Rambam Yesodey HaTorah 2 wrote:

"דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בְּעִנְיָן זֶה בִּשְׁנֵי פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ כְּמוֹ טִפָּה מִן הַיָּם הֵם מִמַּה שֶּׁצָּרִיךְ לְבָאֵר בְּעִנְיָן זֶה.
וּבֵאוּר כָּל הָעִקָּרִים שֶׁבִּשְׁנֵי פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא מַעֲשֵׂה מֶרְכָּבָה: "

"These matters we spoke of on this subject in these two chapters, are but a drop in the ocean of what it ought to be expounded in this subject; and the exposition of all the principles in these two chapters, are known as the Works of the Chariot.

Maase Merkava as I understand it, is a very deep Kabbalistic topic.

Why does Rambam include it in "the Basics of Torah"?

Also do we have any easy commentaries in English online to these first chapters of Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah of The Rambam?

  • 1
    You decided that מעשה מרכבה is Kabbalistic, the Rambam who did not believe in Kaballa thoght it was metaphysics Hilchot Yesodei haTorah is online - sefaria.org.il/…
    – eliavs
    Jan 14, 2019 at 10:09
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    After I added the source you can see that Rambam says the exposition of all the principles in these two chapters, are known as the Works of the Chariot. He only presented the basis and the extended explanations are called M"M.
    – Al Berko
    Jan 14, 2019 at 13:23
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    Why translate yesodei as basics and have a question. Translate yesodei as foundations and don't have a question.
    – user6591
    Jan 14, 2019 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


The first two chapters of the laws of the foundations of the Torah , do introduce the subject of the workings of the chariot.

It is worth pointing out as a clarification that even this expression, workings of the chariot, is greatly misunderstood.But to put it in the proper context, a chariot is something that has no self-directed will or action. It is merely a vehicle which behaves according to the will and direction of the Driver. In this case, the Driver is the Holy One, blessed be He. In other words, the chariot is completely subservient and nullified of sense of self to its Driver.

These laws serve no purpose more than to make someone learning these laws aware that there is such a subject contained within the Torah.

Rambam is saying that there is a legal obligation to know that the Creator has made and formed His creation according to a definite plan and order. Each individual, according to their innate abilities (intellectual, psychological,emotional, etc.), is required to know of them and their workings. And what is beyond their capacity is left to province of their faith, meaning what transcends their intellect and natural abilities.

There are commentaries, some translated into English on Sefaria for these two chapters. But they don’t go into the details of G-d’s system that you seem to be asking about.

Those are almost always in Hebrew and Aramaic and are contained in different books.


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