Mishneh Torah is Maimonides’ magnum opus. Also known as Yad HaChazakah (“Strong Hand”)—since yad has the numerical value of 14, the number of books in the digest—it is a compendium of the entire Oral Torah.

In his introduction, Maimonides explains that it includes the ordinances, customs, and decrees that were enacted from the time of Moses. Maimonides goes on to explain the compilation’s name, Mishneh Torah:

Therefore, I have called this text Mishneh Torah, "the second to the Torah," with the intent that a person should first study the Written Law, and then study this text and comprehend the entire Oral Law from it, without having to study any other text between the two.

Ever since its publication, Mishneh Torah—or Rambam, as it is called in common parlance—has been studied by scholars and laymen alike. While the text is simple and concise, much depth is attributed to every nuance in his words.

In 1984, the Rebbe called for uniting the Jewish people through Torah study, and instituted the Daily Rambam.

The Rebbe established three study tracks, making it universally user-friendly:

1. Three chapters a day, concluding in under a year.

2. One chapter a day, concluding every three years.

3. Sefer HaMitzvot study, corresponding to that day’s mitzvah in the first track.

At subsequent gatherings and talks, the Rebbe often expounded upon Maimonides’ teachings and the lessons we can learn from them.1

This year, we are celebrating the conclusion of the 39th cycle, and the start of the fortieth. To provide a taste of Maimonides’ vast teachings, we present 32 quotes from Mishneh Torah.

  1. The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being who brought all existence into being.2
  2. Everything that exists depends on G‑d, and He does not depend on anything.3
  3. Once a prophet has been established, it is forbidden to doubt him or question the truth of his prophecy.4
  4. The straight path is the midpoint of each and every trait that a person possesses within his personality.5
  5. One will not come to love G‑d unless he becomes obsessed with it.6
  6. One can only love God as an outgrowth of the knowledge with which he knows Him . . . It is necessary to seclude oneself in order to understand and conceive wisdom and concepts that make his Creator known to him according to his potential.7
  7. The judgments of the Torah do not bring vengeance to the world, but rather bring mercy, kindness and peace to the world.8
  8. When a person eats and drinks, he is obligated to feed strangers, orphans, widows and others who are destitute. In contrast, when a person locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, it is not the rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather the rejoicing of his gut.9
  9. Doing mitzvahs with joy and loving G‑d, who gave them to us, is a great form of Divine service.10
  10. [Naturally] one wants to perform all the mitzvahs and avoid all sins; it is only his evil inclination that presses him.11
  11. Do not attach significance to the mitzvahs themselves, but to the One who commanded them.12
  12. It is best never to take an oath. If, however, one transgressed and swore, he should go through great pains to keep his word.13
  13. A person should never consecrate all of his property . . . This is not piety, but foolishness.14
  14. There is no mitzvah greater than freeing captives.15
  15. We have never seen nor heard of a Jewish community that does not have a kupah [fund] for charity.16
  16. A person will never become impoverished from giving charity.17
  17. A person who compels others to give charity and motivates them to do so receives a greater reward than the person who actually gives.18
  18. The highest level of charity, beyond which there is none, is to support one who has fallen into poverty by giving him a present or a loan, entering into partnership with him, or finding him work, thus supporting him and precluding the need for him to ask.19
  19. Anyone who gives food and drink to the poor and orphans at his table, he will call out to G‑d and [G‑d] will answer him.20
  20. There were great sages who were woodchoppers, porters of beams, water-carriers for gardens, and iron-smelters and makers of charcoal, but they did not ask anything from the community, nor did they accept gifts that were given to them.21
  21. Words communicated in a dream are of no significance at all.22
  22. Not only the tribe of Levi [was chosen by G‑d], but any human, man or woman who is spiritually motivated and has the intellectual understanding to set himself aside and stand before G‑d to serve Him and minister to Him and to know G‑d, proceeding justly as G‑d made him, removing from his neck the burden of the many plans people pursue, he is sanctified as holy of holies and G‑d will be his portion and heritage forever . . .23
  23. It is appropriate for a person to meditate on the reasoning of the holy Torah and know the ultimate meaning of the mitzvahs according to his capacity. If, however, he cannot find a reason or motivating rationale for a practice, he shouldn’t regard it lightly.24
  24. Most of the Torah laws were given to us to improve our character and direct our deeds.25
  25. Once one has decided to cleanse himself from thinking about sinning and other evil thoughts . . . G‑d in His mercy will cleanse him.26
  26. The Torah showed concern for the lives of both the wicked and the righteous, for they are attached to G‑d and believe in the fundamentals of our faith.27
  27. Any court that continuously negotiates a compromise is praiseworthy.28
  28. Anyone who does not believe in [Moshiach] or does not await his coming denies not only the statements of the other prophets, but those of the Torah and Moses, our teacher.29
  29. The main thrust of the matter is: This Torah, its statutes and its laws, are everlasting. We may not add to them or detract from them.30
  30. Do not presume that in the messianic age any facet of the world's nature will change or there will be innovations in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern.31
  31. The sages and the prophets did not yearn for the messianic era in order to have dominion over the entire world, to rule over the nations, to be exalted by the nations, or to eat, drink and celebrate. Rather, they desired to be free to involve themselves in Torah and wisdom without any pressures or disturbances, so that they would merit the World to Come.32
  32. In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition, for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d.33