The saint chooses perfection of the life; the sage is summoned to the work — and it was to the latter that Maimonides ascribed the greater religious dignity. For he believed in the God who intervened to save a people from slavery, set them on the path to freedom, and taught them how to honour the freedom and dignity of others. Those who "walk in God's ways" are socially involved. They fight battles, seek peace, work for the underprivileged and excluded and do not merely contemplate justice but struggle to achieve it. More than any other rabbinic figure in the Middle Ages, Maimonides gave religious depth to the complex, conflict-ridden world of work, leadership, community-building and the public square. Without devaluing the saint, Maimonides showed us another way.

Jonathan Sacks, To Heal a Fractured World