The OU Pardes Torah Project
Moses Maimonidies is known as the greatest Jewish philosopher and codifier of Jewish law
Born in Cordova, Spain, he was forced to flee from fanatical Moslems at the age of
thirteen, where he traveled with his family to North Africa, and ten years later to
Palestine. As a result of the devastation left by the Crusaders, Palestine was virtually
uninhabitable, forcing the family to move to Fostat (current day Cairo).
Throughout these journeys, the young Maimonidies had concentrated on Torah studies under
the guidance of his father, and by the time he reached Fostat had become a famous scholar.
Supported by his merchant brother, the Rambam was able to write copiously, gaining
international acclaim in both Jewish and secular fields of knowledge.
After the tragic death of his brother, the responsibility of supporting his family fell on
the Rambam's shoulders, and through his fame he was appointed chief physician of the
Despite the immense workload that was required, not only with his responsibilities to the
royal family, but to the entire Egyptian community as the official Nagid (royally
appointed leader), and to the halachic questions of world Jewry known as responsa, the
Rambam was remarkably able to complete some of his greatest Jewish works, including his
introduction and commentary on the Mishna, his philosophical work The Guide for the
Perplexed, and his magnum opus the Mishna Torah - the great codification of all Jewish
While he was considered an undisputed leader of world Jewry at the time, there was bitter
opposition to much of his works because they incorporated much of Aristotelian philosophy
that went against the traditional purist ideology of much of Ashkenazic Jewry, and others
believed his codifications would make much of the role of the rabbi and the oral tradition
The OU Pardes Torah Project is a
community service of the Orthodox Union.
Should you have any further questions about OU Pardes, please don't
hesitate to call us at 212-613-8300.
The OU Pardes Torah Project is also available for college campuses,
senior citizen homes, hospitals and youth organizations.