Ramban Devarim

The Questions Rashi and Ramban Taught Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Eruvin 13b tells us a bat kol, a Heavenly Voice, told us how to rule between the houses of Shammai and Hillel. The bat kol said elu va-elu divrei Elokim chayyim, these and these are the words of the living Gd, והלכה כדברי בית הלל, but normative practice follows Beit Hillel. Although there has been some debate about whether a Heavenly Voice can establish ...

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Ramban’s Great Chain of Shaping the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein A Non-Apology I have been taking samples of Ramban’s comments on the parsha since the end of Pesach 5777 (2017; I took two weeks for each parsha of Devarim). At the end of each book of the Torah, I’ve paused to share the ideas of themes which popped up repeatedly. As I reviewed those five summary essays to see what flowed ...

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Ramban’s Choices in Introducing His Torah Commentary

by R. Gidon Rothstein Today, it might seem obvious that if a person feels s/he has what to say on the Torah, that person can or even should publish a commentary. Ramban introduces his commentary from the opposite perspective, apologizing for his temerity, since he feels there’s a gap between his knowledge and wisdom and the lofty secrets found in ...

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Mixing the Metaphysical with the Physical

by R. Gidon Rothstein Mixing the Metaphysical with the Physical: Towards an Accurate Summary of Ramban’s Views in Devarim We have been studying Ramban on the book of Devarim since just after Pesach, two columns on each parsha. Going forward, I hope to start with Bereshit (so that next Monday, Gd willing, we’ll study some pieces of Ramban’s Introduction to the Torah, and for theMonday of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, ...

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Yosef, Gad, and Moshe

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to VeZot HaBerachah, Week Two: Yosef, Gad, and Moshe The Gd of the Bush While blessing the tribe of Yosef (at the end of the berachah, he mentions both Ephraim and Menasheh), Moshe Rabbenu refers to retzon Shocheni seneh, the favor (or goodwill) of the One Who dwells in the bush. To explain why Moshe would choose to refer ...

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Blessings From and To Whom

by R. Gidon Rothstein From a Man of Gd The first verse of the parsha gives Ramban much to discuss, and I’m not going to resist the urge to engage with it at length. דברים פרק לג:(א) וְזֹ֣את הַבְּרָכָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בֵּרַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לִפְנֵ֖י מוֹתֽוֹ: Devarim 33;1: This is the blessing Moshe, the man of Gd, blessed the Children of Israel ...

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How Hard It Can Be To Get Back to Basics

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Abomination of Worshipping Powers Other Than Hashem דברים פרק לב:טז יַקְנִאֻ֖הוּ בְּזָרִ֑ים בְּתוֹעֵבֹ֖ת יַכְעִיסֻֽהוּ: Devarim 32;16: They incite His jealousy with strangers, anger Him with abominations. Rashi, based on Sifrei, took “abominations” to refer to homosexual relations and to witchcraft, both of which the Torah calls to’evah, abomination. Ramban disagrees, because he sees this entire ...

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Building Blocks of Perfection, Straight and Alone

by R. Gidon Rothstein Unchanging Perfection Ha’azinu starts—and is mostly taken up with—a song that Moshe Rabbenu was told to teach the Jewish people, as a lasting witness of right and wrong ways to act. An early verse refers to דברים פרק לב:ד הַצּוּר֙ תָּמִ֣ים פָּעֳל֔וֹ כִּ֥י כָל־דְּרָכָ֖יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט Devarim 32;4: The Rock, all his works are perfect, for all his ways ...

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Transitions in Small Bites

by R. Gidon Rothstein Partial Return, Partial Punishment Only a Sith thinks in absolutes, the movies tell us, and Ramban points to two verses in this parsha that remind us that Hashem is no Sith. דברים פרק לא:יז וְחָרָ֣ה אַפִּ֣י ב֣וֹ בַיּוֹם־הַ֠הוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּ֞ים וְהִסְתַּרְתִּ֨י פָנַ֤י מֵהֶם֙ וְהָיָ֣ה לֶֽאֱכֹ֔ל וּמְצָאֻ֛הוּ רָע֥וֹת רַבּ֖וֹת וְצָר֑וֹת וְאָמַר֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא הֲלֹ֗א עַ֣ל כִּֽי־אֵ֤ין אֱלֹהַי֙ בְּקִרְבִּ֔י מְצָא֖וּנִי הָרָע֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה: (יח) ...

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Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave

by R. Gidon Rothstein Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave the Scene Unable, Unwilling, or Not Allowed Moshe Rabbenu introduces the Jewish people to the fact that this is the end of his life with the words, דברים פרק לא:ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם בֶּן־מֵאָה֩ וְעֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ הַיּ֔וֹם לֹא־אוּכַ֥ל ע֖וֹד לָצֵ֣את וְלָב֑וֹא Devarim 31;2: He said to them, “I am ...

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