This site was originally started in 1991 as a Kosher-Vitamins site. The URL name of the site is based upon my wife's second, Jewish name (which can be translated as 'life'). Within the first year, the site had turned into the beginning of something much bigger (in my egotistical assessment). Within two years of starting the vitamins, the site had simultaneously become known as "The Jews of Yemen" (Torah learning) homepage. In those days, very few (if any) websites were focused on this topic at all. After years of researching and documenting the Yemenite rite, the site took on a more RMB'M (Maimonides) orientation. As such, it was re-titled the "Torath Moshe Homepage". Ultimately, this site officially became "Machone Torath Moshe" (©מכון תורת משה), as it remains today. This is not to be confused with other organizations with similar names (like the one in Benai Braq or Ramat Bet Shemesh).
This site describes a very long learning journey that verifies, uncovers and documents the most pristine and original, extant (and non-extant) forms of Torath Mosha (the teachings of Moses). Different strands of ancient and modern, "observant" Judaism were closely explored and examined. This site rests squarely on the legislation of the last legitimate Sanhedrin (and court of R. Ashe and r. Ravina). This site has been an on-going (ever-changing) documentation (in-process) for almost two decades. It allowed me (the Site Administrator) to exponentially increase my ability to connect with important resources and teachers, that could not be fully accessed - at the time. I apologize to my wife and family, who many times suffered from my obsession. However, I believe it was (is) for the sake of Torah. In addition, I am sharing it with you - the public - even with the inherent risk this type of sharing entails. Also, I believe it will ultimately benefit my family. Even though I was born from (halachically) Jewish parents, my unique outlook has allowed to me to avoid vested interests and bias based on lineage, which unfortunately effects many people in our sphere. At times, this outright confounded other, Jewish folks - who were totally invested. But alas, I pressed (and continue to press) onwards.
ONGOING GOAL: To correctly identify true and accurate concepts and teachings, a redefinition of basic assumptions and definitions was required - over a period of time. Over the years, this (unfortunately) involved programming, deprogramming and re-programming - to correct false teachings. In addition, my goal is to view these identifications through the lenses of Mishneh Torah. The more I filter our doctrine, the more obligated I feel to define and record it for others (as well as myself). At times, the amount of popularized "non-doctrine" I uncover is frustrating (and even disturbing). I can only hope that others in our own camp will take this more seriously - for the logical unity it can definitely provide.
In the end, I heed the words of the Saadiah Gaon ZT"L. As he said (paraphrased): "only the fool keeps jumping - from path to path. You can't spend your whole life searching! You have to pick something (i.e.: the best you can find)." This isn't settling... It's working with the best we have.
Besides, "little old me" has already done all the searching for you. And thus, after an extensive investigation, I have settled down, and concluded the following...
The closest (most accurate) record of the laws of Moses are clearly and simply documented by Maimonides (rabbi Moshe ben Maimon zt"l) in the Mishneh Torah. This is the key halakhic path of the last legitimate Sanhedrin (and court of Rav Ashe and Ravinah). It can be relied upon for faithful Mosaic observance - without any fear at all. For a full discussion of this position (including caveats), you can click here. You can not fully understand this site, without reading this article.
From experience, I have learned not to speak for others - about RMb"M. In other words, there is no "making pesaks" here. No one has (or had) the authority to do that since the last Sanhedrin (and court of Rav Ashe & Ravinah). Rather, my goal is to present one unified representation of RMb"M, as it relates to modern and ancient times - with the consensus of scholars in this field (when possible). Specifically, we focus in on scholars who live Torah (as best they can), in full accordance with the Rambam's Mishneh Torah. This site exclusively relies upon Yemenite MSS of the Mishneh Torah (most specifically the texts preserved by the QafaH family). For a number of reasons, no other manuscripts (or post MT commentators) are utilized here, when determining the original MT nusakh.
Regarding tradition: I believe that the Jewish law was intended to combine with a warm, correct Jewish tradition. Family life needs the cohesion of genuine tradition. So we are not anti-traditional here at all. However, we are just opposed to traditions that violate Torath Moshe. Regarding valid tradition, we fear that Jewish continuity actually fails (halilah) without it. Every single one of the extant traditions (today) has many accurate and unique things to contribute - and should be accorded the utmost respect.
"That a particular practice has been custom for centuries - is no proof of it being right, of course, but simply a historical "fact"
Please know and realize it. I believe it can save you much trouble and wasted time. This is where the law comes in. Tradition must past through the legal filter of Torah Law, as preserved and recorded in the Mishneh Torah. The Mishneh Torah is the most accurate restatement of the entire oral law. Some folks incorrectly use legitimate verses, that equate law with tradition, to justify corrupted practices. Incorrect traditions (that blur the law with traditions) must be abolished. Of course, we are not referring to universally accepted traditions, or ones that were created when the Great Court was standing.
As a result of our partial ingathering (may it correct & finalize itself) and technology, we are in a very unique point in Jewish history. Our unity and technology has the ability to be "the great equalizer" - in terms of fulfilling our original mission in the world. It is up to us - to grasp the opportunity. Without sounding egotistical, I pray this site will contribute (at a minuscule level) towards this goal. But this can only be accomplished by purifying what has been added and deleted, as one purifies fine gold and silver in a fire.
To date, I make no money (IE: ZERO) - from anything sold on this site. To be sure, this site is totally funded from my own pocket.
MESSAGE & FOCUS
I pray that you will enjoy and benefit from the time and effort I have put into this site. This site is aimed towards all seekers of truth (Jew and Ben Noakh alike). It is especially designed for those with an eye towards authenticity and original practice. But again, we now hold by the legislation of the last legitimate Sanhedrin (and court of Rav Ashe & Ravinah). There is no other legal choice right now. We don't need more authentic than that... although it is still fascinating to hear.
It is also geared towards the halakhist. It is not geared towards anyone looking to "pilpul their way out of " (or innovate) Jewish Law. If you are looking for chidushim or innovative heters & humras; then this site is not for you! It is also not geared towards people trying to trump RaMb"M with some of the Geonim or Tosafists, or even the son of RaMb"M himself. These straw tactics are illogical, and can be easily debunked. This is a Mishneh Torah site.
This site presumes a legal, Jewish, Talmudic orientation (as seen through the eyes of the MT), and will not participate in unnecessary, non-authoritative or innovative legal speculation or opinions (modern pilpul). That is for the next legitimate Sanhedrin to decide, may it come soon.
This site uses the eyes of the last legitimate Sanhedrin and court of Rav Ashe and Ravina - and all of the SETTLED legislation recorded in the Talmud - as is only recorded by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah. If something requires the clarification of a legitimate Sanhedrin (in future times), we leave it at that. We can make no apologies for this stance. At the same time, this site explores and documents many ancient traditions. If any of this makes you uncomfortable, please leave the site immediately...
If you find this position interesting, but unrealistic (in today's times), please click here. If you are cool with all of this, then keep reading. Academics (of all stripes) are invited to study & contribute here. But please be advised... this is not supposed to be a debate-oriented site. The record of the RaMb"M is our standard.
This site is not perfect.
May we all merit to see (and make happen - to the best of our abilities) the ultimate redemption. May we all merit to stand strong in spirit, heart and practice... until such times will arrive (may it be soon). "It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say:
"Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Devarim 30:12-15).
It truly is very simple and very close - for those who choose to see it this way. If you are one of our enemies, I pray that you will consider the huge and royal portion (in the world to come) that is promised to your descendents - in the Noahide Laws and Torah - if you ever want to change your mind. I pray that you will have a change of heart and mind.