The Most Famous of the 613 Laws in the Torah

The Ten Commandments are written with room for different interpretations, reflecting their role as a summary of basic principles. [27] [54] [55] [56] They are not as explicit[54] or detailed as the rules[57] or many other biblical laws and commandments because they contain guiding principles that apply universally in all changing circumstances. They do not set penalties for their violation. Their exact meaning must be elaborated in each individual situation. [57] Maimonides` harshest medieval criticism is Hasdai Crescas` Or Adonai. Crescas resisted the eclectic trend by destroying the certainty of the Aristotelian worldview, not only in religious matters, but also in the most fundamental areas of medieval science (such as physics and geometry). Crescas` criticism prompted a number of 15th century scholars to defend Maimonides. A partial translation of Crescas was made in 1929 by Harry Austryn Wolfson of Harvard University. Most traditions of Christianity claim that the Ten Commandments have divine authority and continue to be valid, although they have different interpretations and uses from them. [75] The Apostolic Constitutions, which invite the faithful to “always remember the Ten Commandments of God,” reveal the importance of the Decalogue in the early Church. [76] For most of Christian history, the Decalogue has been regarded as a summary of God`s law and standard of conduct, which were central to Christian life, piety, and worship.

[77] Religious Jews believed in immortality in the spiritual sense, and most believed that the future would include a messianic era and a resurrection of the dead. This is the subject of Jewish eschatology. Maimonides wrote extensively on this subject, but in most cases he wrote about the immortality of the soul for people with perfect intellect; Most of his writings were not about the resurrection of corpses. The rabbis of his time criticized this aspect of this idea, and there was controversy about his true opinions. [h] The biblical account of the revelation of Sinai begins in Exodus 19 after the arrival of the children of Israel on Mount Sinai (also called Horeb). On the morning of the third day of their camp, “there was thunder, lightning, and a thick cloud over the mountain, and the voice of the trumpet drowned loudly,” and the people gathered at the foot of the mountain. After “Jehovah[8] descended to Mount Sinai,” Moses ascended briefly and returned with tablets of stone and prepared the people, and then in Exodus 20 God spoke to all people the words of the covenant, that is, the “Ten Commandments”[9] as it is written. Modern biblical scholarship differs depending on whether Exodus 19–20 describes that the people of Israel heard all or part of the Decalogue directly, or whether the laws are transmitted to them only by Moses.

[10] The greatest misfortune that has befallen me throughout my life, worse than anything else, was the death of the saint, blessed be his memory, who drowned in the Indian Sea, carrying much money belonging to me, him and others, and leaving me a little girl and a widow. The day I received this terrible news, I got sick and stayed in bed for about a year, suffering from a painful boil, fever and depression, and was almost abandoned. About eight years have passed, but I`m still grieving and I can`t comfort myself. And how should I comfort myself? He grew up on his knees, he was my brother, [and] he was my student. [30] One of the passages in the Mishneh Torah is the section dealing with the Zedika. In Hilkhot Matanot Aniyim (Laws on Giving to the Poor), chapter 10:7-14, Maimonides lists his eight famous levels of outpouring (the first level being the highest and the eighth the least): [55] The Bible emphasizes the special status of the Ten Commandments among all other Torah laws in several ways: The Ten Commandments form the basis of Jewish law, [59] It sets forth God`s universal and timeless standard of good and evil, unlike the other 613 commandments of the Torah, which include, for example, various duties and ceremonies such as the dietary laws of kashrut and the now-unobservable rituals performed by priests in the Holy Temple. [60] Jewish tradition regards the Ten Commandments as the theological basis for the other commandments. Philo, in his four-volume work The Special Laws, treated the Ten Commandments as titles under which he discussed other related commandments. [61] Likewise, he stated in the Decalogue that “under [the commandment”. against adulterers”] Many other commandments are implicitly transmitted, such as that against deceivers, against practitioners of crimes against nature, against all those who live in debauchery, against all peoples who engage in illicit and incontinent unions. [62] Others, such as Rabbi Saadia Gaon, have also grouped the commandments according to their relationship to the Ten Commandments. [63] Another important book of commandments from this period comes from the relatively unknown literature Ḥefeẓ ben Yaẓliaḥ (late 10th century).

Often quoted by early medieval Jews in North Africa and Spain, a complete copy of Ḥefeẓ`s work does not seem to have been available, even in Maimonides` time. This voluminous legal compendium, parts of which were published by Benzion Halper, a specialist on Genizah in the early twentieth century, was apparently a complete legal code. Like Saʿadya before him, Ḥefeẓ organized the commandments into different sections, such as those dealing with ritual contamination or animal defects.