Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Maimonides, given name Moses ben Maimon or Moshe ben Maimon, known as "Rambam" NULL

Spanish-born Jewish Philosopher, Great Torah Scholar and Physician

"A wise man will carefully avoid excess, lest he give the impression of haughtiness."

"A person who eats sweet food to gratify his desires even though the food will be dangerous to his health is equal to an animal. This is not the behavior of an intelligent person."

"A righteous person once asked, “On which day of your life did you experience the greatest amount of joy?” The righteous man replied, “It was the day when I traveled on a ship and someone greatly humiliated me. He treated me with ultimate disgrace. Nevertheless I did not feel even a drop of resentment. I experienced great joy that I reached such a level that no insult could cause me any pain.”"

"All evils are negations."

"In finances, be strict with yourself, generous with others."

"Let the truth and right by which you are apparently the loser be preferable to you to the falsehood and wrong by which you are apparently the gainer."

"One loves God only by dint of knowledge, and the degree of love corresponds to the degree of knowledge."

"Longevity is the result of freedom from grief and worry."

"Nobody is ever impoverished through the giving of charity."

"Reason is more to be trusted than the eye."

"Prosperity, obtained through truth and righteousness, is built on a sure rock. Happiness derived from falsehood, injustice and lust, is built on sand."

"The advancement of learning is the highest commandment."

"The dietary laws train us to master our appetites and not to consider... eating and drinking the end of man's existence."

"The heart's intention is the measure of all things."

"The universe in its entirety is nothing but one individual being there is no vacuum whatever therein."

"True wisdom can be attained only through practice."

"The way to achieve love for the Almighty is to concentrate on His deeds and creation and become aware of His infinite wisdom. The more you appreciate the complexity and beauty of the world, the greater your appreciation of the Almighty."

"We must not reject a proven doctrine because it is opposed to some isolated opinion of this or that great authority... No man must surrender his private judgment. The eyes are directed forwards, not backwards."

"When we continually see an object, however sublime it may be, our regard for it will be lessened, and the impression we have received of it will be weakened."

"A truth does not become greater by frequent repetition."

"Those who desire to be men in truth, not brutes in the appearance of men, must constantly endeavor to reduce the wants of the body."

"When the perfect man is... near death, his knowledge increases mightily... and his love for the object of his knowledge becomes more intense, and it is in this great delight that his soul separates from his body."

"An ignorant man believes that the whole universe exists only for him... If, therefore, anything happens to him contrary to his expectations, he at once concludes that the whole universe is evil."

"From the moment an offending scholar receives his punishment, he is your brother. And it is proper the punishment be administered privately, not to diminish his dignity."

"I will destroy my enemies by converting them to friends."

"Even if the Universe existed for man’s sake and man existed for the purpose of serving God, one must still ask: What is the end of serving God? He does not become more perfect if all His creatures serve Him. Nor would he lose anything if nothing existed beside Him. It might perhaps be replied that the service of God is not intended for God’s perfection, but for our own. Then, however, the question arises: What is the object of our being perfect? Pressing the inquiry as to the purpose of Creation, we must at last arrive at the answer: it was the will of God. Logic as well as tradition prove clearly that the Universe does not exist for man’s sake, but that all things in it exist each for its own sake."

"A miracle cannot prove what is impossible; it is useful only to confirm what is possible."

"Every fool thinks that life is there for his sake alone, and as though nothing existed but he. And so, when anything happens that opposes his wishes, he concludes that the whole universe is evil. But if man would regard the whole universe itself and realize what an infinitesimal part he plays in it, the truth would be clear and apparent to him."

"Every ignoramus imagines that all that exists, exists with a view to his individual sake; it is as if there were nothing that exists except him. And if something happens to him that is contrary to what he wishes, he makes the trenchant judgment that all exists is an evil."

"He who is everlasting, constant and in no way subject to change; immutable in his essence, and as he consists of nothing but his essence, he is mutable in no way whatsoever."

"All attributes ascribed to God are attributes of His acts, and do not imply that God has any qualities."

"It is through the intellect that the human being has the capacity of honoring God."

"The service of God is not intended for God’s perfection; it is intended for our perfection."

"There are eight degrees in almsgiving… Supreme above all is to give assistance to a fellow man who has fallen on evil times by presenting him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or procuring him work, thereby helping him to become self-supporting. Next best is giving alms in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other. This is, indeed, the performance of a commandment from disinterested motives."

"There are eight rungs in charity. The highest is when you help a man to help himself."

"Prayer without devotion is no prayer at all. What then is devotion? One must free his heart from all other thoughts and regard himself as standing in the presence of God."

"It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of something else."

"Man’s love of God is identical with his knowledge of Him."

"The intellect which emanates from God to us is the link that joins us to God. You have it in your power either to strengthen or weaken that bond. It will become strong only when you make use of it in a spirit of love for God; it will be weakened when you direct your thoughts to other things."

"Some people assume that the Universe was created solely for the sake of man’s existence, that he might serve God. On examining this opinion, as intelligent persons ought to examine all different opinions, we will discover that it is erroneous."

"Prophecy consists in the most perfect development of the imaginative faculty… an emanation from the Divine Being."

"The more necessary a thing is for living beings, the more easily it is found and the cheaper it is; the less necessary it is, the rarer and dearer it is."

"The highest aim of man: the knowledge of God."

"If I do not acquire ideals when I'm young, when will I? Not when I'm old."

"The foundation of all foundations, and the pillar of all wisdom, is to know that there is a First Existence, who brings all existences into being."

"Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity's golden ladder."

"Accept the truth from whatever source it comes."

"It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death."

"No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means."

"We are obligated to be more scrupulous in fulfilling the commandment of charity than any other positive commandment because charity is the sign of a righteous man."