Maimonides "The Rambam"

Maimonides "The Rambam"

"From Moshe son of Amrám, who received the Torah on Mount Sinai, to Moshe son of Maimon author of Mishne Torah, there was no other resemblance to Moshe son of Maimon.
Hence the famous phrase: From Moshe to Moshe there was no other like Moshe!

Today the 20th of the month of Tevet is the Hailula of our Grand Master, HaTzadik Rabenu B'Morenu Moshé ben Maimón (Maimonides) (1135-1204)
Today we remember him through his shocking history, an incomparable Master!

Maimonides was born in Córdoba, Spain, a day before Pesach, Nisan 14, 1135. His father, Rabbi Maimon, was a great scholar. Moshe received his first instruction from his father, who taught him the Holy Scriptures, the Talmud and also mathematics:

The young man had a brilliant mind. When he reached the bar mitzvah age of thirteen, Córdoba was invaded by fanatical Muslim tribes, the Almohads. The new conquerors gave the inhabitants of Córdoba the chance to choose between accepting the faith of Islam or leaving the city immediately. The vast majority of the Jewish inhabitants decided to leave the place and go into exile. Among them were Maimon and his family.

For ten years, Maimon's family wandered from place to place, without finding a shelter to set up their home. Despite these sacrifices, Moshe continued his studies, and his magnificent courage and faith were an inspiration to many.

Rabbi Maimon finally arrived in Fez, Morocco, in the year 1160, when the son of he, Rabbi Moshe, was 25 years old. Here too the Jews endured great hardships and persecutions by fanatical Mohammedans. Rabbi Maimon then wrote a famous letter in Arabic, which he sent to all the Jewish communities in North Africa. In it he urged them to remain loyal to their religion despite oppression, study the Torah, perform mitzvot devoutly and pray three times a day.

A few years later, the situation of the Jews of Fez was taken. Unbearable.

Jewish leaders were executed for refusing to embrace the Islamic faith. Maimon's life was also in grave danger, but a local Arab poet, a close friend of Maimon, saved him. In the dead of night, in the spring of 1165, Rabbi Maimon and his family embarked for the Land of Israel. Great were the dangers of the sea, but a few days after Shavuot they finally reached the Holy Land, near Acco. The Jews of Acco, to whom the fame of the great scholar had already reached, extended a warm welcome, full of honor and affection. But here they could not find the peace they longed for, so that after visiting the holy places of Jerusalem and the tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Maimon and his family moved to Egypt, known in those days as the land of "culture and culture. Liberty". They first stayed in Alexandria and later moved to Fostat (Old Cairo), where Maimon passed away.

Moshe (or Maimonides) continued his studies with great enthusiasm. His brother, David, took care of the whole family, as he was a prosperous jewelry dealer. One day, however, the terrible news came that David had perished in the waters of the Indian Ocean. The shock of the sad news left Maimonides so sore that he fell ill. It took him almost a year to recover. So he had to make plans to support his own family, in addition to the young widow and her little daughter.

Maimonides did not want to earn a living by accepting the rabbinical position, as he did not want to profit from his knowledge of the Torah . He then worked as a doctor - having studied medicine and science in his youth. His fame quickly spread. His talent allowed him many times to diagnose and write the prescription without having to exchange a word with his patient.Once a healthy man decided to test Maimonides' medical wisdom and went to see him. Maimonides observed him for a moment and began to write the prescription. The man, who was in good health, left the office pleased to have verified that he was correct in doubting the veracity of the system that Maimonides used. Curious, given that the prescription was written in a language that only the pharmacist could understand, he went to a pharmacy to be told what Maimonides had prescribed. With great amazement he heard the pharmacist read "You are hungry. Have a good breakfast."

During his voyages, and amid the dangers of sea and land, Maimonides not only constantly studied the Torah the Talmud, but began to write a commentary on the Mishnah. Shortly after his arrival in Egypt, at the age of 33 (in the year 1168), he completed his commentary, originally written in Arabic (in Hebraic characters, the common language of Eastern Jews at the time. Maimonides was particularly pleased having finished it, since he was a descendant of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who had compiled the Mishnah about 1000 years before.

The commentary to the Mishnah gained wide fame. Numerous consultations on the most diverse points of Jewish law they began to come to him from remote Jewish communities, the opinion of Maimonides being highly respected.

Maimonides became very much loved especially by the Jews of Yemen, to whom he sent a letter of comfort and encouragement, which has acquired renown to this day with the name of Igueret Teiman ("Yemenite Epistle"), at a time when their entire future as Jews was threatened by oppression.

It was amazing how much Maimonides could work in a single day! Resol via communal matters of urgency, his medical practice, his regular hours of Torah and Talmud study, his correspondence, etc. But even in the midst of this overwhelming task, he wrote a second outstanding work: the Mishneh Toró or Yad HaJazaka, in the year 1180.

This is a giant religious code, a compilation of the entire Talmud. It was written in plain and simple Hebrew, in the language of the Mishnah, understood by all Jews. It is divided into 14 books (the Hebrew word Iad has the numerical value of 14), each of them subdivided in turn into chapters and Halachot (Laws) in an exemplary manner.

This book is used until today in day in all the Yeshivot (Torah Academies).

Around the year 1185 he became a private physician to the Vizier, and later also a personal physician to Sultan Afdal, who succeeded his kind father, the famous Sultan Saladin ( 1137? -1193). Many of the country's nobles sought his services and wise advice from him, but Maimonides also found time to care for the poor, from whom he neither required nor accepted payment. And yet he could correspond with the Jewish communities near and far, and continue his activity in the fields of medicine, astronomy, and philosophy. All this despite his frail physical constitution and his frequent illnesses.

Around the year 1190, Maimonides finished his famous philosophical work, the Moré Nevujím (Guide for the Perplexed). This book was also written in Arabic and achieved great popularity in Jewish and non-Jewish circles.

During the last twenty years of his life, Maimonides was the recognized and beloved leader of all the Jewish communities in Egypt.

he died in Fostat, on Tevet 20, 1204. His remains were transferred to Tiberias, in the Land of Israel, where they found a burial.

(Info. Chabad esp.)

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