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B"H

The Rambam in hilchos teshuva 7:4 says:

אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים מָקוֹם שֶׁבַּעֲלֵי תְּשׁוּבָה עוֹמְדִין אֵין צַדִּיקִים גְּמוּרִין יְכוֹלִין לַעֲמֹד בּוֹ. כְּלוֹמַר מַעֲלָתָן גְּדוֹלָה מִמַּעֲלַת אֵלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא חָטְאוּ מֵעוֹלָם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כּוֹבְשִׁים יִצְרָם יוֹתֵר מֵהֶם:

Our Sages declared: "In the place where Baalei Teshuvah stand, even the completely righteous are not able to stand." The level of Baalei Teshuvah transcends the level of those who never sinned at all, for they overcome their [evil] inclination more

One might think, at first glance, that the source for his statement is Brochos 34b, which reads:

וּפְלִיגָא דְּרַבִּי אֲבָהוּ, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ: מָקוֹם שֶׁבַּעֲלֵי תְשׁוּבָה עוֹמְדִין — צַדִּיקִים גְּמוּרִים אֵינָם עוֹמְדִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם לָרָחוֹק וְלַקָּרוֹב״. ״לָרָחוֹק״ בְּרֵישָׁא, וַהֲדַר ״לַקָּרוֹב״.

And the Gemara notes that this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rabbi Abbahu who holds that penitents are superior to the righteous. As Rabbi Abbahu said: In the place where penitents stand, even the full-fledged righteous do not stand, as it is stated: “Peace, peace upon him who is far and him who is near.” Peace and greeting is extended first to him who is far, the penitent, and only thereafter is peace extended to him who is near, the full-fledged righteous.

But there is a significant difference:

The Gemara says in the place Baalei Teshuva stand, the perfectly righteous "don't" stand, while the Rambam says they "are not able to stand".

Meaning according to the Gemara, the righteous still would have the ability to stand in the same place, but for whatever reasons they are not standing there, while according to the Rambam, they're not even able to stand there, which is a much greater novelty.

The idea that the Rambam must not accept this idea is also because in hilchos melachim he rules that there's no difference between this world and the world to come except for the subjugation of nations, which is according to Shmuel in the previous part of that gemara, which clearly argues with the statement of Rabbi Abahu:

וּפְלִיגָא דִּשְׁמוּאֵל, דְּאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: אֵין בֵּין הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ אֶלָּא שִׁעְבּוּד מַלְכוּיוֹת בִּלְבַד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי לֹא יֶחְדַּל אֶבְיוֹן מִקֶּרֶב הָאָרֶץ״.

And the Gemara notes that this statement disagrees with the opinion of Shmuel , as Shmuel said: The only difference between this world and the days of the Messiah is with regard to servitude to foreign kingdoms alone. While in the days of the Messiah, Israel will be independent and free from enslavement to foreign powers, the world order will remain otherwise unchanged, as it is stated: “For the poor shall not cease from the land” ( Deuteronomy 15:11), which indicates that the ways of the world are set and unchanging.

וְאָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אַבָּא אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: כׇּל הַנְּבִיאִים כּוּלָּן לֹא נִתְנַבְּאוּ אֶלָּא לְבַעֲלֵי תְשׁוּבָה, אֲבָל צַדִּיקִים גְּמוּרִים ״עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ״.

And Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: All of the prophets only prophesied their prophecies of consolation with regard to penitents but with regard to the full-fledged righteous it is stated: “No eye has seen it, God, aside from You.”

וּפְלִיגָא דְּרַבִּי אֲבָהוּ, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ: מָקוֹם שֶׁבַּעֲלֵי תְשׁוּבָה עוֹמְדִין — צַדִּיקִים גְּמוּרִים אֵינָם עוֹמְדִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם לָרָחוֹק וְלַקָּרוֹב״. ״לָרָחוֹק״ בְּרֵישָׁא, וַהֲדַר ״לַקָּרוֹב״.

And the Gemara notes that this statement disagrees with the opinion of Rabbi Abbahu... (As above)

What is the source for this idea?

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    "according to the Gemara, the righteous still would have the ability to stand in the same place, but for whatever reasons they are not standing there" According to your interpretation of the Gemara. Commented May 22 at 11:42
  • @Deuteronomy see edit Commented May 22 at 12:11
  • Re: your edit. The gemara says the Shmuel argues on R. Chiya bar Abba in the name of R Yochanan, and the R. Abahu argues on (another statment of) R. Chiya bar Abba in the name of R Yochanan. I don't see it saying that Shmuel and R. Abahu are arguing
    – Joel K
    Commented May 22 at 12:19
  • @JoelK the statements of Shmuel and rabbi yochanan are connected and grouped together with the ו. It's one of the klali hashas, don't have the source on me at the moment. Commented May 22 at 12:31
  • 1
    @Awtsmoos--עצמות That's not the way I was taught to learn, but ok.
    – Joel K
    Commented May 22 at 12:34

1 Answer 1

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Dikdukei Soferim to Berachot 34b brings a variant reading of the gemara which contains the phrase יכולין לעמוד in place of עומדין, which comes from a marginal note found in the Munich manuscript:

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(Manuscript is courtesy of the Bavarian State Library Munich, accessed online via the Friedberg Project for Talmud Bavli Variants at bavli.genizah.org)

As such, it's entirely possible that Rambam's text of the Talmud also had such a reading, and he simply copied it more or less verbatim.

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  • Are you sure he's not bringing that reading in an attempt to reconcile the Rambam with it? Commented May 22 at 12:05
  • Dikdukei Soferim is not doing any reconciling himself. I suppose it is logically possible that whoever added the marginal note to the Munich manuscript did so with knowledge of what Rambam had written in Mishneh Torah. I am not knowledgeable enough to suggest whether that is at all likely.
    – Joel K
    Commented May 22 at 12:10
  • That Wikipedia article cited says "He completed his copying task in 1342.", much after the Mishneh Torah was published. It's possible he believed the Rambam had another version of the Gemara when he wrote that halacha, so maybe that's the source of the alternative reading Commented May 22 at 12:13
  • Did Friedberg list other manuscripts with this variant older than Munich? If so it's highly unlikely Munich's scribe originated the variant
    – Double AA
    Commented May 22 at 13:16
  • @DoubleAA I don't see it listed aside from in Munich
    – Joel K
    Commented May 22 at 13:27

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