I'm sorry to ask a source-seeking question (because I don't like seeing them myself), but I'm at a loss here in trying to find what I think is a theologically important Hassidic story. The story goes something along the lines of, "the Rambam paskened that no Jew is allowed to believe that God has a physical form, and hundreds of pious people were evicted from Heaven, until the Raavad came along and paskened that they were allowed back in". I remember seeing this somewhere (perhaps a scholarly publication on theology) but cannot, after many attempts, find it anywhere.

And, no, I'm not confusing it with the story of the Kotzker, who said that the Rambam paskened the sheidim out of existence.

  • 1
    Why do you call it an hasidic story? What's hasidic about it?
    – msh210
    Sep 11, 2015 at 1:40
  • 3
    @msh210 I remember that it was either said by a chassidic rebbe or that in was in a chassidic source of some kind. But also, it is a chassidic-style story, as I doubt the rishonim would think like that. Can you imagine what the Rambam would say about the Kotzker's line? Sep 11, 2015 at 1:43
  • The on topicness of this question is in line with the famous statement of the Gra"sh. Nonsense in nonsense. But the study of nonsense is scholarship. (paraphrasing from memory).
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 9, 2016 at 8:21
  • @mevaqesh I think it would be on-topic regardless Mar 6, 2017 at 21:35
  • @Matt Glad to hear from you. I agree with your previous comment.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 6, 2017 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


This is quoted in the Afrakasta D'anya (4: 370) of R. David ben R. Baruch Kalonymus Sperber (leader of pre-war Romania) in the name of R. Moshe Stern in the name of the author of Imrei Yosef in turn quoting his teachers.

שו"ת אפרקסתא דעניא חלק ד - עניינים שונים סימן שע ועל דרך - זה שמעתי מפי מו"ח הגה"צ ז"ל [רבי משה שטרן, גאב"ד פאליאן] בשם הה"ק בעל אמרי יוסף זצ"ל ששמע מרבותיו נ"ע דבשעה שפסק הרמב"ם ז"ל בפ"ג מה' תשובה ה"ז דהאומר שיש שם רבון אחד אבל שהוא בעל תמונה הוא מין, ע"ש, נתגרשו אלפי נשמות מתוך הג"ע. ונתעורר הראב"ד ז"ל מן השמים להשיג על הרמב"ם ז"ל וכ' עליו ז"ל: ולמה קרא לזה מין, וכמה גדולים וטובים ממנו הלכו בזו המחשבה לפ"מ שראו במקראות ויותר ממה שראו בדברי האגדות המשבשות את הדעות עכ"ל, ומיד שכ' הראב"ד כך החזירו הנשמות לגן עדנם".‏

"I heard the following from my teacher my father in law in the name of the author of the Imrei Yosef who heard from his teachers of blessed memory that when Maimonides ruled (Hil. Teshuva 3:7) that one who concedes that there is one God, but claims that he is corporeal, is considered a heretic, thousands of souls were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Thereupon Raavad was inspired from heaven to argue with Maimonides, and wrote regarding him: 'why has he called such a person a heretic, while several greater and more righteous than he followed this belief, based on what they saw in verses of Scripture, and more so from what they saw in the Aggadot that corrupt [proper] views'. Immediately when Raavad wrote this, the souls were returned to the Garden of Eden." (my trans.)

It is also cited in the name of R. Israel ben Shabetai Hapstein (1733-1814) the Magid of Kozienice, in Marc Shapiro's Limits of Orthodox Theology page 65.

  • @Matt you are very welcome.
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:34

This would appear to have a precedent in the gemara that says that when chazal were about to pasken that Shlomo has no chelek in olam haba, a fire came down and encircled them.

I.e. since their pesak would have been motzi Shlomo from olam habah there was a kitrug on chazal.

At any rate you do see you can be motzi someone from olam habah with a pesak.

  • 1
    Thanks for our contribution pcoz and welcome to MY. This doesn't really answer the question but provides interesting background. Since it doesn't answer the question, it might be more of a comment than an answer. In any case you might want to edit your post to add a source to the gemara. Also consider using English words for some of the less known Hebrew you use (e.g., kitrug). Hope you will keep contributing.
    – mbloch
    Dec 31, 2015 at 3:36
  • The Gemara regarding Shlomo HaMelech can be found in Sanhdrin (104b). Rabbi S.Y. Elyashev uses this story to explain the Gemara (Kesubos 111b) where R' Yochanan challenges R' Elazar, that Hashem is not pleased with people who speak the way R' Eliezer spoke. That is because Heaven rules the way the halacha is decided in this world, and R' Eliezer's negative ruling would jeopardize many people in the World to Come (Ha'aros, Kesubos ibid.). Jun 26, 2018 at 17:35

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