Akedat Yitzchak

Final Thoughts on Akeydat Yitzhak to Bereshit

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Akeydat Yitzhak to Bereshit I Found For a long time, I find my way to ideas by taking a corpus of text, review it step by step, then stand back to see what recurred enough to seem important. It was how I drew the distinction central to my Phd thesis—I started our study of Akeydat Yitzhak with a reference to my ...

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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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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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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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Every Part of the Engine Counts

by R. Gidon Rothstein A lifetime ago, in novel coronavirus terms, we were studying the rich Biblical commentary of R. Yitzhak Arama, Akeydat Yitzhak. The last entry was posted on March 10, and then the world changed, as we entered the et Tzarah whose parameters we have not yet fully learned to navigate, whose rules we have not yet accepted the necessity of following, from ...

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The Jewish People as the Engine of the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-One Bringing Ya’akov to Egypt R. Arama starts the sha’ar with Midrash Shokher Tov’s quote of R. Yehuda, Ya’akov should have been brought down to Egypt in chains (for unclarified reasons), the incident with Yosef was a sort of favor by Hashem, a way to get him there more gently [the Midrash bothers ...

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A Good Defense of Binyamin Restores a Family

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty, Part Two As always for R. Arama, after making the broad points about the righteous always feeling like immigrants in the world, as we saw last time, he turns to the parasha. Yosef Sets Up and Frames the Interaction Yosef was the one doling out grain to those who came to Egypt ...

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The Righteous Feel Like Immigrants

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty The Misdirection of Excessive Comfort The speaker in Tehillim 119; 19 says he is a ger, a stranger, in the Land, and then begs Hashem not to hide His mitzvot from him. R. Arama explains we generally share secrets and what we care about with those we see as equals. The Psalmist ...

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Yosef, Dreams, and Parshat Miketz

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Twenty-Nine, Second Part Getting Back to Yosef Yosef’s different interpretation of the butler and baker’s similar dreams shows R. Arama what we saw him say last time, Yosef focused on more than the content of the dream, took account of what he knew of the two men, their position with the king, what ...

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