(40) In this age, with afflictions mightily intensified, the pressure of the hour weighing heavily upon everybody, when the wisdom of our wise did perish and the prudence of our prudent was hid, all commentaries, treatises, and responsa which the Gaonim compiled and considered by them as clear text are preplexities in our day and only a select few comprehend the subject matter thereof, not to speak of the Talmud itself, both the Babylonian and the Jerusalemean, the Sifra, Sifre and Tosefta, which require a broad understanding, a soul endowed with wisdom and lengthy reflection whenafter one may find the right path therein, to ascertain the things which are forbidden and the things which are permitted, or to fathom the how and why of the other laws of the Torah.
(41) Therefore, have I, Moses son of Maimon, of Spain, girded up my loins, and, supporting myself upon the Rock, blessed be He! made a comprehensive study of all those books and minded myself to construct out of all these compilations a clear summary on the subject of that which is forbidden or permitted, defiled or clean along with the other laws of the Torah, the whole scope in pure language and concise style, so that the Oral Torah be entirely methodical in the mouth of everybody, without query and without repartee, without the contentious thus of one and such of another, but clear text, cohesive, correct, in harmony with the law which is defined out of all these existing compilations and commentaries from the days of our Holy Master till now;
(42) so that all laws be open to young and old, whether they be laws concerning each and every commandment or whether they be laws concerning matters instituted by scholars and prophets. The main object of the matter being, that no man shall have a need of any other compilation in the world for any law of the laws of Israel, but this compilation shall be a cyclopedia of the whole Oral Torah together with a code of the statutes, customs and edicts which were enacted since the days of Moses our Master until the close of the Talmud, even as they were interpreted for us by the Gaonim in all their compilations which were compiled by them since the Talmudic era. Therefore, have I named this compilation Mishnah Torah; for, when one studies Holy Writ first and thereafter reads this Work, he obtains herefrom a complete knowledge of the Oral Torah, having no need to read any other book in between them.