Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban to Hayye Sarah: Death, Relationships, Gd, and Speech

by R. Gidon Rothstein Hayye Sarah opens with the passing of Sarah and closes with the passing of Avraham. I seem to have found more of Onkelos et al on Avraham’s passing, so let’s start there. Having Enough The Torah says Avraham left this world zaken ve-save’a, 25;8, old and sated. Ramban thinks the fulfillment of all his heart’s desires produced his satisfied frame of ...

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Highlights of Ya’akov’s Final Charge to His Sons

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-Three, Part Two Back to Ya’akov and His Sons Both of the ideas we saw last time, the personal and national aspects of life, were on Ya’akov’s mind when he gathered his sons. He planned and was allowed to tell each son what would happen to him over time, the course of his overall ...

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Ya’akov’s Foiled Attempt to Reveal the Messianic Future

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-Two, Second Part Ya’akov’s Foiled Attempt to Reveal the Messianic Future This is the last sha’ar of R. Arama’s commentary on Bereshit. He tells us he plans to show there are actions where the bounds of the analytical do not apply, therefore invisible to Aristotle and his ilk, for they had no exposure to Torah. Linked to ...

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Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban to Lekh-Lekha: Getting to Know Avraham and Sarah

by R. Gidon Rothstein This week, Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban invites us to consider Avraham and Sarah, the first of the Patriarch/Matriarch couples to shape the Jewish People. Ma’aseh Avot Siman le-Banim Ramban took the idea the Avot and Imahot shaped the Jewish people more literally than we might realize. In 12;6, and elsewhere, he adopted the view of Tanhuma, ma’aseh avot siman le-banim; literally, ...

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Death Approaches for Ya’akov

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-Two, Second Part Death Approaches for Ya’akov Last time, we saw R. Arama urge readers/listeners to put the physical in proper perspective, spoke of the ways our intentions can shape/affect our physical lives. His recognition of the superiority of the immortal soul, and its impact on this-worldly life, brings him to traditions about ...

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Parshat Noah: Gd, People, and Special People Move the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein The selections of Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban I have highlighted in previous years grouped nicely into comments about Gd, people, and then about two special people, Noah and Avraham (often contrasted to each other, because each was the lone righteous person in his generation). The comments also focused mostly on the two major incidents of the parsha, the ...

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Body and Soul, Properly Ordered

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-Two, First Part Why Food Matters, and How It Leads Us Astray At the beginning of this, the penultimate sha’ar of Sefer Bereshit (I just like the word penultimate, use it whenever I have the chance to refer to the second to last of a group or list), R. Arama tells us he aims to consider why ...

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God, Nature, People, and Animals: The World of Parshat Bereshit

by R. Gidon Rothstein In this space, I’ve gone through the parashiyyot of the Torah a few times. Six years ago, after the passing of my dear friend Barukh Leib Ha-Kohen ben Mordekhai Yiddel, she-yihyeh, and Dobba Hayya, aleha ha-shalom, I took five comments of Rashi’s from each parsha, to see what interesting points they made. The next year, I made a similar effort for ...

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