Question:

Please see Ibn Ezra to Bereishis 42:1. Is he saying seeing, hearing and smelling are all the same thing and the Torah chooses which verb to use arbitrarily? What do other Meforshim say about this?

Answer:

What Ibn Ezra means is that since all three of these senses are in the head, meaning that they refer to a type of understanding, therefore they are sometimes interchanged.

For example when people talk sometimes they will say “I understand what you are saying, or ” I see what you are saying” or I hear what you are saying”. These can be different types or levels of understanding. Such as when something is very intellectual you say you understand it, when you accept what the person tells you, one might say I hear what you are saying, and sometimes he will feel what the person is saying and say, I see what you are saying. 

See Targum Yonason Ben Uziel says that Yackov saw that people bought food in Egypt, obviously he understood seeing here as literal sight.

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