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Quotes of the day: Maimonides

Published Sunday, December 13, 2015 @ 12:10 AM EST
Dec 13 2015

Moshe ben Maimon, Latinized Moses Maimonides, a preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher and astronomer, became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. Born in Córdoba (present-day Spain), Almoravid Empire on Passover Eve, 1135 or 1138, he died in Egypt on December 12, 1204, whence his body was taken to the lower Galilee and buried in Tiberias. He worked as a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An ignorant man believes that the whole universe only exists for him: as if nothing else required any consideration. If, therefore, anything happens to him contrary to his expectation, he at once concludes that the whole universe is evil.

Anticipate charity by preventing poverty.

Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books, for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen.

For that which is without a beginning, a final cause need not be sought.

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

If the whole earth is infinitely small in comparison with the sphere of the stars, what is man compared with all these created beings?

In the realm of Nature there is nothing purposeless, trivial, or unnecessary.

It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.

It is of great advantage that man should know his station, and not imagine that the whole universe exists only for him.

No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.

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.

The more necessary a thing is for living beings, the more easily it is found and the cheaper it is; the less necessary it is, the rarer and dearer it is.

The more we desire for that which is superfluous, the more we meet with difficulties; our strength and possessions are spent in unnecessary things, and are wanting when required for that which is necessary.

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

The true work of God is all good, since it is existence.

Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.

We are obligated to be more scrupulous in fulfilling the commandment of charity than any other positive commandment because charity is the sign of a righteous man.

You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.


(December 13 is also the birthday of Heinrich Heine.)

Categories: Maimonides, Quotes of the day


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