Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Muqata: The Rambam's Visit to Har HaBayit

Courtesy: The Muqata

Yesterday, the 6th of the Jewish month of Heshvan, marked 843 years since the Rambam -- Maimonides, went up to the Temple Mount -- Har HaBayit, in the old walled city of Jerusalem, and prayed. In 1166 C.C, the Rambam made a pilgrimage to the Temple Mount, as well as visiting other areas around Jerusalem and Hevron.
The event was so special to the Rambam, that he vowed to make a special holiday and commemorate it annually.

The Rambam (Moshe, son of Maimon, otherwise known as Maimonides) was the physician to the Sultan of Egypt in the 12th century. His most well known work is the 14 volume Mishna Torah, (literally, The Repetition of the Torah), which was the first attempt to systematically codify the entire body of Jewish law, (halachah). This work became the basis for later codifications, most notably, the Shulkhan Arukh, written by Rav Yoseph Karo in the 16th century.

In 1166 C.E. the Rambam made a pilgrimage to Israel:

"We left Acco for Jerusalem under perilous conditions. I entered into 'the great and holy house' [the term used to refer to the Holy Temple] and prayed there on the sixth day of the month of Cheshvan. And on the first day of the week, the ninth day of the month of Cheshvan, I left Jerusalem for Hebron to kiss the graves of my forefathers in the Cave of Machpela. And on that very day, I stood in the Cave and I prayed, praised be G-d for everything. And these two days, the sixth [when he prayed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem] and the ninth of Mar-Heshvan I vowed to make as a special holiday and in which I will rejoice with prayer, food and drink. May the Lord help me to keep my vows...." (translation, courtesy of the Temple Institute)

More at The Muqata: The Rambam's Visit to Har HaBayit