Tag Archives: Ramban

Our National Nadir, the Spies

by R. Gidon Rothstein John F. Kennedy’s characterization of failure as a lonely orphan explains Ramban’s surprise at how Rashi ascribes to Moshe the idea of sending spies to Israel. Hashem says “shelach lecha anashim,” and Rashi picks up on the lecha, you, to say Hashem gave grudging acceptance. Which would seem to put Moshe in the wrong, since he tells ...

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Inclusiveness, Second Chances, Kindness, and Protection

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban’s comments to this week’s parsha allowed me to get back to my original plan, to find a range of comments from different parts of the portion, to see whether they coalesce around some central ideas. Here, it seems to me they did, around the idea of selection, choosing carefully what to include in various categories, and why. ...

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Population issues

by R. Gidon Rothstein Counting People or Coins In English, Bamidbar is known as Numbers, partially because it opens (and closes, in Parshat Pinchas) with enumerations of the Jewish people. The second and third verses of the book use several terms for counting the people, Ramban focuses on the root pkd, as in tifkedu otam, commonly and reasonably translated as “count them.” In Bereshit, the Torah uses ...

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How Good Nature Can Be

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Bechukkotai: How Good Nature Can Be The opening chapter of Bechukkotai has the first of the two tochachot, where Hashem lays out what will happen should the Jewish people violate the Torah fully enough to earn a dose of Hashem’s wrath. Before the warning, the Torah tells us all the good we can attract should we succeed at ...

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Creating Successful Atmospheres

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Behar: Creating Successful Atmospheres The comments of Ramban’s I choose to review do not always align neatly with a central theme, but for Behar I think they do. We’ll start with his view of shemittah, which puts us in touch with the metaphysically aware side of Ramban we’ve seen before. Seven Is Not Just Another Number The obligation to ...

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Distinctions We Found in Going Back to Off the Beaten Path

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Emor: Distinctions We Found in Going Back to Off the Beaten Path After a week in which I yielded to the temptation to discuss Ramban’s I’ve thought about often, let’s go back to picking them as randomly as possible. The Physical Follows the Spiritual 21;17 begins the discussion of mumin, physical differences that stop a kohen from offering ...

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The Nature of Sanctity

by R. Gidon Rothstein (Rabbi Rothstein will be co-chairing a Yom Iyun on the Teachings of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at Lincoln Square Synagogue, Sunday April 29, 9:30am-12:30pm. Keynote address by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. Speakers include Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein and Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein.) Ramban to Kedoshim: The Nature of Sanctity Ramban made famous the phrase “naval birshut ha-Torah, a person who ...

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Sexuality and the Land

by R. Gidon Rothstein (Rabbi Rothstein will be co-chairing a Yom Iyun on the Teachings of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at Lincoln Square Synagogue, Sunday April 29, 9:30am-12:30pm. Keynote address by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. Speakers include Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein and Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein.) Ramban to Acharei Mot: Sexuality and the Land For Acharei Mot and Kedoshim, I cannot offer my usual attempt to select ...

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Finding Purification

by R. Gidon Rothstein (Rabbi Rothstein will be co-chairing a Yom Iyun on the Teachings of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at Lincoln Square Synagogue, Sunday April 29, 9:30am-12:30pm. Keynote address by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. Speakers include Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein and Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein.) An Obligation to Purify The parsha opens by saying that on the day that an afflicted metzora ...

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Prescriptions for How to React

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Recovery From Childbirth Parshat Tazria opens up with rules for a woman who has given birth; two of Ramban’s explanations of those rules challenge us as to whether we would agree with his perspective. Vayikra 12;4 speaks of two stages of a woman’s return to ordinary life, in terms of ritual purity and impurity. She is, first, a niddah for ...

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