Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mishneh Torah Eyes

I am trying to state briefly the vision of life that the Rambam's Mishneh Torah provides me with. I also want to give a sense of how and why the Mishneh Torah is the main source of this vision.
אָז לֹא-אֵבוֹשׁ--בְּהַבִּיטִי, אֶל-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ תהילים קיט,ו
The Rambam's Mishneh Torah (not to neglect his other works) is the main source of my vision of life. It is the only source in the Jewish tradition that provides a comprehensive, systematic presentation of the entire corpus of the oral law. The Mishneh Torah, though practical in its purpose, gives the theoretical underpinnings of the entire system and it fundamental objectives. Additionally, it is written with tremendous clarity and precision in a simple Hebrew. It is the ultimate salve to the practice of Judaism as disconnected rote behaviors. The Mishneh Torah is web-like in its efficiency to link from the micro-details of a particular halakha to the macro-structure it is part of. In this way one can never miss the forest for the trees (or as the Rambam would say miss the roots for the branches of the branches). At the core of the Rambam's Mishneh Torah is the centrality of the Written Law. This roots the practice of halakha in the covenantal relationship between B'nei Yisrael and God. In all, the vision afforded by the Mishneh Torah is an organic, interconnected world in which the halakha infuses every aspect of life with wisdom and meaning and facilitates an ongoing ascent in the love of God.

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