20 10, 2020

Abraham ibn Ezra’s explanations of the Biblical Laws

By |2020-10-20T04:00:08-07:00October 20th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  In Abraham ibn Ezra’s masterpiece, the twelve chapters of “Sefer Yesod Mora Ve-Sod Ha-Torah,” Treatise on the Foundation of Awe and The Secret of the Torah, ibn Ezra gave some of his explanations of the biblical commandments. He felt that each command, without exception was rational. The following are some of his other ideas. [...]

14 10, 2020

The Brilliant Ideas of Abraham ibn Ezra

By |2020-10-14T04:59:38-07:00October 14th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

One of the most brilliant ancient Jewish thinkers was Abraham ibn Ezra (1089 or 1092-1164). Being human, he, like all other people including the best of humans, without exception, made mistakes in his thinking, such as his belief that astrology is a true science. But overall. He ranks among the foremost thinkers of Judaism. His [...]

17 02, 2020

“Moses did not write the entire Torah.”

By |2020-02-17T09:53:51-07:00February 17th, 2020|Thoughts|

 The rational Spanish sage Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1164), whose views are included in most rabbinical Bibles with commentaries, stated that Moses did not write the entire Torah. Realizing that Moses was on top of the mountain alone where he died and did not descend to report what happened there even before he died, Abraham ibn [...]

4 02, 2020

Why are there two versions of the Ten Commandments?

By |2020-02-04T08:11:02-07:00February 4th, 2020|Thoughts|

There are two accounts of the Ten Commandments. One is in Exodus 20 and the second in Deuteronomy 5. The two differ in more than a dozen instances in the spelling of some terms, added and changed expressions, word order changes, and the insertion of explanations in the Deuteronomic edition. An example of a modification [...]

14 08, 2018

The solution is simple

By |2018-08-14T04:17:33-07:00August 14th, 2018|Thoughts|

                                                  In an exccelent and informative article, Professor Marty Lockshin of York University, a rabbi, examined the difficulty raised by Deuteronomy 13:2-4 and tells the solutions offered in a Midrash and by several medieval Jewish commentators.[1] I will add another solution. Deuteronomy states: “If there appears among you a prophet or a dream-diviner – [...]

24 06, 2018

Are Divine Commands Rational?

By |2018-06-24T04:28:56-07:00June 24th, 2018|Thoughts|

  While there are Jews who are convinced that certain biblical commands are inscrutable and that even though we do not understand them, we must obey them, others like Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra were convinced that all the divine commands are rational and people can and indeed should understand them.[1] In his commentary to [...]

22 10, 2017

Did Moses write the entire Torah?

By |2017-10-22T06:27:40-07:00October 22nd, 2017|Thoughts|

 Ibn Ezra’s “Secret of the Twelve”   Did Moses write the entire Torah? Do traditional Jewish commentators differ on the subject?   Who wrote the story of the death of Moses? The twelve verses of Deuteronomy chapter 34 tell the story of the death of Moses. The introductory four verses narrate how God told Moses [...]

25 05, 2016

Baruch Spinoza Borrowed His Basic Philosophy from ibn Ezra and Maimonides

By |2016-05-25T11:28:16-07:00May 25th, 2016|Thoughts|

                  Baruch Spinoza Borrowed His Basic Philosophy from ibn Ezra and Maimonides   Non-Jews consider Baruch (or Benedict) de Spinoza an esteemed philosopher. Many feel that he breathed fresh air into philosophy and helped launch the open-minded enlightenment in the seventeenth century. Rebecca Goldstein, in her 2006 [...]

25 01, 2015

The unorthodox secrets of ibn Ezra

By |2015-01-25T09:10:51-07:00January 25th, 2015|Thoughts|

                                                  The unorthodox secrets of ibn Ezra[1]   Anyone who wants to understand the rational philosophy of Abraham ibn Ezra and his method of interpreting scripture needs to read this Hebrew book because Bonfils reveals the ibn Ezra ideas that he hinted at in his commentary but did not reveal explicitly. For example, he [...]

21 11, 2014

A very strange assessment of the Torah

By |2014-11-21T09:09:09-07:00November 21st, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                            A very strange assessment of the Torah   When Mordecai told Ether that Haman planned to murder all Judeans, Esther requested that Mordecai arrange that all Judeans fast for three days. The book of Esther does not reveal when the fast began. However there is an opinion in the Babylonian Talmud[1] that the [...]

17 03, 2014

Ibn Ezra on Esther – Part 1

By |2014-03-24T06:56:36-07:00March 17th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                             Ibn Ezra on Esther - Part 1   Ibn Ezra wrote two commentaries on the biblical book Esther. The first published was a short version. His long version was not printed until about 150 years ago.[1] Both contain clever interpretations of the Esther drama. However, he also included some legendary material to add spice [...]

16 01, 2014

Rational and non-rational in ibn Ezra – Deuteronomy

By |2014-01-16T12:33:35-07:00January 16th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                              Ibn Ezra in Deuteronomy   I mentioned in my prior essays on the famed thinker Abraham ibn Ezra’s Bible commentaries that although he was generally a brilliant rational thinking, he wasn’t always so, and some of his ideas are not rational. The same phenomenon occurs in his views on Deuteronomy, as seen in [...]

13 01, 2014

Rational and non-rational in ibn Ezra – Numbers

By |2014-01-13T06:00:03-07:00January 13th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                                                  Abraham Ibn Ezra in Numbers   As I wrote in prior essays that focused on the brilliant thinker Abraham ibn Ezra’s biblical commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, there are ibn Ezra views that people will like and others they will not like, and may even feel are irrational. The following are examples from [...]

8 01, 2014

Rational and non-rational in ibn Ezra, Leviticus

By |2014-01-08T07:47:35-07:00January 8th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                     Ibn Ezra in Leviticus   I described some rational and irrational views of the brilliant sage Abraham ibn Ezra (born 1089 or 1092 and died at age 75) in my brief essay on his views in the biblical books Genesis and Exodus. We see the same phenomenon of seemingly contradictory views of [...]

5 01, 2014

Rational and non-rational in ibn Ezra – Exodus

By |2014-01-05T06:09:02-07:00January 5th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                         Ibn Ezra: Strange Interpretations                                                            Exodus     Abraham ibn Ezra (1089-1164) was a brilliant thinker and had views about the Bible that are quite different than most people have today; some ideas were rational, others, as I will show, were not. The following are some of his understandings of the [...]

29 12, 2013

Rational and non-rational in ibn Ezra: Genesis

By |2013-12-29T04:41:49-07:00December 29th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                    Ibn Ezra in Genesis   Clerics give sermons and extol certain biblical commentators giving their congregants the impression that whatever the person said was correct even though the commentator, like all of us, also made remarks that were not acceptable. Abraham ibn Ezra (1089-1164) is an example. Some of his interpretations are rational, others [...]

22 12, 2013

Who was Abraham ibn Ezra?

By |2013-12-22T05:09:45-07:00December 22nd, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                     By Israel Drazin   It is well-worth spending time reading the brilliant Bible commentary of Abraham ibn Ezra even though he frequently wrote his comments in a very brief manner, a manner that some people will find difficult to understand. He was a Bible commentator, philosopher, physician, and scientist, who was born in [...]

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