9The word 'ish' (איש) literally means;'man' in Hebrew. However, the context and grammar of the text lead commentators to define this 'man' further. Ibn Ezra applies a rational interpretation, while Rashi applies a midrashic (supernatural) approach. Both must read things into the text to make their approaches fit smoothly. Both approaches are valid, both have strengths and weaknesses.
Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra (1089–c.1167) Spain, was one of the most distinguished Jewish Biblical commentators and philosophers of the Middle Ages.
Shlomo Yitzchaki (Hebrew: רבי שלמה יצחקי) 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105, today generally known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: רש"י, RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki), was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh. Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginner students, and his works remain a centerpiece of contemporary Jewish study.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Ibn Ezra's definition of 'ish'? Rashi's?
Which approach to this text appeals to you more? Why?