The Mishneh Torah was compiled by the Torah luminary Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam) between 1170 and 1180 while he was living in Egypt.
The Rambam was a Talmudeic sage, philosopher, scientist and royal physician, and it was said that "From Moses [the leader of the Exodus] to Moses [ben Maimon] there has not arisen a [comparable] Moses."
The MishnehTorah is often called the Sefer Yad Hazakah – or "Book of the Mighty Hand" – and was intended to provide a complete statement of the Oral Law, so that a person who mastered first the Written Torah and then the Mishneh Torah would be in no need of any other book.
It was the first compendium of halakhah organized according to topics rather than written in the order of the Talmud.
Contemporary reaction was mixed, with strong and immediate opposition focusing on the absence of sources and fears that the work would supersede study of the Talmud.
Maimonides answered all criticisms of the Mishneh Torah, and history has shown that the criticism was groundless. Talmudic study is unabated, but the Mishneh Torah endures as a basic and influential work in Jewish religious thought and jurisprudence even today.
Photos: Yisrael Bardugo and Moshe Goldstein