Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Moshe Who Returned to Egypt

Rabbi Eli Stern

The Rambam states that someone who returns to Egypt transgresses no less than three Torah prohibitions. The problem: the Rambam himself lived there. A look at the Rambam’s life and the circumstances that led to him settling in Egypt provide sound basis for the explanations offered by the Rishonim and Acharonim.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, was born in the city of Cordoba, Spain, in 4895 (1135). His father, Rabbi Maimon, who was a talmid muvhak of the Ri Migash, served as a dayan and rav in Cordoba.

Not long after the Rambam’s birth, a terrible decree was enacted against the Jews of Spain. The Almohades, members of an extremist Muslim sect that had come to power in North Africa, stormed into the Iberian Peninsula and conquered vast portions of southern Spain. Wherever the Almohades seized power, they confronted the Jews with a cruel ultimatum: convert to Islam or die. Many cities were destroyed during that period, entire Jewish communities were uprooted, and many Jews fled Spain in every direction.

Among the refugees were Rabbi Maimon and his family. The Rambam was about thirteen years old when Rabbi Maimon took him, along with his brother, Reb Dovid, on a long, difficult journey to escape from the Almohades. They took up residence in the North African city of Fez, where they remained for five years. Then, finding themselves in danger once again, the Rambam’s family boarded a ship bound for Eretz Yisrael.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you