Thursday, August 29, 2013

Evidence of the Divine Origin of the Torah 2.0

Evidence of the Divine Origin of the Torah
We will now take a break from our analysis and refutation of Zeligman's attacks and focus on what is the rational basis of belief in Judaism. We will resume our refutation of Zeligman at a later date.

The purpose of this essay is to provide evidence that G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah at Sinai approximately 3300 years ago. I will not attempt to provide absolute proof for this, since absolute proof is almost impossible to find for most historical occurrences. We believe historical occurrences if the evidence suggests that it is likely true. Is anyone today 100% certain that Lewis and Clark discovered much territory in the western US? Perhaps they made it up or embellished their experiences? Yet we believe in Lewis and Clark’s expedition because the evidence suggests that this is so.
Nor do we use absolute proof for most of our life’s decisions, such as choosing a mate, buying a house, or choosing a university. So too, when choosing whether to believe and/or follow a divine Torah, what is required is strong evidence that it is G-d given. If the evidence is there, it is likely true.  
In general, people who require absolute proof are either intellectually immature or trying to shut down a conversation. We cannot even be sure that we are who we perceive ourselves to be. Perhaps we are hallucinating and in reality we are someone else? But the truth is that we make life’s decisions based on what is most likely true and what seems to be factually correct.
The Nature of the Evidence Being Presented
I will attempt to provide pieces of evidence which, if taken by themselves, will not necessarily convince anyone of the divine origin of Torah. The strength of these arguments is not in each individual piece of evidence, but in the totality of the evidence being presented. That is, if you take all of the points being made altogether, you will see that they present a strong case for the divine origin of the Torah. While a skeptic can poke holes in each argument by itself, or say that there are other possibilities as to how they could have occurred, an honest observer will be impressed by the totality of the evidence.
What I will attempt to do is bring each piece of evidence and explain it concisely. I may cite an objection to the evidence from atheist/skeptic sources, and then explain why their objections are invalid.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Moral problems in Halacha: Women

Moral problems in Halacha: Women
(With a short piece on Zeligman's "forbidden thought" attack at the end)
Zeligman now attacks the Torah’s stance on women. Many of the attacks - and the ones that are commonly used by others as well - are based on quotes taken out of context, misunderstandings of Jewish law and literature and a general approach to women’s issues that judge the Torah using secular values and perspectives, instead of trying to properly understand the Torah from within.  A common problem that people have when trying to analyze Judaism comes from not understanding the language and concepts of Judaism in general. People who view Judaism and specifically its view on women, from a western perspective, are bound to misunderstand Torah fundamentals and they then assume that Judaism is misogynist.

First, let’s see what the Torah and Rabbinic sources say about women:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moral problems in the Halacha: The status of non-Jews

Moral problems in the Halacha:
The status of non-Jews
Zeligman attacks Torah for its attitude regarding non Jews. These issues have been discussed many times over the past two centuries. I will attempt to point the reader in the right direction and demonstrate that the Torah, when properly understood and in context, is not immoral. 

Some websites that deal with these issues:
Gil Student’s:
Also: (It should be noted that not everything in the q&a section there is reliable, however it has many excellent points.) Also see the Artscroll Talmud’s introduction to Tractate Avodah Zara which sums up (with relevant sources) the Jewish attitude towards non Jews. 

Before we answer specific attacks

Monday, May 7, 2012



Special thanks to Yosef Back and Lisa Liel, both archaeological researchers with extensive experience and knowledge, for helping me with some of the approaches.

A word about archaeology

  • “Good scholars, honest scholars, will continue to differ about the interpretation of archaeological remains simply because archaeology is not a science. It is an art. And sometimes it is not even a very good art.”


William Dever. 1996. in "Is this man a biblical archaeologist? BAR Interviews William Dever, Part 1. Biblical Archaeology Review 22(4):30-39ff.

There are many such quotes that demonstrate the limits of archaeology. ‘Archaeological evidence’ depends very much on the point of view that one is coming from. Therefore, I don’t believe that we can prove the truth of Torah through archaeology as there is evidence for and against the historicity of Torah. Much of archaeology depends

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Could The Torah Have Been Written Down By Moses

Could The Torah Have Been Written Down By Moses
Question: The Torah, written before the Jews entered Israel, mentions the city of Dan, which was only settled years later.
Answer -
Additionally, Zeligman dismisses the explanation of many Rishonim (medieval bible commentaries) that the verse was stated in a prophetic sense and was referencing the city that would be eventually called Dan. Their explanation, however, is not

Zeligman’s Lower Bible Criticism - Contradictions in the Torah text

Zeligman’s Lower Bible Criticism - Contradictions in the Torah text

Zeligman attempts to disprove the Torah’s divine authorship by rehashing old and tired arguments which “seems to support the idea that it was written by different people in different time”.  
An excellent analysis of some of the problems of higher and lower bible criticism and how it has been refuted, can be found at
1. Zeligman starts with the well known problem of the two seemingly contradictory creation stories. This has been answered numerous times throughout Jewish literary history, but an approach can be found here:

2. Zeligman questions how Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40 can state that the Hebrew exile lasted 400 or 430 years when according to Torah