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Thursday, December 30, 2004

800 Years Since Death of Maimonides

This coming Shabbath, the 20th of the Hebrew month of Teveth, will mark exactly 800 years since the death of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - the Rambam (Maimonides).

The Rambam (1135-1204) was a religious scholar, physician, philosopher and writer. Born in Cordoba, Spain, he soon fled to Morocco after the Almohads conquered the area. He later lived in Morocco, the Land of Israel, and Egypt, where he served as Sultan Saladin's doctor. Maimonides is considered one of the most influential leaders and scholars in the history of the Jewish people. He wrote prolifically including most notably, the Mishneh Torah, a comprehensive code of Jewish Law; a commentary on the Mishna; and Guide for the Perplexed, on Jewish philosophy. His incredible stature is best summed up in the popular saying, "From Moshe [the Biblical Moses] to Moshe [Rambam], there arose none like Moshe."

70 at the time of his death, the Rambam was said to have been buried in the city of Tiberias, on the banks of the Kineret (Sea of Galilee). Rabbi Yitzhak Shilat, a Rambam scholar told Arutz-7 that the grave marking the Rambam’s burial place is indeed accurate. He said that the Rambam insisted on being buried in the northern city due to his belief that the Sanhedrin would be re-established there.