The Initiative

On the final day of Pesach in the year 1984 (5744), the Lubavitcher Rebbe launched a bold new initiative, that all Jewish people, man, woman, and child, unite in a daily study of Rambma’s Mishneh Torah. The Rebbe said: In addition to the Torah topics that each person regularly pursues according to his individual ability, be it Talmud Bavli or Talmud Yerushalmi, laws that are necessary to know for practical observance, or any other Torah subject – I hereby propose that each individual accept upon himself bli neder (without the force of a binding oath) to study a daily portion of Mishneh Torah.

Likkutei Sichos, vol. 32, p. 271ff.

Rambam’s Mission

The Lubavitcher Rebbe quoted the Rambam’s own words to explain the reason for this initiative: [Mishneh Torah is written] …all in clear and concise terms, so that the entire Oral Law could be organized in each person’s mouth … for all the laws to be revealed to both those of lesser stature and those of greater stature, regarding every single mitzvah, and also all the practices that were ordained by the Sages and the Prophets.

(Rambam’s Introduction to Mishneh Torah).

Thus, the Rambam initiative brought to fruition – and even surpassed – Rambam’s original intention in authoring Mishneh Torah, namely, that all of the Torah’s laws be made readily available for the masses, including those who cannot approach the more scholarly study of the Talmud and the like.
Jewish Unity According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s vision, the full set of Torah laws as systemically set out by Rambam are not merely indispensable to each Jew’s personal library, but they are to be actively studied by all Jews, regardless of background, age, or gender, on a daily basis. The Rebbe continues to explain that this initiative is the fullest and most effective unity between all Jews: The unity of Jews through Torah could be produced by learning any topic. But since “Israel is linked to the Torah” — meaning every aspect of a Jew and Jewry is connected to Torah in its entirety — the ultimate unity is produced by learning something which encompasses the whole Torah.

Likkutei Sichos, vol. 32, p. 271ff.

In the book of Tanya, the author describes in detail the powerful unity generated by Torah study, by which the Jew who studies and the Torah subject he reviews experience “a wondrous union, like which there is none other” (Tanya, Ch. 5). This can be taken a step further: When a number of Jews unite in the shared study of a particular Torah topic, then the same wondrous union occurs not only between each participant and the Torah, but also between the participants themselves. No force can bring truer unity between diverse Jews than the Torah. And such unity reaches its ultimate expression when all Jews study the entire Torah and in concert. The only book suitable for such a goal is Rambam’s Mishneh Torah – “the Repetition of the Torah,” in which Rambam sets out to present a systematic summary of the entire body of Written and Oral Law. It is both obvious and important to highlight that in addition to the mystical unity, the initiative carries the natural harmony of joint intellectual endeavor: This unity is in addition to the warmth and closeness among those who learn a common subject when they together discuss and analyze its ideas (ibid.). Due to this overriding concern, the daily study of Sefer HaMitzvos under this initiative does not follow the order in which Rambam composed the book. Rather, only the portions of the book that correspond to the three-chapter-a-day cycle is studied on any given day. [For example, if that day’s three chapters happen to cover seven distinct biblical commands or prohibitions, then the material equivalent to those seven commands or prohibitions will be studied by those following the Sefer HaMitzvos track. Conversely, if that day’s three chapters elaborate on previously introduced laws – without introducing any new mitzvos at all – then those following the Sefer HaMitzvos track will simply repeat the previous day’s material that corresponds to those laws.] In order to preserve the purpose of Jewish unity, an individual who joins the initiative in the midst of a cycle should not start at the beginning of Mishneh Torah. Rather, he should study the material being reviewed by all other Jews that day (and only later seek to study prior material, if possible).

Unity And Redemption

As desirable as authentic Jewish unity is in and of itself, in this case it is a tool to an even more urgent and marvelous goal, the heralding of the final redemption. In the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Unity among Jews is such an important matter that all efforts must be undertaken to achieve it. For unity hastens the final redemption: The cause of the exile, our Sages state, was baseless hatred among Jews. When love and unity reign among Jews, the cause of the exile will have been abolished — and thus automatically the exile itself will be ended (ibid.).

Knowing It All

A further benefit of joining the Rambam initiative, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explained, is that each Jew is instructed to study the Torah in its entirety. One way to fulfill this obligation is to study all of the Torah laws, and such an undertaking can be done only by studying Mishneh Torah; other works of halachah such as Shulchan Aruch are limited to laws that are relevant during times of exile. The Laws of Moshiach The most basic manner of fulfilling the obligation to study the entire Torah is to become familiar with laws that relate to daily life as a Jew. For this purpose as well, Mishneh Torah can be considered unique in the sense that every Jew awaits Moshiach’s coming every day, and as a result, the laws of sacrifices and the like that will apply in the imminent era of redemption can be considered relevant to daily life at present. It is necessary to be prepared for the reality in which such material will become pertinent instantaneously.
For the three tracks of Rambam study Click Here For the full Sicha on the initiative Click Here