What is higayon ?

עֲלֵי הִגָּיוֹן בְּכִנּוֹ
תהילים צב:ד

אמרו ערך מלאכת ההגיון אל השכל כערך הדקדוק אל הלשון
רמב״ם, מילות הגיון

The Jewish religion is basically a legislation.

And law involves logic.

The hebrew term for logic is higayon.

The word higayon that comes from Tehilime was given by Moshe Ibn Tibbon when he had to translate a book that the Rambam wrote on logic in the Arabic language : the Makalah Fi-Sina-At Al-Mantik. 

The most advanced system of higayon we have now has been designed by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto zt“l – the Ramchal –  during his stay in Amsterdam in the 1730s. He was a teacher at the yeshiva Ets Haym. His talmidim were often children of Marranos. They needed a method and higayon – logic – is the science of the formal rules of reasoning.

The Ralbag and the Malbim have also written books on higayon.

Rabbi David Sackton and Rabbi Chaim Tscholkowsky teach the logic of the Ramchal for years in their yeshiva with those three books :

  • Derech tevunot
  • Sefer ha higayone
  • Sefer hamelitza

Those three books are the main components of the pedagogic method of the Ramchal.

Rabbi Yochanan Lederman translated in french the Derech tevunot. His translation is more accurate because he pays attention to ramist sources of the Ramchal’s logic.

The Ramchal’s pedagogy encompasses diqduq and melitza – grammar and rhetoric – because his pedagogical method provides a complete training in language, rationality and communication.

Although Ramchal’s logic is used mainly for the learning of the Talmud, this blog will investigate Miqra and Piyutim.