A Wandering Bible: The Aleppo Codex
---Maimonides and the Aleppo Codex
After the Aleppo Codex was smuggled into Egypt, it was bought by the local Jews and deposited in the synagogue of the Jerusalem Jews in ancient Cairo. According to tradition – and modern scholarship – the great philosopher and legal (halakhic) authority Maimonides (1138–1204) relied on the Aleppo Codex when he formulated the laws relating to Torah scrolls in his legal code, the Mishneh Torah, as he explains in the conclusion to that section: “In these matters we relied upon the codex, now in Egypt, which contains the twenty-four books of Scripture and which had been in Jerusalem for several years. It was used as the standard text in the correction of books. Everyone relied on it, because it had been corrected by Ben Asher himself, who worked on its details closely for many years and corrected it many times whenever it was being copied. And I relied upon it in the Torah scroll that I wrote according to Jewish Law” (Sefer Ahavah, Hilkhot Sefer Torah 8:4). Maimonides’ praise of the Aleppo Codex further enhanced the reputation of the venerated manuscript.