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Rambam: Shemot: Killing the Egyptian Print E-mail

ShemotThe 20th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam (1135-1204). Born at Cordova, Spain, the Rambam received his rabbinical instruction at the hands of his father, Maimon. Moshe was only thirteen years old when Cordova fell into the hands of the fanatical Almohades, and Rav Maimon and the other Jews were compelled to choose between Islam and exile. Rav Maimon and his family chose the latter course, and for twelve years led a nomadic life, wandering throughout Spain.

In 1160 they settled at Fez, Morocco. In 1165 they went to Acre, to Jerusalem, and then to Fostat (Cairo), where they settled. After the death of Maimon, Moses' brother Dovid supported the family by trading in precious stones. Dovid perished at sea, and with him was lost not only his own fortune, but large sums that had been entrusted to him by other traders. These events affected Maimonides' health, and he went through a long sickness.

After several years of practice, the Rambam’s authority in medical matters was firmly established, and he was appointed private physician to Saladin's vizier, who recommended him to the royal family. Between the years 1158 and 1190 Maimonides produced a commentary on the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and the philosophical work "Moreh Nevuchim.”

Hilchot Chovail U’Mazik: Chapter 5 2-3
It is even forbidden to raise up one’s hand against another. Whoever raises a hand against a collegue, even though he does not hit him, is considered to be a wicked person.

(This concept is derived from Moses’ statement (Exodus 2:13), “He said to the wicked man, ‘Why do you strike your colleague?’” Our Sages explain that although the man had not hit the other yet, the Torah still calls him wicked.)

When a person strikes another with a blow that does not warrant a p’rutah – penny – to be paid in recompense, he should receive lashes. For there is no financial penalty to be exacted for transgression of this negative commandment. If a gentile strikes a Jew, he deserves capital punishment, as implied in (Exodus 2:12), “He turned to and fro, and struck the Egyptian.”
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