Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The concept of the actions of the forebears being an indication of their descendants' actions is referred to by many commentators and midrashim, including the famous Ramba"n on B'reshis 12.

What is the idea intended by this rule? On one hand it seems to be a matter of information - i.e. that we know about the things our predecessors did and can observe that our actions and circumstances are similar to theirs and possibly even compare the two. On the other hand it could be used as a guide - i.e. the implicit instruction to do the same things they did.

In either case, is this idea limited to the avos per se, or does it mean all earlier people?

share|improve this question

I'm only familiar with the Ramban's idea. In those cases, the future action is in Hashem's plan (gezeirah), but, for some mystical reason, needs a physical activation to become realized.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.