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Moses Maimonides

From Moses to Moses there were none like Moses: The Visit

by Ilil Arbel, Ph.D.

When Maimonides finished writing the Mishneh Torah, he knew its value. However, he also expected tremendous objections and was worried about them. He thought some people would object to his having omitted the references to his sources. He knew some may not like his presentation of unsubstantiated opinions. He expected many to object to the inclusion of non-Jewish philosophy. In addition, he knew that his enemies would do anything to detract from the book even if they believed it was good, out of jealousy and ill will. He was deeply worried.

And one night all was done. There was nothing left to correct, nothing to reread, nothing to ponder. In a state of deep anxiety, drained and exhausted, Maimonides went to sleep, and had a profound and significant dream:

The night after he completed the book Mishneh Torah, his father, Rabbi Maimon, came to him in a dream, and with him was our teacher Moses ben Amram. Rabbi Maimon said "My son, this man that you see with me is our teacher, Moses ben Amram." And he added: "My son, we came to see the book you have written." He got up and gave them the book, and they looked at it and said: "May thy strength increase for the book you have written."

Even the greatest rationalist, the man who disdained any supernatural inclination and always criticized mysticism, could not have resisted a sign of approval from the spirits of Rabbi Maimon, his beloved and honored father, and Moses ben Amram, the greatest prophet that had ever lived. It is very likely that Maimonides actually had this dream, and was impressed enough to tell others about it. Therefore, it may be a true legend.

Sources:
Ilil Arbel. Maimonides: A Spiritual Biography. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company. (To be published September 2001).
Yitzhak Avishur. Shivhe ha-Rambam. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University. 1998.