Akedat Yitzchak

The World Into Which We Are Born

by R. Gidon Rothstein The World Into Which We Are Born and the Freewill We Have I recently realized I have not been directly noting the parsha on which R. Arama is commenting in these she’arim, a disservice to him, who was assiduous about tying his philosophical/ hashkafic comments to the series of events in the parsha. I’ll try to ...

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The ‘Akeydah

by R. Gidon Rothstein R. Yitzchak Arama’s View of the ‘Akeydah Itself Last time, R. Arama set up the ‘Akeydah as an opportunity for Avraham to show his readiness to listen to Hashem on a most difficult task. Now, he fleshes out some of the challenges Avraham faced in building his way to proving his readiness. Questions About the ‘Akeydah Like his contemporary, Abarbanel, R. Arama ...

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Testing Humans and the ‘Akeydah, the Binding of Isaac

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Human Value of Tests, and the ‘Akeydah Tests come in three varieties, says R. Arama. Sometimes, the one administering the test seeks knowledge, such as whether a particular plant cures disease (he quotes I Shmuel 17;39, where David cannot walk in Shaul’s armor, for his lack of experience; R. Arama is reading it to mean ...

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The Sins We Condone, The Sins to Which We Turn a Blind Eye

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last time, R. Arama wondered why Sodom was punished harshly and quickly, when the Jews in general, and the people of Giv’a particularly, were treated more gently. In this week of comfort from our recently relived destruction, I hope his answers show us ways to put our communities on more solid footing. Sodom’s Path From Temptation ...

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The Sin of Sodom

by R. Gidon Rothstein I did not choose to time pieces of our study of ‘Akeydat Yitzchak to the Three Weeks, making it purely good fortune we are up to R. Arama’s views of Sodom during shavu’a she-chal bo, the week in which Tish’a B’Av occurs. Our View of Property He starts with Avot 5; 10’s portrayal of the people ...

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Avraham Greets Angels In a Vision

Last time, we saw R. Arama lay out a view of prophecy, at the end of which he objected to how often Rambam claimed incidents in Tanach were actually visions. Surprisingly, he then agrees with Rambam about Avraham’s welcoming the three men/angels at the beginning of Parshat Vayera, although not for the reasons Rambam gave. In his view, the verses ...

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Prophecy, the Jewish Way

by R. Gidon Rothstein R. Arama tips his hand at the beginning of the nineteenth sha’ar, telling us he intends to contrast the Torah’s version of prophecy to the one advanced by philosophers, among whom he includes several traditional thinkers (he singles out Ralbag, as we will see). He is invested in the topic, in other words, because a common ...

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Why People Circumcise Themselves, and the Benefits They Gain

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzchak, Eighteenth Sha’ar, Second Part Humans Should Take the World to Its Next Level Tanchuma Tazria records a conversation between Turnus Rufus (a Roman officer) and R. Akiva. However they get there, R. Akiva ends up telling Turnus Rufus the foreskin cut off during circumcision is excess (R. Arama compared it to hair or fingernails, body ...

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People as the Purpose of Creation

by R. Gidon Rothstein ‘Akedat Yitzchak , Eighteenth Sha’ar People as the Purpose of Creation R. Arama says this sha’ar will explain the purpose of creation, then adds asher navochu bo rabim, which has confused many. He will also explain how milah, circumcision, completes man’s perfection. In support of the point, he opens with Nedarim 31b-32a, where a string oftannaim speak of the greatness of circumcision. ...

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