Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Gadlut of Parshat Bo (Part Deux)

I just wanted to give a little reminder to my readers (yes, I am talking to both of you) that one of the world-famous Ramban's is at the end of Parshat Bo. Ramban discusses the meaning of tefillin and then talks about one of the central ideas behind many different mitzvot. 

There are hidden Kabbalistic meanings in his explanation of tefillin (ועל דרך האמת), but I am not going to discuss them since we have not covered those Kabbalistic ideas in this blog yet.
(For those of you nerdy students who want to "read-ahead" - Ramban explains that the tefillin shel rosh represents the Olam of Adam Kadmon which is represented by the מוח of a person. (ד''ה - ואמר ולזכרון בין עיניך) And the goal is to maintain a connection across the separation between the upper two Olamot (אדם קדמון & אצילות) and the lower three (בריאה, יצירה ועשייה). If you did not understand the previous sentences, don't worry and return to this post in about two years.)
But the true gadlut (and world-famousness) of this Ramban is this central idea behind many mitzvot - the main philosophical goal of a variety mitzvot is to reaffirm the existence of HaShem and HaShem's השגחה (Divine Providence) in the world. Ultimately, even all of the laws of science are really hidden miracles of HaShem (נסים נסתרים), and if you believe otherwise then you are a kofer and denying the existence of Divine Providence. (ד''ה - ומן הנסים הגדולים). I am providing the references to this Ramban so that you can feel free to critique my interpretations. I could not possibly do justice to this Ramban without an extra ten hours that I do not have. But I highly recommend that you read (or re-read) this Ramban over Shabbat.

One final note - I read a summary of a lecture given by R. Natan Slifkin on the Heresy of Intelligent Design which is very similar to Ramban's idea of hidden miracles. R. Slifkin states that the problem with Intelligent Design is we only need HaShem for things that cannot be explained by science. Moreover, according to Ramban - to believe in Intelligent Design is heretical.


  1. Yay - I am one of your two readers!
    btw, I will also comment your interpretations in the extra ten hours that I don't have.

  2. Now that I have received three separate comments within the past 72 hours, I my have to revise the estimate of my readers.