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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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Kodesh Press

Kodesh Press is dedicated to providing fine books of Jewish interest. The publications will be a blend of scholarly and popular titles, but will always strive towards excellence in whichever genre of Judaism they are aimed. Kodesh Press will build strong and long-term relationships with each of its authors. Collaboration throughout the preparation, marketing, and distribution of each title is a priority. It is the philosophy of Kodesh Press to serve the joint interest of author and publisher. The Press strives to nurture and strengthen these relationships, which are the most valuable asset that the Press possesses.

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