Every visit to the Jewish quarter of Cordoba has two obligatory stops. One is a visit to the Synagogue and the other is the monument to Maimonides: the great philosopher and rabbi born in Cordoba. However, few of those who stop to take a photo next to the statue of such a distinguished Cordovan, know the importance of his work.
One of his greatest works is the Mishne Torah, a code of Jewish law in which he clearly sets forth the principles by which each Jew must rule his life. In one of his chapters Maimonides warns us about the importance of taking care of bad company.
The Spanish saying says: “tell me who you get together with and I’ll tell you who you are.” Indeed our social relationships say a lot about who we are. Not only because we socialize with those with whom we have things in common to share, but because our neighbor truly shapes, without being aware of it, our character and way of being. Erich Fromm said: “There is no meeting between two people that does not have consequences for both of them.” No meeting or conversation with another person leaves either of them as they were. The brief experience of the other produces a small transformation in our being. Throughout life we make decisions, and we pretend to make them free, but we are not aware of the extent to which the “other” is part of the “I” that we finally build.
It is important to surround ourselves with an environment that favors the development of personality, the opportunity for each one of the best of himself. Bad and trivial companies should be avoided. We are free to decide who we want to be, therefore we must be free when choosing who we share our life with.
Maimonides in his Mishne Torah (Chapter 6: 1) says: “If the inhabitants of the country where you live are bad, avoid their company. If they want to force you to join them, leave that country, even if you have to live in the desert. ”
Spanish popular tradition teaches: “Better alone than in bad company.” I am sure Maimonides would agree.
P.S. For us it is a pleasure to discover Cordoba, its Jewish quarter and its secrets for both locals and visitors. Do not hesitate to contact us if you come from the south of Sefarad. We are waiting with open arms.