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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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GENESIS — 2:16 commanded

For the intellect that G-d made overflow unto man and that is the latter’s ultimate perfection, was that which Adam had been provided with before he disobeyed. It was because of this that it was said of him that he was created in the image of G-d and in His likeness. It was likeness on account of it that he was addressed by G-d and given commandments, as it says [this verse].  For commandments are not given to beings and being devoid of intellect.  Through the intellect one distinguishes between truth and falsehood, and that was found in [Adam] in its perfection and integrity. EWM 131

GENESIS — 3:5 Elohim

Every Hebrew new that the term Elohim is equivocal, designating the deity, the angels, and the rulers governing the cities.  Onqelos the Proselyte, peace be on him, has made it clear, and his clarification is correct, that in the dictum of Scripture, [this verse], the last sense is intended.  For he has translated: And you shall be as rulers.  EWM 130

GENESIS — 3:5 know

[Adam] disobeyed the commandment that was imposed upon him on account of his intellect and, attaining the apprehension of generally accepted opinions, he became absorbed with considering things base or noble.  The he new how great his loss was, what he had been deprived of, and upon what a state he had entered.  Hence it is said [this verse] and not: knowing the false and the true, or apprehending the false and the true.  EWM 131-2

GENESIS — 3:7 opened

It is not said, And the eyes of them both were opened, and they saw.  For what was seen previously was exactly that which was seen afterwards.  There had been no membrane over the eye that was now removed, but rather he entered upon another state in which he considered as base things that he had not previously considered base.  Know, moreover, that this expression, I mean, to open, refers only to uncovering mental vision and in no respect means that the sense of sight has been newly acquired.  EWM 132

GENESIS — 3:18 thorns

[W]hen man changed the direction toward which he tended and took as his objective the very thing a previous commandment had bidden him not to aim at, he was driven out of the Garden of Eden.  This was the punishment corresponding to his disobedience; it was measure for measure.  He had been given license to eat good things and to take pleasure in ease and tranquility.  When, however, he became greedy, followed his pleasures and his imaginings, and ate what he had been forbidden to eat, he was deprived of everything and had to eat the meanest kinds of food, which he had not used as aliment before – and this only after toil and labor. EWM 132

GENESIS — 3:22 like

[H]e [Adam] has become unique in the world, i.e. a species having no similar species with which he shares this quality he has attained.  What is this quality? It is that he himself, of his own accord, knows the good and the bad things, does whatever he wishes, and is not prevented from doing them.  … Since this is necessary for human existence, I mean, that man performs good and bad actions by his choice when he wishes, it necessarily follows that he can be instructed in the good ways and be commanded, forbidden, punished, and rewarded.  All of this is just.  It is necessary for him to accustom his soul to good actions until he acquires the virtues, and to avoid bed actions until the vices disappear from him, if he has acquired any.  He should not say he has already attained a condition that cannot possibly change, since every condition can change from good to bad and from bad to good; the choice is his.  EWM 88

GENESIS — 15:13 enslaved

There are some verses which lead people to fancy that G-d preordains and compels disobedience.  That is false and we shall explain these verses because people are often preoccupied with them.  One of them is His saying to Abraham: [this verse].  They said: “He preordained that the Egyptians would oppress the seed of Abraham.  Why then did He punish them, when they necessarily and inevitably enslaved them [the Hebrews] as He preordained?” The answer is that this is like the Exalted saying that some people born in the future will be sinful, some will be obedient, some virtuous, and some bad.  Now, this correct, but it does not necessarily follow from this statement that a given bad man is bad without fail, nor that a given virtuous man is virtuous without fail. Rather, whoever is bad I so by his own choice. If he wishes to be virtuous, he can be so; there is nothing preventing him.  Similarly, if any virtuous man wishes to, he can be bad; there is nothing preventing him.  The prediction is not about a particular individual, so that he could say: “It has been preordained for me.”  Rather, it is stated in a general way, and each individual remains able to exercise his choice upon his original inborn disposition.  Similarly, if any individual Egyptian who oppressed them and treated them unjustly had not wanted to oppress them, he had choice about that; for it was not preordained that a given individual would oppress them.  EWM 88-9

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