Photo Credit: Jewish Press

In 1984, the Rebbe instituted a daily study cycle whereby the entire work of Rambam is completed on a regular basis.

The study schedule contains three options:

  1. Those who are capable follow a three-chapter-per-day schedule, completing the Mishneh Torah in slightly less than one year.
  2. For those unable to study three chapters every day, the Rebbe suggested a parallel track at a more modest pace of one chapter daily, completing the Mishneh Torah over the course of nearly three years.
  3. For those who find even that too difficult, the Rebbe instituted yet a third track. Paralleling the three-chapter-per-day regimen by learning daily about the same commandments being studied there in detail, this one explores Maimonides’ significantly shorter Sefer HaMitzvot (“Book of Commandments”), learning all 613 mitzvos each year.


What Learning Rambam Accomplishes

“One of the principal elements in the study of Rambam is the unification of Jewry,” the Rebbe was quoted in The New York Times as saying.

While many people had been turning to the 14-volume work to supplement their study of the Talmud or Jewish law, it was not being studied as a text on its own. The work of the Rambam was somewhat neglected, as the late Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Rishon Letziyon Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, wrote at the time: “The Rebbe brought Rambam back from being a book for scholars to being a book for the masses to study.”

The Rebbe explained that the Rambam “gathers all of Jewish law in a concise and clear fashion.” The Rebbe further explained to us the phenomenal benefits that every single one of us can benefit from learning Rambam daily. Every individual is commanded to study “Kol HaTorah Kulah” – the entire Torah. For most people, this is a goal not within reach. However, if we study Rambam, we accomplish learning “Kol HaTorah Kulah” – the whole Torah, as the Rambam put the entire Torah – all halachos, all of Jewish law, in his sefer.

The Rebbe further explained that “when everyone studies the same thing on the same day, their learning is united across continents.” The Rebbe added that when different people study the same topic, they will come to discuss and debate it. This friendly and scholarly debate, the Rebbe said, will bring people closer to each other, contributing to unity among Jews.

Large numbers of Jewish people around the world immediately took it upon themselves to study the Mishneh Torah daily. Torah scholars and chassidic masters issued their recommendation to join this new study cycle. Many Jewish dailies and weekly newspapers began printing the study schedule for the Mishneh Torah together with other existing daily study schedules.

Upon completion of each cycle, hundreds of celebrations take place in locations spanning the globe. Torah scholars from every segment of the Jewish community join these gatherings, delivering in-depth analyses on sections of Rambam.

“The people praising [Maimonides] were centuries removed from the life of Maimonides, who was born 851 years ago in Cordoba, Spain,” read The New York Times on March 6, 1986, following the celebration of the second completion of the cycle at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. “Yet, after intensely studying his work this last year and applying his teachings, they gathered yesterday to celebrate the wisdom of the sage known to them as Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam.”

The article continued that since the Rebbe ”instituted the program, studying Maimonides has become an integral part of many Jewish households.”


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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].