Questioning faith in the parsha
Each Shabbat, we learn from the sages of the centuries, reclaiming our connection with our heritage and history through their thoughts and words.
The commentators you will come across each week are:
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Rambam, was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba, Spain on Passover Eve, 1135, and died in Egypt on 20th Tevet, December 12, 1204.He was as a rabbi, physician and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt. Although his writings on Jewish law and ethics met with respectful opposition during his life, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history, his copious work a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.
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Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman (Nahmanides, Ramban) was born in Gerona, Catalonia, in the kingdom of Aragon in northern Spain in 1194 CE. One of the giants of medieval Jewish leadership and creativity—a polymath whose expertise included law, medicine, and mysticism—Ramban is best known for his monumental Commentary on the Torah. Nahmanides came into maturity in the period immediately following another great Torah scholar, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides, Rambam). When the latter died, the former was nine years old—and clearly, Ramban was deeply influenced by the writings and teachings of his predecessor. And yet, despite this philosophical influence, Ramban was first and foremost a kabbalist—he believed that the deepest truths of the Torah are allusions to the inner mysteries of God. His Commentary is filled with references to “the way of truth” (derekh ha-emet)—a path of spiritual interpretation that is open to those who have learned to recognize the symbols and signs encoded in the sacred text.
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