Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ramban-Praise for The Torah From Psalms- Toras Hashem Temima perek 1 siman 3

The Ramban uses this siman as his final attempt to show how revered the Torah was among ancient Israel. He brings in quotes from Tehilim that reveal this idea. He says,

"Furthermore King David says in Tehilim (119:18) 'Unveil my eyes and I will perceive the wonders from your Torah' and (same source:34) 'Give me understanding and I will cherish your Torah' and (same source:96) "For every goal I see an end, but your commandment is very broad.' There are many pesukim that talk about this idea in the prophets and writings. They praise the Torah and say that it is more valuable and honored than all other things in the world, it is more important and it contains broader knowledge than all other wise ones and prophets."

The Ramban believes that it is important to point out how ancient Israel felt about the Torah. The reason for this is because Judaism is based on tradition. The reason we believe in Judaism is only because we believe in the validity of the Torah and the oral tradition. Therefore, anyone who wants to talk about the greatness of the Torah needs to focus on the tradition and lineage of the Torah. This is exactly what the Ramban does, he focuses on the ancient view of the Torah.

It is especially important to bring in the views of Tehilim on the Torah. The reason for this is because at the beginning of the second temple period there was a body known as the men of the great assembly. This assembly decided which books would be canonized into the Tanach. This shows that during King David's time, around 1000 BCE, the Jews believed the written and oral Torah contained more knowledge than anything in the world. It also shows that during the time of the men of the great assembly, around 400 BCE, this feeling had not changed. We can see from this that the Jewish perspective on the importance of the Torah had not changed even back then and it still has not changed.

I believe that this is why the Ramban brings in the words of King David from Tehilim. He thinks that it is important to point out that all generations of Jews believed that the Torah was and is the most important book around. Its importance to the Jewish people can reveal just how fascinating the Torah is and always has been.

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