Tag Archives: Ramban

Stepping Right, Stepping Wrong

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Vayishlach: Stepping Right, Stepping Wrong Ramban opens his commentary on Vayishlach (32;4) by telling us it’s meant to inform us that Hashem saved his servant from a stronger foe (Esav), and to teach us that Ya’akov did not rely on his righteousness, but made all the attempts he could to save himself. His specific strategies are ...

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When the Story Isn’t Fully Told

by R. Gidon Rothstein How Hashem Runs the World There are themes to Ramban, ideas that crop up repeatedly. I try to keep my interests and preferences out of these selections, so that I not fit Ramban into the Procrustean sarcophagus (as R. Lichtenstein zt”l used to say) of my own worldview. But Ramban does apply his themes in unexpected places, and ...

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Finding Our Way to Hashem, Or Not

by R. Gidon Rothstein Seeking Hashem’s Truth In the beginning of the parsha, Yitzchak and Rivkah struggle with infertility. When she finally becomes pregnant, the fetuses move around inside her, causing her enough trouble that in 25;22, va-telech lidrosh et Hashem, she went to inquire of Hashem. Rashi thought she went to the Beit Midrash of Shem [for Rashi, the place to ...

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The Blessings of a Good Life

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last week, I broke one of my rules for these posts, by focusing on only one part of the parsha. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been favoring early parts of the parsha (for the same reason I ended up writing a PhD dissertation on fifteenth century texts—I meant to get to the nineteenth, but found too much good material ...

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The Incident at Sodom and Immigration Policy

by R. Gidon Rothstein When I spent a year reviewing five comments of Rashi’s on each parsha, I strove to spread the selected comments from throughout the parsha. That’s my overall intent in studying Ramban as well, except that he often has lengthy comments so rich that they take up all our space. This week, for example, comments of his on what ...

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What We Do and Don’t Tell

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Missing Background of Avraham’s Life Parshat Lech Lecha opens with Hashem promising Avram all sorts of bounty (including vehyeh berachah, and be a blessing, the words that open the comment I am summarizing here). Ramban wonders what happened before this conversation—why did Hashem want Avram to leave where he was, why would his obedience merit these great ...

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A Tzaddik and the Miracles That Happened to Him

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Noach: A Tzaddik and the Miracles That Happened to Him The first verse of this parsha describes Noach as ish tzaddik tamim, tzaddik hayah be-dorotav, that he was a whole or pure man, righteous in his generation. Rashi records a Rabbinic debate about just how good he was, based especially on how one reads the word for “in his generation.” In ...

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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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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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