Sephardic Tid-Bits: Maimonides Quotes




Sephardic Tid-Bits

Maimonides Continued…

If you have read our prior Tid-Bits you would have learned about the life of Maimonides whose true name was Moshe ben Maimon and whose very popular “nickname” was The Rambam. He was born in Cordoba, Spain in 1135 and died in Fostat, Egypt on December 12, 1204 and buried at his request in Tiberias, The Holy Land. He was 69 years of age when he died.

I am concluding his story with some of his famous quotations. Some will be very familiar but not known to be his.

I would like to invite you our congregants to participate in a conversation by e-mail with me and other interested congregants in discussing the meaning of many of these quotations. If you would like to participate e-mail me at and tell us your thoughts. I will share with you the responses I received from others. I hope you will participate. HAVE FUN!

One should see the world, and see himself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil. When he does one good deed the scale is tipped to the good - he and the world is saved. When he does one evil deed the scale is tipped to the bad - he and the world is destroyed.

Teach thy tongue to say 'I do not know', and thou shalt progress

To the totality of purposes of the perfect Law there belong the abandonment, depreciation, and restraint of desires in so far as possible

If a person studies too much and exhausts his reflective powers, he will be confused, and will not be able to apprehend even that which had been within the power of his apprehension. For the powers of the body are all alike in this respect.

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision

The whole object of the Prophets and the Sages was to declare that a limit is set to human reason where it must halt.

You will certainly not doubt the necessity of studying astronomy and physics, if you are desirous of comprehending the relation between the world and Providence as it is in reality, and not according to imagination.

Consequently he who wishes to attain to human perfection, must therefore first study Logic, next the various branches of Mathematics in their proper order, then Physics, and lastly Metaphysics

Further, there are things of which the mind understands one part, but remains ignorant of the other; and when man is able to comprehend certain things, it does not follow that he must be able to comprehend everything.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime