20 Tevet: Maimonides’ 819th Yahrzeit

Tradition Online | January 1, 2024

According to our best scholarly evidence, today, 20 Tevet, is the 819th Yahrzeit of the “Great Eagle” Maimonides. His date of death was long thought to be in 1205, but we now understand it was 20 Tevet 4965 A.M. (December 12, 1204). This is unimportant to those for whom Rambam is a daily, living companion. As the story goes (at least according to one version), in the 1950s there was a conference being held to commemorate the 750th year of Maimonides’ passing and R. Soloveitchik was asked if he wished to attend. The Rav’s response? “750 years?! It never occurred to me that the Rambam was dead!”

To mark this day we release open-access Michael A. Shmidman’s “Isadore Twersky’s Unique Contribution to The Guide of the Perplexed” which appeared in our recent Summer 2023 issue.

Michael A. Shmidman is Dean and professor of Jewish history at Touro University Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and an editor emeritus of TRADITION. His essay is a presentation and analysis of five integral and interlocking components of Rabbi Professor Isadore Twersky’s understanding of Maimonides’ formulation of the relationship between the philosophic tradition and the Oral Law, particularly as expressed in the Guide.

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