1.1. The Development of the Patriarchs as a Dynamic Process

Moses, as a personality, occupies a very prominent place in the Torah. He was the greatest of all prophets: Jewish tradition makes clear that no other prophet but Moses spoke to God “face to face” (Num. 12:8, Deut. 34:10). It was through him that the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, was given, which then became the foundation of Western civilization.

Nonetheless, this greatest of all prophets was a human being, which means that, like the rest of us, he made mistakes, and as a personality he had to tread his own individual path. This path is immensely important – in fact, the Torah’s story unfolds around it. Therefore, we will preface our commentary to the book of Exodus with an overview of Moses’ personal path of development.

As already mentioned in our introduction to the Book of Genesis, the approach we follow in this commentary tries to understand the Patriarchs within the context of their own personal development. The classical commentaries on the Torah have almost never pursued this course. But our approach is based on the teachings of Rabbi I. L. Ashkenazi (known as Manitou)[1], one of the outstanding Kabbalists of the twentieth century. A scion of one of the students of Rabbi Isaac Luria[2], he received this approach to understanding the Torah as a part of the family tradition that was transmitted generation to generation over the centuries – “secrets of the Kabbalah.” However, these traditions have heretofore never been published, as it was believed that the Jewish people were not yet ready to receive them. Our own generation, however, in the opinion of Manitou, is qualified to receive this approach and acknowledge it as true.

[1] For more detailed information on Rabbi I. L. Ashkenazi (Manitou) and his unique approach to understanding Judaism, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Ashkenazi.

[2] Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi (sixteenth century, Safed). More commonly known by the Hebrew acronym ARI ZaL, he is among the greatest of the Jewish kabbalists, and founder of the Lurianic school of Jewish mysticism.


Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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