The Great Eagle (2017): Season 1, Episode 2 - Episode #1.2 - full transcript

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
A series by Uri Rosenwaks

Research and Production
Sharon Garber

Scientific Consultant
Aviad Stollman

From Moses to Moses
There Was None Like Moses

Rotem Yaron

Miri Lauffer

Original Music
Avi Belleli

Design and Illustrations
Yaniv Shimoni

Dotan Goldwasser

Image Design
Aharon Pe'er

Haim Uliel

Eli Bain

Soundtrack Design
Ophir Lokay Eliasaf

Directed and Produced by
Uri Rosenwaks

May his wings spread
over the whole world

The Great Eagle
In Search of Maimonides

The Cairo Genizah

Thus wrote Moshe

In 1165 Rambam and his family
settle in Egypt

Professor Menachem Kellner
Shalem Academic Center, U. of Haifa

There's even a legend

that the Rambam ( Maimonides)
signed all of his letters:

"I, Rabbi Moshe son of Maimon
of blessed memory the Sephardi,

"commit three sins every day."

One of them is dwelling in Egypt.
He himself ruled in the Mishnah Torah

that one mustn't leave the
the land of Israel .

But if there's no choice
one mustn't go down to Egypt.

I dwell in Egypt
and the king is in Cairo

and the two places
are two Sabbath realms apart.

Professor Mordechai Akiva Friedman
Tel Aviv University

The Cairo Genizah was a room

in a synagogue in ancient Cairo,
a.k.a. Fustat,

which was used from the early
11th century until the 19th century.

People threw into the Genizah

all sorts of writings that had
deteriorated or were useless

until hundreds of thousands
of pieces had accumulated.

In the late 19th century the synagogue
underwent major renovation,

the ceiling of the Genizah
was removed

and all the material was revealed.
Much of it went to the antiques market

and it became publicly known

so there are maybe five
large collections in the whole world

besides the biggest collection
which Schechter brought to Cambridge.

Cambridge University Library

In 1895 Solomon Schechter
brought some 200.000

documents from the Cairo Genizah
to Cambridge.

Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
Cambridge, England

Dr. Amir Ashur
Genizah researcher, Ben Gurion U.

It's fascinating, it's compelling...

you can come in contact

with ordinary people,

with the daily lives of people
who lived 1,000 or 1,200 years ago,

you see what they dreamt of,

what their lives were like,
their economy,

it's simply...

Listen, it's my passion,
I can't explain it.

What is the part of Maimonides
in this collection? How significant is it?

I mean, Maimonides is obviously
a major figure

and we're fortunate that
the Genizah comes from

essentially his adopted
hometown, Fustat,

because he settled there

and we're also fortunate that his family

after him remained in
some position of authority

because that enabled them to collect his
papers and deposit them into the Genizah

so we essentially have
the archive of Maimonides.

So he is throughout the Genizah.
Not huge numbers of items

but you can spot
his distinctive handwriting.

Here, this famous document

is a letter of recommendation
handwritten by Rambam.

This is his signature,
his actual handwriting.

"Moshe son of Rabbi Maimon
of blessed memory"

since his father was no longer alive.

How do we know
it's Rambam's writing?

First of all, there's a signature.
That's the smoking gun.

We can identify all his manuscripts

based on this model.

This one is a medical recipe

and it appears to be written
in the hand of the Rambam

so Maimonides wrote this.

It's very rare to find
actual practical recipes,

practical prescriptions for medicines,

and the Cairo Genizah is special
because it contains some of those.

How do you know it's Rambam?

This one it's Aleph-Lam,

this is very typical for the Rambam,

and also the way in which
he writes the Qof.

Very slanted towards the bottom.

This is typical also of many authors
that originaly came from Spain

The Sephardic way, the Spanish way
of writing Hebrew is very slanted,

it kind of follows the fashion
of the Arabic,

so you have lots of ending letters
that go down in the line.

In the period when he arrives
in Egypt from 1160 onwards

he has a dramatic effect, you can see
he's organizing the community.

You can read how this is a community
that's suffered at the hands of the Crusaders

and the gradual disintegration
of the Islamic world around them

and he galvanizes them
into action

and you can see that in the way
he writes letters

trying to raise money to ransom Jews
from the Crusaders and things like that.

As a political leader? -Yeah.
A man of real energy, he comes in.

This is proof that Rambam
was the leader of the Jews at the time.

"Riasa," the head, "glorious,
precious, magnificent,

"honored is the great sanctity
of our teacher, rabbi and master

"Moshe, the greatest rabbi in Israel.

"The light and wonder of the world,

"celebrated leader and his banner."

Look at this, for instance.
Here's another long question,

can a man's son
marry his sister's daughter?

Now, look at Rambam's response.

His response:

"Yes he can, thus writes Moshe."

He doesn't have to explain
or go into detail,

one line, "thus writes Moshe."

I was zealous for the Lord God of Israel

when I saw that the nation has
no comprehensive book of laws

with true, well-researched opinions.

Prof. David Henshke
Bar-Han University

After he finishes his commentary
on the Mishnah

he's already 30.

Around then he marries,

he settles in Egypt and very soon
becomes the top leader there.

Then he comes up with
the amazing idea

of writing a new work
to replace the Mishnah.

The audacious idea that he's going to write
"an all-inclusive books of laws"

which will be the complete, exclusive
book of laws for all Jews.

Dr. Meir Buzaglo
The Hebrew University

What Rambam did was unprecedented.

He managed to organize Judaism
as a system.

Jews talked,

one threw out a sentence,
another, a saying,

another, a Mishnah,
another wrote a book.

Jews talked.

Rambam creates a system.

Rambam turns Judaism

into a system
thanks to his abilities.

He manages to turn it into
an all-encompassing system.

Then he can tell you what man
is from a Jewish perspective,

what the Torah is
from a Jewish perspective,

what the Messiah is and what God is
from a Jewish perspective,

what Torah study is, what the Jewish
people is, what nature is,

how to relate to a Christian,

how to relate to a Muslim,
how to relate to a philosopher.

He gave us a compass for all these things,
he turned Judaism into a system.

Between 1167 and 1177 Rambam
wrote his book Mishneh Torah.

The book comprises 14 volumes

Rambam wrote Mishneh Torah
in Hebrew.

Mishneh Torah,

besides its depth and its content,

is put together in
a very special way.

It begins by dealing with

what a person should
achieve in the end,

which is Jewish occultism,
the "Pardes,"

and he ends with
the Messianic Era.

And it's put together
in an impressive architectural way.

Paradoxically, the book became

a book for very smart people.

You have to be very smart
to understand Rambam.

My goal was to convey it
just as Rambam wanted,

to every man and woman,
young and old,

patient and impatient,

to everyone,

to teach them the principles
of how their lives are constructed.

And when one understands
these principles

it changes everything.

I had the normal
public-religious school education

and I ended up at the
Nativ Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem,

a Bnei Akiva yeshiva,

and there, when I was about 15,
around 10th grade,

I came across Rambam

and that opened up a new world...

of someone who started
from a totally different angle

which was the angle

someone who's asking
the really big questions,

how one should live one's life,
why one should live it,

what God is

and what man's purpose
in this world is.

Give me an example of
the first things you encountered

that made you feel
you were in another world.

Rambam's first rule states:

"The foundation and basis of wisdom

"is knowing that there is
a primal being," etc,

i.e. that there is a God
and He is this and that.

I thought: Wow, this guy isn't starting
with what I should do

but with why I should do it.

"The foundation and basis of wisdom

"is knowing that there is
a primal being

"and He creates all that exists

"and all His creatures, in heaven
and on earth and everything between,

"only exist thanks to
the truth of His existence."

Prof. Moshe Halbertal
The Hebrew University

I ask myself:

How many drafts did that statement
take to make?

You're defining who God is
in simple terms.

And by the way, he doesn't use
any of the traditional terms,

it isn't "the Creator who
took us out of Egypt,"

it's "being," "existence,"

all the variations on the term.

An entity exists, so...

these principles and
Mishneh Torah,

philosophically speaking,
is a very radical text.

Therefore I called this book
Mishneh Torah (Second to the Torah)

since if one first reads
the Written Torah

he will know the entire Oral Torah

and need not read any other book.

Commentators said:
Thus he wrote. If only he hadn't.

He says: An ordinary Jew who reads
the written Torah and my book

can skip all the literature
in between,

for instance, the Babylonian Talmud,
the Jerusalem Talmud, Sifra, Sifrei, etc.

How did he dare?

Researchers are divided.
Some say he didn't mean

to leave all that out,

and some say:
Yes, that's exactly what he meant,

to change the Jewish syllabus

so Jews would have time to study
serious things like philosophy.

And if you spend your time
on commentaries on the Gemara

and other things
which we have set aside

you are wasting your time
and energy.

"The purpose of scholars," right?

Wasting time arguing the Talmud

as if their purpose were
to practice arguing.

There's an acerbic expression here,
"waste of time,"

referring to studying Talmud,

which, according to most sages
from Rambam to this day,

is the most important thing
one can do.

Rambam says: It's a waste of time

and it only makes one
better at the art of debate.

That's a radical statement?

Very radical.

Or Vishua Hesder Yeshiva

It's an incredible, tremendous book,

all the superlatives are superfluous,

but it has a shortcoming.

What's its shortcoming?
Rambam didn't name his sources

so he puts every other sage
in an awkward position,

"accept my opinion
and don't ask questions,"

and he doesn't even say why.

That's unacceptable.

What was his rationale?

Why did he put the book together
as he did?

No Jew who reads the Talmud
can make a ruling.

Not if he isn't a sage, a jurist.

He wanted something that any Jew
could use that covered every subject.

That's what he wrote.
-That's what he wanted.

He even writes that in his introduction.

But the shortcoming is
the lack of sources, and the proof is,

the first thing
all his commentators do

is list his sources

in or er to p acate his etractors

and everyone who didn't understand
why he said that.

Lior Tai
VP Content, Kolot

In Rambam's Mishneh Torah

he wipes out

the whole culture of debate
in Jewish history.

All the disagreements,
on which everything is based.

The Mishnah is based on debate,
the Gemara is based on debate,

all the responsa literature,

they're all structured to present
the disagreement followed by the ruling,

and Rambam,

for tactical reasons,

only leaves his ruling without
mentioning the debate.

This revolution of Halacha (ritual law)
creates something which,

in my humble opinion, contradicts
the essence of Jewish culture

which is based on debate.

The Mishnah

The Jerusalem Talmud

The Babylonian Talmud

Mishneh Torah

Shulkhan Aruch

Rabbi Prof. Avraham Steinberg
Editor, The Encyclopedia Talmudit

Clearly Rambam's approach

was that we shouldn't study
as we do today in the yeshiva world .

I believe that if Rambam
was alive today

he'd say:
That's not the way to study.

He failed in the sense,
if I may say so,

that his approach wasn't accepted.

There are no jurists,
not even in our time,

who go straight to Rambam
or another jurist

to make a decision.
They all go back to the sources,

study them, and make a ruling.

At the same time,

his work provides a foundation
which we can't do without.

This is the library of
the Encyclopedia Talmudit

which is a monumental effort.

There isn't an entry among
the 1,400 that are already written

or the 1,000 yet to be written

in which Rambam isn't
mentioned repeatedly.

Without him we can't discuss

a single Halachic topic,

including modern issues.

Har Etzion Yeshiva
Women's Seminary

But it is unbecoming of a woman
to go out constantly,

and the husband must stop
his wife from doing so

and only let her out
once or twice a month

as necessary.

For a woman is best off
staying at home

as it is written
"The princess's beauty is inward."

Henrietta Szold was the eldest
of eight daughters.

Her father was active in
the Conservative movement in the U.S.

and when her mother died
there wasn't such an awareness yet

but when her father died

she decided to recite Kaddish
(the mourner's prayer) over him.

And a good family friend

suggested that he recite
since he was a man.

Then she wrote a beautiful letter,

not contentious but very beautiful,

she didn't base it on the sources,

stating that she felt it preferable

that the deceased's offspring should
recite Kaddish even if she's a woman,

so she thanks him very much
for his offer

but since her father had no sons

she would recite Kaddish.

As a woman, a rabbi and a feminist

there must be times when you read Rambam
and feel very uncomfortable.

First of all,
I'll be honest and say

that there are times when I read
the Torah and feel uncomfortable.

As a woman, as a person.

When people attack me over one of
the principles of Judaism they often say:

But Rambam wrote that a woman
should only leave the house once a month.

I picture myself sitting with Rambam

and saying: Tell me,

would you still say that today?
"No, ma'am, you can't go out"?

ave no ou 11 at
he himself wouldn't say that

since e wrote in t e spirit
of his time.

Moreover, I have to say

that I feel a personal debt to him

since when it comes to
women studying Torah

Rambam introduces the ruling with the words
"A woman who studies Torah earns a reward."

This was the opening for

much more broad and in-depth
Torah study by women.

Prof. Hanina Ben Menachem
The Hebrew University

Look, Rambam was
a conservative jurist.

Most of his rulings on legal matters

are conservative.
Here's an example.

In Laws of Mourning he says

that if one's relatives
violated the Sabbath

and died,

one should wear white clothes,

make a festive meal

and say: "Thus should
Your enemies die, O Lord."

I can't believe that he thought

that anyone should actually do that.

That standard is unacceptably high.

Here, I think, he's using
the Talmudic distinction

between Halacha
and practical Halacha.

Rehearsal of the Pasehal sacrifice
Mt. Scopus

Welcome, everyone,

to all of you standing here

looking from Mt. Scopus

where we now stand

and look toward
the site of the Temple.

As we all know, the Halacha states
that anyone who comes to Mt. Scopus

should tear his garments
when he sees the Temple in ruins

and hope for the day when
the Temple Mount will be flattened,

everything cleared out

and the Temple rebuilt.

Passover is a Torah commandment.

We circumcise our sons
because the Torah commanded us to,

we lay Tefillin because
the Torah says so,

and there's no reason not to make
the Passover sacrifice.

Cohanim (priests), take your places.

Hallelujah, praise the Lord...

It is a positive commandment to slaughter
the Paschal lamb on 14 Nisan after midnight

and only a year-old male
sheep or goat

may be slaughtered.

Mishneh Torah includes
all the laws of the sacrifices.

Yes. -Rabbi Yosef Karo (Shulkhan Aruch)
doesn't include the sacrifices.

The question is,
going back to what I said before,

are the sacrifices included
in Mishneh Torah

Halacha... -Or practical Halacha?
-Or practical Halacha?

I definitely see it as a possibility
that Rambam saw the sacrifices

discussed in Mishneh Torah
as Halacha, not practical Halacha.

He didn't mean that the sacrifices

would be reinstated.

The first act is kosher slaughter
by a non-Cohen.

A Cohen will collect the blood
from the animal's neck in a basin

and his fellow Cohanim
will take it to the altar.

The Cohanim stand in rows
holding silver and gold basins.

The slaughterer slaughters,
the Cohen takes the blood,

gives it to his fellow Cohen who passes it
on, and so on, so that many are involved,

till the blood reaches
a Cohen close to the altar,

and he pours it at
the foot of the altar.

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,

"Who sanctified us
with Aaron's sanctity

"and commanded us to offer sacrifices."

"Blessed be His glorious name
forever and ever."


"Blessed be His glorious name
forever and ever."

The Temple will be built

The city of Zion will be filled

The Temple will be built

The city of Zion will be filled

And there we will sing a new song

And we will ascend in joy

And there we will sing a new song...

Birkat Moshe Hesder Yeshwa
Maale Adumim

I studied with Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook,

son of the famous Rabbi Kook,

who was headmaster
of Mercaz HaRav.

After the Six-Day War

when part of Israel and
the Temple Mount were captured

I went to him personally
and asked:

Rabbi, what about
rebuilding the Temple?

And he said:
Rebuilding the Temple? Now?

Absolutely not.

First of all, there's something
on the Temple Mount already.

Do you want all the Muslims in the world
to attack us? And kill Jews?

That's the first thing.
Secondly, he says:

A kingdom isn't built in a day,

we're just starting out

and the kingdom
comes before the Temple,

that's the order
according to Rambam

in Laws of the Temple,

that first the Israelite kingdom
must be established

and later, eventually,
we'll get to the Temple.

When you sanctify

something physical

you return to the awful mistake
that we made

when we made the Temple
the be-all and end-all.

God told us straight out:

Don't go there, I don't want you.

The path to Me goes through you,

through the way
you treat each other.

You've forgotten how to behave?

Don't make sacrifices,
I don't want them.

Also, when the sanctity
of the Land of Israel

becomes a holy objective

to be achieved
by hook or by crook,

if I may say so, I'm sure Rambam
would oppose that virulently.

It's a means, an important means,

but not a super-objective
which justifies any means.

The only thing we can learn
in the modern context

is that Rambam was in favor
of founding a Jewish state.

That's at the end of Mishneh Torah,
in Laws of Kings,

he says an attempt should be made

to establish a Jewish sovereignty
even before the Messiah comes

and an attempt should be made
to bring about the Redemption

which is, in effect,

the reestablishment
of full Jewish sovereignty

and the upholding of the Torah
in the Land of Israel and so on.

That's the political conclusion...

So you see the crowning of a king
and the founding of a Sanhedrin

as a realistic possibility?

there are stages to it.

e can't build the Temple
all at once,

but what is realistic is, first of all,
to reestablish a kingdom,

to reinstate Jewish sovereignty

with its own land and government.

If not for Rambam
there could be no religious Zionism

as we understand it

and there could be
no Chabad messianism

since Rambam was the primary figure
who described messianism

as a process that actually takes place
in the real world. -Yes.

So anyone who thinks,
as the religious Zionists do,

that IDF service and building Israel
and paving roads and so on

are part of the Redemption process
is actually a Rambam-ist.

The Israelites were commanded to do
three things when they entered the Land:

appoint a king,

destroy the Amalekites

and build a temple.

Rabbi Israel Ariel
Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, Yitzhar

You see some of the laws
in Mishneh Torah

as an activist approach
to establishing...

An Israelite kingdom.

Yes, I think that...

that's why Rambam wrote them,

to encourage us to..

Why study it now?

Let the sages decide
when the time comes.

If we study it now

we'll be more passionate
about making it happen.

Yes, I think Rambam proposed
there should be an Israelite kingdom,

that Israel should follow God's path
and obey Him

and that every aspect of life
should be based on that,

so I think..

I'm excited by the vision.

A convert is only accepted
during the Jubilee year

but even then,
if he accepts the entire Torah

except for one fine point,
he is not accepted.

Rambam writes categorically that
"in our time there is no dweller status."

In other words,
Rambam says that it can't be

that anyone who doesn't keep
all 613 commandments, even if he keeps 7,

can live in the land of Israel.

but that's Rambam's belief.

Then secular Jews
can't live here either?

That's always the question,
because according to Rambam...

The question is,

if this were a perfect Jewish society...

people who didn't keep the commandments
would be punished.

Rambam describes a society
that obeys God

and anyone who doesn't
is an exception.

Rambam thinks that these people
undermine Jewish society.

Just as someone tries to
harm you physically,

anyone who undermines
this society

which owes its existence to faith in God
and obedience and submission to Him,

anyone who undermines
these truths with cynicism

destroys the society and the society
has to fight him

like it's fighting for its life.

Rambam's greatest undertaking,
in my opinion,

is the battle against idolatry.

He has a zealous side to him

to the point where he believes
that idolaters should be killed.

A heretic is a Jew
who worships idols

or transgresses in order to anger God,

such as eating carrion or
wearing wool and linen together.

That means they do it in public,

they do it on purpose...

That is a heretic,

and what is an apostate?

It is a commandment to kill those who
deny the Torah and the prophecies:

If one can kill them by the sword
in public, one should,

"and if not, plot against them
until their death is achieved."


He sees one fall into a well
which has a ladder,

he takes the ladder away
and says:

I must take my son off
the roof.

That's Rambam's humor.

"And so on."

I don't know what he'd write today

in the situation where those who don't
believe in the Torah and the prophecies...

Some are even in this room.

I don't know what he'd do
in this situation,

and heaven help us from those
who interpret this as meaning

that we should do like this.
In our days,

but it's there and
we have to deal with it.

There's something messianic
about the book, right?

Yes, Rambam was a real messianist.

Someone once made
a funny comment:

Rambam fought lots of false messiahs
of his generation.

How did he know they were false?

He knew the Messiah
would come eventually.

He said: Rambam assumed that
if someone was Messiah, it was him.

Tomb of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Queens, New York

Don't imagine that the Messiah King
must perform miracles and wonders

or create new things
or resurrect the dead

or other such things
as the fools say.

On the 24th of Nfisan of this year

we completed the first
of-studying Rambam.

Tens, hundreds and thousands
- of Jews

studied three chapters a day

and finished the whole book
over the course of a year,

the first year having ended
this year on 24 Nisan.

There could be no better cause
for celebration,

for Jews to gather and be joyful
than the culmination of Torah study. *

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York

What led the Rebbe to put in
a daily study of the Rambam?

It's not something that is the custom
in other Haredi communities.

Well, I happen to have intimate
knowledge with this

because I, for many years,
wrote the Rebbe's talks.

Rambam (Mishneh Torah),
as opposed to Talmud or other parts,

brings together all laws of Torah.

Shulkhan Aruch, for example,
from Yosef Karo,

only has laws that pertain
to our time.

The Rambam speaks of the time of
the Temple, the time of Messiah and so on.

So the Rebbe felt this is a great way
to unite the Jewish people,

this is what he said,

and by everybody studying
every day the same ideas,

and Torah is a way to create
that type of unity.

Hassidim would probably read into it
that it's like a step toward Messiah.

Daily Rambam

The Rebbers purpose, from the day,
he was inaugurated,

was to bring about
the coming of the Messiah.

And he declares

that his leadership would bring about
the coming of the Messiah.

That's his purpose.

And studying Rambam is a means
for bringing the Messiah?

Hold on.

Rambam's book is about
learning the entire Torah.

The world has to be prepared. How do you
prepare the world for the Messiah?

By people doing
more spiritual things.

And one of the best,
most effective ways

to prepare the world
is studying Torah.

We must find ways,

even ways which aren't
for holy purposes a priori,

to encourage another Jew to study Rambam
or to study more Rambam.

And if a king of the House of David

should arise who studies Torah and performs
the commandment as did his father David

as the Written and Oral Torah instruct,

and makes all Jews follow the Torah
and bolsters it

and fights the Lord's battles,
he is considered the Messiah.

Dr. Alon Dahan
The Hebrew University

Rambam was one of
the only jurists

who made rulings regarding
the Messianic Era, including...

the Messiah himself,
his image

and what he has do to prove
that he truly is the Messiah

and so on,

and as a result of Rambam's
comprehensive work

in various places

regarding the Laws of Messiah,

the Rebbe used those laws

to force reality to comply with
this wish.

Chabad categorically believes

that the Davidic Kingdom applies to him.
-To the Rebbe?

Yes. -Based on what?
-Based on the fact that

they consider him
a descendant of the house of David.

They see the Schneerson family
as part of...

the Davidic dynasty.

Declaration of the Rebbe
as the Messiah King, 1993

The ruling states:
'We hereby determine

"that it is eminently clear
that by God's grace

"we have been blessed with a Zaddik,
foundation of the world,

a king of the House of David,

"who fulfills all the conditions listed
by Rambam in Laws of Kings,

"Chapter 11, law 4, '
regarding the Messiah."

In Rambam's words:

"A king of the House of David will arise

"who studies Torah and performs
the commandments as did his father David

"as the Written and Oral Torah instruct,

"and makes all Jews follow the Torah
and bolsters it

"and fights The Lord's wars.

"He is the rabbi of all Israel,

"the divine master of
both the revealed and the hidden

"who disseminates the Torah and|
bolsters it for over fifty years."

Our holy master, teacher and rabbi

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
of Lubavitch.

Therefore, according to Rambam's ruling,
it is clear that he is the Messiah.

We bless our holy master,
teacher and rabbi

with the blessing:
Long live the King

so that from now on, every Jew
and every nation will know

that this is the Messianic Era.

Long ive our master, teacher and rabbi,
the Messiah King, forever and ever.

They gave the Rebbe a chance,
they wanted him to be king,

and how would it work?

Can that be done?

How would it work?
A person rises up

and more and more people believe in him
and he does more and more things.

Imagine the Rebbe had become
more and more successful,

thousands of people would keep
more and more commandments,

this is an unreal scenario,

not quite realistic,

let's say there were elections
in Israel and the Rebbe

announced his candidacy
and became prime minister

and from then on..

People would give him
more and more authority.

That's a way that the Messiah
could appear.

Long live our Lord, our Master, and our King,
the Messiah, forever and ever

Long live our Lord, our Master, and our King,
the Messiah, forever and ever

Our Rabbi, The Messiah King

Lives for ever on.

To say that a dead man
is the Messiah

poses an extremely difficult
question of faith.

We had a precedent like it
2,000 years ago.

We mustn't..

repeat such things.

That the Lubavitcher Rebbe
was a great man,

no one disagrees.

That he made a great contribution
and educated many,

no one can. take that away from him.

But to call a dead man
the Messiah,

that's a real problem.

There are people who took the things that
the Rambam uses to identify the Messiah

and claimed it on the Rebbe,

it's no secret.

Okay, now we're getting to
the entertaining part,

this is rnore the controversial part.

No, no, I hear you.

Look, I come from the scholarly
point of view.

I don't like sensationalism.

Chabad is not immune to sensationalism.

Remember, Chabad welcomes everybody.

So you have people who take things
very literally and very narrowly.

The same Rambam also says,
that people don't quote,

that only things we know,

That which we don't know
we don't talk about.

There's a lot of things about Messiah
we don't know.

o man nows ow a t ese t mgs
will be until they happen

since only the prophets
are privy to them.

In any case, the order of
these things' occurrence

and their details
are not fundamental to Judaism.

In religious thought, my interpretation
of Rambam often determines

what Rambam means.

It isn't Rambam's decision.

What do you think Rambam
would say about it?

I'm not sure he'd be
a Chabad Hassid.

I'm not sure.

But the real question,

the philosophical level,

is whether there is any book
or text

whose meaning is self-evident

regardless of how
the reader understands it.

The text's meaning is always determined

by the interaction between
the reader and the text.

And your interpretation

may be very different

from mine or someone else's,

so what then is the truth?

Cambridge, England

In 1933 Shelomo Dov Goitein
iscovered the David Letter in the Genizah Collect!

This is one of the most
exiting discoveries

the Genizah provided us.

Maybe not the most exciting,
but definitely one of the most.

It's a handwritten letter.

If you look at it closely

it looks something like Rambam's
handwriting, not exactly,

but it's close.

Here we see the words

"Maimon O.B.M."

And here we see the word "David"

at the beginning of
"Your brother David writes to you."

Now, we know who David

of the Maimon family is,

he's Rambam's brother.

In one of his missives
Rambam writes

tha David traveled on business
so that Rambarn could study?

They loved each other dearly.

Rambam says: I raised him.

Despite all this do not fear;

He who saved me
from the perils of tfte desert

He will save me at sea as well.

I do all this to provide for your needs
and interests

although you never asked me to...

I'm sure that this letter
will reach you

when I, God willing,
am halfway to my destination.

And on one of his voyages

David drowns at sea,
he isn't heard from again,

and Rambam took it very hard.

Rambam writes that
when he hears the news

of his brother DaVid's death
he goes to bed

in tears, aggrieved,

and doesn't leaver his bed
for a year.

Today we woujld call it


Rambam is out of commission
for a year.

He can't do anything but grieve.

He was affected that badly.

"And the great evil
that befell me recently

"was the death of the Zaddik
who drowned in the Indian Sea

"bearing great riches of mine,
his and others.

"He left his little daughter
and widow with me

"and he was my brother

"and my student and he used to
bargain in the market and earn money

"while I dwelt in security.

"And he passed on, leaving me
in distress in a foreign land."