעה בהם, היה דבר המשנה כפשוטו, אמרו:“ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם”. ולזה מה שנמנו וגמרו, שהתלמוד עקר, שמביא לידי מעשה. ולהיות הידיעה במצוות התורה היא הדרך הישר המביא אל השלמות הזה, והיה ראוי אם כן, שתהיה התורה בענין שתושג הידיעה בה באופן היותר שלם שאפשר; והיתה שלמות הידיעה בדברים, וההקפה בהם בשלשה ענינים: אם הדקדוק בהם, ואם השגתם על נקלה ואם השמירה והזכירה בהם. The translation is taken from Warren Z. Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas’ Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 1973), 347–348.

9. Urbach, Ephraim, Ba‘alei ha-tosafot (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1954), 743. On the method of the Tosafists see also Ta-Shma, Israel, Ha-sifrut ha-parshanit la-talmud, vol. 1 (Jerusalem, Magnes Press, 1999), 93117.

10. On Naḥmanides's talmudic commentaries and halakhic works see Ta-Shma, Israel, Ha-sifrut ha-parshanit la-talmud, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2000), 2955; Halbertal, Moshe, ‘Al derekh ha- ’emet (Jerusalem: Shalom Hartman Institute, 2006), 21116; Schvat, Ezra, “Makom ha-minhag be-torat ha-Ramban—bet midrasho ha-Kataloni,” The Jewish Law Annual 18–19 (1992–1994): 439453; Yahalom, Shalem, “Kabbalah ve-ḥiddush be-kitvei ha-Ramban ve-ha-meḥkar,'Kabbalah 17 (2008): 201231. On the importance of ḥiddush for Naḥmanides and his school see Ta-Shma, Israel, Ha-niglah she-bi-nistar (Tel Aviv: Ha-kibbutz Hame ’uḥad, 1995), 3839.

11. Naḥmanides's codificatory works include Torat ha-’adam (The Torah of Man) in Kol kitvei ha-Ramban, vol. 2, ed. Chavel, Charles (Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1964, 9311). Likewise, R. Shlomo ben Aderet, Naḥmanides's chief disciple, composed a highly influential legal code on the laws of forbidden foods (kashrut), Torat ha-bayit (The Torah of the House; Torat ha-bayit, ed. Baron, Moshe, Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1995), as well as other works of pesak. On the codificatory works of Naḥmanides and R. Shlomo ben Aderet see Elon, Jewish Law, 1242–1243, 1273–1277. On the halakhic works composed by the students of R. Shlomo ben Aderet in the fourteenth century see Judah Galinsky, “’Arba ’ah turim ve-sifrut ha-hilkhatit ba-me'ah ha-’arba‘a ‘esreh,” (PhD diss., Bar Ilan University, 1999), 83–100.

12. On the ḥiddushim of the students of Naḥmanides and their students see Grossman, Avraham, “Legislation and Responsa Literature,” in Moreshet Sepharad: The Sephardi Legacy, ed. Beinart, Haim (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1992), 188219; Ta-Shma, Ha-sifrut ha-parshanit la-talmud, vol. 2, 29–74, 85–91. Ta-Shma notes that the commentaries of Naḥmanides and his students differ from those of the Tosafists in their willingness to incorporate halakhic conclusions in their talmudic commentaries and not only in their responsa and codes.

13. Vallicrosa, Jose M. Millas, “Hasday Crescas, o el canto del cisne de la filosofia, en Barcelona,” Miscellanea Barcinonensia 17 (1967): 3340; Harvey, Zev, Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center, 2010), 17, 73, 95, 107–110, 129–130, 147, 158; Harvey, Zev, “R. Ḥasdai Crescas ‘al yihudah shel ’ereẓ yisra'el,” in ’Ereẓ Yisra'el be-hagut ha-yihudit be-yemei ha-beinayim, ed. Hallamish, Moshe and Ravitzky, Aviezer (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1991), 151165; Klein-Breslavy, Sarah, “Terumato shel R. Nisim Gerondi le-‘iẓuvan shel torot ha-‘ikkarim shel Ḥasdai Crescas ve-shel Yosef Albo,” ’Eshel Be'er-Sheva 2 (1981): 177197; Klein-Breslavy, Sarah, “Gan Eden et Gehinnom dans le Syste'me de Hasdai Crescas” in Hommage a' Georges Vajda, ed. Nahon, Gerard and Touati, Charles (Louvain: Peeters, 1980), 263278; Schweid, Eliezer, Ta‘am ve-hakkashah, (Ramat Gan: Masada Publishing House, 1970), 1315.

14. It should be noted that Crescas's understanding of talmud torah with its practical orientation also differs from the view that an understanding of halakhah directly contributes to immortality, since it helps actualize the intellect of the Talmud scholar. As Marciano's analysis of Profiat Duran's Ma‘asehefod attests, this view was articulated by contemporaries of Crescas among the Sephardic rabbinic elite (Rappel, Dov, “Hakdamat sefer ma‘aseh ’efod le-Profiat Duran,” Sinai 100 (1987): 766770; Marciano, “Me-Aragon le-Kastiliyah,” 20–23).

15. On this see below.

16. Ta-Shma, Ha-sifrut ha-parshanit la-talmud, vol. 1, 118–191; Ta-Shma, , “Shikkulim filosofim be-hakhra‘at ha-halakhah,” Sefunot 3 [18] (1985): 99110; Danzig, Neil, Mavo le-sefer hilkhot pesukot (New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary, 1993), 118. See, in particular, the responsum of ibn Migash, R. Joseph, Shut Ri Migash no.114, (Jerusalem: Lev Simḥah, 1991), 102103. It should be noted that this tradition is not monolithic and contrary approaches also appear among Geonic and Sephardic scholars, such as Paltoy Gaon's famous responsum against codification (Teshuvot ha-ge'onim, ed. Assaf, Simhah, [Jerusalem: Mikiẓe Nirdamim, 1942], 81).

17. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2:6:1, 232–241; Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect”; Harvey, , “Crescas versus Maimonides on Knowledge and Pleasure,” in A Straight Path, ed. Link-Salinger, Ruth (Washington, DC: Catholic University of American Press, 1988), 113123.

18. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2:6:1, 230–231.

19. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2:6:1, 228.

20. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3:2:1:2, 376.

21. Moshe Halbertal marshals evidence for this interpretation, although he also entertains other possible interpretations Ha-Rambam (Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center, 2009), 166170. See also Halbertal, Moshe, Ben torah le-ḥokhmah (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2000), 5162.

22. Maimonides, , ’Igrot ha-Rambam, ed. Shilat, Isaac (Ma‘aleh ’Adumim: Ma‘alot Publishers, 1967), vol. 1, 312.

23. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, introduction, 3.

24. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, introduction, 5–8.

25. ’Or ha-Shem, 5–6; translation taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 358. It should also be noted that in objecting to Maimonides' failure to cite opposing views, Crescas only mentioned his omission of “the divisions of opinion and the names of the Geonim” (’Or ha-Shem, 5; translation taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 357). Perhaps Crescas was alluding to Maimonides' putative cavalier attitude to the Geonim and his questioning of their authority. On Maimonides' attitude to the Geonim see Havlin, Shlomo, “‘Al ha-ḥatimah ha-sifrutit ke-yesod ha-ḥalukkah le-tekufot be-halakhah,” in Meḥkarim be-sifrut ha-talmudit (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1983), 148192; Brody, Robert, “Maimonides’ Attitude towards the Halakhic Innovations of the Geonim,” in The Thought of Moses Maimonides, eds. Robinson, Ira. et al. (New York: Edwin Mellon Press, 1990), 183208; Moshe Halbertal, ha-Rambam, 154–159. In the legal section of his Derashat ha-pesaḥ, which is generally recognized as a remnant of Crescas's unfinished work, Crescas did not record disputes concerning the laws of Passover that he discussed, although he did cite legal sources (Ravitzky, Derashat ha-pesaḥ, 118).

26. R. Abraham ben David, Hassagot (Glosses) to Maimonides's introduction to the Mishneh Torah; Responsa Rosh 31:9, 43:12 (She'elot ve-teshuvot le-Rabenu Asher ben Yeḥi'el, ed. Yudlov, Isaac (Jerusalem: ‘Ezer Mishpat, 1994), vol. 1, 137, 184185); Twersky, “The Beginning of Mishneh Torah Criticism,” 170–173; Galinsky, “Ashkenazim in Sefarad,” 9–12; Elon, Jewish Law, vol.3, 1223–1229.

27. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 6: “לא העיר על סבות הדברים וכלליהם בשלמות, כי אם בזכרון הפרטים שבא בדברי קדמונינו. ולהיות החלק הגדול הזה מהמצוות מחמר האפשר, והוא ‘רחב מני ים’, והפרטים לא תקיף בהם ידיעה להיותם בלתי-בעלי-תכלית, הנה כשישתנה פרט מהפרטים שהוזכרו שם, לא נשיג המשפט בו על השלמות. וכי אין יחס בין המספר הבעל-תכלית והבלתי-בעל-תכלית, הנה יתחייב שאין יחס בין מה שיושג בפרטים שהוזכרו שם הבעלי-תכלית, ובין מה שלא יושג מהפרטים בלתי-בעלי-תכלית שלא הוזכרו שם.”; translation is taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas’ Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 358.

28. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 6: “And it is evident that in perfect knowledge of things, we know them in their causes according to the nature of their subject.”

29. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 6.

30. See Maimonides's introduction to Mishneh Torah: Maimonides, , Sefer ha-madda‘a, ed. Rabinovitz, Mordechia, (Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1957), 516; English translation in Twersky, Isadore, A Maimonides Reader, (New York: Behrman House, 1972), 3541; his introduction to Sefer ha-miẓvot: Maimonides, , Sefer ha-miẓvot, ed. Chavel, Charles (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1981), 2024; English translation in Twersky, A Maimonides Reader, 425–430; and his letter to the judge, Pinḥas ben Meshullam in ’Igrot ha-Rambam, ed. Shilat, Isaac (Ma‘aleh ’Adumim: Ma‘alot Publishers, 1988), 438445.

31. Maimonides, Sefer ha-miẓvot, 20–21. The translation is taken from Twersky, A Maimonides Reader, 425–427.

32. On the scope of the work see Twersky, Isadore, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), 188237; on its brevity see Twersky, A Maimonides Reader, 337–346.

33. On Maimonides's innovative system of classification see Twersky, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides, 238–323; Halbertal, ha-Rambam, 199–219.

34. Maimonides, Sefer ha-miẓvot, 21–22.

35. Maimonides, Sefer ha-miẓvot, 21.

36. Halbertal, ha-Rambam, 200. See also the works of Jacob Blidstein on the conceptual underpinning and structure of various sections of Mishneh Torah.

37. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 5.

38. Crescas only explicitly mentioned the infinity of the Torah. Nevertheless, the conception of the perpetually expanding Torah is implicit in his conception of codification. The need for locating underlying principles is mandated by the fact that the particulars of the law are generated endlessly from the foundational rules. In addition, it is evident from the statements of his students, Joseph Albo, Matityahu ha-Yiẓhari and Zeraḥia Halevi. See the sources cited in Ravitzky, Derashat ha-pesaḥ, 125; and Ackerman, Ari, “Sheloshah hesppedim shel R. Zeraḥia Halevi Saladin,” Koveẓ ‘al yad 19 (2006): 216. I have expanded on this aspect of the approach of Crescas and his students in a recently published article: "Ḥasdai Crescas and His Circle on the Infinite and Expanding Torah," Jewish Studies Internet Journal 11(2012): 117.

39. Ravitzky, Derashat ha-pesaḥ, 114–117.

40. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3: “ואולם להיות כלל המצוות, וענפיהם, וענפי ענפיהם, עם הפלגת רבוים—כאשר הביא לזה הכרח שומנו שלמים, כמו שקדם—נכלל בקצור נפלא, והוא התורה שבכתב עם הסימנים והמדות שנמסרו על פה”; translation is taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 349.

41. Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 349.

42. Cf. Marciano, “Me-Aragon le-Kastiliyah,” 582–586.

43. Silman, Kol gadol, 139–149.

44. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 6–7: “חבור כולל מצות התורה בסבותיהן, לפי חומר נושאן, ובציור גדריהן וכלליהן”; translation taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas’ Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 360.

45. On other instances of the pervasive influence of Gersonides on Crescas see Touati, Charles, “La providence divine chez Hasday Crescas,” Da‘at 10 (1983): 1531; Nehorai, Michael, “Darkhei ha-pulmus shel Rav Ḥasdai Crescas va-yaḥaso le-Rav Levi ben Gershon,” Bar Ilan Annual 22–23 (1987): 239259 and note 63 below.

46. See, for example, the introduction to Gersonides's Commentary on the Torah: Ḥamishei ḥumshei Torah ‘im perush Rashi ve-be'ur ha-Ralbag, Sefer bereshit, ed. Brenner, Baruch and Freiman, Eli (Ma‘aleh ’Adumim: Ma‘alot Publishers, 1993), 414.

47. Gersonides, Ḥamishei ḥumshei Torah, Sefer bereshit, 13: “נמנה שורשי דיני המצוה לפי מה שיתבאר מהדברים שנאמרו בה, ונזכור המקומות מהתלמוד שנתבארו שם אלו השורשים וענפיהם וענפי ענפיהם ביותר קצר שאפשר לנו.”

48. Gersonides, Ḥamishei ḥumshei Torah, Sefer bereshit, 14. By “talmudic wisdom,” Gersonides was referring to the Babylonian Talmud, Jerusalem Talmud, and the various works of midrash halakhah, as is apparent from the continuation of the passage.

49. Gersonides, Ḥamishei ḥumshei Torah, Sefer bereshit, 6–13; Carmiel Cohen, “Parshanut hilkhatit ‘al derekh ha-peshat ba-bi'ur ha-Ralbag la-torah,” (PhD diss., Hebrew University, 2008).

50. Cohen, Carmiel, “‘Ki baze tityashev ha-nefesh yoter’: ‘al ḥalufah la-middot she-ha-torah nidreshet ba-hen ba-bi'ur Ralbag la-torah,” Shnaton la-ḥeker ha-mikra ve-ha-mizraḥ ha-kadum 21 (2012): 5.

51. Gersonides, , Ḥamishei ḥumshei torah ‘im perush Rashi ve-bi'ur ha-Ralbag, Sefer Vayikra, vol. 1, ed. Brenner, Baruch and Cohen, Carmiel (Ma‘aleh ’Adumim: Ma'alot Publishers, 2003), 8194.

52. Gersonides, Ḥamishei ḥumshei torah, Sefer bereshit, 5; Cohen, Carmiel, “Madu‘a yaẓar ha-Ralbag derekh ḥadashah la-kshor torah she-ba‘al peh le-Torah she-be-khtavPa‘amim 130 (2012): 928.

53. Ravitzky, Derashat ha-pesaḥ, 160–164; Ackerman, “Zerahia Halevi Saladin and Thomas Aquinas on Vows,” 52–53.

54. On Crescas's conception of infinity in his scientific theories see Wolfson, Harry, Crescas’ Critique of Aristotle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1929), 3869; Pines, Shlomo, “Scholasticism after Thomas Aquinas and the Teachings of Hasdai Crescas and His Predecessors,” in Studies in the History of Jewish Thought, ed. Idel, Moshe and Harvey, Warren Z. (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997), 503509; Harvey, Warren Z., Physics and Metaphysics in Hasdai Crescas (Amsterdam: J.C. Grieben Publisher, 1998), 48; Harvey, Warren Z., “The Term Hitdabbekut in Crescas’ Definition of Time,” Jewish Quarterly Review 71 (1981): 4447; Rudavsky, Tamar, Time Matters: Time, Creation, and Cosmology in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (New York: SUNY Press, 2000); Maccoby, Hyam, “Crescas’ Concept of Time,” in Time and Eternity, ed. Jaritz, Gerhard and Moreno-Riano, Gerson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 163170.

55. On infinity in Crescas's conception of creation see below; on infinity in Crescas's conception of divine power see Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem 2:3:1; on infinity in Crescas's view of divine attributes see Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 1:3:3, 105–106; Pines, Studies in Jewish Thought, 31, 37–40; Harvey, Physics and Metaphysics in Hasdai Crescas, 137.

56. See, for example, Shemot Rabbah par. 41:6 in Midrash Rabbah (Vilna: Ahim Rom, 1885), vol. 1, 69a–b; and other sources cited in Silman, Kol gadol ve-lo yasef, 94–95.

57. See Scholem, Gershom, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism (New York: Schoken Books, 1980), 3287; Idel, Moshe, “Infinities of Torah in Kabbalah,” in Midrash and Literature, ed. Hartman, Geoffrey and Budick, Sanford (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 141157; Idel, Moshe, “Tfisat ha-torah ba-sifrut ha-heikhalot va-gilgulehah ba-kabbalah,” Meḥkarei Yerushalayim ba-maḥshevet Yisra'el 1 (1981): 2384; Idel, , Absorbing Perfections: Kabbalah and Interpretation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 80110. On the fact that the concept does not appear in midrashic literature see Idel, Absorbing Perfections, 108.

58. The terminological distinction should also be noted. Crescas uses the term: בלתי בעל תכלית (the term for infinity, which also appears in his scientific and philosophic discussions of infinity), while most kabbalistic sources employ the term אין סוף.

59. The acceptance of the theological view of kabbalists (particularly Naḥmanides) without the kabbalistic theosophic underpinning is apparent in Crescas's approach to other issues. See Schweid, Ta‘am ve-hakkashah, 14; Esti Eisenmann, “Ha-shedim ve-torat ha-ra‘a be-haguto shel R. Ḥasdai Crescas (MA Thesis, Hebrew University, 1995). On Crescas's approach in general to Kabbalah see Harvey, Zev, “Yesodot kabbaliyim be-sefer ’Or ha-Shem le-Rabbi Ḥasdai Crescas,” Meḥkarei Yerushalayim ba-maḥshevet Yisra'el 2 (1983): 75109; Ophir, Natan, “Sod ha-kaddish,” Meḥkarei Yerushalayim ba-maḥshevet Yisra'el 46 (2001): 1328. It should be noted, however, that the ascription of the kabbalistic text “Sod ha-kaddish” to Ḥasdai Crescas is questionable. See Ackerman, Ari, “The Ascription of Sod ha-Kaddish to Hasdai Crescas,” Kabbalah 30 (2013), 6574.

60. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 1: “יהי שם ה’ משברך ומרומם על כל ברכה ותהלה, אשר הפליא חסדו עם בריותיו להמציאם ולחדשם אחר האפס המחלט”; translation is taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 342–343.

61. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 2: “והוא בגדל חסדו ורב טובו ממכון שבתו השגיח ויבחר בבית יעקב, כבוד בתוכם, לאהבה וליראה אותו, לעבדו ולדבקה בו, אשר הוא תכלית ההצלחה האנושית.”; translation is taken from Harvey, “Hasdai Crescas' Critique of the Theory of the Acquired Intellect,” 344–345.

62. See, for example, the introductory paragraphs of Sa‘adia Gaon, ’Emunot ve-de‘ot (The Book of Beliefs and Opinions), trans. Rosenblatt, Samuel, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), 3, and ibn Pakuda, Bahya, Ḥovot ha-levovot (Duties of the Heart), trans. Hyamson, Moshe, (New York: Feldheim Press, 1970), 15. In particular, the opening sentences of Crescas's ’Or ha-Shem, are similar to those of Gersonides's Commentary on the Torah (Ḥamishei ḥumshei torah Sefer Bereshit), 1: “Levi ben Gershom stated: The exalted God, the Rock who brings into existence through His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge all the existents whose existence [displays] complete wisdom and beneficence, which cannot be achieved by anyone else. God, the Creator, through the desire to bestow goodness to the existents and to bring them from deficient to perfect existence, acts providentially toward these lowly existents and elevates their existence one degree after another until arriving at the existence of the human being. … God's providence of the human being extends to the guidance toward the true perfection. … This comes from God by the giving of this divine Torah, which is the law that brings about completely true perfection to those who observe it.”

“אמר לוי בן גרשום: יתברך ויתעלה הצור הממציא בתבונתו ובחכמתו ודעתו הנמצאות בכללם, אשר במציאותם מהחכמה והחנינה מה שאי אפשר שישיגהו זולתו בשלמות. ישתבח היוצר, אשר מחשקו להיטיב לנמצאות ולהגיע אותם מהמציאות החסר אל המציאות השלם, השגיח באלו הנמצאות השפלות, והעלה מציאותם מדרגה אחר מדרגה, עד שהגיע אל מציאות האדם…. לא נמנע מהשגיח בו במה שידריכהו אל השלימות האמיתי…. וזה אמנם היה ממנו בנתינת זאת התורה האלהית, אשר היא נימוס יגיע המתנהגים בו בשלימות אל ההצלחה האמיתית.”

63. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3:1:1, 273–318. On Crescas's view of creation see Feldman, Seymour, “The Theory of Eternal Creation in Hasdai Crescas and Some of His Predecessors,” Viator 11 (1980): 289320; Harvey, Warren Z., “Nicole Oresme and Hasdai Crescas on Many Worlds,” in Studies in the History of Science and Culture, eds. Fontaine, Resianne et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 347359; Davies, Daniel, “Creation and the Context of Theology in Maimonides and Crescas,” in Creation and the God of Abraham, eds. Burrell, David et al. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 6576.

64. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3:1:1:4, 308.

65. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3:1:1:5, 316 Should it be three or four sections?: “אלא שהאמת הגמור כפי מה שבא בקבלה. והוא, שהם יתברך חדשו והמציאו בעת ידוע, כאמרו ‘בראשית ברא' וגו’”.

66. Bereshit Rabbah, Bereshit par. 3:5, to Genesis 1:5 (ed. Theodor Albeck, 1:123).

67. Bereshit Rabbah, Bereshit par. 3:5, to Genesis 1:5 (ed. Theodor Albeck, 1:123).

68. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 3:1:1:5, 316: “ואם שנתיר לעצמנו מה שנמצא בקצת מאמרים לחכמינו ז”ל, הביאם הרב המורה, ולא ראינו חולק עליהם. אמרם ‘מלמד שהיה סדר זמנים קדם לכן’. והכונה מהם לפי מה שיראה—החדוש תמידי; אלא שהיו הוים בעת ידוע ונפסדים בעת ידוע.”

69. Crescas, ’Or ha-Shem, 4:2, 388.

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Ḥasdai Crescas on the Philosophic Foundation of Codification

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