Judaism is peculiar from any other nation
in the world, in that it revolves solely around it's religious faith. It didn't
start as a group of people gathering in some geographical place developing there
for a long pertiod of time a culture, language etc, which eventually turned it
to a nation. Judaism, otoh, turned to be a nation in a desert, 3318 years ago,
6 Sivan, on a Shabbat morning.
It's faith is also completely
diferent from all other faiths in the world, in that it's a practical comprehensive
system encompassing all of existence to the last tiniest detail of life.
start then our little journey of investigating the nature of the Torah's claim
about the Sinai reveletaion, with the fundamental teaching about the place of
this event as the core of Judaism, found in the Rambam's immortal words:
(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Foundations
of Torah 8:1-2)
"The Israelites didn't believe in Moses
our Teacher because of the miracles he performed. For the one who believes due
to miracles - his heart is blemished, for a miracle could be done by magic. But,
all the miracles he [Moses] did in the desert, were for some need, not as evidence
to his prophecy...we needed food - he ascended the manna...and likewise all the
What then was the cause for their belief in him? The reveletaion
on Mt. Sinai. Because our own eyes saw, not others; and our own ears heard, not
others: the fire and the sounds and the torches. And he [Moses] approached the
fog, and the Voice speaks to him; and we hear: Moses, Moses, go and tell them
such and such.
That's what the Torah says, 'Face to face, G-d spoke with
you in the mountain from the fire' And it is written (Deuteronomy 5:3): 'G-d
did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us - who are all here alive
The Torah tells that little more than 600,000
Jewish males from the age of 20-60 witnessed the revelation in Sinai. That makes
it at least 3 million people altogether, probably more. There was no Torah in
the world prior to this revelation.
That's the basic claim.
the moment of its given, the Torah is a ducument that was studied incessantly,
by all Jews, all over the world. That's a historical fact.
return for a moment to George washington as an example. He was born in a given
moment. He wasn't in the world prior to his birth. Since then his existence was
recorded in memories, writings etc.
Now, it's much easier
to refute his existence than to claim the revelation in Sinai didn't occur.
following point is actually very simple, but for some reason people tend to ignore
or misapprehend this simple fact. So please pay good attention to this:
all human history there is no other claim such as the Jewish one. Namely, that
G-d gave the Torah to a whole nation. That's an empirical historical observation.
Very simple. Because it's impossible to fabricate such a claim.
can appear one morning on a public broadcast and claim god revealed himself to
him last night. So what. So he says. But no one can appear one shiny morning and
claim that G-d revealed himself to more than 3 million identifiable people. Because
all those millions will have to corroborate his claim.
the reason all other religions who claim a Divine revelation confine it to one
person (Muhamed) or to a person plus very few disciples (like the xians).
is no way one can introduce to a whole nation at one single morning a story of
Divine reveletaion, show its content, and on top of it this content obliges people
to change their whole pattern of life in accordance with the 613 commandments
which define to the last detaile every part of their lives.
point. Not withstanding various sorts of academic speculations, there is no historical
evidence that the Torah text was developed throughout the ages. All historical
eveidence that exists in the world is one and unchallengeable: the Torah was given
in Shabat morning of a certain day in a certain year. Since this day, all Jews,
all over the world abide to the same way of life.
itself of the Torah consists of 304,850 letters. All Torah Books all over the
world have exactly the same text (with only one significant letter variation in
Yemenite tradition due to them being seperated for thousnads years from the main
body of Judaism. (One letter))
There is no
such phenomenon in any other text in the world. You shall not find a Shakspear
play which the wording is exactly the same in all editions all over the world.
Neither a religious text.
We'll inspect this Torah claim.
Important however to remember what is the point we are dealing with:
very nature of the story about the Sinai revelation turns it to be irrefutable.
classic argument about the irrefutability of the Torah claim about the veracity
of the Sinai revelation, is done by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, in his "Kuzari" (about
1,000 years ago).
Since this book is not available by secular
Jews and non Jews, here is how a modern observant Jew explains it:
are people who believe that the revelation at Sinai occurred. I'm not going to
assume that because people believed it that it must have occurred. That is called
"begging the question." However, it is a fact that there are people who believe
Now they believe it because the previous generation taught it
to them. Likewise, that generation believes it because the previous generation
taught it to them. So you have a chain of generations of believers going back
in time. That is a fact. The question then is, how did the chain get started?
Who were the first believers? How did they arrive at their belief?
oversimplifying, this is only the outline: There are two broad possibilities.
One: the event at Sinai took place and people witnessed it, and that caused their
Or two: the event did not take place. If the event did not take place,
then someone invented the story and convinced the people to believe it.
The Kuzari's argument proceeds by investigating the second alternative, that the
event didn't happen, that the story was made up and was sold. The argument shows
that the second alternative is not credible. It is not credible to believe that
the story was made up and then sold. If you can defeat the second alternative,
that leaves only the first alternative, that it happened and was witnessed. That
is the structure of the argument.
From: Living Up to the Truth
VI - Revelation and Miracles - the Kuzari Principle
A booklet by Rabbi
Dr. Dovid Gottlieb.
visit it here
The Torah states:
Moses told the
Israelites:) Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you
forget the things that your eyes have beheld. Do not remove this memory from your
heart all the days of your life. Teach your children and your children's children
about the day that you stood before Hashem your G-d at Chorev (Sinai)...
So you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain. The mountain was
burning with a fire reaching the heart of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and mist.
G-d spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the sound of words,
but you were not seeing a form, only a sound. He told you of His covenant, instructing
you to keep the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets.
A precise claim is being made here: That
an entire nation - more than three million men, women and children who came out
of Egypt - heard G-d speaking at Mount Sinai, saying, "I am Hashem your G-d."
make the matter clear - and by "clear" I mean that at least the nature of the
argument will be understood - let's examine how too people deal with is, stage
by stage. The reason for using this method is so that the argument is well understtod.
Because soemtimes it helps when the same matter is explained in different words
and with different examples. I'll excerpt central points the two make.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons starts with the point:
You can't formulate
a lie based on someone else's experience
you want a revelation to be accepted by everyone, it's obvious that you would
come to all the people, rather than to one person. That's clearly the most effective
way to avoid any doubt. Why? Because I can make up stories about myself - and
if you like me or trust me, you could choose to believe me. But if I make up a
story and say it happened to you, then there's no way you'll believe me unless
it really happened.
It's obvious that you can't get away with
a lie on the basis of someone else's experience.
So if you're
going to start a religion and you want to make sure everyone's going to accept
it, the intelligent choice is to tell everyone, not just one person.
it is true, then everyone... will know it at the deepest level of knowledge, since
everybody in the group was actually there. There will obviously be no need to
present any additional evidence to anyone of that generation.
the next generation will know that the event occurred, both because their own
parents who were direct eyewitnesses told them, and because everyone else in the
nation is either a direct eyewitness or the offspring of a direct eyewitness.
evaluating the relative strengths of various types of historical claims, the key
number to keep in mind is not the number of people who at some later date came
to accept this claim as true. Rather, the significant factor is the number of
people it is claimed were direct participants or eyewitnesses."
Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith expounds it thus:
"The Torah claims that
the entire Jewish nation heard G-d speak at Sinai, an assertion that has been
accepted as part of their nation's history for over 3,000 years.
claim of national revelation, as opposed to individual revelation, is the central
defining event that makes Judaism different than every other religion in the world.
History is comprised of events we know actually happened. It is reliable because
we can determine if the claimed event is true or false through a number of ways.
One key to verification is the assertion that large numbers of eyewitnesses observed
the specific event.
Why is the number of claimed original
witnesses a principal determining factor in making historical accounts reliable?
The nature of the claim itself can often determine its degree of believability.
the level of credibility of the following scenarios. Some claims are inherently
unverifiable. For example, would you believe me if I told you the following:
theory this could have happened. It doesn't seem likely, but you don't know I'm
lying. Would you choose to believe me? Without any substantiating evidence, why
choose to believe me? A foolish move, indeed.
after dinner, I went for a walk through the forest near my house. Suddenly everything
was awash in a tremendous light and God appeared to me, designating me as His
prophet. He told me to announce this revelation to you at this time." Believable?
you believe me if I told you the following:
night while I was eating dinner with my family, the room started to suddenly shake
and God's booming voice was heard by all of us. He designated me as His prophet
and commanded me to announce this revelation."
could have happened too. If I were to bring in my family to confirm the story
it would be more believable than the first story. You certainly don't know if
Would you believe me? Would you fork over $10,000 dollars if I
told you God commanded you to do so?
No way. There is still not enough evidence
to trust my claim -- because it is very possible that my family is lying.
There is another type of claim that you can know is false.
For example, would you believe me if I told you this:
you remember what happened 10 minutes ago just as you began reading this article?
Remember how the room started shaking, then the ceiling opened up to the skies,
and you and I together heard G-d's booming voice come down and say 'Thou shalt
hearken to the voice of Nechemia Coopersmith for he is my prophet!' And then the
room went back to normal and you continued reading. You remember that, don't you?"
This kind of claim is completely different.
The two previous scenarios at least had the possibility of being true. You chose
not to accept them because they were unverifiable. However this third scenario
is impossible to believe. I'm claiming something happened to you that you know
did not happen. Since you didn't experience it, you know I'm lying. I cannot convince
you of something that you yourself know didn't happen.
first type of claim -- that something happened to someone else - - is unverifiable,
because you do not know for certain that the claim is a lie. Therefore it is possible
for a person to decide to accept the claim as true if he really wanted to and
take that leap of faith.
However, the other type of claim
-- that something happened to you -- you know if it is inherently false. People
do not accept patently false assertions, especially those that carry significant
Let's imagine the scene. Moses comes down
the mountain and claims, "We all today heard God speak, all of you heard the G-d's
voice from the fire..."
Assuming Moses is making it up, how would the people
respond to his story?
What are you talking about?! Boy, you sure had us going there for awhile. We may
have even believed you if you came down and claimed that G-d appeared to you personally.
But now you blew it! Now we know you're lying because you're claiming an event
happened to us that we know didn't happen! We did not hear G-d speak to us from
If the revelation at Sinai did
not occur, then Moses is claiming an event everyone immediately knows is an outright
lie, since they know that they never heard G-d speak. It is preposterous to think
Moses can get away with a claim that everyone knows is lie."
now how does the possibility that
The Torah was introduced later dealt
Rabbi Shraga Simmons:
"Let's consider the
possibility that the idea of national revelation wasn't started at the time of
Sinai, but at a later point in history, as some Bible critics have claimed. Let's
say the Torah was written by Ezra, for example, 1,000 years after the Sinai experience
was said to have occurred.
Here's the scene: It's the year
400 BCE. A Jewish leader by the name of Ezra goes down to his basement and writes
the Torah, including all the parts about national revelation.
he walks into the synagogue. "Ezra, where have you been?" the people say. "We
haven't seen you for a while."
"I've been in my basement, working on some
"What are you holding there? What is that?"
"It's a Torah."
"What's Torah? We never heard of that before."
"Oh, the Torah is terrific.
A best-seller. It's law, history, stories. Take a look, you'll love it."
us, Ezra," they say, leading to the big question. "This wonderful book - where'd
you get it?"
"Where'd I get it?! It says right here in the book: 'A thousand
years ago, the entire Jewish nation stood at Mount Sinai and heard G- d speak
The people look at Ezra and say, "That's a very strange story.
Why haven't we heard of this before?"
"Well, of course, it was a long time
"Well, wouldn't someone have at least mentioned it over the years? Maybe
Grandpa or Great-Grandpa? Wouldn't a story as momentous as this have gotten passed
"Well... umm... people forget things, you know."
"G-d spoke to
three million people and everybody forgot about it?!"
"Yah, I guess that's
One problem. The Torah itself clearly states in Deuteronomy,
"This song shall testify for them like a witness,
because lo yamushu mipicha - it will never be forgotten by the mouths of their
So they look at Ezra
and say, "Come on now. This sounds like a Jackie Mason routine. 'Where'd you get
the Torah from?' 'We got it at Sinai a thousand years ago.' 'How come we don't
know about it?' 'You forgot about it.' 'What does it say in the Torah?' 'You'll
never forget it!'"
At no time in Jewish history would it have
been possible to perpetrate a fabrication. It's obvious that the Author put this
verse in to preempt such a supposition."
Now, let's watch how
is this point said in the words of
Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith:
assume for the moment that the revelation at Mount Sinai is really a hoax; G-d
did not write the Torah. How did the revelation at Sinai become accepted for thousands
of years as part of our nation's history?
If one cannot pull
off a hoax with regard to a continent sinking, so too one cannot pull off a hoax
to convince an entire people that their ancestors experienced the most unique
event in all of human history.
Everyone would know it's a lie.
thousands of years, Sinai was accepted as central to Jewish history. How else
can this be explained?
Given that people will not fall for a
hoax they know is a lie, how could national revelation have been not only accepted
-- but faithfully followed with great sacrifice by the vast majority of Jews?
only way a people would accept such a claim is if it really happened. If Sinai
did not happen, everyone would know it's a lie and it would never have been accepted.
The only way one can ever claim a nation experienced revelation and have it accepted
is if it is true."
Here is more on this point from
Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith
"Perhaps a hoax such as this could have been attempted at a later period in history.
Perhaps the claim of national revelation did not originate at Sinai, but began,
for example, 1,000 years after the event was said to have occurred. Perhaps the
leader Ezra, for example, appears on the scene, introducing a book purported to
be written by G-d and given to a people who stood at Sinai a long time ago.
Could someone get away with this kind of hoax? For example, would you believe
"I want to
let you in on a very little-known, but true fact. In 1794 over 200 years ago,
from May until August, the entire continent of North America mysteriously sank
under the sea. For those four months, the whole continent was submerged and somehow
all animal, plant and human life managed to adapt to these bizarre conditions.
Then, on August 31, the entire continent suddenly floated up to the surface and
life resumed to normal."
Is there a possibility
that I'm telling the truth? Do you know for a fact that it is a lie? After all,
it happened so long ago, how do you know it didn't happen? Maybe you learned about
in school and just forgot about it.
You know North America did
not sink hundreds of years ago for one simple reason: If it did, you would have
heard about it. An event so unique and amazing, witnessed by multitudes of people
would have been known, discussed, and passed down, becoming a part of history.
The fact that no one has heard of it up until now means you know the story is
not true, making it impossible to accept.
An event of great
significance with a large number of eyewitnesses cannot be perpetuated as a hoax.
If it did not happen, everyone would realize it is false since no one ever heard
about it before. Thus, if such an event was indeed accepted as part of history,
the only way to understand its acceptance is that the event actually happened."
Rabbi Shraga Simmons dwells on the question:
Why don't other nations and/or religions make the claim of a national reveletaion?
"Of the 15,000 known religions in recorded human history, how many stake the foundation
of their belief on the idea that G-d spoke to their entire nation?
Isn't that strange? If a national revelation is the best way to
go, why has no other nation ever tried it?
The answer is
that this is one lie you can never get away with. Human events fall into two basic
categories: legend and history. Legend - though it may be true - is unverifiable,
due to a lack of eyewitnesses. History, on the other hand, is verifiable because
of many witnesses.
Let's take George Washington as an example.
The fact that George "chopped down the cherry tree" is legend - it may or may
not be true, but we'll never know. Though the fact that George Washington was
the first president of the United States is verifiable historical fact. Why? Because
there were many eyewitnesses.
Now let's apply this to religion.
someone claims "G-d spoke to me," then other people have a choice to believe the
claim or not. Some people will choose to believe the claim - and from there could
start a whole new religion.
But if someone claims that "G-d spoke to all of
you," he'll never get away with that if it didn't really happen. Because if an
event never happened to someone, you surely cannot convince him that it happened
And that's exactly why no other religion in history has ever made
the claim of national revelation."
And that's how Rabbi Nechemia
Coopersmith explains this point:
tens of thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to
convince people that God spoke to him or her. All religions that base themselves
on some type of revelation share essentially the same beginning: a holy person
goes into solitude, comes back to his people, and announces that he has experienced
a personal revelation where God appointed him to be His prophet.
you believe someone who claims to have received a personal communication from
G-d appointing him or her as G-d's new prophet? Maybe He did. Then again, maybe
He didn't. One can never know. The claim is inherently unverifiable.
is the only religion in the annals of history that makes the best of all claims
-- that everyone heard G-d speak. No other religion claims the experience of national
revelation. Why? There is one simple answer.
revelation -- as opposed to personal revelation -- is the one lie you cannot get
away with. It is one event you cannot fabricate. The only way to make this claim
is if it actually happened.
Therefore no other religion
has ever made the best of all claims, because it is the one claim that can only
be made if it is true. One cannot pass national revelation off as a hoax.
Judaism can claim national revelation since the Jewish people is the only nation
in the history of mankind who ever experienced it.
it is interesting to note that the other major religions of the world both accept
the Jewish revelation at Sinai, including the Five Books of Moses in their Bible,
and hold the Sinai revelation as a key component of their religion.
their own religions, why did they build upon the Jewish claim? Why didn't they
just deny the revelation ever happened?
The answer is that
they knew that if national revelation can never be fabricated; so too, its validity
can therefore never be denied. Now it is understandable how the Author of the
Torah can confidently predict that there will never be another claim of national
revelation in history.
inquire about times long past, from the day that G-d created man on earth, and
from one end of heaven to the other: Has there ever been anything like this great
thing or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of
G-d speaking from the midst of the fires as you have heard and survived?'
And that's Rabbi Shraga Simmons' words concerning
those verses, namely:
inquire about times long past, from the day that G-d created man on earth, [exploring]
one end of heaven to the other. Has there ever been anything like this great thing
or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of G-d speaking
from the midst of the fires as you have heard, and survived?"
"The Torah goes out on a limb and declares that nobody else
will ever even attempt such a claim of national revelation! How could the author
know such a thing?!
Furthermore, let us assume the Torah was
written by a human author, who was forging the document, claiming to be G-d. Why
predict that no other nation would make the claim of national revelation? He himself
knows it's the best claim, and if he could fabricate it, why wouldn't he expect
others to do the same?
Understand what we are saying here. The
Author of the Torah would need foreknowledge of all of world history in order
to make the claim that none of the other 15,000 religions would ever claim national
How could the Author know that?
Because you can't
formulate a lie based on someone else's experience. And that's why no other nation
will ever make the claim of National Revelation.
it is interesting to note that the other major religions of the world - Christianity
and Islam - both accept the Jewish revelation at Sinai. They both include the
Five Books of Moses in their Bible, and hold the Sinai revelation as a key component
of their religion.
Why, when starting their own religions, did
they build upon the Jewish claim? Why didn't they just deny the revelation ever
The answer is that they knew that if national revelation
can never be fabricated; so too, it's validity can therefore never be denied.
revelation at Sinai is the foundation of Jewish evidence to know that the Torah
is true. It is what sets Judaism apart from the claims of every other religion.
It is what makes Judaism's claim a logical one (since it makes sense for G-d to
have revealed His instructions in this manner), and it is what gives only Judaism
the possibility of historical verifiability. This has been the basis of Jewish
loyalty to the Torah for the past 3,300 years."
basis of the Jewish faith
At this point, before
advancing with our investigation of the Torah's claim about the authenticity of
the Sinai Reveletaion, and proving its irrefutability, let's read again the Rambam's
so fundamental teaching:
(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Foundations of Torah 8:1-2)
didn't believe in Moses our Teacher because of the miracles he performed. For
the one who believes due to miracles - his heart is blemished, for a miracle could
be done by magic. But, all the miracles he [Moses] did in the desert, were for
some need, not as evidence to his prophecy...we needed food - he ascended the
manna...and likewise all the miracles.
What then was
the cause for their belief in him? The reveletaion on Mt. Sinai. Because our own
eyes saw, not others; and our own ears heard, not others: the fire and the sounds
and the torches. And he [Moses] approached the fog, and the Voice speaks to him;
and we hear: Moses, Moses, go and tell them such and such.
That's what the
Torah says, 'Face to face, G-d spoke with you in the mountain from the fire'
And it is written (Deuteronomy 5:3): "G-d did not make this covenant with our
fathers, but with us - who are all here alive today."
of the both above authors could be read in full:
G-d speak at Mt. Sinai?
by: Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith
Rabbi Shraga Simmons'
Knowledge, not Opinion!
The most difficult part for a Western person when confronting a rational approach
to the subject of the Sinai revelation, is the fact he is trained to relate to
in the stereotype slogans of Western secularism, which in turn are a responce
to Christian theology.
Judaism however is totally different from Christianity,
in that it's based on historical experience and not on theological specualtions.
Here are few excerpts dealing with this aspect, from:
The Basis Of Our Faith
The author of that article answers here the
question: what is the source of the knowledge we gain from the Torah?
responses like "it's a tradition," a "folk myth" are lame excuses, because then
we shall ask... from where did that tradition begin?
an historical event, documented and preserved, the experience of Sinai is not
the product of speculation. The Revelation at Sinai was never questioned by those
who lived through it, and the Law, Written and Oral were never challenged at the
time of its granting. Had they been a forgery, surely there would have been an
outcry from at least a segment of that over three and a half million people who,
reputedly, were there and who supposedly witnessed and experienced that majestic
moment, and who were concurrently given that document describing the purported
After looking at it they would have screamed: "It's a
lie. We never experienced what is written in it!..." and it would never have been
able to survive a transmission down the generations.
they scream, why didn't they protest? They didn't scream nor protest because there
was no need to. What happened was true, and both the written and Oral Laws were
part of that drama and traditions that emanated from the Revelation at Sinai.
the Written or the Oral Law be reduced to opinion, then, when millions of people
corroborated each other with no protest? Can we attribute our current acceptance
of the Oral Law as opinion, when the practices of Jews, spread over the entire
world have a commonality, despite the wide separation in time and distance...
and the precision with which that ancient document has been preserved to this
...Judaism, rooted in an historical experience, cannot
tolerate the attempt to reduce its view as "one opinion." Only those who choose
not to be linked to the past delegate to themselves the right to create their
own past and strive to embellish it with legitimacy by reducing the basis of Torah,
the experience at Sinai, to an opinion.
Knowledge differs from
opinion, in that knowledge is an awareness of information, facts, of an experience.
Opinion is the product of the thought process that produces an evaluation, a "shikul
hada'at", based on that knowledge.
To maintain an opinion without
the raw material, the basic information, is to spout nonsense... Judaism is rooted
in the history, experience and the precise preservation of the record of our past,
and is supported by the network of the commonality of that knowledge through the
annals of time, space and the continued survival of the subject of that document,
the Jewish people.
The view of... Judaism is not opinion; it's
If one is willing to extract himself
off the narrow box of prejudicial stereotyped lazy thinking, and pay real attention
to the material I forwarded so far in this subject, stressing the irrefutability
of the Torah's claim about the Sinai revelation - he'll no doubt notice that we
are dealing here with an historical event, which its veracity answers all criteria
we base our lives on, in order to take the responsible decisions about our actions.
is an excerpt from:
The Basis Of Our Faith
Part 7. What constitues proof?
"When [one] objects with the argument: "I do not accept the proof or the proofs
you use. That people did not object to things that were written down? Maybe they
did and lost the shouting match", he ignores such fundamental operations of society
upon which our lives proceed.
Now if one has any doubts
as to the efficacy of such type of evidence as the basis for our faith...based
on a collective national experience...then let me note that our legal system here
in the United States and presumably in many countries functions on these laws
of evidence, recognizes their validity and accepts them as evidence in courts
of law. The force of these testimonies can even affect life and death.
the New Jersey Rules of Evidence, as in most jurisdictions, I presume, hearsay
is not admissable in court as evidence. Hearsay is defined as "a statement, other
than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered
in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted." This means that if I were
to testify in court that Sam told me that Joe borrowed $100 from Dave, my statement
may be acceptable in court as evidence, but not Sam's, which was made out of court.
concept impacts on the question of the basis of our emunah, too. The statement
of our fathers who told us something that they heard from their fathers would
fall into the category of hearsay.
But there are notable exceptions to the
rules of hearsay:
Adoptive Admissions: "A
statement is admissable against a party under the terms of these subsections if
that party, with knowledge of the contents of the statement, has by words or other
conduct, manifested his adoption of it or his belief in its truth."
a charge is made against me and I am aware of the contents of that charge, and
have demonstrated by action or by silence that I accept that charge... such a
charge is admissable as testimony against me. The rationale lies in basic human
nature... that no sane man will remain silent when charged with a lie. He will
protest! Therein lies the basis of the hallachic principle of "meacha'ah" -- protest.
The chapter of Cheszkas Habatim, in Messecshet Bava Batra, dealing with real estate
is predicated on the principle of protest against squatters.
power of protest is innate in human nature and serves as a foundation of law.
Family records. "Statements of fact concerning
a personal or family history contained in family Bibles, geneologies, charts,
engravings or rings, inscriptions on family portraits, engravings on urns, crypts,
or tombstones, or the like."
What more potent family history
record is there than a Torah that remained intact with every group of Jews throughout
every corner of the world, even among Yemenite Jews whose contact with the mainstream
of the Jewish body was severed for over 2500 years? We and they have the same
text of the "family record," the Torah. We and they both know the Laws of Sh'chita,
the laws of Succa and the definition of what is an Etrog, which are strictly the
This type of evidence is acceptable in our contemporary
courts of law because the evidence is based on universally accepted records. So,
too, no Jews ever denied that the events described in the Torah occurred; Christians
never denied them. Muslems have never denied them; they claim their origin from
Abraham. To deny the value of such evidence is to ignore the nature of man.
- "Statements in ancient documents. Statements in a document in existence
30 years or more whose authenticity is established."
reasonable to believe, and accepted by the courts that a person will not be motivated
30 years back to act with an intent to affect an event 30 years into the future.
It is assumed then, that the statements in the documents were made without prejudice
to the future. How much truer is that for statements in documents thousands of
"Marriage, baptismal, and similar
certificates... statements of fact contained in a certificate that the maker performed
a marriage or other ceremony... made by a clergyman, public official or other
person authorized by the rules or practices of a religious organization... and
purported to have been issued AT THE TIME OF THE ACT OR WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME
Again we rely on the authenticity and the renown
of the performer of the deed. The religious order exists, the performer of the
marriage was widely known... and the deed, the record was issued at the time of
the event. This testimony is valid for acceptance in a court of law.
The exodus from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the voice of Hashem at Sinai,
the granting of the Decalogue, the miraculous trek through the desert... all described
in the document of the Torah, and given by the accepted leader Moses... are authentic
evidences of their occurrences.
They are so, because built
into human nature is the propensity to PROTEST if it were a lie... or a myth!
This document would not have survived a generation of transmittal. It would have
died an early death like Homer's Oddessy.
acceptance by at least 3 million people at the time of its occurrence without
protest... its survival from generation to generation intact, and the continued
survival and renaissance of the subject of that record, we Jews, is adequate valid
testimony for the basis of our emunah.
I think those who
reject this approach to the basis of our emunah are boxing themselves into a corner
in their thinking. Their mindsets are focused on philosophical approaches to faith.
That's ok for any other group whose origins never included a national experience.
Ours did, and the Torah constantly reminds us to remember those experiences and
to base our allegiance to Hashem on what He did for us.
a dozen of our original ancestors and 6500 different versions of a Torah were
the sources of those events, we could give credence to their premise. But that
isn't the case. Moses took every precaution for the widest dissemination of the
knowledge of that event... He insisted that each tribe have a copy of the Torah
that he wrote, and one copy remain in the Ark. He commanded that at least once
in seven years ALL Israel gather to hear its public reading... and that it be
read every Sabbath, so that the knowledge of Torah become the common property
of all Israel. What an insurance policy for accuracy!
No other people have
done that! We have adequate "proof" in our national experience as the basis of
The Origin of Judaism
"Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi's "Book of
the Khazar," describes a debate between the Khazar's king and a Jewish sage. The
Jewish sage*s initial message to the king is that Judaism is founded not on hearsay,
but on the firsthand experiences of an entire nation.
a forty-year period in Egypt marked by unprecedented miracles, the nation experienced
numerous instances of irrefutable proof of G-d's existence. G-d provided each
member of the Jewish people with concrete evidence of His existence, and with
a clear understanding of His relationship to us. G-d did not wish to base Judaism
on the unsupported assertion of one individual, or of a small number of individuals,
even if they be the most reliable of holy and wise men.
Ramban explains that G-d's desire was that the Jewish people recognize that the
Exodus could be attributed only to G-d. In keeping with this goal, G-d deliberately
appointed Moses, whose speech lacked eloquence, to represent Him to the public.
By choosing a speech-impaired prophet, G-d shifted the focus of the Jewish people's
attention from Moses to his words. Lacking the ability to convince through pure
force of persuasion, Moses' credibility depended upon the inherent truth of his
The origin of Jewish belief is not shrouded in
mystery or in blind faith. G-d performed authentic miracles (as G-d's detractors,
the Egyptian wizards, eventually admitted) in order to prove to the entire world
the truth of His existence, of His Omnipotence, and of Divine Providence (including
the doctrine of Reward & Punishment).
At Sinai, G-d
reinforced the lessons which the Jews absorbed through the miracles of the Exodus,
for the Jewish nation were to be charged with the task of perpetuating accurate
knowledge of G-d and of his relationship to man and the world. In addition to
this, G-d would instruct the Jewish people to preserve for all generations the
eyewitness accounts of the Exodus and of the Revelation at Sinai.
Jewish sage in Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi's "Book of the Khazar," moves on to an analysis
of the Revelation at Sinai. Since the truth of G-d*s existence, and of His absolute
sovereignty over the world, had already been proven beyond any doubt in Egypt,
what was the purpose of G-d's Revelation at Sinai?
Revelation established beyond doubt two facts that were essential to the foundation
 Divine Origin of Torah: The Sinai Revelation verified the divine
source of G-d's unwavering and inalterable standard of morality.
Role as an Intermediary: Since Moses had played so prominent a role in the events
surrounding the Exodus, there were those who gave credence to the notion that
Moses might have initiated, or added his own ideas to, the founding of Judaism.
alone were not sufficient to prove that G-d, and no one else, was the origin of
Jewish belief and practice. The Sinai Revelation verified Moses' position as nothing
more than a trusted agent (i.e., contributing no input of his own) who transmitted
word to the Jewish people.
The foundations of Judaism have
been established through powerful, large-scale historical events. The Jews who
lived through the events of the Exodus and the subsequent miracles at Sinai were
eyewitnesses to the irrefutable proofs of G-d's absolute sovereignty over the
Chronology of the Sinai Revelation
Speaking about the Sinai revelation it's important to know the account of what
and when happened. The event of Matan (giving of) Torah is mentioned in different
places in the book of Exodus. The chain of events is very difficult to follow,
because, according to Rashi the verses are not arranged chronologically. So, here
it is Matan Torah - according to Rashi: (--)
- On Rosh Chodesh (the first of) Sivan the Jews arrived at Midbar Sinai
(the Sinai Desert). (19:1; cf. Rashi).
- Early the following morning, the
2nd of Sivan, Moshe went up Mount Sinai for the first time. He was instructed
to offer the Jews the opportunity of accepting the Torah, and of becoming a holy
- That same day Moshe descended and assembled the elders
and passed on the message. The entire people responded in unison that whatever
G-d says, they will do. (19:7-8).
- On the morning of the 3rd of Sivan
Moshe again ascended the mountain to bring the people's response to G-d. (19:8;
- On this occasion he is told that G-d will speak to him from
a thick cloud in the presence of the people, which will establish the authenticity
of Moshe's prophecy forever. (19:9).
- Moshe's descent, as well as his
subsequent conversation with the people is not described in the verses, but is
inferred from G-d's response.
The people insist on hearing from G-d directly
- On the 4th of Sivan Moshe returned to the mountain to bring
the people's request to G-d. (The latter half of 19:9). This is the same ascent
mentioned later in Shemot in parshat (Torah portion) Mishpatim, where we learn
that Moshe, Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, and the elders were all to ascend, but only
Moshe was to approach the cloud. (24:1-2; cf. Rashi ad loc.).
this same encounter, G-d informs Moshe that if the people insist on hearing for
themselves, they must purify themselves for three days, the 4th, 5th and 6th,
in order to receive the Torah on the 6th. In addition, Moshe is to instruct the
people how close they may approach the mountain during the revelation, and for
how long the restriction is to last. (19:10-13; cf. Rashi).
- Still on
the 4th of Sivan, Moshe descends, and informs the people of the command to purify
themselves for three days. According to one opinion in the Talmud, Moshe interpreted
the three days as complete days, delaying Matan Torah until the 7th of Sivan.
(19:14- 15; cf. Rashi).
This is the same conversation with the people described
in Mishpatim, when Moshe reminds the people of the seven Noachide laws, and the
laws received at Mara.
The people agree to keep all G-d's commandments.
Moshe writes down all of the Torah from Bereishit (Genesis) until this point.
(24:3-4; cf. Rashi).
- On the 5th of Sivan Moshe builds an altar at the
base of the mountain. Offerings are made. Moshe reads the book he has written
to the people, who respond, "We will do and we will hear". The blood of the sacrifices
is sprinkled on the altar on behalf of the people. (24:4-8; Rashi ad loc. and
cf. Rashi 19:11).
- On the 6th of Sivan, or the 7th according to Rabbi
Yose, Moshe leads the people to the base of the mountain. We are informed, parenthetically,
that during Matan Torah the people are destined to hear only two commandments
directly. As for the others, Moshe will speak and G-d will amplify his voice.
- G-d reveals his throne upon the mountain and summons
Moshe. Moshe is told to warn the people again not to approach the mountain. Moshe
protests that the people have already been warned. G-d tells him that he must
do so nevertheless. Then he is to return to the mountain. Aharon and the first
born, who are the priests at this point, are to approach, each according to his
level. (19:20-24; Rashi).
- Moshe descends and passes on the information.
- Moshe's return to the mountain, together with Aharon, Nadav,
Avihu and the elders, is described in Mishpatim. During Matan Torah, Nadav, Avihu
and the elders gazed inappropriately. Their punishment is postponed until another
occasion, in order not to detract from Matan Torah. (24:9-11; Rashi).
Matan Torah itself, the 10 statements, is in Yisro. All of the 10 were said in
a single word, then G-d returned to explain each individually. (20:1-14; Rashi).
- The people heard the first two explained, but then were overwhelmed and
request that Moshe tell them the rest himself. (20:15-17; Rashi ad loc. and cf.
Rashi 19- 19).
- At this point Moshe enters into the thick cloud, and the
people back off. (20:18).
- This last event is described in detail in Mishpatim.
After Matan Torah, Moshe is commanded to approach G- d, and to remain with him
to receive the stone tablets.
Moshe ascends, accompanied part way by his
disciple, Yehoshua. Aharon and Chur are left in charge. (24:12- 14).
this point six days are mentioned, during which the cloud is present on the mountain,
before Moshe is invited to enter. Rashi brings two opinions: a) These are the
previous six days, the seventh being Matan Torah itself, after which he is invited
to enter the cloud. Or b) These six days begin after Matan Torah, and comprise
the first six days out of the forty. (24:15-18; Rashi).
- This ascent took
place on the 7th of Sivan. (Rashi 32:1). Moshe remains on the mountain for 40
days and nights. (24:18).
- During these 40 days Moshe receives the laws
commanded at the end of Yitro and the bulk of Mishpatim. (20:19-23:33).
end of the 40 days is described in Ki Tiso. When he is finished speaking, G-d
gives Moshe the tablets. (31:18).
- On the 16th of Tammuz the people came
to the mistaken conclusion that Moshe was overdue. The golden calf is made. Aharon
declares a festival to G-d for the next day. (32:1-5; Rashi).
- They get
up early on the morning of the 17 th of Tammuz to worship the calf (32:6).
tells Moshe to descend because of the calf. Moshe descends, casts down the tablets
and breaks them. He grinds up the calf and makes the people drink it. The Levites
are ordered to kill the the idolators. (32:7-29).
- On the 18th of Tammuz
Moshe ascends the mountain to seek atonement for the people. G-d says that from
now on the Shchina (Divine Presence) will not be with them.
the people. Moshe continues to speak with G-d in his tent, which he has moved
out of the camp. (32:30-33:11).
- Moshe pleads that the Shchina should
go with them. G-d agrees. Moshe asks to see G-d's kavod (honor), and G-d agrees.
Moshe is instructed to carve two new tablets, and prepare to return to the mountain
the next morning. (33:12-34:3)
- On Rosh Chodesh Elul Moshe once more ascends
the mountain. He is instructed in the 13 attributes of mercy, and warned that
we must not make covenants with the Canaanites, but we must shatter their altars.
(34:4-17; Rashi does not inform us of the date of the ascent, but he does tell
us that Moshe ultimately descends on Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei (Rashi 34:29),
and we are told that he was on the mountain for 40 days (34:28)).
informs us that during this second period on the mountain the building of the
tabernacle was commanded (Rashi 31:18), but he does not specify at what point.
- From this point on, the verses are in order. Moshe remains on the mountain
for forty days and nights, as he did before. He descends with the second tablets
on Yom Kippur, his face glowing with "rays of splendor". (34:27- 35; Rashi).
Note. I did only a superficial checking of the above and it seems alright. One
however is required to check the verses by himself and see if the author of this
site didn't err.
from: Book of the Kuzari
(Section 1, excerpts from chapters 10-25)
[Before inviting the Jewish sage
to represent to him the foundations of Judaism, the Khazar king had first discussed
the origins of Islam with a Muslim scholar and of Christianity with a Christian
"Khazar king: What is the basis of your religious beliefs?
Jewish sage: We believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who took the Jewish
people out of Egypt through miracles and wondrous deeds. Throughout the next forty
years, during which the Jewish people traveled through a barren wilderness prior
to entering the land of Israel, G-d provided for all their needs. When the Jews
left Egypt, G-d miraculously split the waters of the Red Sea in order to save
them from the pursuing Egyptians [Exodus, chapter 14], and forty years later He
split the waters of the Jordan River in order to bring them into the land of Israel
[Joshua, chapters 3-4]. G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people through Moses,
and in later generations, sent thousands of prophets to admonish the Jewish people
to observe it. There are countless more details I could relate, but I have provided
you here a concise outline of the basis of Judaism.
I am disappointed with your response. I had expected to hear that you base your
belief in the Creator of the Universe, Who arranges and oversees every detail
of life and of the world, and Who supports your existence. That is what I have
heard from the Muslim and Christian scholars.
me to explain my introductory remarks through a parable: If people were to tell
you of the outstanding charitable qualities and honesty of the king of India (a
nation very distant from the land of the Khazars), for which, they said, he was
eminently worthy of praise and honor, would you believe their description of him?
I would be a fool to believe such an account purely on the basis of hearsay! Perhaps
a king of India does not even exist.
Sage: If, however,
emissaries from the king of India were to bring you extraordinary gifts that you
knew could be found only in a royal palace of India; and if an accompanying document
that undeniably came from the king of India attested to the origin of these gifts
from that king, would you conclude that you should listen to what the king of
India has to say?
King: Of course. The gifts and accompanying
document would have resolved my doubts as to whether a king of India exists, and
would convince me of the truth of all that I had heard about him. Sage: How would
you then describe the king of India?
King: I would describe
him in terms of the gifts that he sent me, which I had seen myself, and in terms
of his character traits that had been proven to me, through the gifts he had sent
Sage: My approach, then, was exactly the approach you
would have taken! My introduction to the foundations of the Jewish religion was
based on eyewitness reports of the encounters of an entire nation with G-d - as
opposed to theological speculation or intellectual proofs. In truth, my response
to your inquiry was patterned after G-d's very first words to the Jewish people
when He spoke to them at Sinai: "I am your G-d, Who brought you out of Egypt,
from a house of bondage" [Exodus 20:2]. G-d did not introduce Himself to the Jewish
People with the statement: "I am G-d, Who created the Universe." On the contrary,
G-d forged His relationship with the Jewish People through events that they themselves
had witnessed in Egypt and at Sinai."
From: Principles of
"The exodus from Egypt and the subsequent
revelation at Mount Sinai fifty days later are historical fact that are not subject
to serious historical debate. All accepted history is based on the fact that the
event was witnessed by many people at the time and that there is an established
tradition amongst their descendents that the event actually occurred. To the degree
that there are no variant traditions that either negate or modify it, it is accepted
as reliable historical fact.
A case in point is the American
Revolution. Today, there is not a single living human being who witnessed the
events of the American Revolution. This being the case, how do we know, with certainty,
that it actually took place? Certainly, it is not because it is written about
in history books, for many *history books* are fabricated out of whole cloth,
such as The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
or The Book of Mormon. What makes the American Revolution reliable history is
the fact that millions of people actually witnessed it at the time and that there
is an unbroken tradition, amongst their descendents that it took place. Its reliability
is further strengthened by the fact that there are no variant traditions amongst
descendents of people who lived in the colonies at the time, who claim that American
emancipation was achieved differently, through the peaceful withdrawal of British
troops and a benevolent granting of independence by the British crown. The same
principle holds true in regard to any other historical event.
year on Passover, Jews around the world gather together at the Seder table. The
sole purpose of the Seder is specifically to recall and to transmit the events
of the exodus from Egypt to the next generation. This has been taking place in
an unbroken tradition, year after year, all the way back to the very first Seder
which took place in Egypt as the events were actually happening! Furthermore,
there are no variant traditions amongst Jews that differ in their account of what
happened. There are not, and there have never been, Jews who claimed that they
received a tradition from their forefathers, going all the way back that the events
...With the above in mind, we can state
with confidence, that even though the effect cannot understand the cause... nonetheless,
G-d, the Singular Infinite Being, who is not limited by these constraints, can
and did inform us in this regard. This He did through the giving of the Torah
on Mount Sinai."
From: You Are My Witnesses
"The Jew can be confident that the testimony of his
nation is true. Both the formation of the belief system, and the transmission
of the system were national experiences. In order to assume that the Jewish belief
system is false, one must accept that an entire nation is unanimously lying.
Jew is born into a nation of witnesses. A child who is born into a Jewish community
in which the educational system is still intact, enters a world of living Judaism.
The Jewish educational system is not limited to the scholastic experience. The
Jewish home, is the keystone of the Jewish educational system. Long before the
Jewish child can read, he has come to know the Creator of the world.
the simple faith of his parents, the child begins to develop a real relationship
with the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The living example of his parents will
teach the child what Sabbath means to the Jew. Passover, Pentecost (Shavuot),
and Tabernacles (Succoth), are living realities in the Jewish home.
the observance of these holidays the Jewish child learns of the exodus, the revelation
at Sinai, and the seclusion of the Jewish nation in the wilderness for forty years.
(These were the formative events of the Jewish belief system.) As the child grows
older, he is introduced to the holy books of Judaism. The child learns the position
that each of these books occupy, in the minds and hearts of his people. The meaning
and the spirit of these books come alive for the child through the example of
his parents and teachers.
The child comes to realize that
this world of Judaism is the same all over the globe. Wherever Jews who are faithful
to the teachings of their ancestors can be found, the belief system is the same.
Jews all over the world teach their children to worship the Creator of the world
who is absolutely one. Wherever Judaism is alive, Sabbath is the same, kosher
food is the same, and family purity is the same. Whenever the Jew has a question
concerning the law of Moses, he will consult with the teachers of the law.
over the world, the teachers of Israel use the same methods of deduction to provide
answers to the questions posed to them. The Jewish people teach their children
that this is how their parents taught them to live, who learned it from their
parents etc. in a chain which extends back to Moses. There is no Jew alive today,
nor is there any record of a Jew, who claims to possess a deviant tradition which
goes back to Moses.
All the Jews in history who deviated
from the unanimous practices of the nation, admitted that they did not receive
their deviant teachings from the previous generation. There is only one belief
system which comes with the claim that it goes back to Moses. And that is the
Judaism into which the Jewish child is born. He knows that his people are not
lying. And he will pass on to his children the testimony that he received from
Throughout history many people rejected or
ignored the national testimony of the Jewish people. The Jew faced the rejection
of these people with equanimity. The Jew saw that no one else possesses a belief
system which claims to have been established by G-d on a national scale.
other belief systems began its journey through time on a national level. Every
other belief system is placing its trust in the testimony of individuals. Individuals
can lie. Individuals can be mistaken. A nation cannot unanimously lie. A nation
cannot be unanimously mistaken concerning concrete events which were collectively
There is not one day recorded in human history where there wasn't in existence
a Jewish nation consists of millions. And they all had in all times the same Torah.
Not in print. In writting. The exact writting as Moses wrote it. Go over every
corner of the globe where Jews live and you'll see all having exactly the same
Written Torah, writen by the same exact laws as given by G-d to Moses to write.
Every existing Torah scroll in the world is a live evidence of the giving of the
Torah in Sinai.
The transmission of the Torah is uninterruped
throughout the generations. There is not even one historical evidence that even
an iota of the Written Torah was introduced in later times. The fact of the giving
and existence of the Torah, plus citations of it are found in all Jewish literature
starting right after Moses's death and up to date incessantly. The Written Toarh
has an inbuilt mecahinsm that prevents any possibility of altering it.
we are merely arguing now the nature of the historical testimony, before even
start discuss the content of the Torah, that examining it clearly shows its Divine
What is Knowledge
The Basis Of Our Faith
Jew, faith in his past, G-d and Torah must be rooted in an objective experience
if it is to have any meaning. Otherwise there always remains the gnawing doubt
of whether such a faith is based on a true event or merely the unresolved speculation
of an inquiring mind.
...The building blocks of faith, then,
rest on the discovery of the objective experience. What happened? How did it happen?
What records do we have? How reliable are those records? How was it preserved
and how intact did it reach us this day? We need to search for truth, its verification
and the reliability of its transmission".
and foremost thing each Jew trained in Talmud study acquires, is the need and
ability to define first minutely the subject matter of the discussion, especially
the terms used. That way he's able to clarify to his mind the concepts of the
For our purpose here, we need first define with
exactness what do we mean when saying: "truth". Because the Torah claim
about the Sinay revelation speaks of it as being a true experience. And there
is more to it - an experience where the absolute truth was conveyed.
cannot of course apply in such a forum the meticulous method of Talmud study.
Let's watch however how people trained in such study analyse the term "Truth".
Althoughu I quote here extensively, it's recommended however to read the original
text. Another note: If you do read the article in toto, ignore please the parts
where the author deals with current politics. Those matters are irrelevant to
our discusiion here.
"How can we determine
'truth'? Is it subjective or objective... that is, is it as we 'know' it, or is
it something real 'out there'?... In order to begin the search for truth and to
comprehend why it is fundamental for the world's continuance, we must understand
how we 'know' things. We must recognize that were it not for the five senses that
Hashem implanted in Man, he would have no contact with anything outside his own
...The energies, emanating from the source, through the
medium of light, sound and/or other waves, bombard our eyes, our ears, and our
nose. Because these receptors are sensitive to the stimuli, that are then conveyed
to our brain, we 'see' the fire, 'hear' the crackling of the burning wood, 'smell'
the smoke, and we 'know' that there is a fire.
that knowledge is 'knowing' what is happening or existing outside our bodies,
and the vehicles to receive that knowledge are our five senses, we can reasonably
say that we are reporting the 'truth' when our knowledge is congruent with what
it 'out there'. If we report something that is not out there, then that is not
'truth'. As an example, if we 'see' a fire, but there is no fire 'out there' our
'seeing' is untrue. Now is such a thing possible? Of course it is. People lie.
Why? For many reasons... to cheat, to hide.
...But there are
people whose receptors and/or mental and emotional systems have gone haywire in
varying degrees, who can conjure up sights, smells, sounds, feelings, tastes from
WITHIN their own skins.....without their receptors having been stimulated by some
independent event 'out there'...They have their own reality, their own 'truth',
and adjust their lives accordingly.
...The element of *truth*
upon which the world is preserved... is the recognition of relating knowledge
with an event or experience outside one's body. Man, society, in order to exist
must be in harmony with what is outside a person's body.
can continue to exist only if we live lives based on 'truth'...It means that we
must save our sanity by recognizing the ethical and moral 'truths' that sustain
society, and us, and filter out the 'untruths' that invade our systems so that
they do not pervert our minds and our souls. It means that we must start with
our very young and teach them 'truths' from the moment they can react to information
we feed them and which their young unpolluted brains begin processing.
we want to develop clear thinking analytical minds, and give our children the
tools to navigate the realities of life we must teach them *truths* that conform
with what is *out there*... The approach of Torah education reveals the contrast
with that of the rest of the world. When a young Jewish child has absorbed the
basic foundation of learning... davening, Chumash, Rashi, halacha, he is then
introduced to Mishna. He is introduced to the beauty of Torah in a form that ties
his teachings to life 'out there', to truth.
Let me illustrate:
do not start by teaching a child about the concepts of Justice, Honesty, Truthfulness,
Kindness, Empathy, etc., because it would be no different from teaching him fairy
tales. He can't imagine a fairy, other that what his young mind creates from within
himself, nor can he know what Justice or Honesty or Truthfulness is since we have
not taught him by example. The Mishna uses the deductive method of reasoning...
case history. It starts with an event, "Two people are pulling on a garment. Each
says I found it and it's all mine!" What do we do? The Mishna provides the answer,
saying that in order to dissuade a possible liar, each swears that he claims not
less than half of the article...and the judges divide it. What we have done here
is derive a principle of Justice from an event. The primary event is outside the
observer, which he experienced through his senses. The student *saw*, he 'heard',
through as many of his five senses and subsequently abstracted the principles
of 'Justice', 'Honesty', which is an internal, brain activity".