Did Rambam himself elaborate on:

  1. His sources for this principle? Did he derive it from somewhere or it was his own thought?
  2. The principle itself, what it covers, what kind of changes he's talking about, what times does he speak of?

I'm aware that numerous Kabbalic sources (my Rabbi Z"L included) sided with a very different approach about the future of the Torah, so the question is exclusively about Rambam's own sources and views, not general interpretations.

2 Answers 2


Rambam elaborates on this in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 9:1 where he writes:

דבר ברור ומפורש בתורה שהיא מצוה עומדת לעולם ולעולמי עולמים אין לה לא שינוי ולא גרעון ולא תוספת שנאמר את כל הדבר אשר אנכי מצוה אתכם אותו תשמרון לעשות לא תוסף עליו ולא תגרע ממנו ונאמר והנגלות לנו ולבנינו עד עולם לעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת, הא למדת שכל דברי תורה מצווין אנו לעשותן עד עולם וכן הוא אומר חוקת עולם לדורותיכם ונאמר לא בשמים היא הא למדת שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה לפיכך אם יעמוד איש בין מן האומות בין מישראל ויעשה אות ומופת ויאמר שה׳ שלחו להוסיף מצוה או לגרוע מצוה או לפרש במצוה מן המצות פירוש שלא שמענו ממשה או שאמר שאותן המצות שנצטוו בהן ישראל אינן לעולם ולדורי דורות אלא מצות לפי זמן היו הרי זה נביא שקר שהרי בא להכחיש נבואתו של משה ומיתתו בחנק על שהזיד לדבר בשם ה׳ אשר לא צוהו שהוא ברוך שמו צוה למשה שהמצוה הזאת לנו ולבנינו עד עולם ולא איש אל ויכזב

It is clear and explicit in the Torah that it is [God's] commandment, remaining forever without change, addition, or diminishment, as [Deuteronomy 13:1] states: "All these matters which I command to you, you shall be careful to perform. You may not add to it or diminish from it," and [Deuteronomy 29:28] states: "What is revealed is for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of this Torah." This teaches that we are commanded to fulfill all the Torah's directives forever. It is also said: "It is an everlasting statute for all your generations," and [Deuteronomy 30:12] states: "It is not in the heavens." This teaches that a prophet can no longer add a new precept [to the Torah].

Therefore, if a person will arise, whether Jew or gentile, and perform a sign or wonder and say that God sent him to:

a) add a mitzvah,

b) withdraw a mitzvah

c) explain a mitzvah in a manner which differs from the tradition received from Moses, or

d) if he says that the mitzvot commanded to the Jews are not forever, but rather were given for a limited time, he is a false prophet. He comes to deny the prophecy of Moses and should be executed by strangulation, because he dared to make statements in God's name which God never made. God, blessed be His name, commanded Moses that this commandment is for us and our children forever, and, God is not man that He speak falsely.

(Touger translation)

He also talks about this in his introduction to his Commentary to the Mishnah, see there.

  • Thank you, very informative. So in this interpretation, "Torah" equals "Halachah", "Mitzvos". Is this what he talks about, or also the very text of the Torah or the "spirituality" of it?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 7:41

Although the Torah will endure, how it is interpreted will change. Judaism today is not Torah Judaism but Rabbinic Judaism. For example, we no longer practice sacrifices and slavery. Maimonides knew this.

Menachem Kellner writes that Rambam did not accept all of his thirteen principles. When he wrote them, he wrote them for the masses. Maimonides wrote many essential truths. The eighth and ninth principles are an example.

For example, when Rambam wrote that Moses's prophecy was above all others, this was written in order to combat the messiahship of Mohammed and Jesus.

The Babylonian Talmud, Nidah 61b, shares the opinion of Rabbi Joseph: “The mitzvot [commandments] will be abolished in the time to come.” Fourteenth-century Rabbi Joseph Albo writes that a future prophet could abolish or nullify all of the biblical commands except for the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments). See (Sefer Ha-ikkarim). Also, the fact that Rambam seems to suggests that we will not perform sacrifices in the future, indicates that how we interpret the Torah will change. Indeed, Rambam writes that if a Torah verses run counter to science, then we are to read it allegorically.

Thus, Maimonides' "thirteen principles of Judaism" were mostly for the general population. He only accepted the first five, which deal with G-d. Jews should accept those first five principles literally.

(When I get more sources, I will add them).


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