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Metaphysics in Maimonides

Hello Wonderful Rabbi!
1. With the exception of genetics, medical, deformities, defects, … From a Jewish… spiritual perspective, … what is r-e-a-l-l-y the cause of mental health problems/issues? ……

2. After reading Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed (twice),… there were a few times when Rambam mentioned “metaphysics,” which I assume is a mental physician,… but according to Hebrew scriptures … is it the belief that someone could be “cursed” with a (proverbial) yoke around their necks/life … due to sin? And if so, how can they break that “curse” which could be reverberating … for weeks, months, years?? Did they utilize similar services such as Psychotherapist, or Counselors … like the secular practices of today? …..

3. If memory serves me correct, the Israelites lived peacefully in Egypt, (before the great Exodus) for approx 210+ years. Why did-n’t … they go back home to their previous land when the famine was over? After they overstayed their welcome,… then Pharaoh came up with the idea of enslavement for the remainder 200+ years!?? ……

4. Could you share with me …. the type of study habits/method that Jewish children implement? I’m fascinated with their scholastic ability?


These are not the “conventional” questions we usually deal with. I will try to answer briefly.

1) There is no “official Jewish” perspective for causes of mental health problems. Of course, many can be caused by stress and related issues, but there is nothing “Jewish” about this.

2) “Metaphysics” in Maimonides should be understood in the philosophical sense, as the most fundamental understanding of being, of existence, of the world, and so on. In his introduction to the Guide, Maimonides refers to Ezekiel’s account of the Chariot as a foundational text of Jewish metaphysics. It is no related specifically to mental health.

3) God redeemed the Israelites from Egypt with a specific plan in mind: To give them the Torah (Bible), and to bring them to the Land of Israel, which was the pre-designated place for the implementation of the Torah. In fact, the Torah cuts off the Israelites from Egypt, prohibiting the return to their land of bondage.

4) Traditionally, Jewish children are inculcated with a love of study and learning — and in particular of the study of Torah and the biblical/rabbinic tradition. This love of learning ensured that the Jewish people were almost entire literate when their surrounding culture was almost entirely illiterate, and has produced wonderful fruit over the centuries.

Very best wishes.

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