Ramban Devarim

Mixing the Metaphysical with the Physical

by R. Gidon Rothstein Mixing the Metaphysical with the Physical: Towards an Accurate Summary of Ramban’s Views in Devarim We have been studying Ramban on the book of Devarim since just after Pesach, two columns on each parsha. Going forward, I hope to start with Bereshit (so that next Monday, Gd willing, we’ll study some pieces of Ramban’s Introduction to the Torah, and for theMonday of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, ...

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Yosef, Gad, and Moshe

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to VeZot HaBerachah, Week Two: Yosef, Gad, and Moshe The Gd of the Bush While blessing the tribe of Yosef (at the end of the berachah, he mentions both Ephraim and Menasheh), Moshe Rabbenu refers to retzon Shocheni seneh, the favor (or goodwill) of the One Who dwells in the bush. To explain why Moshe would choose to refer ...

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Blessings From and To Whom

by R. Gidon Rothstein From a Man of Gd The first verse of the parsha gives Ramban much to discuss, and I’m not going to resist the urge to engage with it at length. דברים פרק לג:(א) וְזֹ֣את הַבְּרָכָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בֵּרַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לִפְנֵ֖י מוֹתֽוֹ: Devarim 33;1: This is the blessing Moshe, the man of Gd, blessed the Children of Israel ...

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How Hard It Can Be To Get Back to Basics

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Abomination of Worshipping Powers Other Than Hashem דברים פרק לב:טז יַקְנִאֻ֖הוּ בְּזָרִ֑ים בְּתוֹעֵבֹ֖ת יַכְעִיסֻֽהוּ: Devarim 32;16: They incite His jealousy with strangers, anger Him with abominations. Rashi, based on Sifrei, took “abominations” to refer to homosexual relations and to witchcraft, both of which the Torah calls to’evah, abomination. Ramban disagrees, because he sees this entire ...

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Building Blocks of Perfection, Straight and Alone

by R. Gidon Rothstein Unchanging Perfection Ha’azinu starts—and is mostly taken up with—a song that Moshe Rabbenu was told to teach the Jewish people, as a lasting witness of right and wrong ways to act. An early verse refers to דברים פרק לב:ד הַצּוּר֙ תָּמִ֣ים פָּעֳל֔וֹ כִּ֥י כָל־דְּרָכָ֖יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט Devarim 32;4: The Rock, all his works are perfect, for all his ways ...

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Transitions in Small Bites

by R. Gidon Rothstein Partial Return, Partial Punishment Only a Sith thinks in absolutes, the movies tell us, and Ramban points to two verses in this parsha that remind us that Hashem is no Sith. דברים פרק לא:יז וְחָרָ֣ה אַפִּ֣י ב֣וֹ בַיּוֹם־הַ֠הוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּ֞ים וְהִסְתַּרְתִּ֨י פָנַ֤י מֵהֶם֙ וְהָיָ֣ה לֶֽאֱכֹ֔ל וּמְצָאֻ֛הוּ רָע֥וֹת רַבּ֖וֹת וְצָר֑וֹת וְאָמַר֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא הֲלֹ֗א עַ֣ל כִּֽי־אֵ֤ין אֱלֹהַי֙ בְּקִרְבִּ֔י מְצָא֖וּנִי הָרָע֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה: (יח) ...

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Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave

by R. Gidon Rothstein Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave the Scene Unable, Unwilling, or Not Allowed Moshe Rabbenu introduces the Jewish people to the fact that this is the end of his life with the words, דברים פרק לא:ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם בֶּן־מֵאָה֩ וְעֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ הַיּ֔וֹם לֹא־אוּכַ֥ל ע֖וֹד לָצֵ֣את וְלָב֑וֹא Devarim 31;2: He said to them, “I am ...

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Where Repentance Can Take Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Repentance that Lasts Last time, we examined aspects of the renewed covenant Hashem made with the Jewish people. The parsha then moves to another warning of the consequences of failure to keep that covenant; after bearing those, the Jews will eventually return (the description here has some interesting similarities to parts of VaEtchanan that we read last week, but that’s ...

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Covenant and Commitment

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Nation Being Called דברים פרק כט:ט אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:  (י) טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ: Devarim 29;9: All of you are standing this day before Hashem your Gd, your heads of tribes, elders, officers, every Israelite man. Verse 10: Your children, women, ...

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