Interesting quotes by Abraham Ibn Ezra
“Wisdom is to the soul as food is to the body.”
“There is none more lonely than the man who loves only himself.”
A brief biography of Abraham Ibn Ezra
Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, also knows as Abenezra, was born circa 1089-1092 in Tudela, Taifa of Zaragoza, in northern Spain. He was one of the most influential and distinguished Jewish philosophers and biblical commentators of the Middle Ages.
Little is known about Abraham’s family and early life, however he wrote that he was married and had five children. His youngest son, Isaac, became an influential poet and converted to Islam, which troubled Abraham and led to numerous poems reflecting upon it. Ezra was a close friend of Judah Halevi, a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. The two were thick as thieves and travelled together util Halevi’s death in 1137. Abraham continued to travel on his own, made it as far as Baghdad, and began to write secular poetry about the lands he visited, as well as the commentaries on the Torah he is most famous for.
The majority of Abraham Ibn Ezra’s work was created after 1140. His earlier works were heavily influenced by the Arab scholars he studied about in Spain, though they were penned in Hebrew. Many of his writings were started in Italy where he translated the grammatical works of Judah ben David Hayyuj into Hebrew from the original Arabic and began to publish them. At this time he also began to publish his religious commentaries which he did over the next decade. He also published various scientific works in Hebrew, thus continuing his mission to educate and enlighten Jewish people in the lands he visited. While in France, Abraham, also published various works on astrology.
Ezra was considered by some to be a rationalist, as his commentaries often focused on the literal meaning of the words in biblical texts instead of allegory or the interpretations of Kabbalistic mysticism. He also pointed out the inconsistencies he found in the texts. Abraham Ibn Ezra is also one of the first scholars known to have published commentaries about the division of the Book of Isaiah into at least two distinct parts, stating that they reference different time periods.
Abraham Ibn Ezra died circa 1164-1167. Writing such a variety of works of poetry, religion, science, mathematics and astronomy, he remains a fascinating historical figure who helped shaped the way many people view the world and interpret religion and other topics. The Abenezra crater on the Moon was even named in honor of him.