This Spanish Bible commentator earned a place alongside Rashi.
The old puzzle of why the Torah, in the creation narrative, uses the plural: 'Let us make man' (Genesis 1:26), Nahmanides solves by postulating that God is inviting the whole of creation to take part in the formation of man. Man has a body created out of the dust of the earth but he also has a soul from the heavenly realms. The soul spurs on man to acquire wisdom and perfection.
In his comment on the command to be holy (Leviticus 19:2), Nahmanides understands this to mean that, in his pursuit of holiness, a man has not only to avoid the illicit but, as the Talmudic Rabbis say, he must also sanctify himself by a degree of separation even from things permitted; otherwise he could become, in Nahmanides' powerful phrase, 'a scoundrel with the full permission of the Torah.'
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