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DID THE PATRIARCHS KEEP THE TORAH?

November 27th, 2019

One of the most intriguing puzzles of the Jewish faith is understanding the “Judaism” or otherwise of the founding patriarchs of the Jewish nation — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The foundation of the Jewish faith is based on the observance of 613 mitzvot and all of the associated laws and customs. The axiom of Judaism is that without mitzvot our faith is meaningless, bereft of any practical application.

But the Torah and all its commandments were given long after the founding fathers of Judaism had lived and died. So how did these giants of our nation’s genesis express their faith, and how are we to relate to their religious expression?

Rabbi Dunner explores this vexed topic, traversing all the sources — from the very confounding Talmudic literalism that bases itself on a verse from Parshat Toldot, to the rather less literal interpretations of patriarchal Torah observance as proposed by Ramban and others, who struggle to reconcile the Talmudic and Midrashic versions with rational historical interpretations.

A fascinating topic explored with great sensitivity and scholarship.

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