About the Book
The Book of Knowledge is the first book in the “Mishneh Torah” which contains fourteen books. In this book Maimonides lays out a range of issues relating to the foundations of Jewish beliefs clearly and with wonderful language.
The book begins at the summit of human striving: To know of the Lord, moves on to briefly describe esotericism (Ma’aseh Bereshit and Ma’aseh Merkabah), and continues to the commandment of life of Kiddush Hashem, and at the very top is the Prophet.
Before Maimonides begins dealing with the obligation of learning Torah, he wants to establish healthy habits, and to design the virtues of the Jewish soul, its characteristics and its awareness.
Maimonides defines what distance from God is, what idolatry is, and what the improper superstitions are.
At the end of the book Maimonides will speak on the amendment of sins, on a person’s freedom and the responsibilities which arise from it (free will), the reward (the world to come) and punishment (kareth), and on the relationship with God and the resulting demands.
Structure of the Book:
The need of one book and its vision. a breakdown of the 613 commandments, and purpose of each of the fourteen books.
The Foundations of The Torah:
To know the Lord (by knowledge, love and fear), to bring this knowledge to everywhere, it is the mitzvha of “Kidush Hashem”, and to recognize the height of the person standing in contact with God, prophecy.
Laws of opinion:
The way to reach the goal, which is the connection with God, has the following two steps running and returning, one before the other, and the other improves it. The first step is done by deeds, by designing good character which is shown in balanced good behavior of the individual with himself and his environment, from a proper understanding of the course of his life, to be honest and good.
Laws of Torah Study:
The next step is done by study, “You must not teach Torah to any but those who are decent, well behaved or innocent”. The centrality of Torah study, which is the word of God, trains man to perfect his life.
Laws of Idolatry:
Incorrect understanding of the connection with God could be disastrous, and it should be protected against. Lies have many varieties and their existence are misleading and deceptive.
Laws of Repentance:
At the end of the book, is away of amendment for those failed, how to return to the right path, as are descriptions of the main elements of belief: free choice, the next world and love of God.
Books From This Category:
The Book Of Love
The book deals with the daily mitzvahs of the deep connection between Jews and the creater of the world.
The Book Of Times
The book deals with the Jewish holidays by order of frequency and importance.