Akedat Yitzchak

Dreams Lack Clarity

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ya’akov’s Ladder Dream R. Arama thinks the famous ladder of Ya’akov’s dream symbolizes reality, the link between the physical and the heavenly, the vehicle of Hashem’s influence descending to Earth’s inhabitants. For him, the angels in the dream were great people, whose thoughts and musings have them reach upwards, step by step, to where Hashem resides.  ...

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Prophecy Teaches Us What We Would Have Adamantly Denied

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar 25 Writing these summaries takes a lot of work—R. Arama writes at great length, with many digressions. I read slowly, I think, and end up excising more than I include, after which I have to do my best to make his ideas intelligible, after robbing them of more than half their context. It’s ...

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Yitzhak and Rivka Struggle Over Esav

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzchak, Sha’ar Twenty-Four,Third Part Last time, R. Arama took Yitzhak’s blindness as affecting more than his physical sight; he thought the verse meant the Patriarch also became less insightful than he had been. Helping Esav Along Less does not mean not at all, and Yitzhak saw Esav well enough to know his son would need ...

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R. Yitzhak Arama and Money

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzkak, Sha’ar Twenty-Four, Part Two All the negative comments about money we saw last time set up R. Arama’s trouble with the blessing Yitzhak gives Ya’akov, let  (or may) Hashem give you the dew of the heaven and the richness of the earth, an abundance of grain and wine, let other nations serve you, etc., ...

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Putting the World Aright

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last time, we closed with R. Arama’s telling us we should love and want good outcomes, oppose and object to bad outcomes and those who would bring them. In his view, Ya’akov and Rahel acted to support what needed to happen, and therefore acted appropriately. A Restored Meritocracy R. Arama reads the idea into Tehillim 24 ...

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Taking What Needs to Be Taken

by R. Gidon Rothstein ‘Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Twenty-Three,Second Part (Parshat Toledot) Last time, R. Arama offered an allegory to explain the world was created without any intent for one people to be elevated over any other. Then Avraham outstripped all who had gone before him and all of his generation in the work of establishing and sanctifying Hashem’s Name in ...

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Betraying a Brother Can Never Be Casual

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar 23 (Parshat Toledot) Stealing the Birthright Parshat Toledot begins with an incident putting Ya’akov in a seemingly bad light, where he takes advantage of Esav’s exhaustion to extract the rights of the first-born. R. Arama tells us he will discuss the norms of brotherhood, the problems with deceit and trickery, to then show how ...

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How Eliezer Found Yitzchak the Right Wife

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzchak, Sha’ar 22, Third Part We’ve come to the section of the sha’ar where R. Arama asks questions about the parsha and answers them. He opens with Bereshit Rabbah 58, where R. Kahana wonders at Kohelet’s feeling the need to point out the obvious truth the sun rises and sets. Flow of the World, Flow ...

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The Value of Good Wives and the Nature of Good Death

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzchak, Sha’ar 22, Part two Innate Goodness and Careful Wife Selection Avraham referred to the advantages he had from birth when he spoke of (24;7 in Hayye Sarah) “Hashem who took me from my father’s house, and my place of birth.” Instead of the simplest reading, R. Arama says Avraham meant Hashem had implanted in ...

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