Someone told me that the Rambam when he was young was hard of understanding

Is there a reputable source confirming this?
How can I find it?

What I found so far.

לא הצטיין בשום תכונה מיוחדת. לא הייתה לו נטייה ללימודים, וכל מה שלמד- לא נקלט בראשו. קשה הבנה היה וקשה תפיסה

From http://cms.education.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/F7CA73FE-1416-45D3-B4C4-6AB75566EC85/123043/chomer_reka.doc

  • 1
    For the benefit of readers, it should be noted that the quote is (a) directly preceded by "כך מספרת האגדה" ("as the story/legend goes"), (b) it's from a story who's source is given there as "מאיר אוריין, המורה לדורות, הוצאת מוסד הרב קוק, ירושלים , עמ' 27", and (c) that it is brought as part of a collection of such stories about the Rambam (and not as part of his biography).
    – Tamir Evan
    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:46
  • @TamirEvan thank you it is page 25(27) here otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?148851
    – hazoriz
    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:52
  • Can you define "reputable source"?
    – Yishai
    Mar 28, 2018 at 13:10
  • @Yishai the more trustworthy (in your opinion) the source the better
    – hazoriz
    Mar 28, 2018 at 13:19
  • 2
    It's unclear to me that this question is on-topic as about Judaism.
    – msh210
    Mar 28, 2018 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


The source for this story seems to be Shalshelet Hakabbala (p. 104 here). He says he heard it from an old man who saw it written in an old book.

The relevant part of the story is:

וזה הרמב"ם היה קשה ההבנה מאד ומעט רצון היה לו בלמוד

This Rambam was very hard of understanding, and had little desire to learn.

The story is quoted almost verbatim in Seder Hadorot (source found by hazoriz).

The book Hamore Ladorot by Me'ir Oryan (source located by Tamir Evan) quotes the legend, but judges that the true core of the story is probably limited to the part of the story about the Rambam going to learn from Rabbi Yosef Ibn Migash, implying that in his view the line about the Rambam being hard of understanding might have been an embellishment.

  • It's worth noting that Seder Hadorot is generally not considered a reputable source of historical information. Indeed, the whole section on Rambam seems to be replete with errors. See here: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/80153/3388
    – Chaim
    Mar 29, 2018 at 23:25
  • @Chaim If you can find a better source for the statement, you can post it. I never wrote that the claim was true, and if anything, implied the opposite.
    – b a
    Mar 30, 2018 at 6:41

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