From the Anash.org Inbox: Someone once asked the Minchas Elazar why did he, an ultra-zealot, learn the Rashash’s commentary? He responded, “What should I do ‘er kratzt mich vi es baist mich,’ he scratches me where it itches.” Rambam Ho’oruch meets that need for Rambam study.
The Torah world and more specifically those who participate in learning the daily Rambam have been gratified to hear that the last two volumes of the monumental edition Rambam Ho’oruch have been recently published. This completes a project that took Rabbi Yaakov Peretz Bluming over 20 years to accomplish.
The commentary seeks to address the problems that a person with some background in learning would face while learning the daily Rambam at a quick pace. It gives reasons for the halachos, points out when the Rambam is stating a unique position, gives background to concepts and words that are likely to be unfamiliar. Obvious questions are answered, and it provides a synopsis of the Rebbe’s sichos.
I find the following quip of the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch can be applied to Rambam Ho’oruch.
Certain groups of Chassidim avoid learning the commentary of the Rashash on Gemara since they claimed that he doubted a particular Kabbalistic idea. Someone once asked the Minchas Elazar why did he, an ultra-zealot, learn the Rashash’s commentary? He responded, “What should I do ‘er kratzt mich vi es baist mich,’ he scratches me where it itches.” In other words, his commentary answers questions that I have during learning.
There are commentators who address too many diyukim, and at great length. Others don’t explain things that were simple to them, but not as obvious to someone on my level. This author, in my humble opinion, managed to strike a good balance of not too much but not too little. He scratches where it itches for most.
Some years ago, I had a chavrusa in Rambam with a wealthy individual who paid for me to learn with him. I introduced him to Rambam Ho’oruch and he was ever so grateful for the opportunity to really understand Rambam and to have the confidence that any question that crops up is addressed.