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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tzadikim who left during Elul

Tzadikim who left during Elul: "Isaac was the author of 518 responsa, to which great halakic value is attached by men like Joseph Caro, Jacob Berab, and many others. They are also of great historical importance as reflecting the conditions of Jewish life in the fourteenth century. In some of them are to be found details of the author's life; but unfortunately it is impossible to trace these chronologically, the original order of the responsa having been altered by the editors.

Although Isaac was very strict in his halakic decisions, he was far from being narrow-minded. He has nothing to say against secular knowledge; he disapproves the study of Aristotle only because the latter professed belief in the eternity of matter and denied God's providence. Isaac's responsa evidence a profound knowledge of the philosophical writings of his time. In one of them (No. 118) He explains the difference between the opinion of Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag) and that of Abraham ben David of Posquières (RABaD) on free will, and gives his own views on that complicated subject. His attitude to kabbalah was ambivalent. He advised against involving oneself with it unless one has received it from an adept; since he had not done so, he wrote, he could not address its claims."

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