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If there is a contradiction between something the Rambam wrote in the Mishneh Torah and his responsum letters, which is considered his final ruling? Is there a general rule or is it a case by case?

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Do you have a specific example? –  Seth J Nov 20 '13 at 16:50
    
Most cases is tashuvoth->mt->mn I think Mori gafei7 talks bout this. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Nov 20 '13 at 16:57
    
I hate "rules" like this. They never end up holding. –  Double AA Nov 20 '13 at 17:47
    
Was the Teshuva in question written before or after he wrote Mishneh Torah? –  Double AA Nov 20 '13 at 17:47
    
@DoubleAA i think that's a hard question to answer considering the MT was revised several times and IIRC scholars are not 100% sure which copy, if any, that they have is final-final –  please remove my account Nov 20 '13 at 18:03

3 Answers 3

Great question. It's a problem that is not limited to the Rambam, you can find the same phenomenon among other poskim.

For example, the Maharil "contradicts" himself regarding when one removes shoes before the Ninth of Av. Does one take them off at home, or before Ma'ariv? That depends whether you read the responsa or the "Customs" (מנהגי מהרי"ל). See here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8859&st=&pgnum=111

Here is a series of shiurim that covers the issue:

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summarizing the shiurim would greatly improve this answer. otherwise might be better as a comment –  please remove my account Nov 20 '13 at 21:47

R. David Yoef in the introduction to the P'er Hador edition of Rambam's responsa quotes many who value the MT over the responsa, including the Rashba, in addition to citing some who hold the opposite, such as the Radvaz.

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It's generally understood that the Mishna Torah was Rambam's last -- and therefore greatest -- work. We assume that he changed his mind over time from his responsa-writing period to when he wrote the Yad HaChazaka (i.e. Mishna Torah).

(Though much ink has been spilled about his responsum allowing conversion to Islam rather than death, vs. the Yad's prohibition.)

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wrong. mora navukhim is his final book and we go by it when it contradicts the mt. for example the shiluah ha qan –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Apr 7 at 6:02
    
any source for this? –  mevaqesh Apr 19 at 1:45

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