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A Translation of Ibn Ezra’s Yesod Mora
The Secret of the Torah
Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra is one of the most important Jewish personalities of all time. Aside from being a Bible commentator of great consequence, his works in Jewish philosophy – though less famous – impacted many of his successors, including Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed, Nahmanides, and Rabbi Joseph Albo, as well as the Jewish mystics and Kabbalists. The Yesod Mora is one of the first books of Jewish philosophy written in Hebrew, which blazed the trail for philosophy to enter those parts of the Jewish world that were unfamiliar with Arabic.
Highlights of Ibn Ezra’s Yesod Mora include
- the claim that we cannot properly understand the Bible and Talmud without studying logic, philosophy, and science;
- when we are obligated to accept standard rabbinic interpretations of verses, and when we are permitted to draw our own conclusions;
- the reasons for – and classification of – the commandments in the Torah;
- the composition of the soul according to Jewish philosophy;
- how we connect to God by achieving deveikut (communion) with God
This edition of Yesod Mora is based on a version originally published by Jason Aaronson in 1995, with a new introduction, additional editing for clarity and usability, as well as additional notes and critical analysis that were unavailable when the first edition was released.
Translator and editor H. Norman Strickman is Rabbi emeritus of the Marine Park Jewish Center in Brooklyn and is a Professor emeritus of Jewish Studies at Touro College in New York City. He earned his ordination from Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Rabbi Dr. Samuel Belkin of Yeshiva University.
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