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INSIGHT: Rambam's Royal Authors

Royal Commandments

Royal Commandments

OK… So, there are a few “don’ts” that a Jewish king must be careful with. But the king also has an all-important “do” Mitzvah – a special commandment of HaShem directed to all Jewish kings. The Torah calls it Mishneh HaTorah – a double Sefer Torah.

Here’s what it’s all about:

A typical king is recognized by the crown on his head. A Jewish king, the representative of HaShem, is recognized by the portable, mini-Sefer Torah that he carries around with him at all times! In addition, the king would have another beautiful Sefer Torah in his royal treasury.

“When a king ascends his throne”, Moshe cried out, “he shall write for himself Mishneh HaTorah – two Sifrei Torah, and it shall be with him all the days of his life! He should read from the Torah every single day. That’s the way he will learn to fear HaShem.”

But it’s more than just reading from the Torah. According to Rabbi Moshe Sofer (a.k.a. the Chasam Sofer, 1762-1839), it means that in any tough situation he may encounter, “he should read from the Torah” – look into the words of the Torah for guidance.

Bottom Line?

A Jewish king is super special:

He is chosen by HaShem Himself; he’s an expert in the words of the Torah which he treasures so dearly; never arrogant or haughty; and uses his talents to lead Bnei Yisrael towards becoming Am Kadosh, a Holy Nation!

Shazak insight

Rambam's Royal Authors

Our Sages of the Talmud (Tractate Gittin 62a) talk about another type of king… it’s called the Rabanan – the teachers or what we call Rabbis.

Indeed, the Rabbi-teachers that have the most influence are the ones who wrote books. And which Jewish author would you guess is the “king” of authors? If you said the Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, you are 100% correct!

Indeed, the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah book (we’ve mentioned the Rambam and his books many times) is so popular that, believe it or not, there are hundreds of commentaries explaining the Mishneh Torah!

Around 1700, a great author, Rabbi Yehudah Rosanas from Constantinople, Turkey (1657-1727), wrote his commentary on the Mishneh Torah. It was called Mishneh LaMelech – meaning the ‘Mishneh (book) for the King.’ Which king? The Rambam of course!

From then on, the name Melech was used in many other commentaries of the Rambam.

To name a few:

Kiryas Melech Rav – Rabbi Yehuda Navon of Turkey (?-1761), whose father, Rabbi Efraim Navon was a student of Rabbi Yehudah Rosanas.

Chaim U’Melech – Rabbi Chaim Palachi (1788-1868), also from Turkey.

Yad HaMelech – Rabbi Elazer Landau (1800s), grandson of the famous Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, of Poland, known as the Nodeh BeYudah. BTW: The Landau family were able to trace their lineage to Rashi!

Avodas HaMelech – Rabbi Menachem Krakowski (passed away in Vilna, in 1930). His young nephew at the time, the famous Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik from Boston, actually helped his uncle write his book.

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

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