• Abravanel’s World of Torah

    Abravanel’s World of Torah

    is an enticingly innovative yet thoroughly loyal rendition of a major fifteenth-century Hebrew classic.
    For the first time, Don Yitzchak Abravanel’s Bible commentary has become accessible IN ENGLISH.


  • Abarbanel asks: Parashat Ki Tisa

    “And God spoke to Moshe saying. When you take the sum of the
    Children of Israel, according to their number, then shall they give every
    man a ransom for his soul unto God, when you number them, that there
    be no plague among them, when you number them.”

    Our section speaks about a census for soldiers. The count is associated with a “ransom”, in efforts to
    ward off pestilence. The means to tally the warriors features a silver coin collection, called machtzit
    ha’shekel. After all the coins were counted, then the men’s number was duly ascertained.

    Abarbanel asks: Why does the Torah demand this roundabout method? A more straightforward way would have been to simply count heads and thereby short circuit the coin count.

    Answering that question, actually, pits Abarbanel against all other classic Bible commentators, including
    Rashi and the Ramban. According to the commentators, head counts are prohibited by the Torah, as the
    act invites the wrath of the evil eye. They are incorrect. While the Bible does record the disastrous
    effects of the evil eye in King David’s time, that discussion is for a different time.

    Was the machtzit ha’shekel brought here as subterfuge, a tricky way to forestall pestilence? Hardly. Here
    is why.

    One has to do with God’s command at present. He did not call for a census by coin collection, or for that
    matter, by any other object. When God finds something desirable – He lets people know by issuing a
    command. The Maker does not mince His words.

    Two, if counting by object represents the preferred methodology for successive times and generations
    and if it is considered a positive commandment, incumbent upon the Jews (to use coins or other means),
    as well as a negative precept (not to perform headcounts), we need to answer why the sages who list
    the Torah’s six hundred thirteen mitzvot do not include them in their count?

    Three, how can anyone assert that the Jews were not counted, when the Torah writes explicitly: “This
    they shall give, every one who passes among them are numbered.”
    The words speak for themselves –
    this is the Biblical way to describe body counting.

    More reasons could be supplied, but these suffice. Let us share Abarbanel’s interpretation, in shorthand,
    of our section’s lead verses to count Hebrews.

    In the Torah, context matters. Six successive paragraphs pertain to the building and funding of the
    Tabernacle. Apropos, the Creator foresaw that the Jews would donate small quantities of silver to the
    holy enterprise. For a simple reason. International currency during those years centered on silver, the
    machtzit ha’shekel being the common currency.

    We add some backstory to the forty-year desert march. The encampment regularly enjoyed visits from
    traveling Gentile merchants hawking, well, just about everything. When it came to funding the
    Tabernacle, Jews were quite generous. Generous with their gold. Generous with their copper. Generous
    with their valuables. Nearly all their valuables.

    Silver proved the exception. Jews did not part with silver, because it enabled them to buy things from
    traveling salesmen. Those merchants only accepted silver as payment for goods. Now we can better
    understand our section.

    After the Torah dedicated paragraph after paragraph to the building and funding of the Tabernacle, it
    segued into our section, beginning with taking a census of the men. “When you take the sum of the
    Children of Israel…”
    The Tabernacle included many silver vessels, but silver donations were scant, for the
    reason stated above.

    God came with a fix. He had Moshe take a census whereby each counted man would donate a machtzit
    . This would provide the Hebrew leader with vital information about his available fighting
    forces, a requirement every military leader finds indispensable. After all, Moshe believed the Jewish
    incursion into Canaan was imminent. Knowing his troops numbers made perfect sense, something every
    general ascertains prior to war.

    In closing, let us demonstrate how God aligned disparate goals. “And God spoke to Moshe saying. When
    you take the sum of the Children of Israel”,
    in the main, had little to do with warding off the evil eye.
    Mustering up troops is fully justified, as suggested. God observed that the Mishkan was in sore need of
    silver, to manufacture certain, sacred vessels. Alignment occurred when the Creator offered sound
    counsel to Moshe, bidding him to collect much silver.

    Separately, Moshe sought to count the troops as a means of preparing an offensive to take Canaan.
    Headcounts court danger, in the form of the evil eye (Read: a count or sum reaches large proportions).
    The Maker provided an antidote. He directed Moshe to order the fighting corps to bring “a ransom for
    his soul unto God.”

    Abarbanel proposes that the silver was tzedakah (charity). He further holds that a direct headcount took place. As
    for the threat posed by a direct tally, charity served as a life preserver. Each man safeguarded his life
    from the evil eye on the merit of the machtzit ha’shekel he donated to the Mishkan.


  • Abarbanel asks: Parashat Terumah

    “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

    Don Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508) asks on this Torah section of Terumah: Why did God command the
    Hebrews to build a sanctuary? As it says: “That I may dwell among them?” One might deduce that the
    Maker has physical properties and that a sanctuary can fully contain Him.

    Preposterous. Hashem is non-corporeal. Thus, no chamber – no matter how high and spacious – can
    accommodate Him. Yeshayahu pegged it: “The heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
    Where is the house that you may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting place?”

    Wise Shlomoh, the builder of the First Jewish Temple, props the prophet’s proclamation: “Behold,
    heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this house that I have built!”

    Does our verse in the first aliyah of Parashat Terumuah challenge the words of the prophet and wise

    It should be plain. The Almighty’s command to build the Tabernacle or Mishkan and its vessels had to do
    with His desire to tightly interweave His holiness and holy presence or Shechinah with the Chosen
    People. Of no consequence was the fact that this intimate relationship commenced between man and
    God in a desert wasteland (and not lusher or more picturesque environs).

    What mattered most was the goal it accomplished. Providence coddled God’s nation, in exchange of
    their keeping the divine Torah. A marriage made in heaven. Never would His people contemplate the
    fundamentally false, but near-ubiquitous, premise that the Creator abandoned earth. Nor would they
    adopt the attitudes of the Gentiles, one based on the assumption that God retired to the heavens
    above, remote from man. Moreover, the Jews would repel heresy built upon a denial of divine
    providence interfacing with man. Such skewed philosophy leads to bitter consequences, namely, a
    mindset that precludes the Maker from paying man back according to his evil deeds and ways.

    On this topic of erroneous, theological assumptions, let us elaborate. Gentile thinkers posit that it is not
    possible to attain in-depth understanding of the world, other than by sense perception or other physical
    stimuli. Since God is non-corporeal, these theologians surmise, He does not tune into man’s daily doings.
    Nor does He apply providence to people. Incorrectly, they believe that the Creator sits upon high, aloof
    from man.

    The Maker does not abide such false teachings. For a moment. In efforts to redress such misinformation
    from among the Jewish ranks, God commands: “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell
    among them.”
    The verse conveys that the Almighty Himself takes up residence amongst the Jews. This is
    a religious tenet and imperative. The Creator resides in their midst. Divine providence is the vehicle or
    manifestation of faith.

    We return to an earlier reference to a verse in Yeshayahu, making better sense of it: “The heaven is My
    throne and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you may build unto Me? And where is the
    place that may be My resting place?”

    Unequivocally, the Creator has zero need for a Temple or Tabernacle. In the very next verse in
    Yeshayahu, we read: “For all these things has My hand made.” Why, then, did God command the Jews
    to build the Mishkan? The answer resounds unmistakably: to etch within the Jews’ psyche the principle
    of divine providence, as per Yeshayahu: “But on this man will I look, even on him that is poor and of a
    contrite spirit, and trembles at My word.”
    This is precisely what wise Shlomoh meant in his prayer, on
    the solemn occasion at the dedication of the Holy Temple.

  • Abarbanel asks: Parashat Vayakhel,

    “And Moshe assembled all the congregation of the Children of Israel and he said to them: These are
    the words that God has commanded to do them.”

    Abarbanel asks : When did Moshe make the appeal to fund the Tabernacle?

    ‘After Moshe descended the mountain, he addressed the entire nation. His call, naturally, reached out
    to men and women. A gathering took place in the prophet’s personal Tent of Meeting, located beyond
    the Hebrews’ encampment. It was crucial to assemble everyone so that they could all hear God’s
    words spoken via Moshe.

    In essence, the gathering was a rally for people to generously come forward and shoulder the financial
    costs of building the Mishkan. According to the Ramban, this appeal, for lack of a better word, took
    place the day after Moshe had come down from Sinai….

    Page 320 Shemot vol. II: Assembled at Sinai

  • Bible Studies Commentary : Jacob and Joseph

    For Yaakov (Jacob), a bitter famine coupled with his sons’ insistence comprised formidable tailwinds propelling him to Egypt. Still, he might have braved hunger and stayed put in beloved Canaan. Perhaps he could have resisted their incessant appeals had it not been for one irresistible magnet. Its force tugged and jerked mercilessly. Uppermost in the mind and heart of the aged patriarch was an image that he hadn’t been able to shake for two decades: Yosef’s (Joseph's) face.

    Abravanel’s World of Torah Shemot Vol 1 pages 13-14


  • Bible Studies: Enoch’s inner struggle

    “Enoch lived 65 years, and he had a son Methuselah. Enoch walked
    with God for 300 years after he had Methuselah, and he had sons and
    daughters. All of Enoch’s years were 365 years. Enoch walked with God,
    and he was no more because God had taken him.”

    Bible studies with Don Isaac Abravanel’s commentary (also spelled Abarbanel) has withstood the test of
    time. For over five centuries, Abravanel has delighted – and enlightened – clergy and layman alike,
    offering enduring interpretations of the Bible.

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. In Genesis chapter 5, the Bible provides a sketch of Enoch, albeit an enigmatic one.
    Abravanel’s portrayal of Enoch adds much to our understanding of Enoch’s conflicted soul, as we shall
    now see.

    Abravanel begins by comparing verses pertaining to Enoch and Noah, both exemplary men described as
    individuals who “walked with God.” He asks: Why does Enoch’s verse praising him tack on mention of
    Methuselah: “Enoch walked with God after he had Methuselah”, yet Noah’s verse does not, as it says:
    “Noah walked with God"?

    Furthermore, why does the Bible use puzzling language to convey Enoch’s death: “And he was no more
    because God had taken him?”Wouldn’t it suffice to simply say that Enoch died?

    Abravanel answers these questions, and by so doing, gives Bible students key insights into Enoch’s inner
    struggles to keep the faith.

    To properly understand Enoch, Bible students need to first assess from whom he descended. Who was
    his father, grandfather, great-grandfather etc.? Abravanel traces ten generations of righteous
    personalities, starting with Adam leading to Noah. Each one, in his own unique way, served the Maker.
    These men put God front and center, as far as their principles and conduct was concerned.

    The Bible points out that each of these truth seekers set their minds and souls to learning God’s ethos,
    His values. Consequently, they delayed marriage until they were older and religiously mature. Enoch
    deviated from his ancestors’ precedence, marrying much younger than his illustrious forebears.

    This suggests, Abravanel writes, a less than flattering observation about “young” Enoch. He was sex
    crazed. That explains why he ran headlong into marriage so early, unlike his noble predecessors.

    After Enoch’s marriage and after his son Methuselah was born, Enoch regrouped. He found God. See
    Abravanel’s World to learn about the driving force behind Enoch’s transformation. Laudably, Enoch
    served his Creator. “Enoch walked with God for 300 years after he had Methuselah…”In a word, Enoch
    reinvented himself.

    But, he also remained with his wife, begetting sons and daughters. Compare Enoch’s family life with
    Adam’s. Abravanel teaches that after Adam fathered Cain and Abel, he temporarily separated from Eve
    for purposes of realigning his goals, putting his life in order – alone.

    In brief, we have outlined Enoch’s inner struggles. On the one hand, he aspired to Godliness, while on
    the other hand he sought spousal intimacy. Heaven looked down on Enoch’s conflicted soul, and had
    mercy: “And he was no more because God had taken him.”

    Genesis Chapter 5

    Based on Abravanel’s World of Torah, by Zev Bar Eitan


  • Bible Studies: Noah the Righteous

    “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man
    righteous and whole-hearted. Noah walked with God.”

    Bible studies with Don Isaac Abravanel’s commentary (also spelled Abarbanel) has withstood the test of
    time. For over five centuries, Abravanel has delighted – and enlightened – clergy and layman alike,
    offering enduring interpretations of the Bible. In Genesis chapter 6, the Bible focuses on an exemplary personality: Noah.

    In glowing terms, the Bible extols Noah as righteous and whole-hearted. Abravanel takes a deeper dive
    into this survivor’s stout soul, showing ways in which Noah exceled in an era when a world tottered and
    tanked. Indeed, as Noah’s neighbors corrupted their ways and wallowed in morass, “Noah walked with

    Abravanel quotes a rabbinic epigram that best contrasts the values of virtuous Noah from his
    unscrupulous contemporaries. The translation of the witticism goes like this: While mankind gorged
    their bodies and starved their souls, Noah nourished his soul, and starved his body.

    In what ways did Noah please his Maker? “Righteous” refers to Noah’s interpersonal relationships. With
    his fellow man, Noah was honest. He took pains to treat each person fairly, courteously. This is in
    marked contrast with those around him. The generation was more than inconsiderate to others; they
    were mean-spirited and deceitful.

    There was a second aspect that distinguished Noah from his contemporaries. Decency defined him.
    His attitude toward the physical world and its pleasures came without misplaced hype. Noah
    displayed steely self-discipline to material things. As for the rest of the planet, moderation was not in
    their lexicon. Nor was fair play.

    Whim ruled. Bigtime. Gluttony proved their undoing. Man and animal alike acted out unnaturally in
    pursuit of perversion.

    Abravanel adds something else about Noah. Despite a dystopian culture of sin, Noah stood apart. For
    him, crisp demarcation lines divided right from wrong. Smut held no sway over him, let alone blur God’s
    ethos. From youth until old age, Noah’s swerved not an iota from divine service. Through hell and high
    water, “Noah walked with God.” Literally.

    Readers will find that Abravanel details, and heaps, more praise for Noah in Abravanel’s World.
    However, before concluding this blog, let us share one aspect of Heaven’s favor and divine providence
    for loyal Noah, as per Abravanel’s understanding.

    Genesis’ first chapters record a meteoric population growth trajectory, with early man begetting and
    begetting and begetting. Yet, Noah’s family was, to be colloquial, nuclear in size. He fathered only three
    sons. Abravanel learns that, typically, a father of many children cannot fully devote himself to his kids’
    education. Had Noah’s family waxed many, undoubtedly, some of the sons would have been influenced
    by a wayward world. However, because Noah’s number of children was small, he kept a keen eye out for
    creeping unacceptable attitudes and behavior. A vigil dad will nip trouble in the bud.

    Abravanel says more. He understands that Noah did not father daughters. Had he, then, perforce the
    daughters would have married men – all rotten to the core. Noah’s grandchildren would have followed
    the despicable ways of their fathers. As a case in point, Abravanel brings an example from Lot’s
    daughters. When Sodom and Gomorrah fell to fire and brimstone, so too did Lot’s married daughters.

    Based on Abravanel’s World of Torah, by Zev Bar Eitan

  • Bible Studies: The Binding of Isaac

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. In Genesis chapter 22, we read of the binding of Isaac. This blog covers a small snippet of
    Abravanel’s preface. He asserts that, arguably, this is one of the most defining and dramatic chapters in
    the entire Bible. Abravanel’s discourse is precious, and lengthy. For the full discussion, please see
    Abravanel’s World.

    “And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham,
    and said unto him, Abraham. And he said, here am I.

    And He said, take now your son, your only son, whom you love – even
    Isaac – and get you into the land of Moriah. And offer him there for a
    burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.”

    Now to some of Abravanel’s opening remarks. The binding of Isaac presents Bible students with a
    cornerstone of Jewish faith. On the merit of the event, Hebrews stand in good stead with their Father in
    heaven. The story has been told and retold, generation after generation. Jews know it by heart. The
    binding of Isaac forms a backbone to Jewish prayer and liturgy. These, then, are compelling reasons to
    study the subject intently, more so than other chapters.

    When writing his Biblical commentary, not surprisingly, Abravanel did not work in a vacuum. Before he
    delved into the binding of Isaac, he first familiarized himself with his predecessors’ and contemporaries’
    approaches. What did they say?

    Figuratively Abravanel likens himself to a field hand who walks behind other harvesters who dropped
    their sheaves. When a stalk pleases him, he picks it up and puts it in his satchel. If a stalk displeases him,
    he rejects it, always pushing on with his search for the choicest produce. In this manner, Abravanel
    develops and hones his classic essay on the sublime story of a father and son, Abraham and Isaac.
    Abravanel offers a prayer to the Maker, asking for insight and eloquence.

    As is his wont, Abravanel begins with a sweeping historical overview – and a probing question. What was
    the main point of God’s test of Abraham?

    Abravanel starts with Adam, the first man. In a word, he failed to thrive in the task given to him by God.
    How? Of the two noteworthy trees in the garden of Eden, Adam gravitated to the tree of knowledge.
    That tree represented superficiality and focused on things material. The fruit of the tree of knowledge
    captivated him. It proved his undoing because God expected more from man than merely the mundane.

    The tree of life, symbolizing the Creator’s ethos, held no interest for Adam. Hence, God ushered him and
    Eve out of the idyllic environs, to toil the land, and reconsider man’s purpose in the world.

    The misstep that tripped Adam, according to Abravanel, has distracted his descendants ever since – day
    in and day out. Alas, people have been barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. The ethics of the tree of
    life, the tree that carries the banner of moderation and maturity, hardly gets any attention. That fruit
    urges man to forge a relationship with the Almighty.

    Enter the great flood. Divine wisdom saw fit to unleash a deluge. It mopped up a misguided civilization.
    Only Noah and his family survived. Shortly, the masses’ embraced hedonism, as if groping in the dark.
    Frivolity reigned supreme. Déjà vu.

    Civilization tottered.

    But then, hope flickered. Abraham emerged. Out of a milieu of moral confusion and chaos, he figured
    things out and put his faith in God. Abraham believed and preached Heaven’s message: God is in charge.
    He governs the world.

    Pure intellect brought him to that conclusion. He had discovered the truth. Abraham, Abravanel teaches,
    was the first to apply analytical reasoning to bear, in coming to his revelation. He couldn’t keep his
    findings to himself, disseminating the truth about the Almighty to whomever. “And he built there an
    altar unto God, and called upon the name of God.”That is, Abraham was the first one who recognized
    God’s omnipotence, ruler of all. Determinedly, the fiery prophet introduced God to mankind.

    As stated, for Abravanel, Abraham had arrived at the truth through penetrating study and analysis. For
    it, the Almighty smiled upon him. Divine wisdom resolved once and for all – Abraham’s seed would
    become the Chosen People.

    And then the Almighty appeared to Avraham with a request. Characteristically, the prophet didn’t flinch,
    as the Bible records. “And he said, here am I.”

    In short form, herein is background to the ultimate religious test and quintessential religious response.

  • Don Isaac Abravanel’s Mission Statement

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508), also spelled Abarbanel was a penetrating Jewish thinker, scholar, and
    prolific Biblical commentator. It is, of course, nary impossible to pare Abravanel’s encyclopedic and
    groundbreaking commentary on the Bible, and reduce it to a short blog. Indeed, where would one start?
    How could we sift through the thousands and thousands of pages of his magnus opus, in order to
    produce an Abravanel mission statement?

    In his commentary on Genesis chapter two, Abravanel shares the following thoughts with his readers.
    Does it fit as a mission statement? It just might.

    Genesis begins with the creation story, outlining six days of work. On the seventh day, God rested.
    Chapter two delves into the human face of creation, featuring the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, and a
    seductive snake. On the curious, if not downright dubious venue and cast of personalities, Abravanel
    bombards his readers with dozens of questions.

    •  Is the entire story allegory?
    •  Is the creation of man in God’s image and likeness literal?
    •  A tree of life, a tree of the knowledge of right and wrong?
    •  Talking snakes?

    These are a sampling of the burning questions and issues that Abravanel poses. They continue for many
    pages, crafted with clarity and insight. Before he provides answers, he writes (and I translate from the

    “And after all of these points, designed to wake up sleepy heads, I will rise to the occasion. Thoughtful
    analysis will be brought to bear, showing one or more ways to approach these heady topics. Text and
    context are front and center. When we conclude our discussion, all queries will be answered – without
    exception – all firmly based in this chapter’s verses.

    Verily, the words of God’s Torah are perfect. To be clear, readers will not be asked to suspend or waive
    reason, for religion and reason are intrinsically compatible. The ways of the Maker are straight, and
    swerve not.”

    Abravanel, as always, speaks his mind. He asks hard-hitting questions to stimulate interest in Judaism in
    general, and Bible study in particular. His method takes into account an in-depth study of the verses,
    focusing on their context within the greater narrative. Finally, he asserts that God’s Torah is divine.

    Is this Abravanel’s mission statement? Humbly, I submit that it is.

    Genesis chapter 2. Based onAbravanel’s World of Torah, by Zev Bar Eitan.

  • Dr. Henry Abramson on Abarbanel

    Jewish Action Magazine Vol. 84 No.3 page 38

    Jewish Action: If you could pick one figure in Jewish history who respresents hope and optimism and the ability to reinvent and start anew, who would that person be?

    Dr. Abramson: I could think of many individuals but my favorite is Don Yitzchak Abarbanel, who went trhough tremndous tribulations.  In his golden years he elects to remain with the Jews rather than convert and take a high position in the Spanish government under Ferdinand and Isabella.  He is essentially exiled to the Mediterranean, living in different countries in his sixties and seventies.  That's when he decides: I'm no longer the minister of finance. I"m no longer involved in high-level politics. I guess I'll write a massive commentary on Tanach. Which he does, and it's brilliant.

    He reinvents himself.  And when he has the opportunity to do so, he goes back into politics-in his seventies, he gets involved in high-level negotiations between Italy and Portugal.  He is remarkable in dealing with the various challenges he experiences in his life.  He never gives up on his Judaism and his Jewish identity. He is a role model to me.

    Dr. Henry Abramson is the academic dean of Touro's Lander College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Henry Abramson holds a PhD in history from the University of Toronto and is a specialist in Jewish history and thought.

  • Exodus Chapter 16: Preparation for Mount Sinai

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. In Exodus Chapter 16 we read about the Hebrews one month into their desert sojourns.
    By that time, the nation began to experience extreme hardships due to dwindling food and water

    “And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the Children
    of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and
    Sinai…And the whole congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron
    in the wilderness. Then God said unto Moses: Behold I will cause to rain
    bread from heaven…”

    Abravanel poses two questions on our verses. The firsthas to do with the Bible’s chronicling of the
    places where the Jews encamped. Why, Abravanel asks, are some venues omitted from our chapter?
    Second, why didn’t the Maker lead His people along friendlier desert pitstops that offered basic
    amenities, like potable water? People and animals can only survive three days without that most basic
    of all provisions.

    Abravanel puts the nation’s first, post-Exodus travels into perspective. God was about to reveal Himself
    to the entire encampment at Mount Sinai. There, the Hebrews would receive the Five Books of Moses
    and divine precepts. Given that impending rendezvous with the Maker, it was deemed necessary to
    keep the early desert rest stops bare and desolate. In a word, God wanted the Hebrews to arrive at Sinai
    with the requisite religious sensibilities.

    Dependency on God started the intimate relationship on the right foot, per se. It also instilled within the
    body politic the need to plead for relief before the Almighty. God would heed the cries, delivering
    provisions. Belief in the compassionate, and attentive, Creator would be etched in Jewish souls. He is the
    One Who causes water to flow from flint. He is the One Who drizzles bread from heaven. Gradually, the
    Chosen People would acknowledge God’s omnipotence.

    In brief, God meticulously planned the pre-Sinai setting. The main thing was planting a religious mindset.
    When Jews hurt, they call to Heaven for help. The God of Israel will be there; He is forever reliable. That
    explains why our chapter does not chronicle each venue, but rather only identifies those places where
    the nation got schooled in divine faith. Bible students also learn why God hadn’t punished the Jews for
    speaking out. Acute hunger had triggered injudicious speech and conduct.

    See Abravanel’s World for the full discussion.

  • Exodus Chapter 17:The Staff of Moses

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. Chapter 17 finds the Hebrews trudging along desert dunes, increasingly becoming road
    weary. Unbearable thirst made them more than cantankerous; they totally lost it.

    “And God said unto Moses: Pass on before the people, and take with
    you the elders of Israel, and your staff wherewith you smote the river,
    and take in your hand, and go. Behold I will stand before you there upon
    the rock in Horeb and you shall smite the rock, and there shall come
    water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight
    of the elders of Israel.”

    God came to fix matters. He instructed Moses to take his staff, and perform a miracle with it. A tap with
    the rod on rock would cause water to flow, fresh water with which to supply Moses’ brethren. Bible
    students are not strangers to the miracles wrought by the staff of Moses.

    Abravanel wonders: What ever happened with Moses’ staff? To expand the discussion, we know that
    after Aaron passed away, the staff he used to perform miracles had been ceremoniously placed next to
    the Ark of Testimony for good safekeeping. There it rested together with the jar that contained heaven-
    sent manna. Moreover, Aaron’s staff had a prominent place next to a container of anointing oil. During
    the period of Jewish kings, King Josiah hid these holy artifacts, along with the Holy Ark.

    But, when it comes to the staff of Moses, the Bible is mum. So is Jewish tradition. Not a word. Not a

    Abravanel shares his hypothesis. He believes that when Moses ascended Mount Nebo – to die there –
    he had brought his staff with him. Together, the prophet and the staff of God were buried. Neither, the
    Bible makes explicit, will ever be found and unearthed.

    The Creator would not sanction any mortal to wield the hallowed staff. This is testimony to Moses’
    greatness, and uniqueness. Just as no man will ever reach his prophetic achievement, and just as no
    man will ever perform such wonders, so too did Heaven decree that no man will ever lay his hand on the
    staff of Moses.

    See Abravanel’s Worldfor the full discussion.

  • Exodus Chapter 22: You Shall Not Commit Adultery

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. In the latter part of Exodus Chapter 22, we read about sexual mores. For Abravanel, the
    seventh commandment prohibiting adultery, like each of the Ten Commandments, is not meant to be
    construed narrowly. Rather, it along with each of the other commandments in the Decalogue, contains

    “And if a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lie with her, he
    shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.”

    This blog highlights one offshoot of adultery: seduction. Abravanel learns that seduction is tantamount
    to, and resembles, adultery. We shall explain.

    Abravanel provides readers with what we may call a sociological context to our verse cited above. What
    type of man seduces a virgin? Who might fit the profile of a rapscallion bent on enticing a girl to sleep
    with him?

    First of all, Abravanel dismisses out of hand what some people might erringly think. Let’s be clear, he
    asserts. The Pentateuch does not draw the line of licentiousness at adultery. Nor does Holy Writ only
    flag sexual relations when a woman is engaged. Sexual sin, according to the Bible, is even attributed to a
    knave who “seduces a virgin who is not betrothed.”

    The Creator loathes sexual promiscuity. And violators pay a steep price: “He shall pay a dowry for her to
    be his wife.” What type of man commits this egregious affront, Abravanel probes?

    Abravanel posits that a cad is unlikely to target a woman of his social standing, a marriageable woman
    who shares his social circle. Had he found a suitable wife, he simply would court her and marry.

    This scoundrel, instead, sets his sights on a woman he finds attractive, although she had been raised in a
    lower socio-economic household. Not to be deterred, the rascal is keen on sleeping with her. And so, he
    sweettalks her, promising matrimony in exchange for sexual favors. When his passions are spent, so too
    are his empty promises. Off he gallops to brag to his friends about his exploits. Seeking to stem such
    seedy scandals, the Torah slaps the culprit with a hefty fine: “He shall pay money according to the dowry
    of virgins.”

    Of course, Abravanel teaches, it could well be that a sex fiend will pursue a woman above his station.
    See Abravanel’s World for his treatment of that situation. Before we conclude this blog, consider one
    more observation that Abravanel shares on a related, later verse in our chapter.

    “You shall not suffer a sorceress to live.” Abravanel learns that, generally speaking, unsavory characters
    intent on illicit sex, do not work in a vacuum. Their network includes abettors, or better, groomers.
    These are unprincipled women who scout out and prepare the groundwork for depraved men who seek
    improper and immoral sexual dalliances.

    These groomers, or as the verse calls them – “sorcerers” – have honed their skills and know precisely
    how to obtain the trust of unsuspecting female victims. Enticed, seduced, and entrapped, these girls are
    easy prey for unscrupulous perpetrators.

    In summary, the God of Israel will not abide sexual immorality. Indeed, in His eyes the cases we have
    presented are as sinful as adultery, and get characterized as such.

  • Introduction to the Book of Exodus

    Exodus (Shemot in Hebrew) segues from Genesis (Bereshit), for good reason.
    Here are four rationales that explain what takes us from the Torah’s first to second book.
    1) Bereshit dealt with individuals of great personal stature. To name some of the moral giants, we
    list: Adam, Noach, Shem, Eiver, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov and his sons. There were other
    outstanding personalities, as well. After the narratives of these men of note were completed,
    Sefer Shemot commenced. Emphasis changes track from holy individuals to the holy Hebrew
    nation. Given the private/collective parameter, really, the Torah’s first book could aptly be
    called “The Book of Individuals”; the second book “The Book of the Nation.”
    2) A second rationale requires a deeper look, addressing the bedrock question: Why did God
    transmit the Torah? Answer: He desired to refine the Chosen People, His flock, through
    education and mitzvot. Scripture and its teachings uplift and enlighten body and soul. However,
    when the divine Torah sought to chronicle this unique and holy people, it first provided their
    backstory. In the beginning was their family tree. Indeed, worthy stock, blessed by the Maker.
    The Jews hail from a dedicated and close-knit religious-minded community. Remarkable men
    honed their descendants for nobility.
    Of course, all mankind descends from Adam and the Torah is saying more than who begot whom.
    Bereshit, metaphorically speaking, is a story about separating the wheat from the chaff, fruit from its
    peel. The men of renown are likened to what is ethically precious, morally craven descendants of Adam
    to byproduct discarded. Adam’s third son, Shet, was a cultivated, sweet fruit, a towering individual, a
    striking figure etched in God’s image.
    But not all of Shet’s descendants stayed the course. Many fell into the fruit peel category. Jews were of
    a different ilk. In time, Noach arrived, “a pure, tzaddik” to quote Bereshit. 6 The Torah relates that Noach
    found favor in the Creator’s eyes.  Yet, again, not all of the ancient mariner’s sons followed God.
    Specifically, Cham and Yafet didn’t, and are thus relegated to chaff, summarily dismissed. Shem, in
    contrast, held the flame, as did his great grandson Eiver, as did his great grandson Avraham. Avraham
    had it all, a delectable fruit, an indefatigable doer of good and a constant truth seeker. Of his offspring, 
    Yitzchak shined most brightly, all others marginalized. From Yitzchak came Yaakov. While Esav was
    detested, Yaakov rose in stature, a veritable Torah-value repository. Yaakov’s twelve sons clung to their
    father’s ways, all glimmering wheat stalks. Together, father and sons forged the holy nation, each one
    steadfast to Torah principles.
    And the Maker rewarded them, showering them with divine favor or providence. 8 In sum, the role of
    Bereshit provides an important contribution to understanding the roots of the Jewish People, their
    ancestry. Shemot recalls the greatness of the nation, and its religiosity.
    3) The Torah’s first book conveys the mighty deeds of the patriarchs, their holiness and divine
    communiqués. Hence, we read about the lives of Adam, Noach and his three sons, and all of their
    successive generations. This is by way of background until we reach Avraham. Avraham’s wholeness
    surpassed that of his predecessors. This observation is borne out by the fact that the Torah writes three
    parshiyot about his lifetime. For Yitzchak, the Torah dedicated one entire parashah. And in testimony to
    Yaakov’s and his son’s prominence, we count three pashiyot. Yosef and his brothers comprise Bereshit’s
    final three parshiyot. All tallied, the Torah’s first book consists of twelve parshiyot, all training a light on
    the patriarchs’ positive traits and contributions.
    Moshe’s attainments, by contrast, soared above the rest, equal to the sub-total of them. And in the field
    of prophecy, he far outdistanced them. That explains why Shemot’s twelve parshiyot pertain to the seer.
    In that regard, Bereshit’s scorecard, if you will, hints at the predominance of Moshe. An entire book
    belongs to the prophet, one equal to the Torah’s first book. Bereshit’s subjects are the patriarchs (and
    their forerunners); Shemot’s subject matter is Moshe.
    4) Finally, the divine Torah writes the epic story of how God took in His flock, the House of Yaakov. But
    first, readers needed to learn of Avraham’s, the first patriarch’s, sterling character. Still, Avraham had
    not been born into a vacuum. His illustrious forebears, to name some, were Adam, Noach, Shem, and
    Eiver. Avraham, morally and ethically evolved from them.
    Within Avraham’s story we read about a divine covenant, known as the brit bein ha’betarim. It foretells,
    “Your seed shall be strangers in a strange land.”  The covenant or brit also spoke of prodigious offspring,
    and a Holy Land which they could call home. Finally, in that brit, Avraham learned that God would
    extend His providence over the patriarch’s descendants, and His close attachment or devekut to them.
    The balance of Bereshit reveals how covenantal promises play out. Thus, for example, we read about
    Yaakov’s and Esav’s intrauterine posturing.  Later, there was a noxious sibling rivalry between Yosef and
    his brothers. Finally, a fierce famine forced Yaakov’s and his family’s descent into Egypt. Sowed were the
    seeds of national exile and redemption.Bereshit, then, lays the prefatory foundation upon which Shemot may be built. Put differently, theTorah’s first book introduces the ills and travails that precipitated a multi-century exile, one with
    disastrous consequences for the fledgling nation.
     It also opened a window. At the end of the calamitous sojourn in Egypt’s hell, salvation came – the
    exodus. That was only the half of it. On Sinai, the Hebrews acquired the requisite skillset to reach
    religious heights. Divine providence and the Shechinah nestled into the people’s desert camp, housed in
    the Tabernacle or Mishkan. To sum up, Bereshit brings the root causes (rivalry and famine); whereas,
    Shemot discusses the consequence (read: the second book elaborates on exile and exodus).

    We now better appreciate the divine wisdom that sequenced the order of Bereshit’s and Shemot’s parshiyot. As for the author, all had been transcribed by Moshe, at the word of God. Moreover, the prophet received commentary on all that the Creator communicated to him. After we have laid out these four introductory rationales, we proceed to Shemot’s commentary, with God’s help.

  • Parashah Ki Tisa: God or God's Angel?

    Bible studies with Don Isaac Abravanel’s commentary (also spelled Abarbanel) has withstood the test of
    time. For over five centuries, Abravanel has delighted – and enlightened – clergy and layman alike,
    offering enduring interpretations of the Bible.

    “And I will send an angel before you. And I will drive out the

    Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. Exodus chapter 33 dives into a fascinating subject: Which holy force will lead the
    Hebrews during their desert wandering – God or God’s angel? For Abravanel, it’s anything but a
    question of semantics. See Abravanel’s World for the full discussion.

    In fact, the question of which mystical force would guide the Jews had already been broached earlier in
    the Bible (See Torah Portion Mishpatim). Abravanel provides key context, in order to better get a grip on
    this issue of divine versus angelic escort or chaperoneship.

    Well, what was at stake? Why did Moses insist on God’s presence (and not an angelic one) and why did
    the Creator ultimately acquiesce to the prophet’s entreaty? Moreover, when God tells Moses about the
    “changing of the providential guards”, the seer wasn’t the only disheartened party; collectively, the Jews
    sulked. “And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned. And no man did put on him his

    Explaining the complementary and supplementary passages, Abravanel elucidates. In chapter 32, divine
    anger is explicit when God addresses His prophet: “And now go. Lead the people…My angel shall go
    before you…Nonetheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”Moses would have no
    part in it. He was not about to shepherd the Creator’s flock in the wilderness, accompanied by an angel.

    Thus, Moses held his tongue, saying nothing in response to God’s announcement, for he believed the
    angel’s presence would bring trouble. The prophet also noted that last chapter’s verse made no mention
    of the patriarchs, or the Holy Land, for that matter. These omissions were out of character, as other
    verses had made reference to the patriarchs and Israel’s comeliness.

    This background, for Abravanel, leads us to chapter 33’s lead verses. “And God spoke unto Moses:
    Depart, go up…”The Creator informed Moses that He would deed the land to the Hebrews for two
    reasons. One stressed Moses’ merit: “You and the people that you brought up out of the land of
    Egypt…” God meant, that since the prophet threw his fate with his brethren, and “brought up out of the
    land of Egypt”, there would be divine forgiveness for the Golden Calf sin, as well as title to Israel.

    The second rationale focused on the fulfilment of an oath uttered to the patriarchs: “unto the land
    which I swore unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying unto your seed will I give it.”

    Here we have two rationales which illustrate God’s forgiveness for the Molten Calf. But what transpire
    in the interim? Which force would escort the Hebrews during the arduous desert trek – God or His
    angel? See Abravanel’s World for the full discussion.


  • Parashat Tetzaveh: An Excerpt

    “And you shall command the Children of Israel, that they bring unto you pure olive oil beaten for the
    light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. In the Tent of Meeting…Aharon and his sons shall set it in
    order, to burn from evening to morning before God…”

    This section’s opening paragraphs seem disjointed because they switch theme tracks. Note that the
    lead verse talks about lighting the menorah before taking on the main subject – that of the priest’s
    special clothing. How should readers relate to this zigzag?

    Really, God’s command to Moshe regarding lighting the menorah was not intended as a divine order
    whose time had arrived, but rather as a prophetic heads-up…’

    Page 88 Shemot vol. II: Assembled at Sinai

  • Parashat Tzav: An Excerpt

    Abarbanel’s first Aliyah to Parashat Tzav, an excerpt from Abravanel’s World of Torah by Zev Bar Eitan

    “And God spoke to Moses saying: Command Aaron and his sons saying. This is the law of the burnt

    ‘Recall that in the earlier section of Leviticus, Moses addressed the Hebrew general assembly. That
    was because the section dealt with and focused on categories of the populace needing to bring
    sacrifices. In contrast, here the Torah highlights Aaron and his sons, as Moses instructed them in
    proper procedures. After all, they were entrusted with officiating in the Tabernacle. Some tasks were
    performed by Aaron the High Priest, while others were done by Aaron’s sons. They were subordinate
    to him. “Command Aaron and his sons.”

    Page 132 Vayikra vol. I: The Meat of the Matter

  • Parshat Terumah: An Excerpt

    “And God said to Moshe, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and collect a separated portion. From
    those who are generous you shall take a separated portion for Me.”

    ‘In a general Torah sense and here in this section in particular, Heaven’s modus operandi comes out in
    full splendor. That is, Hashem desired to increase both the Hebrew people’s merit and Moshe’s
    prominence. In our context, it means that Heaven did away with celestial intermediaries. In their
    place, the Almighty instituted His direct divine guidance to the Jews and to Moshe, their faithful

    Page 9 Shemot vol. II: Assembled at Sinai

  • Parshat Vayikra :An Excerpt

    “And God called unto Moses, and spoke unto him out of the Tent of the Meeting. Speak unto the
    Children of Israel, and say unto them: When any man of you brings an offering unto God, you shall
    bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd or the flock.”

    ‘Heaven acknowledged how priests deserved the Jews’ financial support. Through a system of tithes
    and gifts, their needs were taken care of. This not only freed them from having to make a living, but it
    also provided repose and sufficient peace of mind to allow them to do their jobs maximally. An
    equitable arrangement assured steady income for the Kohanim and their families.

    Clearly the Torah foresaw how priests, a branch of the tribe of Levi, would accede to special status
    within the national fabric and rise to predominance. Their admirable erudition, refinement, and
    character were also marked by outward appearances. In this, particular vestments played a pivotal

    Page 10 Vayikra vol. I: The Meat of the Matter

  • The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy

    “And God descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and
    proclaimed the name of God. And God passed by before him and
    proclaimed: God, the Lord, God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering,
    and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy unto the thousandth
    generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. And will by no
    means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
    children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and unto the
    fourth generation.”

    Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a seminal Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
    commentator. In Exodus 34, the Torah affords what is arguably the closest peek into God’s elusive
    nature, including a guide into how He relates to man. Gorgeous eloquence transcribes God’s thirteen
    attributes of mercy. Abravanel’s discourse on the subject provides Bible students with a memorable
    interpretation of the Creator’s divine traits. See Abravanel’s World for the essay in its entirety.

    Abravanel asks: What underlies the terse descriptions of the divine? Additionally, how are readers to
    understand the grammatical style of this passage, one that appears choppy and disjointed? Note, for
    example, how the thirteen attributes commence with God’s name, and repeats that name, before
    providing adjectives which depict, per se, the Maker’s defining characteristics (“merciful”, “’gracious”
    etc.). Finally, the paragraph switches gears into verbal or predicate phrases that portray God’s conduct
    (“keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation”, “visiting the iniquity” etc.).

    In fantastic shorthand, here is how Abravanel approaches these all-important theological lessons. God’s
    (Hashem) name – repeated – establishes His credentials as the Creator of existence; His will perpetuates
    life (“God, the Lord”). The next mention of the One Above (El) features His role as the Main Mover or
    Lever of the heavens. The divine crank, for lack of a better word or image, churns lower celestial beings
    into motion. Three appellations of God begin the first three of the thirteen attributes count (“God, the
    Lord, God”).

    Traits four, five, and six bespeak God’s relationship with man, at his embryonic and early development
    stages. We refer to “merciful”, “gracious”, and “long-suffering.”

    Next come seven, eight, and nine. These are the Creator’s benevolence with the righteous and pious –
    “abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation.” God reserves and
    applies the final four, which brings the attribute count to ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen to evildoers –
    “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. And will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of
    the fathers upon the children….”



An outstanding translation of the fascinating commentary by the last of the Spanish greats.
Rabbi Berel Wein
A major contribution to Torah literature.
Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD
An interpretive reading in crisp, contemporary English.... [An] important contribution.
Yitzchok Adlerstein
Rabbi; cofounder, Cross Currents
Rabbi Zev Bar Eitan has embarked on a very ambitious project to make Abarbanel accessible to all Jews regardless of background. Baruch Hashem, he has succeeded admirably.
Rav Yitzchak Breitowitz
Rav, Kehillat Ohr Somayach
In clear, straightforward language…Bar Eitan opens the Abravanel’s world of complex ideas to the layman in a way that it has not been opened before. Highly recommended.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
Past President, Rabbinical Council of America; author, Unlocking the Torah Text and Unlocking the Haggada
Rabbi Zev Bar-Eitan…has achieved a rendition of the Abravanel which will enable all English readers to comprehend the depths and innovativeness of the original Hebrew text.
Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff
Professor of Rabbinic Literature, Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute, Yeshiva University
In an accessible and flowing language accompanied by a variety of visual aids, Abravanel is presented to the English reader in all his glory. [An] illuminative commentary.
Rachelle Fraenkel
Torah educator, Midrashot Nishmat and Matan
A masterful rendition…lucid, free-flowing and interesting.
Rabbi Zev Leff
Rabbi, Moshav Matityahu; Rosh Hayeshiva, Yeshiva Gedola Matityahu
I am perusing Vayikra, Vol. I: The Meat of the Matter, which looks very good and interesting.
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman
Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Beth Jacob, Atlanta
Riveting and flowing elucidation of the text simplifies complex ideas leaving the reader readily able to grasp the Abravanel’s inner meaning and purposeful explanation.
Rabbi Meyer H. May
Executive Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museums of Tolerance
Open[s] our eyes and minds to the fascinating world of the Abravanel and his unique way of analyzing the Torah...in a user-friendly commentary.
Rabbi Steven Weil
Senior Managing Director, OU
Zev eminently succeeds in making the awesome wisdom of Don Isaac available to the English-speaking public. We are in Bar Eitan’s debt.
Rabbi Sholom Gold
Founding Rabbi, Kehillat Zichron Yosef, Har Nof
The translation is as beautiful as the original Hebrew and the English reader loses nothing in this excellent rendition.
Rabbi Allen Schwartz
Congregation Ohab Zedek, Yeshiva University
Abravanel needs a redeemer…Bar Eitan takes on this complex task.
Rabbi Gil Student
Student Action
At once a work of scholarship and a treat for the imagination.… Bar Eitan’s Abravanel presents Exodus as great literature, as exciting and gripping as any great Russian novel.
Rabbi Daniel Landes
Rosh Hayeshivah, Machon Pardes
Zev Bar Eitan has an intimate understanding of two characters: Abravanel and the modern reader. He traverses great distance to bring these two together masterfully.
Avraham Steinberg
Rabbi, Young Israel of the Main Line; Rosh Mesivta, Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia
An uncommon treat.… Rabbi Bar Eitan is to be commended for providing an accessible entree to this timeless masterpiece.
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin
Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto Congregation
Relevant and accessible.… Ideal for teachers as well as Yeshiva High School, Ulpana, Yeshiva and Seminary students alike...a wonderful translation... enjoyable reading....
Rachel Weinstein
Tanach Department, Ramaz Upper School, NY
The clear, easy-to-read language and appended notes and illustrations bring the Abravanel to life, for scholars and laymen alike. A great addition to per¬sonal and shul libraries.
Rabbi Yehoshua Weber
Rabbi, Clanton Park Synagogue, Toronto
Of great value to those who have hesitated to tackle this dense, complex work.… Render[s] the Abravanel’s commentary accessible to the modern reader.
Simi Peters
author, Learning to Read Midrash
A gift to the English-speaking audience.… An important “must have” addition to the English Torah library.
Chana Tannenbaum
EdD, lecturer, Bar-Ilan University
The thoughts of a Torah giant over 500 years ago in terminology understand¬able to the modern reader.
Deena Zimmerman
MD, MPH, IBCLC,author; lecturer
Allows the reader the opportunity to see firsthand the brilliance, creativity, and genius of this 15th-century Spanish biblical commentator.
Rabbi Elazar Muskin
Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles
An excellent job bringing to life the profound ideas of one of the most original thinkers in Judaism and making them relevant and interesting 500 years later.
Rabbi Dr. Alan Kimche
Ner Yisrael Community, London
I really enjoyed the volume on Bereishis. It opened my eyes to the profundity of the Abravanel's commentary and for that I am ever grateful to you. I recommend it to all my students here at the University of Arizona who are searching for an in-depth understanding of the Chumash. Thank you very much for all your efforts. I am excited to read the next volumes on Shemos and Vayikra!
Rabbi Moshe Schonbrun
Senior educator, JAC University of Arizona
I’ve really enjoyed reading Abravanel's World of Torah. Abravanel was a great and original thinker whose perspective has broadened my understanding of Torah. Rabbi Bar Eitan presents Abravanel’s thought clearly and lucidly. I highly recommend his work. I’ve also really benefitted from being able to email Rabbi Bar Eitan regarding points where I needed further clarity.
Alistair Halpern
I want to tell you how much I'm absolutely enjoying Abravanel's World: Bereshit. I'm not much of a Torah scholar, but this is wonderful and terrific due to the seamless integration of Abravanel's thought and Bar Eitan's explication. All the kudos in the world. I'm looking forward to you completing the set.
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