Moses Maimonides (Rambam)
Excerpts taken from the Electronic Text at the Internet Medieval Sourcebook web site, reproducing the original by Immanuel M. O'Levy.

The Laws and Basic Principles of the Torah


This chapter discusses prophecy and who warrants it, and explains the difference between the prophecy of Moses and that of the other Prophets.

1) One of the bases of religion is to know that God visits people in prophetic visions, which come only to exceedingly wise people of outstanding characteristics, whose inclinations never lead them to earthly matters but who always conquer their inclinations, and who are of correct temperaments. A person who fulfils these criteria, and is of perfect health, will, when studying esoterical philosophy and is attracted by those elevated issues and is of an appropriate temperament to understand and comprehend them , and sanctifies himself by moving away from anybody who concerns himself with ephemeral matters, and encourages himself not to have any thoughts about useless matters and its contrivances, have his thoughts permanently attuned to above, from under God's Throne, to understand the pure and holy forms, and looks upon the wisdom of God [in Creation] in its entirety, from the first form [i.e the Holy Chayot] till the centre of the Earth, and sees in them God's greatness, and then prophecy will immediately come to him. At the time when prophecy comes to him, his soul will be on the same level as that of the Ishim angels, and he will become a different man, and he will realise that he is not [any more] as he was, but will rise above the level of other wise men, as it is written, "...and you shall prophesy with him, and shall be turned into another man".

2) There are [many] levels of prophecy - in the same way that one person can be wiser than another, so can he be more prophetic. Prophetic insights come only in nocturnal visions in dreams, or by day after falling asleep, as it is written, "I the Lord make Myself known to him in a vision, and speak to him in a dream". Whenever one is receiving a prophecy, one's limbs shake, the strength of one's body weakens, and one's thoughts become disturbed, leaving one's mind free to understand what one will see, as it is written in connection with Abraham, "...and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him", and as it is written in connection with Daniel, "...for my comely appearance was horribly changed, and I retained no strength".

3) What is made known to a prophet during prophecy is done so by way of parable, and he will immediately realise what the parable means. For instance, when Jacob the Patriarch saw the ladder with angels ascending and descending it, it was a parable representing monarchy and its subjection. Similarly, the animals which Ezekiel saw, the boiling pot and almond tree which Jeremiah saw, and all the other objects seen by the other Prophets were also parables. Of the Prophets, some, like those mentioned above, related what they saw in their prophecy and their interpretation of it, whereas some related just their interpretation. Sometimes they related just the parables [of the prophecy], like Ezekiel and Zachariah sometimes did. All of the Prophets prophecised by way of parables and riddles.

4) None of the Prophets receive prophecies whenever they wanted, but they would attune their thoughts, be happy and of a good heart, and seek solitude, for prophecy does not come to those who are sad or lazy, but only to those who are happy. Therefore, the sons of prophets would have before them harps, drums and flutes, and would seek prophecy, as it is written, "...and they shall prophesy", that is to say that they will follow the ways of prophecy until they prophecise, progressing as they go.

5) Those who seek prophecy are called the sons of prophets. Even though they attune their thoughts, the Divine Presence may, or may not, inspire them.

6) All the Prophets, from the first to the last, prophecised in these ways, with the exception of Moses our Teacher, chief of the Prophets. In what ways did Moses differ from the other Prophets? Firstly, whereas the other Prophets received their prophecies in a dream or vision, Moses received his while awake and standing, as it is written, "And when Moses was in the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him, et cetera". Secondly, the other Prophets received their prophecies via an angel. Therefore, what they saw was by way of parable and riddle. Moses, on the other hand, did not receive his prophecies via an angel, as it is written, "With him I speak mouth to mouth", "And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face", "...and the outward appearance of the Lord does he behold"7, that is to say that what Moses saw what not by way of parable, but he saw each prophecy absolutely clearly without any parables or riddles. The Torah said about him, "...manifestly, and not in dark speeches"7, showing that when Moses received a prophecy he did not do so by way of riddles, but did so with clarity, and saw everything absolutely clearly. Thirdly, the other Prophets were scared [of their prophetic visions] and would shy away, but Moses wasn't and didn't. Scripture says, " a man speaks with a friend"8 - just as a man is not scared to listen to his friend, so Moses had the capabilities to understand his prophecies and to stand unafraid. Fourthly, none of the Prophets prophecised whenever they wanted to, but whenever God wanted to He would visitate Moses and bestow upon him prophecy. Moses did not have to attune his thoughts or otherwise prepare himself, for the reason that he was always prepared and stood like a ministering angel. Therefore, he would receive prophecies at any time, as it is written, "Stand still and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you". In this God trusted him, as it is written, "Go say to them, `Return to your tents'. But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will speak to you, et cetera". From here we see that whenever any of the other Prophets had finished prophecising they would return to their houses [and families] and other bodily needs, like everybody else, so they therefore did not separate themselves from their wives. Moses, on the other hand, did not return to his home, and separated himself from his wife, and all that resembled her, for ever. His mind was [always] connected to God, and God's glory never left him at all; light emanated from his face, and he was holy like an angel.

7) It is possible for the prophecy of a prophet to be for him alone, to widen his outlooks and to increase his knowledge so that he will not know what he [previously] did not know from these great matters. It is also possible that he has to deliver the prophecy to one of the nations of the world, or to the people of a [particular] town, or to the citizens of a nation, [in order] to teach them wisdom, and to let them know what to do, or to prevent them from doing [again] any bad deeds. When a prophet is sent [by God] on such a mission, he is given a sign and proof [to present], so that people will know that God [really] sent him in truth. not everyone who presents a sign and proof is believed as a prophet, but only those people who are known to be suitable to receive prophecies on account of their wisdom and actions, and that they went in the ways of prophecy in its holiness and exegeses. When such people present a sign and proof and say that God sent them, it is a commandment to listen to them, for it is written, " him you shall listen". It is possible that although a person presents a sign and proof he is not a prophet, and the sign could be achieved by other means; even so, we are commanded to listen to him; because he is a great and wise man who is suitable to receive prophecy, we assume that his prophecy is true. In this we have commanded, just as we have been commanded to decide a verdict according to the testimony of two people who are eligible to bear testimony [together], even though they may be lying; since they have always been honest in the past, we assume that they being honest now as well. About this and similar matters it is written, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to use and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of the Torah", and it is also written, "...for a man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart".


This chapter discusses the signs that Moses performed and why he performed them, and that he did not do so to make the people believe in him.

1) The Children of Israel did not believe in Moses [solely] because of the signs he presented, for someone who believes [in a prophet solely] because of the signs he presents is tainted, for it could be that his signs are performed by means of spells and witchcraft. All the signs that Moses performed in the wilderness were done so according to the needs of the moment, and not to bring proof to his prophecies. There was a need to sink the Egyptians, so Moses split the sea and drowned them in it; the Children of Israel needed food, so Moses brought down the manna for them; they needed water, so Moses split the rock for them; Korah and his followers rebelled, so Moses opened up the ground and they were swallowed up. The same principle applies with all the other signs. It was the assembly at Mount Sinai that made them believe in Moses, when our eyes, and no-one else's, saw, and our ears, and no-one else's, heard, and Moses drew near to the darkness, and the voice spoke to him, and we heard it saying to Moses, "Moses, Moses, go tell them such-and-such". In connection with this it is written, "The Lord talked with you face to face", and it is also written, "The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us". From where is it known that the assembly at Mount Sinai was the proof that the prophecy of Moses was true and that he was not speaking basely? It is derived from the verse, "Lo, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you for ever". From this we see that prior to the assembly at Mount Sinai their belief in Moses was not one that would have lasted for ever, but it was a belief that left room for discussion and thought.

2) It would transpire that those people to whom a prophet is sent are witnesses that his prophecy is true, and he need not perform any other sign, for them and they combine to form one unit with respect to this matter, in the same way that two people who saw the same thing together combine as witnesses, for each of them is a witness that the other is speaking the truth, and need not bring [additional] proof to back him up. So it was with Moses our Teacher, that all of the Children of Israel were his witnesses after the assembly at Mount Sinai, and he didn't have to perform for them any signs. This is what God said to him at the time when his prophecy started, when He showed him what signs to perform in Egypt: "And they shall listen to your voice". Moses knew that anyone who believes [solely] because of signs is tainted and will be doubtful, and expressed a reluctance to go by saying, "But behold they will not believe me"4. God told him that these signs will [continue to be performed and] applied only until they had left Egypt and assembled at Mount Sinai, whereupon any doubt will vanish, and also assured him that [at Mount Sinai] He will give signs that Moses had been sent by God in truth from the [very] beginning, and that no doubt will remain. This is what Scripture says: "...and this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall God upon this mountain". From this we learn that any Prophet that came after Moses is not believed solely because of his signs to make us think that if he makes a sign we should listen to everything he says, but [is believed] because of the commandment of Moses in the Torah: " him you shall listen", if he gives a sign. Just as we have been commanded to decide a matter according to the testimony of two witnesses, even though we do not know if his sign is Divine or achieved by spells and witchcraft.

3) Therefore, if a prophet arose and performed great signs and wonders, and tells us to deny the prophecy of Moses our Teacher, we do not listen to him, and we [will] know for sure that his signs are the result of spells and witchcraft. The prophecy of Moses was not dependant upon signs, so the signs of this prophet cannot outweigh the signs of Moses, for we saw and heard them, just as he did. This is similar to two witnesses who bear testimony that a particular person did a particular thing in front of them, but he is not like they say he is, so we do not listen to them and we know for sure that they are false witnesses. Therefore, the Torah said that if a prophet comes with signs and wonders, we do not listen to him, for he is coming to deny that what we saw with our eyes. Since we believe in wonders only because of a commandment of Moses, how can we accept a sign that is brought to deny the prophecy of Moses which we saw and heard?!


This chapter explains that a prophet may not make any changes whatsoever in the Torah and the commandments contained therein.

1) It is explicitly and clearly stated in the Torah that it [the Torah] is an everlasting mitzvah, and cannot be changed, subtracted from or added to, as it is written, "Every matter which I command you observe to do it; you shall not add to it, or subtract from it", and it is also written, "...but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of the Torah". From here we see that we have been commanded to keep all the commandments of the Torah for always. In connection with this it is written, "...a statute for ever throughout your generations", and it is also written, "It is not in heaven". From here we see that a prophet may not make any changes [at all] in the Torah. Therefore, if a man, whether a gentile or a Jew, arises and performs signs and wonders, and says that God sent him to add to, or take away from, a mitzvah, or to institute a new mitzvah which we did not hear from Moses, or says that the commandments with which we have been commanded are not for eternity but are meant only for a temporary period, then he is a false prophet, for he has come to undermine the prophecy of Moses. His punishment is death by strangulation, which is the punishment for deliberately speaking in the name of God without having been commanded to do so. God told Moses that all the commandments are for eternity, and no man can accuse God of being deceitful.

2) If so, why is it written in the Torah, "I will raise up for them a prophet from amongst their brethren, like you, and will put My words in his mouth, and he shall say to them all that I shall command him"? The prophet in question does not come to start a [new] religion, but to reiterate the commandments of the Torah and to warn the people not to transgress them, as the last Prophet said, "Remember the Torah of Moses My servant". Similarly, if he gave us commandment in optional matters, such as by saying, `Go (or don't go) to such-and-such a place', or, `Start (or don't start) a war today', or, `Build (or don't build) a wall here', et cetera, we are commanded to listen to him, and anyone who doesn't is liable to death at the hands of God, for it is written, "And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My Name, I will require it of him".

3) Similarly, a prophet who himself transgresses his own words, and a prophet who ignores his prophecy [and does not deliver it], are also liable to death at the hands of God, for it is written, "I will require it of him"7. Similarly, if a prophet who is known to be a [true] prophet tells us to transgress one, or many, of the commandments of the Torah, whether of the stringent or of the more lenient ones, but only as a temporary practice, then we are commanded to listen to him. So we learnt from the first Sages, that we should listen to a prophet whatever the commandments he tells us to transgress are, as with Elijah at Mount Carmel, except if the commandment he tells us to transgress is that of not practising idolatry, and provided that he tells us to transgress only as a temporary practice, like Elijah did at Mount Carmel, when he offered sacrifices outside Jerusalem, which is the city chosen for offering sacrifices in, and anyone who does so outside Jerusalem is liable to karet. Even so, since Elijah was a prophet, it was a mitzvah to listen to him. The verse, " him you shall listen" applies also in situations like the one with Elijah. Had the people asked Elijah how he could violate the Torah verse of, "Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place that you see", he could have told them that anyone offering sacrifices outside the Temple is liable to karet, in accordance with what Moses commanded, but he was offering sacrifices outside the Temple in accordance with what God had said to him, and in order to discredit the prophets of Ba'al. In this manner we are commanded to listen to any prophet who tells us to transgress as a temporary measure. If he tells us that a commandment of the Torah is to be abolished for ever, then his punishment is death by strangulation, for it is written, "...belong to us and to our children for ever".

4) Similarly, if he tries to abolish [for ever] a Rabbinical institution or decree, or, concerning one of the Laws of the Torah he says that God commanded for the Law to be one way,, but we practice [in a different way] according to the words of so-and-so, then he is a false prophet and is put to death by strangulation, even if he shows a sign, for he is trying to disprove the Torah's statement of, "It is not in heaven". If, however, he said that we should do what he says only as a temporary measure, we listen to him.

5) This is talking about any commandment other than the one not to serve idols, for if he told us to serve idols we do listen to him, even if he told us to do so only as a temporary measure. Even if he performed great signs and wonders and says that God has commanded that we serve idols on a particular day, or at a particular hour, he is trying to turn us away from God, and about this it is written, "And the sign or wonder come to shall not listen to the words of that prophet...because he has spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God", for he is trying to disprove the prophecy of Moses. Therefore, we know for sure that he is a false prophet, and that all his signs are the result of spells and witchcraft, and he must be put to death by strangulation.




The Laws Concerning Mashiach

Published by: Sichos In English 788 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11213 (718)778-5436; FAX: (718)735-4139

Since the time of the Rambam (1135-1204), it has been impossible to discuss the subject of Mashiach and the Era of the Redemption without direct reference to the last two chapters of his monumental halachic code, the Mishneh Torah. For example, it is these two chapters that form the basis of the whole of the next publication of Sichos In English - I Await His Coming Every Day: Studies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (shlita) on the Rambam's Conception of Mashiach and the Ultimate Redemption. These chapters conclude the final section (Hilchos Melachim - "The Laws Concerning Kings") of the final book (Sefer Shoftim - "The Book of Judges") of the Mishneh Torah, and are sometimes referred to separately as Hilchos Melech HaMashiach - "The Laws Concerning King Mashiach." The translation of this classic text which Sichos In English presents herewith is not only new, but - unlike almost all of the extant printed editions, even in the Hebrew original - unexpurgated. All the passages suppressed by various medieval Christian censors have been translated in full. They appear here in the footnotes that are keyed to the exact positions from which they were deleted. It is hoped that this publication will give more and more readers access to one of the major primary sources on the subject of the coming of Mashiach. [Footnotes at end of text] - Sichos In English 24 Sivan, 5751 [June 6, 1991]


1. In future time, the King Mashiach[1] will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will rebuild the [Beis Ha]Mikdash and gather in the dispersed remnant of Israel. Then, in his days, all the statutes will be reinstituted as in former times. We will offer sacrifices and observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars set forth in the Torah.

Whoever does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher, for the Torah attests to his coming, stating: [Devarim 30:3-5]

And the Lord your G-d will bring back your captivity and have compassion upon you. He will return and gather you [from among all the nations].... Even if your dispersed ones are in the furthest reaches of the heavens, [from there will G-d gather you in].... G-d will bring you [to the land]....

These explicit words of the Torah include all that was said [on the subject] by all the prophets.

There is also a reference [to Mashiach] in the passage concerning Bilaam, who prophesies about the two anointed [kings]: the first anointed [king][2], David, who saved Israel from her oppressors, and the final anointed [king] who will arise from among his descendants and save Israel [at the End of Days][3]. The following [quoted] phrases are from that passage: [Bamidbar 24:17-18]

"I see it, but not now" - This refers to David; "I perceive it, but not in the near future" - This refers to King Mashiach. "A star shall go forth from Yaakov" - This refers to David; "and a staff shall arise in Israel" - This refers to King Mashiach. "He shall crush all of Moab's princes" - This refers to David, (as it is written [II Shmuel 8:2], "He smote Moab and measured them with a line"); "he shall break down all of Seth's descendants" - This refers to King Mashiach, (about whom it is written [Zechariah 9:10], "He will rule from sea to sea"). "Edom will be demolished" - This refers to David, (as it is written [Cf. II Shmuel 8:6 and 8:14], "Edom became the servants of David"); "his enemy, Seir, will be destroyed" - This refers to Mashiach, (as it is written [Ovadiah 1:21], "Saviors will ascend Mount Zion [to judge the mountain of Esau....]").

2. Similarly, in regard to the cities of refuge, it is stated [Devarim 19:8-9], "When G-d will expand your borders... you shall add three more cities." This command has never been fulfilled. [Surely,] G-d did not give this command in vain, [and thus the intent was that it be fulfilled after the coming of Mashiach]. There is no need to cite prooftexts on the concept [of the Mashiach] from the words of the prophets, for all [their] books are filled with it.

3. One should not entertain the notion that the King Mashiach must work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds. This is [definitely] not true.

[A proof can be brought from the fact that] that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of the Mishnah, was one of the supporters of King Ben Koziva, and would describe him as the King Mashiach. He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the King Mashiach until he was killed because of [his] sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not [the Mashiach]. The Sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders. [Rather,] this is the main thrust of the matter: This Torah, with its statutes and laws, is everlasting. We may neither add to them nor detract from them. [4]

4. If a king will arise from the House of David who delves deeply into the study of the Torah and, like David his ancestor, observes its mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G-d; - we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the [Beis Ha]Mikdash on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach. [5]

He will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah, 3:9], "I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose."


1. One should not entertain the notion that in the Era of Mashiach any element of the natural order will be nullified, or that there will be any innovation in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern.

Although Yeshayahu [Yeshayahu 11:6] states, "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat," these [words] are an allegory and a riddle. They mean that Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles who are likened to wolves and leopards, as in the verse [Yirmeyahu 5:6], "A wolf of the deserts despoils them, a leopard watches over their cities." [In this era, all nations] will return to the true faith and no longer plunder or destroy. Instead, at peace with Israel, they will eat that which is permitted, as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:7], "The lion shall eat straw like the ox."

Similarly, other prophecies of this nature concerning Mashiach are analogies. In the Era of the King Mashiach, everyone will realize what was implied by these metaphors and allusions.

2. Our Sages taught: [Berachos 34b] "There will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Mashiach except [our emancipation from] subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms."

The simple meaning of the words of the prophets appears to imply that the war of Gog and Magog [Yechezkal ch. 38] will take place at the beginning of the Messianic age. Before the war of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to rectify Israel's conduct and prepare their hearts [for the Redemption], as it is written: [Malachi 3:23] "Behold, I am sending you Eliyah(u) [6] [before the advent of the great and awesome Day of G-d]."

He will not come [in order] to declare the pure, impure, nor to declare the impure, pure; nor [will he come in order] to disqualify the lineage of those presumed to be of flawless descent, nor to validate lineage which is presumed to be blemished. Rather, [he will come in order] to establish peace in the world; as [the above prophecy] continues [Malachi 3:24], "He will bring back the hearts of the fathers to the children."

Some of the Sages say that Eliyahu will appear [immediately] before the coming of Mashiach.

All these and similar matters cannot be [clearly] known by man until they occur, for they are undefined in the words of the prophets. Even the Sages have no established tradition regarding these matters, beyond what is implied by the verses; hence there is a divergence of opinion among them.

In any case, neither the sequence of these events nor their precise details are among the fundamental principles of the faith. One should not occupy himself at length with the aggadot and midrashim that deal with these and similar matters, nor should he deem them of prime importance, for they bring one to neither the awe nor the love [of G-d].

Similarly, one should not try to calculate the appointed time [for the coming of Mashiach]. Our Sages declared: [Sanhedrin 97b] "May the spirits of those who attempt to calculate the final time [of Mashiach's coming] expire!" Rather, one should await [his coming] and believe in the general conception of the matter, as we have explained.

3. During the Era of the King Mashiach, once his kingdom has been established and all of Israel has gathered around him, the entire [nation's] line of descent will be established on the basis of his words, through the prophetic spirit which will rest upon him. As it is written [Loc. cit., v. 3], "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier."

He will purify the lineage of the Levites first, stating that "This one is a priest of defined lineage" and "This one is a Levite of defined lineage." Those whose lineage he does not recognize will be relegated to the status of Israelites. This is implied by the following verse: [Ezra 2:63] "The governor said to them, '[They shall not eat of the most holy things] until a priest arises [who will wear] the Urim and Tumim.'" From this verse one can infer that the genealogy of those presumed to be of unquestioned [priestly and levitical] lineage will be traced by means of the prophetic spirit, and those found to be of such lineage will be made known.

He will define the lineage of the Israelites according to their tribe alone; i.e., he will make known each person's tribal origin, stating that "This one is from this tribe" and "This one is from another tribe." However, concerning a person who is presumed to be of unblemished lineage, he will not state that "He is illegitimate," or "He is of slave lineage," for the law rules that once a family has become intermingled [within the entire Jewish people], they may remain intermingled.

4. The Sages and prophets did not yearn for the Messianic Era in order that [the Jewish people] rule over the entire world, nor in order that they have dominion over the gentiles, nor that they be exalted by them, nor in order that they eat, drink and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was that [the Jewish people] be free Ito involve themselves] in Torah and its wisdom, without anyone to oppress or disturb them, and thus be found worthy of life in the World to Come, as we explained in Hilchos Teshuvah.

5. In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delights will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. The Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden matters, and will attain an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of human potential; as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:9], "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed."


1. In the original Hebrew, HaMelech HaMoshiach (lit., "the anointed king"); i.e., the Messianic King.]

2. In the original Hebrew, the word here translated "anointed [king]" is simply HaMashiach (lit. "the anointed one"); i.e., the Messiah. It is used interchangeably with the earlier phrase.]

3. At this point, before being censored by medieval Christian authorities, the Rambam's original text continued: "...and save Israel from the hand's of Esav's descendants. This and two other such deletions have been copied verbatim in these footnotes from the celebrated Yemenite manuscript in the hands of Chacham Yosef Kapach of Jerusalem. (See footnotes 4 and 5, below.)]

4. At this point, the uncensored original text continued as follows: "Whoever adds to [the mitzvot] or detracts from them, or misinterprets the the Torah, implying that the mitzvos are not intended to be understood literally, is surely a wicked imposter and a heretic."

5. The whole of the following passage was deleted from most of the editions published since the Venice edition of 1574.

"If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. G-d only caused him to arise in order to test the multitude. As it is written [Daniel 11:35], "Some of the wise men will stumble, to purge, to refine, and to clarify, until the appointed time, for it is yet to come."

"Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Mashiach and was executed by the court was also spoken of in Daniel's prophecies [Daniel 11:14], "The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble."

"Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd."

"Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Yeshayahu 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite [i.e. Mohammed] who arose after him will only serve to pave the way for the coming of Mashiach and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], "I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose."

"How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with talk of [the supposed] Messiah, as well as of the Torah and the mitzvos. These matters have been spread among many spiritually insensitive nations, who discuss these matters as well as the mitzvos of the Torah. Some of them [i.e. the Christians] say: "These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time." Others [i.e. the Moslems] say: "Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the Messiah has already come and revealed them."

"When the true Messiah king will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors cause them to err."

6. The name of the prophet is occasionally spelled, as in this verse, without the final letter vav.


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