Rambam and Ra’avad famously disagree as to whether someone who believes in the corporeality of G-d is an apikores. The Rambam writes (Hil Teshuvah ch 3) that someone who thinks that G-d has a body or a form is a heretic. Ra’avad sharply retorts that wiser and greater people than the Rambam have entertained such a belief based on their simple reading of the Biblical text; therefore, it cannot be categorized as heresy. (The Ra’avad’s response is not a logical argument or based on a sugya of gemara, but rather sounds like a simple appeal to authority – "Rambam, you must be wrong because greater people than yourself thought differently.") What is the point of disagreement between the two opinions?
R’ Chaim Brisker is said to have explained that the machlokes revolves around whether there is a din apikores b’shogeg. The Ra’avad does not mean that one can accept that G-d has a body; he simply is arguing that people who arrive at such a belief inadvertently, based on their mistaken reading of Tanach, cannot be called guilty of willful heresy. The Rambam, on the other hand, held that “nebech an apikores,” someone who is arrives at wrong beliefs simply out of ignorance, is still an apikores.
R’ Amiel takes a different approach entirely, and here’s a link to the page for you to see inside and maybe help me understand it. He sees the Rambam and Ra'avad's disagreement as based on this chiluk between yediya and hakara. From the perspective of yediya, when wearing the hat of the philosopher, it is impossible to conceive of any relationship between G-d and bodily form. However, when you look at things from the perspective of hakarah-intuition, the idea is not foreign at all. To the contrary, it is precisely the fact that we feel G-d as immanent and present even within our selves, our bodies, that gives rise to hakara!
If I understand him correctly, what Rav Amiel is suggesting that that the Ra’avad does not mean to defend the idea that c”v G-d has a bodily form. What he is saying is that G-d can be felt as being immanent in a body, which is a different thing entirely. If this is correct, I don’t understand why the Ra’avad is so sharply critical of the Rambam, as surely the Rambam would not disagree. I also don't understand what the Ra’avad means when he argues that those who disagree with the Rambam were led down that road by their reading of “mikra.” What does that have to do with the intuitive sense of G-d that comes from hakara? Does he mean to say that it is the perspective of the prophet, hakara, that the Tanach is built around, as opposed to the perspective of the philosopher, that is what gives rise to this view? That seems a bit of a stretch… I just don’t see how it fits the words. I love Rav Amiel's writing, the chiluk between yediya and hakara is useful in many contexts, but am struggling here with the Rambam/Ra'avad connection.