Re: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Eliezer C Abrahamson (
Sun, 02 Feb 1997 13:42:26 EST

Yosey Goldstein (TF V2 #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.

I believe Andy Kohlenberg has misunderstood Yosey's statement. Obviously
the first step to understanding the Torah is to read it's simple meaning
and to attempt to understand what the Torah is saying even before turning
to the commentaries. Nevertheless, to come to *conclusions* about the
actual meaning of the Torah without consulting the commentaries is wrong
and, quite frankly, the sign of an ignoramus. This is especially true
when the conclusion is at odds with Jewish tradition (such as claiming
that Abraham failed the test of the Akeidah). To ignore the commentaries
is to reject the basic concept of the Torah Sheba'al Peh (the Oral

Eliezer C. Abrahamson
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