The Sinai Revelation

Irrefutable Testimony

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.

Let's 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:

"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 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'."

(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Foundations of Torah 8:1-2)

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.

Since 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.

Let's 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.

The 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:
In 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.

Why? Very simple. Because it's impossible to fabricate such a claim.

Someone 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.

That's 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).

There 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.

Another 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.

The text 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:

The very nature of the story about the Sinai revelation turns it to be irrefutable.

The 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:

"There 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 it occurred.

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?

Again, 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 belief.
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.

(Deuteronomy 4:9-13)

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."

To 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

"If 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.

If 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.

Also, 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.

In 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.

the Jewish 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.

Gauge 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:

Scenario #1:

"Last week 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?

In 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.

Scenario #2:
Would you believe me if I told you the following:

"Last 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."

Believable?

This 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 I'm lying.
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.

Scenario #3:
There is another type of claim that you can know is false. For example, would you believe me if I told you this:

"Do 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?"

Is this believable?

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.

This 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 consequences.

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?

"Moses! 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 any fire!"

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."

Let's examine now how does the possibility that
The Torah was introduced later dealt by
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.

One day, 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 projects..."
"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."
"Tell 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 to them.'"
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 ago."
"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 down?"
"Well... umm... people forget things, you know."
"G-d spoke to three million people and everybody forgot about it?!"
"Yah, I guess that's what happened."

One problem. The Torah itself clearly states in Deuteronomy, 31:21:

"This song shall testify for them like a witness, because lo yamushu mipicha - it will never be forgotten by the mouths of their descendants."

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:

"Let's 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.

For 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?

The 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 the following:

"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?

One. Judaism.

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.
If 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 to him!

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:

"Throughout history, 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.

Would 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.

Judaism 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.

A national 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.

Only Judaism can claim national revelation since the Jewish people is the only nation in the history of mankind who ever experienced it.

Furthermore, 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.
When starting 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.

'You might 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?'

(Deut. 4:32-33)"

And that's Rabbi Shraga Simmons' words concerning those verses, namely:

"You might 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 revelation.

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.

Furthermore, 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 happened?

The answer is that they knew that if national revelation can never be fabricated; so too, it's validity can therefore never be denied.

The 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."

The 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:

"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 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."

(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Foundations of Torah 8:1-2)

The articles of the both above authors could be read in full:

Did G-d speak at Mt. Sinai?
by: Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith

and

Rabbi Shraga Simmons'
here

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:

Experience: 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?

"Offering responses like "it's a tradition," a "folk myth" are lame excuses, because then we shall ask... from where did that tradition begin?

Sinai is 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 epoch.

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.

Why didn't 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.

Can 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 day?

...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 knowledge!"

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.

"hear say"

The following is an excerpt from:

Experience: 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.

Under 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.

This 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:

  1. 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."

  2. If 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.

  3. The power of protest is innate in human nature and serves as a foundation of law.

  4. 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 Oral Law.

    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.

  5. "Statements in ancient documents. Statements in a document in existence 30 years or more whose authenticity is established."

    It is 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 years old!

  6. "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 THEREAFTER."

    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.

Its universal 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.

If 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 our faith."

Historical Evidence

From: 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.

During 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.

...the 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 teachings.

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.

...The 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?

The Sinai Revelation established beyond doubt two facts that were essential to the foundation of Judaism:
[1] Divine Origin of Torah: The Sinai Revelation verified the divine source of G-d's unwavering and inalterable standard of morality.
[2] Moses' 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.

Miracles 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
G-d's 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 world."

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: (--)

  1. On Rosh Chodesh (the first of) Sivan the Jews arrived at Midbar Sinai (the Sinai Desert). (19:1; cf. Rashi).
  2. 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 people. (19:3-6).
  3. 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).
  4. On the morning of the 3rd of Sivan Moshe again ascended the mountain to bring the people's response to G-d. (19:8; cf. Rashi).
  5. 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).
  6. 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 (Rashi 19:9).
  7. 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.).
  8. During 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).
  9. 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).
  10. 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).
  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. (19:16-19: Rashi).
  12. 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).
  13. Moshe descends and passes on the information. (19:25).
  14. 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).
  15. The 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).
  16. 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).
  17. At this point Moshe enters into the thick cloud, and the people back off. (20:18).
  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).
  19. At 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).
  20. This ascent took place on the 7th of Sivan. (Rashi 32:1). Moshe remains on the mountain for 40 days and nights. (24:18).
  21. During these 40 days Moshe receives the laws commanded at the end of Yitro and the bulk of Mishpatim. (20:19-23:33).
  22. The end of the 40 days is described in Ki Tiso. When he is finished speaking, G-d gives Moshe the tablets. (31:18).
  23. 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).
  24. They get up early on the morning of the 17 th of Tammuz to worship the calf (32:6).
  25. G-d 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).
  26. 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.
    Moshe informs the people. Moshe continues to speak with G-d in his tent, which he has moved out of the camp. (32:30-33:11).
  27. 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)
  28. 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)).
  29. Rashi 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.
  30. 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 scholar.]

"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.

King: 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.

Sage: Allow 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?

King: 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 me.

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 Religion

"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.

Every 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 were different!

...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
(Is. 43:10)

"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.

A 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.

Through 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.

Through 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.

All 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 his parents.

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.

No 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 experienced."

Incessant Tradition

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.

And 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 origin.

What is Knowledge

From: Experience: The Basis Of Our Faith

"...for the 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".

The first 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 discussion.

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.

We 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".

Note: 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 body.

...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.

...Having established 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.

We 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.

...If 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:

We 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".

 

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