I came accros a quote from the Rambam, apparently in his teshuvos, that a person should be "רודף אחר כוונת התורה". I saw it in a piece from Shem MiShmual (Lech Lecha תרע"ב, second piece). A Google Search yielded that many other people have quoted it but no one said where it originally came from. Could someone please find the original source, and also post a more complete quote? Thanks!

  • Maybe a good starting point would be his teshuvos. I have read in a sefer called Aspaklaria, that it is in one of his teshuvos.
    – Shmuel
    Oct 29, 2023 at 18:10
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    Also, on Otzar and the Otzar-forum, a search for these words would result in a plethora of seforim, but all these seforim would say that these are the words of the Rambam in his teshuvos, but I did not find anything. Also not in his Guide for the Perplexed, Mishneh Torah etc..
    – Shmuel
    Oct 29, 2023 at 18:23
  • The Shem MiShmuel begins to quote the Midrash Rabbah (Devarim Rabbah 4:2, Parshas Re'eh). That Midrash says also something in the lines of the Rambam you quoted. Refer to here.
    – Shmuel
    Oct 29, 2023 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


I searched around and found it, in a collection of chidushim from ksav yad of the Rambam (which I did not know existed!) printed in the beginning of Maaseh Rokeach.

You can see it for yourself here (paragraph starting with בענין שביתת העבדים about halfway down the first column.

The concept is mentioned over a dozen times in the Shem MiShmuel, not always sourced. Notable is that his father also quotes it in Iglei Tal (Kotzer 8), which is likely where the Shem MiShmuel became aware of it, and since then this phrase I quoted in the question has become part of the normal lexicon and is found in many places (as Shmuel mentioned in the comments). Its significance is quite evident to those who are aware of it.


if I understand the meaning of that quote, that one should alwyas strive to understand the reasons for all the mitzvos, then look at the end of Mishne Torah Hilchos Meila and Hilchos Temurah, where the Rambam discusses that inyan. though I may be misunderstanding your question.

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