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As Almohad Islamists Rose Up, Rambam Speaks Up for Jews Forced to Convert

"The Letter about Conversion:" The Ramabm’s Radical Defense of His People

1 hr 26 min

Ongoing battles between the Almohads and the Iberian Christians would end up in North African defeat at the Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa in 1212

Class Summary:

A text-based class on parts of Igeres Hashmad, the Letter about Conversion, by the Rambam. In the 11th century, the community of Morocco was reeling from the radical persecutions of the Almohad Moslems, who demanded that Jews leave, convert, or die. This led many people to practice Judaism secretly, the predecessors of the famous Marranos. They rationalized their public adherence to Islam by saying that Islam is not idol worship.

However, a certain sage wrote to them and said that they are all idol worshippers who are constantly transgressing the Torah, and they will therefore not receive reward for their Mitzvos done in secret. Additionally, he declared that anyone who even says that Mohammed is a true prophet is considered a denier of God’s existence. This made many people decide to completely abandon their Judaism. The Rambam was furious about this sage’s remarks.


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Please leave your comment below!

  • YG

    Yochanan Gordon -8 years ago

    Rabbi Jacobson,

    I am enjoying the class immensely. It just reinforces what set apart our Rebbe from many other 'Gedolei Yisrael' who have time and again proven that they have no faith in the Jewish people.

    But what entered my mind between the lines of the Iggeres Hashmad and the severity with which the Rambam describes the gravity of this mans sin I wonder what he would say about todays 'Gedolim' who have decreed recently that owners of smart phones cannot be counted among a minyan.

    Woe is to us for we have sinned!

    You need to continue to hammer home the greatness of the Jewish people and the severity of blaspheming any Jew.

    Chazak V'ematz!

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • December 25, 2015
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  • 13 Tevet 5776
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Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein in honor of Sholom Yosef Gavriel ben Maya Tifcha, Gavriel Nash.

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