Ramban 1194-1270, born Girona, Catalonia and dies in Israel
Ramban's commentary on the Torah (five books of Moses) was his last work, and his most well known. He frequently cites and critiques Rashi's commentary, and provides alternative interpretations where he disagrees with Rashi's interpretation. He was prompted to record his commentary by three motives:
- to satisfy the minds of students of the Law and stimulate their interest by a critical examination of the text;
- to justify the ways of God and discover the hidden meanings of the words of Scripture, "for in the Torah are hidden every wonder and every mystery, and in her treasures is sealed every beauty of wisdom";
- to soothe the minds of the students by simple explanations and pleasant words when they read the appointed sections of the Pentateuch on Sabbaths and festivals.
Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin, Netziv, 1816 Mir - 1893, Poland
The Netziv was the rosh yeshiva of Volozhin, he was a traditionalist in his approach to Torah, unlike that of his colleagues from the Soloveitchik dynasty. He was a Zionist, in the religious sense of the word, encouraging his students to settle the land of Israel.
Rabbi Ovadia Seforno - 1470-1550, Italy
After studying traditional rabbinics in his hometown, R. Ovadyah moved to Rome to study medicine and other fields. Seforno was an expert in Hebrew grammar who was once commissioned to compose a book of Hebrew grammar, and to translate it to Latin. He became an important Halakhic authority who sent responsa to communities throughout Italy.
Rabeinu Bachya - 1255 Spain - 1340, Kever Rachel
The Ramban looks at Sefer Devarim as the following
- A repitition of all the laws already given in the Torah
- A book that strengthen's the Jewish people's connection to Hashem and the laws already given. He notes explicitly that the admonitions given in Sefer Devarim are specifaclly geared to the regular tribes, and not the Cohanim.
HaEmek Davar diagrees with the Ramban's undrstanding of the book of Devarim, he thinks we aren't doubling up on the halachot rather learning new areas of halachot.