Naming Sources

David writes on Hirhurim: "Maybe the Rambam had a stronger basis on which to be ‘somech’ his methodology of not naming sources, i.e. from Moshe Rabbenu himself. After all, at the beginning of Devari-im when Moshe starts his review of events in the wilderness and recounts the incident of the appointment of judges/officers, Moshe seems to take credit for the idea and never mentions that it was Yitro’s suggestion.

"As for the Rambam, the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot. The Talmud doesn’t say it’s a requirement to attribute, it simply says it’s a very positive thing to do and assigns a level a potential good that may come of it. so, anybody having an opposing good reason would be well within their rights.

"And maybe that’s what Moshe did. the new generation would remember yitro as that Midianite "priest", so why mention him at all. Although, i still don’t understand why Moshe takes credit for the idea."

S. POSTS: I agree that for the Rambam it’s not a strong question. Certainly the implication of the Talmud is that it is a positive thing to do, not something which requires chakiros and explanations for why one did not do it–especially when the Rambam says why he didn’t do it.

As for Moshe, who says he took credit?

But if you want an answer, maybe he felt that it was necessary for strengthening his authority to be perceived as an innovator of good ideas.

MOSHE POSTS: Maybe Rambam was trying to circumvent the possibility of a truth being criticized or condemned due to it being said by a certian person or particular school of thought. Ultimately dissasociating what’s said from the person saying it. Trusting that the Truth of what’s said stands out more on its own merits because it ultimately doesn’t belong to us.

LEAH POSTS: A teacher pointed out to me recently that people often quote that chazal about omar davar besheim omro, but no one ever names the one who said it! kind of defeats the purpose of quoting that, I think.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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