Tehila_Rambam_cropThe Rambam, also known as Maimonides, was a very important Jewish philosopher, scientist, and physician. Many Jewish ideas had their start in him, and some controversies surrounding his work still persist today. He influenced many later scholars, and wrote many religious and scientific masterpieces. The 20th of Teves, or this year, December 23, marks the date of his death in 1204. How much do you know about his life, works, and legacy? Test your knowledge with this quiz!


1. Where was the Rambam born and where did he die?

A. Córdoba, Spain and Fustat, Egypt

B. Córdoba, Spain and Alexandria, Egypt

C. Madrid, Spain and Fustat, Egypt

D. Madrid, Spain and Alexandria, Egypt


2. Why did the Rambam’s family leave Spain, and where did they go?

A. They wanted their son to continue his education in Alexandria, which at the time was the world’s epitome of knowledge, and so went there in 1155.

B. The Almohads invaded Spain in 1148 and forced all non-Muslims to choose between conversion, exile, and death. The Rambam’s family chose exile, traveled through southern Spain and arrived in Fez, Morocco in 1160.

C. The Spanish Inquisition started, offering non-Christians to choose between conversion, exile, and death. The Rambam’s family chose exile, and they moved to Paris in 1157.

D. They thought that life would be better in Egypt, so in 1151 they left Córdoba to arrive there in 1153.


3. How old did the Rambam live to be?

A. 80

B. 91

C. 72

D. 69


4. What was the Rambam’s given name and what does “Rambam” stand for? Hint: RaMBaM

A. Moshe ben Maimon (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon)

B. Maimon ben David (RaBbi MaiMon)

C. Maimonides (RaBbi MaiMonides)

D. Rambam (that was just his name)


5. What are three of his books, in chronological order?


A. Judaism, Religion, and Laws

B. Treatise on the Art of Logic, Mishneh Torah, and Guide of the Perplexed

C. Commentary, Prophecy, and I am Rambam

D. Kabbalah, Guide to Judaism, and Planets


6. According to the Rambam, what two things does all of Jewish law aim at?

A. Enlightenment and charity

B. A successful life and meditation

C. The improvement of the body and the improvement of the soul

D.  Knowledge and health


7. What was the Rambam’s argument against literal interpretation of the Bible?

A. Actually, he believed the opposite—Rambam said that anyone who didn’t interpret the Bible literally was a fool.

B. That if you always literally interpret the Bible it doesn’t make sense.

C. That if you interpret it literally it contradicts itself.

D. That the result of literal interpretation is a material conception of G-D, which amounts to idolatry.


8. What did the Rambam say about morality?

A. That it is not an end in itself but a way of containing emotions so that rational endeavor can flourish.

B. That if everyone strictly followed the moral code all problems would disappear.

C. That it is an end in itself, and if you yourself are very moral, you will lead a happy and fulfilled life.

D. That morality is the basis for all society.


9. Who were some famous thinkers who were influenced by the Rambam?

A. Spinoza

B. Newton

C. Leibniz

D. All of the above


10. What currency is the Rambam’s head on?

A. The five-shekel coin

B. The 60 dollar bill

C. A vintage 1,000 shekel bill

D. The 100 Egyptian pound bill





1. A

2. B

3. D

4. A

5. B

6. C

7. D

8. A

9. D

10. C