October 30, 1998 | Gerald Blidstein
This article proposes that the Maimonidean suggestion that semikha can be renewed should be seen in historic, as well as jurisprudential, perspective. Maimonides denied the right of any contemporary institution, especially the Babylonain gaonate (which vigorously claimed the priviledge) to grant semikha. But since semikha is an essential component of messianic redemption in its rabbinic version, the Maimonidean position could be undermined by the argument that it denied the messianic possibility. By providing a mechanism for the renewal of semikha, Maimon ides could negate that claim.