Maimonides Rambam Significance to Judaism

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Maimonides, was a Sephardi Jew who lived during the time after the Golden Age of Jewry, when Jews were under persecution from not only the revival of tradition philosophy {this challenged many of the Jewish traditions beliefs about God, as well as other monotheistic views} but also from the Almohades. The Almohedes invaded Spain claiming they had discovered an ancient message from the Prophet Mohammad to tolerate Jews for five hundred years and if messiah still hadn’t come then they must renounce exile or death.’ Maimonides was young at the time, however, they realized the importance to preserve and perpetuate Jewish religion in the Islamic environment. Thus, this led him to his major literary works, these include:

– Commentary on the Mishnah: provided a link between learning and practicing Torah, writing commentary in a simple and straight forward way, talking only of the halakic decision. Written in Arabic

– Fundamental to orthodox Jews – Included establishment god exists, god revealed himself through prophets, the resurrection of the dead and the coming of the messiah.

– This included the 13 principals of faith which highlight the main creedal statement of Jews today clarifying the core beliefs of Judaism and are accepted by all Jews.

– Mishneh Torah most significant contribution to Jewish law, fourteen volume methodical arrangement of Jewish law that codified Talmud for quicker and easier access to Jews. Significant as before there was no systematic presentation of Jewish law. Laws concerning god, ritual civil laws, interpretation of the messiah. Coming of the messiah a time for peace and prosperity’. 613 mitzvot. Mighty arm. It contains a full range for all people.

– Guide for Perplexed: a strong case for the use of human reason in the interpretation of revelation, more than 40 commentaries from others sowing its importance. Intended for philosophy students. Deals with ideals that religious belief should be logical and open to intellectual debate. Integrated religion, science, and philosophy. Basis in rational thought. Resolve apparent contradictions and reserve Jewish faith. Anthropomorphic depictions of God.

– Response: queries to halakic issues suited to a person’s level of knowledge 500 known and published.

– Ethics of the Fathers:

– Medical: many medical centers named after him. Pioneered new approaches to diagnosis and treatment. A holistic approach to health warned of health risks in city living “comparing the air of cities to the air of forests is like comparing thick torrid waters to calm.”

Maimonides other contributions to Jewish faith included:

– The talented physician became the physician of the court of the sultan in 1183. His fame was so great even Richard the lionheart requested his services.
– Chief Rabbi of Egypt.
– Recognized as one of the greatest Jewish Philosophers, a profound interpreter of Jewish law called second Moses.
– Writings and literary works
– Consolidated Jewish communities in the face of dual threats of persecution
– Virtually unparalleled
– From Moshe to Moshe there arose none like Moshe.

Maimonides is still extremely important for Jewish people today as his writings are influential in Jewish ethical decisions, halakic debate and many Jews pilgrimage to his burial place.

These quotes have been of great significance in recent years in areas of Jewish debate, and still form a central part of the Jewish people’s beliefs:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
One should see the world, and see himself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil.

When he does one good deed the scale is tipped to the good – he and the world is saved. When he does one evil deed the scale is tipped to the bad – he and the world is destroyed.
Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity’s golden ladder

Ethics of the father Maimonides:

“Whosoever studies the written word of God possesses virtue but receives no reward; whosoever studies the Mishna possesses virtue and receives reward, but there is nothing higher than the study of the Gemara.”*

 

 

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