Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204) was a Spanish rabbi, physician, philosopher, and commentator on the Talmud. Better known as Maimonides or Rambam, he fled Spain when a Muslim conqueror offered the choice of conversion or death. He eventually became the physician of the Sultan Saladin, the leader who retook Palestine from the Crusaders. Maimonides is revered in the secular and Jewish world as a great intellect, a man of remarkable accomplishments in philosophy, Jewish law, and leadership. He was a rationalist, anti-mystical, and persuaded that Aristotelian philosophy could, with Torah, discover all truth.
Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah is a fourteen volume masterpiece. His decisions about the laws of Israel are regarded with finality and are reflected in the later law codes which are the basis of Orthodox Jewish practice today. Maimonides was able to absorb the entire content of the Talmud like few in history.
The following excerpts from Mishneh Torah (7:2-4, 8) on repentance reflect themes in rabbinic literature. They are also scriptural themes and find themselves reflected in the words of Yeshua and the apostles as well.
Death and Repentance
A man should always consider himself as if he is about to die; he may die when his time is up while still behaving sinfully. He should therefore repent of his sins immediately. Let him not say: