Goals of the Mishneh Torah

In order to make his code categorical and prescriptive, Maimonides deliberately omitted sources and did not reference his predecessors.

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Maimonides' Legacy

It is true that the omission of the sources gave rise to difficulties; Maimonides himself was aware of these problems and considered how to overcome them. However, generations later, it turned out that in his essential innovation in the codification of the halakhic system--stating the law prescriptively and categorically without naming sources--he not only "sought to improve" but in fact did improve, since he paved the way, in substantial measure, for the codificatory form that achieved general acceptance about four centuries later when Joseph Caro wrote the Shulhan Arukh.

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Menachem Elon

Justice Menachem Elon has had a long and distinguished career as a legal scholar. He is a retired professor of Jewish Law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a prolific author on Jewish Law. In 1977 Justice Elon was appointed to the Supreme Court of Israel and served as its Deputy President from 1988 until 1993. He lives in Jerusalem.