Thursday, May 26, 2005

Turning Over In His Grave - 800 Years Later

The Israeli city of Tiberias, intent on honoring the great sage R. Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam; Maimonides), has decided to erect a statue of him in commemoration of the 800th year since his passing. Rambam would certainly -- without question -- be in the forefront of objecting to such a practice. After all, aside from codifying in his Mishneh Torah that making statues of people is forbidden, he was also a forceful campaigner against any form of pseudo-idolatry. The irony of commemorating a halakhist with such a blatant violation of halakhah is maddening. This is not a matter of religious extremism, but basic respect. It is like honoring a vegetarian with a slaughter of cattle in his honor!

Thankfully, upon objection of local rabbis, the city of Tiberias has cancelled its plan to build such a statue. However, the city of Fez, Morocco will be erecting the statue instead. Frankly, the insensitivity of the gentiles in Morocco to the legacy of the Rambam is also upsetting. Please, people, you don't have to be an Orthodox Jew to want to honor a person in a way that he would find fitting.

(thanks to Out of Step Jew)

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More