Two fundamental questions posed by a classical biblical commentator.
In Dr. Alexander Klein ‘s 2003 essay on Parashat Balak, “Magic and Miracles, Donkeys and Angels” on behalf of the Bar Ilan Parashat HaShavua series, among the issues that he discusses are two of Abrabanel’s many questions on the Parasha:
(Abrabanel structures his Tora commentary by first listing a long series of questions and only afterwards, proceeds to address them, one by one in the order that they were raised. As opposed to other biblical commentators where one has to play a form of the quiz show Jeopardy, by extrapolating from their insights what exactly was the issue(s) that precipitated their comment, in the case of Abrabanel, he spells out his questions prior to interpreting the verses. Although such a system allows for appreciating the orderliness and logic of his mind, students sometimes skip the questions in order to proceed straightaway to the answers out of impatience to get to the “point.” However, in the interests of developing a personal learning approach, considering such questions when articulated by the commentator himself is a valuable resource. “Wags” have said that one should be careful on Friday evening, when ordinarily after a heavy Shabbat meal, one is inordinately sleeply, not to dwell on Abrabanel’s lengthy questions, since he might fall asleep and never get to the answers!!)