Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed 3:13
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ספר מורה נבוכים חלק ג פרק יג
ובגלל הדבר הזה הדעת האמיתי אצלי, לפי האמונות התוריות והנאות לדעות העיוניות, הוא, שלא יאמן בנמצאות כולם שהם מפני מציאות האדם, אבל יהיו גם כן שאר הנמצאות כולם מכוונות לעצמם, לא מפני דבר אחר.
For this reason, to my mind, the correct view according to the beliefs of the Torah – a view that corresponds likewise to the speculative views – is as follows: It should not be believed that all the beings exist for the sake of the existence of humans. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of something else. This text was compiled by Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY, for Rabbi Matalon’s teaching on the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation. Their work was based on and inspired by The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why might we have believed that everything in the world exists for the benefit of humans? How is this incorrect?

2. How does our responsibility towards the world around us change based on this new understanding?

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Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)