The Only Son of Maimonides
Last week, on the 7th of December almost 800 years ago Rabbi Abraham Maimon Ha-Nagid (1186 -1237) passed away. He was the only child of Rabbi Moses Maimonides. Abraham received his entire education from his father.
After Maimonides’ death (1204) Abraham succeeded his father as the Nagid (religious leader) of the Jews in Egypt. Following in the footsteps of his father, Abraham too became a successful physician. In contrast to his father, who was a rationalist, Abraham showed great interest in the study of Kabbalah and mysticism in general.
However, there were controversies concerning Maimonides’ writings in Spain and in Provence, which were about to lead to the burning of his Father’s works in Montpellier (1235). Abraham did not hesitate and responded with a book:”Milchamot Hashem”. In 1213 he had already written two other works in defense of Rambam’s writings: ”Birkat Avraham” and “Ma’aseh Nissim”.
Abraham became an authority on Halachah (Jewish Law) and his Responsa became well known for their clarity. His most outstanding work was a guide for the “Servants of God”, ”Hamaspik Le-Ovdei Hashem”, an encyclopedic work of Jewish religion and ethics.
Further mention needs to be made of his commentary on the Pentateuch of which only Bereshit (Genesis) and Shemot (Exodus) are known. The late Rabbi Dr. E.J.Wiesenberg translated it from the original Arabic text into Hebrew and the book was published by the late Rabbi David Sassoon in 1958.
All Rabbi Abraham ben Maimon’s works can be found in our library and are available to be consulted by all.