Tag Archives: Ramban

Let’s Talk a Bit About Hashem

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Yitro records the events of Matan Torah, the Giving of the Torah, including the Aseret HaDibberot (which should properly be known as the Ten Sayings, Pronouncements, Utterances or some such, since dibberot does not mean commandments). For all that I usually try to spread my choice of comments throughout the parsha, I got caught up in the first few Dibberot, since they expand our ...

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Meeting the Supernatural in Different Contexts

by R. Gidon Rothstein A Future Full of Compassion The Jewish people left Egypt visibly accompanied by Hashem, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. When 13;21 describes that, it says “and Hashem (the Hebrew adds a vav on to the four-letter Name of Hashem).” Bereshit Rabbah 51;2 says that a vav added to the Name indicates the Heavenly Court. To Ramban, that ...

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Changing History, By Redemption and By Sin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Nisan as the First Month The first mitzvah commanded to the Jewish people as a nation was to make the month in which we left Egypt the first month of our year. Ramban to 12;2 says that it’s supposed to be similar to Shabbat, in that we are always counting to that day—what we call Sunday ...

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Complications of Seeing Hashem’s Hand

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last time, I pointed out that many of Ramban’s comments early in the book of Shemot challenge us to think about the Exodus from Egypt differently than until now. I reviewed some of those in my book As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience; here, I’ll pick a few to highlight, to remind us that ...

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Let’s Rethink the Exodus

by R. Gidon Rothstein Almost two years ago, I published As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience. An element of that book (but not the whole, by far, so you can still feel comfortable securing a copy to read; if you enjoy these columns, it would be a great chizzuk to me to know that people also purchase my writings when ...

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Underacknowledged Ways to Shape the Future

by R. Gidon Rothstein Since this is the last parsha in Bereshit, it seems fitting that Ramban takes one more opportunity to say that what happens to our forefathers prefigures our national history. On 47;28, he relates Ya’akov’s actions in going down to Egypt to the exile we currently endure (and which in turn had been set in motion by Avraham’s going down ...

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What We Tell and What We Don’t

by R. Gidon Rothstein Stories We Tell Parshat Vayigash opens with Yehudah arguing with/begging Yosef to let Binyamin return to Ya’akov. He doesn’t simply make that request, he retells the history of the current encounter with Yosef, a narrative Ramban considers superfluous, since Yosef had lived it as well. Bereshit Rabbah 93;6 said this was Yehudah’s way of rebuking Yosef for threatening ...

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From Par’oh’s Dream to Making Yosef’s Come True

by R. Gidon Rothstein Pharaoh’s Dream For all the detail in Yosef’s interpretation of Par’oh’s dream, Ramban lays out correspondences between the dream and the meaning that are not made explicit in the Torah. On 41;2, Par’oh sees the fat cows coming out of the Nile, which Ramban says was because that was the source of Egypt’s water and plenty. ...

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Some of the Complications of Family

by R. Gidon Rothstein Full Sons, Full Wives? Early on in Vayeshev, 37;2, the verse describes Yosef as a na’ar, a boy, with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. Ramban says Ya’akov tasked these sons with watching the younger Yosef, who repaid the favor by talebearing on them (Rashi had said he told on the sons of Leah, but Ramban thinks that would ...

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