As told by Moses, Son of Maimon
Ilil ArbelI rarely use my magic arts or inventions, particularly my skill of time travel. I am not sure it is an ethical thing to do, and since I don’t know anyone else who had learned to do so, who can I ask for advice? Once in a while, I feel the need to study the events to come. This is only my third time, and I have jumped about eight hundred years into my future. The year is 2015 of the Christian calendar, and 5775 of the Jewish calendar. I have never jumped so far ahead before.
But this is not all. They have wars, the horror of which even the great Saladin would not be able to understand. Sadly, the fanatics called ISIS remind me of the wild Almohades who had destroyed my beloved Al-Andalus and exiled or killed my entire community. Like the Almohades, ISIS brutally murders other Muslims, Christians, and Jews, pretending to do so in the name of God. What God would want to see the innocents slaughtered? Many of these wars are fought merely for money and power.
They have learned nothing, nothing at all, about ethics. But as I am preparing to go home, I trust that someday in their own future they will see the light. I could not live without hope.
I have to admit that as a physician, I am very much impressed with their practice of medicine. I have seen people cured from cancer. Artificial hearts save people from certain death. They can create a natural immunity to future diseases by using certain serums. But despite such wonders, they allow those who cannot pay die from illnesses the physicians could cure. I simply cannot understand that – in my time, a good physician would treat them for free. In my own practice, I set aside a time each week for people who cannot afford to pay.
Ilil Arbel is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books, including biographies, memoirs, novels, and mythology/folklore. She has also written articles, short stories, and Judaic myths.
Arbel has a Ph.D. in the field of mythology and folklore but has also devoted much study to her special interest in Jewish history, biography, legends, and myths. She is currently engaged in writing the biography of Hillel the Elder, the first century B.C. leader and religious scholar.
Dr. Arbel was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has lived and studied in Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York and currently resides in Manhattan.
Moses, Son of Maimon
Born into a distinguished family in medieval Cordoba, Spain, the young Moses Maimonides was quickly recognized by his teachers for his outstanding intellectual abilities and extraordinary versatility. At the age of twelve, when his peaceful world was shattered by war and persecution and his family was forced into exile, his religious and secular studies continued. Despite the years of wandering and the harsh conditions, he also developed into a writer and wrote extensively until the end of his life.
His world was full of contradictions. A man who abhorred excess of any kind, Maimonides nevertheless lived as a member of a glittering society. Cairo of that time was full of art, music, literature, elegant fashions, priceless jewelry, and sophisticated food. He moved among the sultan’s wealthy advisors and the elegant ladies of the royal harem during the day, and among the Jewish scholars in the evening. He was accused of supporting corporal punishment for wives, and at the same time, people gasped at his revolutionary defense of women’s rights.
His fame brought controversy that is still raging—eight hundred years after his death. At certain times his books were banned and even burned at the stake. But no one could ever deny that his work was that of a brilliant innovator and scholar who could reconcile religious traditions with science and philosophy like no one else.