Malbim

Nitzavim: Near and Dear

One of the most vexing issues in Biblical interpretation is the relationship between pshat, loosely translated as the plain meaning of the Biblical text, and derash, the additional levels of interpretation that can be derived from that same text. At times the two appear contradictory; as, for example, the Torah's obligation of "an eye for an eye". The phrase seems to imply just that, but has always been understood in our tradition as demanding monetary payment, and no more.

Vayetze: Searching for G-d

Yaakov is fleeing his home, afraid that his brother will try to kill him. Night is coming, and presumably he has been running all day. He is tired and quickly falls asleep—even with a rock as his pillow. But what a “dream” he had! “And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said: Behold, there is G-d in this place, and I did not know that” (28:16). What exactly was Yaakov thinking? Did he really think that G-d only exists in certain places? Did he not know, as we all do, that the “earth is filled with His glory”?
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