Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

It's known that Teimanim follow the opinion of the Rambam exclusively.

What do they (or even more so Rambamists) do when there are questions not discussed at all by the Rambam? For example,

  1. Do Teimanim use electricity on Shabbos?
  2. What do they do regarding date-lines?
  3. What do they do when they are in the far north where there is no sunset?

Do they follow other poskim in such cases? Do they have their own responsa where they try to deduce the Rambam's opinion?

share|improve this question
    
You should check out Rav Yosef Kapach's works. That might be it. –  Hacham Gabriel Jul 1 '13 at 22:38
3  
I don't think it's true that Teimanim follow the opinion of the Rambam exclusively. –  Daniel Jul 2 '13 at 0:12
    
@Daniel not anymore that is. because they are uneducated for the most part. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3gob Jul 2 '13 at 0:46
1  
It's actually "known" otherwise judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9878/… –  Double AA Jul 2 '13 at 4:08
    
@DoubleAA they have their own masoroh on things. they differ than the rambam at over 60 places. however, everything else was 100% rambam up until shaamis came along and the moving to arasS yisroel. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3gob Jul 2 '13 at 4:54
add comment

1 Answer

(In order of your original question)

First of all, I would like to correct an apparent misconception regarding the halakhic positions of traditional Temanim. While it is true that they they generally follow the Rambam as opposed to later authorities, at no time in their history did the Jews of Yemen follow the Mishneh Torah exclusively. Instead, the previous Mara De-Athra of Yemen - i.e. before the time of the Rambam - was the Rasag (Rav Sa`adia Gaon) and even then they followed other Gaonic opinions in many areas of halakhah. While there were strains of "Rambamists" in Teman who attempted to exclusively follow the Rambam in all matters, the sentiment never truly caught on, even among the Dar Daim of early 20th Century.

(NOTE: When we speak of "traditional Temanim" in this regard, we are really talking about the Baladhim and not the later Shami'im who abandoned many of their ancestral traditions in favor of adopting Sefaradi practices based largely on the Qabbalah and the Shulhan Arukh of Rav Yosef Karo.)

Regarding the problems of modernity, the problem for the Mishneh Torah is not so different from the Shulhan Arukh. In actual fact, Rav Karo merely quotes the language of the Rambam in about 85% of his code. So, what is difficult for one is difficult for the other. However, from my experience, Temanim who still follow the Rambam attempt to derive - using logic and the Gemara - the shitah of the Rambam for more modern halakhic issues. Rav Ratzon Arusi shlit"a will often learn through the traditional sources, such as the Tur and the Shulhan Arukh, as well as modern poseqim like Rabbi Mosheh Feinshtein z"l in order to determine the correct halakhic position in his estimation.

In many instances, things which are "issues" for later codifiers of halakhah are simply non-issues in the halakhic formulation of the Rambam. So, they will simply disregard it and teach their communities that for the Rambam it was not an issue and that one is not required to worry about it.

  1. While there are groups of traditional Temanim who do use electricity on Yomim Tovim, there are none who use electricity on Shabboth. Those who use electricity of Shabboth are not Temanim at all, but only "Rambamists" who generally take a simplistic and almost "Karaite-style" approach to the text of the Mishneh Torah. An approach which has led to a multitude or errors - some of which are rather severe - among non-Temani [would-be] devotees of the Rambam.

  2. They handle the question in similar manner to other authorities. However, the premise(s) for determining any one position regarding date lines are taken from the Rambam as opposed to other authorities.

  3. The answer to this question is essentially the same as above.

As for modern halakhic commentaries and responsa, you can find thousands of such questions and answers on the following websites (which are in Hebrew ONLY):

A. www.net-sah.org

B. www.moreshet.co.il - there are many rabbanim who contribute to this site, so click on the "Ask The Rav" tab, and then select "Rav Ratzon Arusi" to see his pisqei teshuvah according to the Rambam.

share|improve this answer
    
i heard mori arusi has become too leanient and less rambam-like recently. he wants to be more "politically correct" when it comes to certain halochoth. this is one reason to not always rely 100% on what he says. this notion of becoming lenient in halocho in order to fall into the category of not falling away from the way the klal does things between teimonim and the rest of the jewish world is hurting teimonim more than anybody else unfortunately. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3gob Oct 6 '13 at 20:34
2  
But I can assure you that he does not depart from the Rambam's pesaq in Mishneh Torah for "political correctness" or other shallow motives. Please do not believe these types of inaccurate stories, and please refrain from spreading them. Kol tuv. –  Maimonist Oct 6 '13 at 20:48
1  
However, to perform hishtahawayah in the middle of a ssibbur which does not practice such a custom - except during Yom HaKippurim - is wrong since it is almost sure to arouse a mahloqeth. To quote Mori Yusef z"l (as printed in Shu"T HaRiva"d - Sefer Mada) "...many of these things [relating to tafillah be-ssibbur] are de-rabbanan and they [i.e. the non-Rambam qehilloth] have valid opinions [from the Geonim, et al] on whom to rely, but to arouse a mahloqeth is an issur me-de-oraytha and for such a sin there NO ONE on whom to rely." Many non-Hebrew speaking, non-Yemenite "Rambamists" simply... –  Maimonist Oct 7 '13 at 1:39
1  
...do what they understand from their limited reading of the Rambam no matter who they are with or how it will affect others. They wrongly justify it by invalidating anyone who is not like them. This is not the way of the Rambam - he did not live this way or teach halakhah this way. I do not mean to bring an argument from the greatness of a scholar (since even great scholars are wrong at times), but I challenge anyone who would criticize either Mori Arusi shlit"a or Mori Yusef z"l for their positions to first contend with the Rambam as understood by their mesorah. Kol tuv. –  Maimonist Oct 7 '13 at 1:46
2  
I am a HUGE fan of the Rambam, but he was one Rishon and NO community EVER used the Mishneh Torah as their exclusive and only halakhic text, not even traditional Baladhi Temanim. This is a new - mostly American ba`al teshuvah - development which usually does not fare well. The Rambam wrote his book to teach quickly and easily the halakhah as he understood from his reading of the Gemara, NOT as the final word. In his letters to Yosef Ibn Akhnin he tells him to teach Gemara and the halakhoth of the Rif in his yeshiva. He writes about his son that he wishes him to be a hakham, not a mimic. –  Maimonist Oct 7 '13 at 4:41
show 25 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.