20 Tevet: Remembering the Rambam

The Rebbe: The name “Rambam“ is an acronym for the Torah’s words meaning, “I will multiply My wonders in the land of Egypt” (Shemot, 11:9)

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The yahrzeit of Rambam always falls on the week when we begin to read the book of ‘Shemot’ (‘Exodus’): “And these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt (Shemot, 1:1). Surprising?

 

Here’s the Rebbe’s explanation:

– The name ‘Rambam’* is an acronym for the Torah’s words meaning, “I will multiply My wonders in the land of Egypt” (Shemot, 11:9). These words allude to the wonders associated with Redemption from Mitzrayim [Egypt, and more broadly – every exile ever since].

👆 From the Rebbe’s talk on Shabbat Parashat « Shemot ». Tap here to see the full interactive presentation, based on this talk.

 

Similarly, the Rambam’s life involved giving a foretaste of the Redemption to the Jews living in Egypt in his time, in the night of exile**.

It is in the land of Egypt that he composed his great book – the Mishneh Torah. As he explained in the introduction to that work, the Mishneh Torah was composed in response to the difficulties of exile:

 

“At this time, we have been beset by additional difficulties, everyone feels [financial] pressure, the wisdom of our Sages has become lost, and the comprehension of our men of understanding has become hidden. Therefore, those explanations, laws, and replies which the Geonim composed and considered to be fully explained material have become difficult to grasp in our age, and only a select few comprehend these matters in the proper way… Therefore, I girded my loins – I, Moses, the son of Maimon, of Spain. I relied upon the Rock, blessed be He. I contemplated all these texts and sought to compose [a work which would include the conclusions] derived from all these texts regarding the forbidden and the permitted, the impure and the pure, and the remainder of the Torah’s laws, all in clear and concise terms, so that the entire Oral Law could be organized in each person’s mouth without questions or objections… (From the Rambam’s introduction to the Mishneh Torah).

 

The book of the Rambam has given many generations of bnei Israel a foretaste of the Era of the Redemption. This is particularly relevant in the present age when, to borrow an expression from the Rebbe Rayatz, the Jewish people have completed the service required of them and have even “polished the buttons.” Everything is ready for the Redemption and all that is lacking is that G‑d open the eyes of the Jews and allow them to realize that they are already sitting at the feast of the Redemption!

There is no need for any further delay. The very next moment can be the last moment of the exile and the first moment of the Redemption.

As a catalyst for this, we must reflect an attitude of Redemption in our lives, showing how within the exile, we can experience Redemption.

This should include a reinforcement of our study of the Rambam’s works according to the three pronged plan of study: three chapters or one chapter a day in the Mishnah Torah, or the parallel portions of Sefer HaMitzvos. May these efforts lead to the era when — as the Rambam states in the conclusion of that text:

“The earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover the ocean bed.” (Habakkuk 2:14).

 

* Apart from being an abbreviation of his personal name.

** This is reflected in the fact that it includes laws which are only relevant in the time of Mashiach and Geulah (Redemption).

From the Rebbe’s talk on Shabbat Parashat Shemot, 21st Day of Teves, 5752(1992).

Did you know? Interactive lessons, based on the Rebbe’s talks, created by the “Beit Shemesh Tomchi Tamimim” yeshiva, are now open to everyone. Find out how you can use these materials and presentations for your class or event 👇

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