As a Jew, you’re the owner of an incredibly rich and deep heritage – the Torah. But the title “owner” is the furthest thing in most people’s minds when describing their relationship with this gift of wisdom, history, law, philosophy, ethics, etc. After all, the Torah is so vast – it spans millennia of conversation, the volumes of literature spawned over time must be in the hundreds of thousands and the true depth of its wisdom is appreciated only by scholars.
Yet, the Torah itself insists that – “The Torah commanded us through Moses is the inheritance of the Congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4). Every member of the Jewish People inherits – and therefore owns – the Torah.
Sounds far-fetched? Not at all. Here’s a fascinating way for you to experience “ownership” of the Torah:
At its core, the Torah is basically an exposition of 613 specific directives given from G-d through Moses to all the Jewish People at Sinai. Everything in Judaism – from the Ten Commandments and the Five Books of Moses, all the way through the thousands of pages of Talmud and right up to discussions on the pages of Jewish newspapers in 2017 – encompasses and is based on these 613 ideas.
However, over the course of the 3,330 years (that’s an exact number, by the way) since Moses received the Torah at Sinai, only one individual has succeeded in creating a compendium and digest that best encapsulates the basic exposition of each and every one of these 613 Mitzvahs in a comprehensive format.
His name was also Moses (Maimonides), and that’s no coincidence. For as the famous inscription on his grave reads: From the Moses who stood at Sinai to bring us the Torah, up to Moses Maimonides who compiled all its wisdom, there arose none like Moses.
In 1984, the Rebbe launched a global initiative with the ambitious goal of encouraging every Jew to study the Torah via Maimonides’ work – “the entire Torah for the entire People” – on a daily basis.
I urge you to read this essay by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz about the importance of studying Maimonides, known as Rambam: www.chabadgreenwich.org/901977, and then:
In honor of Maimonides’ Yahrtzeit this Sunday, choose the daily study cycle that best fits your schedule: www.chabadgreenwich.org/900030.
Enjoy the journey.