Re: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Marc Abrams (Marc@veritest.com)
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 11:56:53 -0800

Yosey Goldstein (tf 94) wrote:
>>I have made this statement many times in earlier postings in this forum,
>>but it needs repeating. While it is true that one may honestly and
>>earnestly question any topic in the Torah, to offer answers, viewpoints and
>>opinions based on just a reading of the text and without having read through
>>the basic commentaries on the Chumash, is not the path to real
>>understanding.......

To which Andy Kohlenberg responded:
>I disagree quite strongly with what Yosey Goldstein is saying here.
>I say that reading and working out the meaning of the narratives of the
>Torah, Prophets and Writings without reference to the commentaries is
>most definitely the first leg of "the PATH to real understanding".
>Only someone who has first read the Torah carefully, with close attention
>to its details and its themes, and with great emotional receptivity to
>its values and sentiments will truly appreciate the genius of scriptures and
>the great commentators like Rashi.

Yasher Koach to Andy Kohlenberg for the response below. Surely even
Yosey Goldstein must believe that there is a spiritual impact to reading
the text directly and wrestling with it personally. The Torah IS
stories, histories and commands. But it is more than that because the
whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Only by reading it directly
and personally can this supernatural mix do its work properly --
elevating, inspiring, troubling, and drawing us into a personal
relationship with HaShem. The Torah is "I and Thou" between HaShem and a
Jew across time and space. Commentaries are absolutely necessary to a
full understanding. But putting the Commentaries aside from time to time
and just confronting the text directly is just as necessary.