1. The 20th1 of Teves2 commemorates the yahrzeit of the Rambam. Thus, it is connected with “all of his deeds, teachings, and service which he accomplished throughout his life... which are revealed and shine in an open manner from above to below, ‘bringing about salvation in the midst of the earth.’ “

Surely, this applies to the Rambam whose text, the Mishneh Torah, is structured “for the small and for the great... in order that, at first, a person will study the Written Law and then, he will study this text and from it, he will know the entire oral law without requiring any other text.”3 This text includes the entire Oral Law, describing the fulfillment of even those mitzvos that are applicable only when the Bais HaMikdash is standing.

In particular, this receives emphasis at present when the custom of studying a portion of the Mishneh Torah each day has spread throughout the international Jewish community. Particularly, this applies for those who follow the desirable practice of studying three chapters a day in order to conclude the study of the Mishneh Torah in a single year. This emphasizes the parallel to the Torah itself which is also completed in a single year. In this manner, each person will have “in his pocket,” the knowledge of practically applicable halachah for every year, he will review the entire Mishneh Torah.

Thus, each year the study is completed and begun anew as we say in the prayer recited after completing a portion of Torah study, “Just as You have assisted me and enabled me to conclude ----, so may You assist me to begin other tractates and texts and conclude them....” Since a Divine blessing is required for this study, it is appropriate to connect it with giving to tzedakah which encourages such blessings.

2. Based on the Rambam’s principle that, “Most of the laws of the Torah are intended to... correct our characters and straighten our deeds,” it is appropriate to derive a lesson of that nature from one of the laws from the portion of the Mishneh Torah associated with the present day.

Today’s portion of study concludes Hilchos Chametz U’Matzah, the laws associated with the celebration of the Pesach festival. The final law in those halachos states: A person who slept in the midst of the meal and then awoke should not begin to eat again. If, however, some members of a company slept in the midst of the meal, they may eat again. If they all fell into a sound slumber and then awoke, they should not eat. If they all [merely] dozed, they may eat.

This refers to our service in the present age, Ikvesa DiMeshicha, the era immediately before Mashiach’s coming. In the time of exile, the state of the Jewish people as a whole is described as sleep. Neverthe­less, there are Tzaddikim who do not sleep, who are always awake.

Our halachah teaches that even when a person does sleep (not merely dozes) in exile, since when he awakes he becomes aware that there are others who have not slept, he can consider himself as part of their group and continue the Seder as if there was no interruption.

The daily portion of study also includes the Rambam’s text of the Haggadah that teaches, “No desert is served after the Pesach.” This implies that after the Pesach, the Messianic redemption, nothing else, no other matter or service will follow. Rather, it will be an eternal redemption which will never be followed by exile.

This is particularly relevant at present when, to quote the Previous Rebbe, all that is necessary is for us to “stand prepared to await Mashiach’s coming.” This is also relevant to the Mishneh Torah which concludes with the description of the Messianic age, when, “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the sea covers up the ocean bed.”4