His whole tendency was as conservative as that of Maimonides was liberal, and like all conservatives he may be said to represent a lost though not necessarily a less desirable cause.
The descendant of men learned in rabbinic lore, Abba Mari devoted himself to the study of theology and philosophy, and made himself acquainted with the writing of Moses Maimonides and Nachmanides as well as with the Talmud.
Important also are the introduction to and commentary upon the Mishnah by Maimonides (q.v.), and the commentary of Rabbenu Obadiah di Bertinoro (died 1510).
I I) is difficult to explain, though Maimonides perhaps correctly regarded the law as a protest against heathenism (on the magical use of representatives of the animal and vegetable kingdom, in conjunction with a metal ring, see I.
Joseph's son Shem Tobh was, on the contrary, a follower of Maimonides and the Aristotelians.
He carefully establishes the necessity of revelation as a source of knowledge, not merely because it aids us in comprehending in a somewhat better way the truths already furnished by reason, as some of the Arabian philosophers and Maimonides had acknowledged, but because it is the absolute source of our knowledge of the mysteries of the Christian faith; and then he lays down the relations to be observed between reason and revelation, between philosophy and theology.
From 1838 to 1863 he lived in Breslau, where he organized the reform movement in Judaism and wrote some of his most important works, including Lehrand Lesebuch zur Sprache der Mischna (1845), Studien from Maimonides (1850), translation into German of the poems of Juda ha-Levi (1851), and Urschrift and Obersetzungen der Bibel in ihrer Abhangigkeit von der innern Entwickelung des Judentums (1857).
A century later Maimonides was to give a new turn to Jewish thought, by the assimilation of Aristotelianism with Mosaism, but Rashi was a traditionalist pure and simple.
Among the chief attempts to codify the halakha were the Great Rules (Halakhoth Gedoloth) of Simon Kayyara (9th century), based on the letters written by the Gaonim, the heads of the Babylonian schools, to Jewish inquirers in many lands, the work of Jacob Alfassi (1013-1103), the Strong Hand of Maimonides (1180), and the Table Prepared (Shulhan Aruch) of Joseph Qaro (1565), which from its practical scope and its clarity as a work of general reference became the universal handbook of Jewish life in many of its phases.
A large number of charitable and other public institutions have been established in the United States and elsewhere by the order, of which may be mentioned the large orphan asylum in Cleveland, the home for the aged and infirm at Yonkers, N.Y., the National Jewish hospital for consumptives at Denver, and the Maimonides library in New York City.