Sunday, January 28, 2007

Parashat Bo: The Ibn Ezra, Peshat and Halakha.

In the narrative sections of Torah, the Ibn Ezra pursues the peshat, the reading of the text based upon logic, grammar, context, and other linguistic rules. "The human mind is the angel that mediates between man and God," he writes. And hence he limits himself to the words, the language of the Torah to interpret the Biblical text. In general he is wary of added, imposed readings attached to the story, even of they come from Midrashic, Rabbinic sources.

But when it comes to reading Halakhic texts, the Ibn Ezra swings in the opposite direction:

"… if we find two readings to the text and one accords with the opinion of the Rabbis – who were all righteous - we shall rely upon their truth with no doubts."

In other words, whenever it comes to Halakhic texts, even if the peshat meaning is stretched somewhat; the Ibn Ezra prefers a reading that accords with normative Jewish Law, and the Halakhic readings of Chazal. In this situation he abandons his pursuit of strict textual rigour and allows a certain fluidity.

Why is this the case? And what is the connection to parashat Bo?

Read the entire shiur here:

1 comment:

panjunan said...
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