• Illini Hillel

Unlocking the Secrets of Maimonides, Every Monday

By Elan Karoll, Class of 2019

Mondays can be tough, but there is no better way to start the week than with some Jewish learning, good company, and delicious pizza. Every Monday, I look forward to "Maimonides Mondays," a lunchtime study group hosted by Rabbi Shlomo Schachter, the OU-JLIC Rabbi at the University of Illinois. We meet in the Illini Hillel building and dive into new Jewish texts to unlock their meanings.

We are currently studying the works of Maimonides, also known as Rabbeinu Moses ben Maimon, or Rambam. This 12th century Sephardic Jewish scholar was dedicated to helping Jews better understand how to live a proper life.

Maimonides was born in southern Spain then was exiled to the Middle East. He became a great author, philosopher, physician, astronomer, political adviser, and leader of the Egyptian Jewish community. His writings from the Middle Ages continue to be incredibly influential today.

This week, we explored sections from The Laws of Repentance, Chapter 4 of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah. We learned that there are 24 bad behaviors that prevent someone from repenting their sins. The common factor in these 24 acts is that the effects are unpredictable and the victims are unknown.

Rabbi Shlomo encouraged us to think about how this concept could apply to situations that we encounter today. He brought up common cases relevant to college students and current events. For example: taking advantage of a someone's trust without them knowing.

I really enjoy Maimonides Mondays because it makes halacha (Jewish Law) really accessible and meaningful. The event helps me connect to my Jewish identity while being a busy college student. The important lessons I gain each week help me live a more just, and Jewish life.

Did I mention that the pizza is free, delicious, and kosher? I encourage any student or community member interested in Maimonides Mondays to join us, every Monday at 12:00pm in the Illini Hillel Cohen Center for Jewish Life.

The Margie K. and Louis N. Cohen Center for Jewish Life
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