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Rav Saadiah Gaon: God's Foreknowledge Print E-mail

Rav SaadiahThe 26th of Iyar is, according to some records,  the Yahrtzeit of Rav Saadyah ben Yosef Gaon(882-942). Born in Fayum (the former name of Cairo), Egypt, he led an all-out war against the Karaites when he was just 23, criticizing their theories with articulately advanced arguments. In 915, he moved from Egypt to Teveria to further his studies. However, the yeshiva of Sura in Babylonia invited him there. Six years later, in 928, he was appointed Gaon of the yeshiva. Two years later, a rift between him and the Reish Galusa – Dovid ben Zakai – over a beis din decision prompted Rav Saadyah’s move to Baghdad. He returned 7 years thereafter, having mended the relationship. His most famous written work is Ha’Emunos veHaDeyos, the first Jewish philosophy book, originally written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Rav Yehuda ibn Tibbon. His translation of the Chumash into Arabic is used by Yemenite Jews to this day. 

The seventh problem is that presented by the declaration of God, praise be His, to Hezekiah: “For you shall die and not live,” (Isaiah 38:1) and His statement to him afterwards: “Behold, I will add unto your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5) But this, too, did not constitute an abrogation, for God may issue a command to threaten or reprimand a human being, and if the latter pays attention to it, and permits himself to be reprimanded, the threat is removed from him, as we know from the story of the inhabitants of Nineveh and the case of every submissive penitent.
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