Abarbanel's Commentary Released In Spanish

, | updated: 14:27

For the first time, a selection of commentaries on the weekly Torah portion by the medieval rabbinical scholar Don Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508) has been published in Spanish for the first time.

Las Preguntas de Abarbanel: Seleccion de Comentarios sobre la Tora (Questions of the Abarbanel: A Selection of Commentaries on the Torah), was released this week by the Jerusalem-based Amishav organization, which assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. The book was written by Abraham Renner, a Torah scholar from Mexico City.

"There is a growing thirst for Jewish texts throughout the Spanish-speaking world," Amishav Director Michael Freund said, adding, "Since the Abarbanel was a towering figure among medieval Spanish Jewry, it only seemed fitting to make his work available to a Spanish-speaking audience."

The book is structured in a question and answer format, and contains dozens of insights on the weekly Torah readings, as well as on the major Jewish festivals. The material was culled from the Abarbanel's commentary on the Five Books of Moses, and is presented in a clear and accessible style that aims to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

Abarbanel was one of the leading Jewish personalities of the Middle Ages. Among his many works, he composed a number of philosophical discourses and treatises on prophecy and the Messianic era, as well as a commentary on the Prophets. In addition to his vast Talmudic erudition, he served as treasurer to King Alfonso V of Portugal, and later as an adviser to Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. After the latter decided to expel the Jews from Spain in 1492, Abarbanel tried to have the decree overturned, but his efforts were unsuccessful. He left Spain and went on to serve as an adviser to Ferrante I, king of Naples, before passing away in Venice in 1508.