Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban to VaYishlah: The Jewish People, the World, and Angels

by R. Gidon Rothstein A Future of Tense Relations with Non-Jews Comments of Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban I looked at in my previous samplings picked up on ways VaYishlah tells us of the expected struggle of the Jewish people to make their way among other nations. Ramban, 32;4, saw much historical foreshadowing in the parsha. Ya’akov’s preparations for his meeting with Esav tell ...

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Parshat Va-Yetzei: Carving Out a Life, In Gd’s Closer or Farther Presence

by R. Gidon Rothstein What Makes Life Worth Living Three times in Va-Yetzei, Rashi refers to a baraita from Nedarim 64b about four people whose are as if they were dead. Gd goes against the general prohibition on linking the divine to a living person in 28;13, identifying Himself, as it were, as the Gd of Yitzhak. Rashi explains Yitzhak’s blindness restricted him to his house, ...

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Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban to Toledot: Evil and Good We Do and Do Not Recognize

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Toledot opens with Yitzhak’s prayer on behalf of Rivkah, Rivkah’s difficult pregnancy, and then the challenges of having two sons take contrasting paths one good and one not. Comments of Onkelos, Rashi, and Ramban draw our attention to the delicate choices to be made in building lives, and how those choices determine whom we become. Rivkah’s ...

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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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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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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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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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