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.

It is important to point out that the skeptic is as married to his skeptical non belief in G-d as the believing Jew is married to his Judaism. The notion that all atheists, agnostics and skeptics are dispassionate and open minded as to whether G-d and Torah are true, is a misreading of human nature. A good article on the subject con be seen here:
Therefore, I make no attempt to convince the skeptic of anything. The only one who will seriously examine the evidence being proposed, is someone who feels some sort of connection to Judaism in the first place and who would not be disappointed if Torah was objectively true.
Is Evidence Necessary
Many will question the need for this entire article, because for many people, evidence of the truth of Torah isn’t necessary. They say that spiritual truths are felt internally. To quote two of the most seminal Torah thinkers of the previous generation:
A) R’ Menachem M Shneerson: “All the elaborate proofs, all the philosophical machinations, none of that will never stand you firmly on your feet. There's only one thing that can give you that, and that's your own inherent conviction. For even as your own mind flounders, you yourself know that this is so, and know that you believe it to be so. It is a conviction all the winds of the earth cannot uproot, that has carried us to this point in time, that has rendered us indestructible and timeless. For it comes from within and from the heritage of your ancestors who believed as well, back to the invincible conviction of our father, Abraham, a man who took on the entire world. The doubts, the hesitations, the vacillations, all these come to you from the outside. Your challenge is but to allow your inner knowledge to shine through and be your guide. Inside is boundless power.”
B) R’ Yosef D Soloveitchik: “Does the loving bride in the embrace of her beloved ask for proof that he is alive and real? Must the prayerful soul clinging in passionate love and ecstasy to her Beloved demonstrate that He exists? So asked Soren Kierkegaard sarcastically when told that Anselm of Canterbury, the father of the very abstract and complex ontological proof, spent many days in prayer and supplication that he be presented with rational evidence of the existence of G-d.”
Furthermore, one who studies Torah in depth, specifically, the oral Torah in all of its depth, complexity, rigorous logic, etc, can sense that it is something which is beyond the capability of humans to produce. One who spends significant time studying a section of Talmud in depth, analyzing the questions of Tosafos, the decisions of Rambam, the questions of Ketzos, the answers of Nesivos, the ‘chakira’ of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, etc, gets the sense that an oral law studied for hours daily by hundreds of thousands in each generation, is not likely to have developed from the writings of a few men redacting the bible in some Middle Eastern cave, 3000 years ago. One who studies scripture with the commentary of Vilna Gaon, Malbim, Rav SR Hirsch, etc, has a feeling that there is a certain elegant beauty of the words, the concepts and ideals being proposed for it, to make it unlikely to be a human conception. Furthermore, while concepts like gematriah (numerology) are sometimes suspicious, if not specious, the amazing word acronyms, connections, number values, etc, found in books such as Baal Haturim and Bircas Peretz, which often show the inherent connection between a specific verse and a related derivation of the verse only found in the Talmud, gives us a sense that the Five Books of Moses could not have been the product of a human mind.
Still, many people need a rational basis for belief in Judaism, either because they lack a deep knowledge of Torah or conviction of its truth, or in order for them to feel confident in being a practising Jew, as opposed to believing in another religion or secularism. I’ve written this article for them.
The Objectivity of the Torah
Torah is different than almost all of ancient history in its objectivity.

In his "Society must be Defended", Michel Foucault posited that the victors of a social struggle use their political dominance to suppress a defeated adversary's version of historical events in favor of their own propaganda, which may go so far as historical revisionism (see Michel Foucault's analysis of historical and political discourse above). Nations adopting such an approach would likely fashion a "universal" theory of history to support their aims, with a teleological and deterministic philosophy of history used to justify the inevitability and rightness of their victories (see The Enlightenment's ideal of progress above). Philosopher Paul Ricoeur has written of the use of this approach by totalitarian and Nazi regimes, with such regimes "exercis[ing] a virtual violence upon the diverging tendencies of history" (History and Truth 183), and with fanaticism the result.

To quote Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb (he received his Ph.D. in mathematical logic at Brandeis University and was a Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University) in Living Up to the Truth, “Now, in making that evaluation you must know one fact - all ancient histories were written as propaganda. This is something upon which historians and archaeologists agree. The function of ancient histories was to glorify contemporary powers, and therefore they would not record their own defeats. After all, the scribes were their employees. You see this, for example, in the following type of historical chain of events. You read in the hieroglyphs that Pharaoh X raised a great army and conquered a number of provinces, and his son Pharaoh X Jr. raised even a larger army and conquered more provinces. Then, there is a hundred year gap in the history. What happened during that 100 years? For that you have to go to the Babylonian records. That is when the Babylonians were kicking the stuffing out of the Egyptians. The Egyptians don't record that because that doesn't glorify their empire. They just leave it out.
An example is the question of the Exodus. Why is it that no ancient Egyptian records mention the Exodus? The answer is that the Egyptians never recorded their defeats. Therefore, since the Exodus was a massive defeat, you would not expect them to record it. So, its absence from their records is not evidence against the Exodus.”

See the unreliability of Manetho an important ancient Egyptian historian,
Regarding the Greek and world historian Herotodus, the following has been said : “Just as Homer drew extensively on a tradition of oral poetry, sung by wandering minstrels, so Herodotus appears to have drawn on an Ionian tradition of story-telling, collecting and interpreting the oral histories he chanced upon in his travels. These oral histories often contained folk-tale motifs and demonstrated a moral, yet they also contained substantial facts relating to geography, anthropology and history, all compiled by Herodotus in an entertaining style and format.[29] It is on account of the many strange stories and the folk-tales he reported that his critics in early modern times branded him 'The Father of Lies'”
Also see the following regarding ancient Egyptian history
History which is not objective is not so reliable.
However, the Torah is quite different. The Torah is not only objective, it is one of the most anti Semitic works in world history. The Jewish failures, foibles and sins are bared for all to see. A quick perusal of the Torah will show that Moses does not say one complimentary word to the Jews (when he is speaking to them - he does compliment them before G-d). This is true not only of the common Jews, but even more so of Jewish heroes and kings.
Abraham and Isaac have bad sons, Jacob marries the daughters of an idol worshipping crook, who then give birth to the 12 tribes who form the basis of the Jewish people. Jacob’s children commit many acts which paint them in a poor light (the Talmud shows how they were, in reality, not so bad. However, the Torah does not cover anything up) including the stories of Dina, Judah and Tamar, Reuben and Bilhah, Simon and Levi in Shechem, etc.
The Jews glorify their ancestors as - slaves and idolaters!! Their leaders Moses and Aaron hit a water producing rock instead of speaking to it and aren’t allowed into Israel. This sin and punishment is repeated numerous times in the Torah. Aaron - father of the priestly class, builds the Golden Calf. The Jews commit sin after sin in the desert and are punished constantly. Almost the entirety of the books of prophets are replete with reproof of the sinning of the Jews and how the prophets berate them at every turn. The Jewish books of the Prophets are so negative towards the Jews, that it is almost one long litany of criticism of its own people.
Even Kings David and Solomon are severely criticised for their sins. King David, the father of the royal line of the Jewish people is berated constantly for his shortcomings and his family’s improper actions are exposed for all to see. Do you find anything even remotely like this in ancient history, where a society’s historic books paint their own people and heroes in such a negative light?
Objectivity is a sign of truth and the Torah is a most objective document.

The Kuzari Principle
The Kuzari principle (This audio by Lawrence Keleman is an excellent presentation of the Kuzari Principle  is an oft quoted, oft misunderstood idea, which has come under attack by many bloggers and academics. Most of the attacks are based on a lack of understanding of the idea in the first place and so they attack it with straw man arguments.
Let’s try to first understand the principle. The Torah in Exodus 19, Deuteronomy 4 and other places, recounts G-d revealing Himself and giving the ten commandments to the entire Jewish nation. The Jewish population at the time consisted of 600,000 males (Exodus 12:37 and other places) between the ages of 20 - 60, aside from all the males under 20 and above 60 and all of the females. Add in the mixed multitude of other peoples that joined them and it is likely that there were 3 million Jews at Sinai.
There are three possibilities here: 1) Moses, or someone similar, convinced the Jews that they experienced a revelation of G-d at Sinai. 2) It was a myth which was eventually accepted by the Jewish people many years or generations after the supposed Sinai event, until it was recorded by human authorship. 3) G-d really gave the Torah at Sinai to the Jewish people.
Let’s take possibility 1 - that the Sinai revelation story was invented by a convincing Moses figure who convinced the Jews that they saw G-d on top of the mountain. The obvious problem is that this seems quite implausible to do. Imagine telling a group of people that they all saw G-d reveal himself to them at Sinai, would they believe him? Of course not. So how do most religions get started? A mass revelation be the best way to start a religion, since it requires no convincing, as all of the people witnessed G-d reveal Himself to them. However, mass revelation is never used by any other religion. Instead, other religions begin with a dynamic leader who convinces others that G-d revealed Himself to that leader or another personality. Mass revelation to an entire people is never used (other than in the Torah) because it is impossible to convince people that G-d revealed Himself to the people themselves if this never occurred to them and that is why we never see this anywhere else in history. (We will later discuss open miracles claimed by other nations such as Jesus walking on water, Aztec revelation, The Fatima Miracle of the Sun, Marian apparitions, etc). Some have proposed that a volcano erupted at Sinai and Moses used it to convince the people. However, that begs the question, why has no other religion historically ever used a natural occurrence to foist a mass revelation story upon its populace if it is so easy to do?
Let’s analyze possibility 2, that Sinai was a  myth that was orally given to the Jews by elders until it was recorded.
Jews have been celebrating the Sinai revelation of G-d for many generations. When was the first generation that accepted the Sinai revelation? The Torah claims that the Jews received the Torah from G-d in 1312 BC. Now suppose that someone tried to convince the Jews that lived several generations later, that their grandparents saw G-d at Sinai. Surely they would have rejected him, since, if something of that magnitude had occurred, they would have been told about it by their forefathers. A more effective tool for the originator of Judaism, would be to simply convince them to listen to him, and say that he experienced a prophecy from G-d.
Now suppose we say that the Torah was introduced to the Jews at a much later date, but the leader(s) who introduced it, told the Jews that the book had been forgotten and this leader was merely bringing it back. Alternatively, the Torah and Sinai revelation was slowly developed over many years over the campfires of ancient Canaan (this is commonly called, myth formation), until it was recorded in its current form. There are several problems with these approaches. Firstly, there is no record in the Torah or Prophets of any leader reintroducing the Torah to the people. Surely, such a figure would play a massive role in Jewish history, yet he is never mentioned.  (There are those that claim that this figure is Ezra. The problem is that Ezra did not lead the entire Jewish people, only the 42,360 that returned to Israel during the beginning of the second temple. See Ezra 2:64. There were many more Jews that lived in Babylon, North Africa, Yemen, Europe, etc. How did he convince the majority of Jews who were never under his influence - noting especially that most of the populace ignored his directive to return to Israel? Still others claim that the figure who reintroduced the Torah to the Jews many centuries later was the biblical Josiah. We will discuss this later on.) Secondly, The Torah and prophets are remarkably detailed with names, dates, places, events, etc, more so than any other ancient text. There are no hazy time periods to point to where events were not detailed. The transmission of Torah from Rabbi to student, is furthermore very detailed. In each generation there were many Rabbis teaching many students. One such documented line of transmission which runs from Sinai until today can be found at  It seems unlikely that there was a sudden reintroduction of Torah with a claim that it was forgotten for a number of generations, or a slow steady development of Torah where things got clearer, when there is such specificity in the Torah regarding its history from Sinai onward. If anything, it would behoove the Torah to be as vague as possible regarding immediate history post Sinai.
Furthermore, as Dr. Benzion Allswang pointed out in his classic, “The Final Resolution” (Feldheim, 1988), it seems strange that the Jews are commanded to remember the Exodus (Deut 16:3), receiving Torah at Sinai (Deut: 4:9-10), Egyptian slavery Deut 5, 16 and 24), angering G-d in the desert (Deut 9:7), Amalek’s attack (Deut 25), the ten plagues (Deut 8), Miriam’s skin affliction (Deut 24:9) and wandering in the desert (Deut 8:2). If the Torah was reintroduced at a later time, why command the Jews to remember that which they or their ancestors had never seen? Wouldn’t this raise doubts? Wouldn’t it behoove the leader intent on convincing the Jews of this Torah to not ask the Jews to remember that which never truly occurred?
But most importantly, we need to ask, why did no other religion create a similar mass revelation story? This point is crucial. We would all admit that it is more convincing to start a religion stating to a nation that they all witnessed G-d’s revelation to them, than to say that G-d revealed Himself to one or two leaders who then had to convince others. Yet no other religion does that. Other religions start with a dynamic leader who convinces people to follow him because he is a prophet and G-d revealed Himself to him. No mass revelation to all the followers - that is too difficult to fake and convince people. This is the most important point. Why does nobody else have a mass revelation story to the original followers themselves other than the Jewish people? Is this 100% conclusive proof that the Torah is true? Of course not. It is possible that the Jewish leaders were smarter, more convincing etc. But that is a small possibility. The more likely choice is that this is evidence to the divine origin of Torah - possibility #3, that G-d revealed Himself to the Jews at Sinai.
Objections to this piece of evidence:
There are numerous objections to this argument from Larry Tanner, Baruch Pelta, DovBear, Shlomo Tal, TalkReason, etc. I will try to address the most common objections and explain why they fail to disprove the Kuzari principle.
Objection 1. Perhaps the Torah was forgotten by the Jews during the 57 year reigns of Menashe and Amon, when the Jews were steeped in idol worship and it was reintroduced by Josiah. The discovery of a Torah scroll by Josiah’s servants which is the impetus for national repentance found in II Kings 22, is used as evidence to this.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: This site conclusively destroys this argument: Furthermore, II Chronicles 33, states that Menashe repented and got rid of idolatry, during his reign. It is clear that there were not 57 consecutive years of idol worship and rejection of Torah.
Furthermore, II Kings 22 first states that an eight year old Josiah did what was proper in the eyes of G-d and only 18 years later does the story of the Torah scroll occur. To prove this point, II  Chronicles 34 recounts the story of Josiah, yet the first 14 verses discuss Josiah and the Jewish people’s repentance to G-d and only afterwards does the story of the suddenly discovered Torah scroll occur.
Objection 2. There are other claims of mass miracles which other religions make. They include:
What makes the Jewish national revelation better than the other ones listed?
Reasons why the objection is incorrect: Firstly, many of the miracles did not occur to, nor were claimed to have happened to, a mass of people. The Aztec national revelation was relayed to the people by a few priests: The recording of the miracle  itself never specifies how many people witnessed the miracle. The Fatima Miracle only had three followers who claimed to have seen Jesus. The rest saw either nothing unusual at all other than some sun activity, or some apparition. There was no mass consensus of a miracle.
Secondly, Judaism has no problem with other religions performing miracles. In fact, Deuteronomy 13 tells the Jews that there will be false prophets with the ability to perform miracles. What Deut. 4:32 - 36 does state is that no other nation will have a true national revelation.
Thirdly, the miracle claims of Jesus and Islam were recorded way after the miracle occurred to a group of people that were not necessarily the descendants of the people to whom the miracle supposedly occurred. Thus there is good reason why they never would have denied having heard of the miracle, because it did not happen to their forefathers, rather to another group of people.
Fourth, if there is one constant in biblical Jewish history, it is that the Jews rebelled against their leaders in almost every generation. They were skeptics. An invention of Judaism or development over time thereof, likely would have led to skepticism about the Sinai event itself, since that is the source of the law that they were rebelling against. Yet nowhere do we find that the Jews doubted the Sinai story. They rebel against G-d, doubt Moses, but never Sinai. Why not? Furthermore, Judaism was a radical departure from the accepted religions and cultures of the time. Numerous inter personal laws, laws that govern agriculture, monotheism, sexual restrictions, etc, were radical ideas at that time. (The notion that the Torah was based on Hammurabi has been discredited. See They had every reason to deny Sinai. As opposed to the Aztec revelation or similar Native American miracle stories, or the Fatima Miracle of the Sun, where there was no challenge to the preexisting notions of the listeners. With the Fatima Miracles, some believed that the sun’s movements looked like an apparition, while some believed it was a natural solar episode. No one’s way of life was challenged. With the Aztecs, suppose the entire story was made up by a priest and he then told everyone about it. Why would they deny it or rebel against him? What was he making them do any different than what they did before? Perhaps they knew at the time that it was a myth but they chose not to challenge it because that served no purpose.
Fifth, the bottom line and crucial point remains, that if it were so easy to start a religion with a mass revelation story and get people to eventually believe it over time through myth formation, then why does no other religion start that way? Why does every other religion start with one or two charismatic leaders convincing everyone else?
Objection 3. There is no outside confirmation of the Sinai event other than what is found in the Torah.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: Whether or not the Torah is the only source of the Sinai revelation is irrelevant. The strength of the Sinai revelation is in the fact that it is the only such claim in the world. It is the strongest way to start a religion and as such should be used by other religions, yet no other religion starts like that.
Objection 4. Even if we cannot find a parallel to Sinai mass revelation, that does not mean the Sinai revelation must have happened. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Furthermore, it isn’t conclusive proof.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: As I stated, we do not base our belief in Judaism only in the Kuzari principle/Sinai revelation. We use it as one piece of evidence along with other pieces of evidence, much the same way we would analyze anything. The composite of evidence is what we use to conclude that the Torah is most likely G-d given. Furthermore, we do not say that the Kuzari principle provides conclusive proof, only that it is a strong piece of evidence.
Further reading: Living up to the Truth: Refutation of critics of Kuzari principle:
Eternal Nation
The Torah guarantees the eternity of the Jewish people, see Genesis 17:7, Leviticus 26:43, Deuteronomy 4:26-27, and 28:63-64, Isaiah 54, Jeremiah 5, 31, 46 and Malachi 3. The fact that the Jews have survived despite being a persecuted, despised and hated people, dispersed to all corners of the globe, is a sign of the Divine Providence that G-d has had for His people. When other nations are conquered, they almost always integrate and disappear within the culture of the conqueror, yet the Jews have remained a distinct entity
Mark Twain, an agnostic and self-acknowledged skeptic, penned this in 1899 in Harper’s Magazine:   “The Egyptian, Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away. The Greek and Roman followed, made a vast noise and they are gone. Other peoples have sprung up, and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher, to give him proof of God. Pascal answered, “Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!”
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Objection: The Chinese and Kurds have remained a nation as long as the Jews have:
Reason why this objection is incorrect: These nations have remained indigenous to their historic land and have not been dispersed. Furthermore, they haven’t nearly suffered similar persecution to the Jews. Their survival doesn’t defy the odds, Jewish survival does.
Exile and Dispersion
Leviticus 26:33 and 43, Deuteronomy 4:26-27and 28:63-64, Ezekiel 12:11,15 all guarantee that Jews will have to go into exile and be dispersed among the nations. It is not for nothing that the phrase, “Wandering Jew” exists. This prophecy has been fulfilled and is evident for all to see.
Leschzinsky, “The Jewish Dispersion”, pg. 9 - “When we scan the diaspora of Jewry over the entire globe and throughout the entire civilized world, we are surprised to see that this Nation, which is almost the most ancient in the world, is in truth the youngest in terms of the land under its feet and the sky above its head.  As a result of the relentless persecutions and forced expulsions, most Jews are but recent new-comers to their respective lands of residence.  Ninety percent of the Jewish people have lived in their new homes for no more than 50 or 60 years!  (The Jewish People) are dispersed throughout over 100 lands on all five continents.”
Also see this list for expulsions of  Jews throughout history:
Anti Semitism
Leviticus 26:36-38, Deuteronomy 28: 32-37, 65-67, Ezekiel 20:31-36 all state that the Jews will be subject to hatred and persecution wherever they wander to. This prophecy has been fulfilled and is evident for all to see. There is no need to document historic anti semitism, as it is well known for it’s uniqueness in world history. This article documents is ubiquitous nature and ferocity, unparalleled throughout history.
Few in Number
God will then scatter you among the nations, and only a small number will remain among the nations where God shall lead you” (Deuteronomy 4:27) The Torah tells us that the Jews shall always remain small in number in spite of the fact that they will be an eternal nation. If we put the Jewish population of Rome somewhere in the millions, it would seem likely that they would today number in the tens of millions or more, yet Jews have never numbered more than 18 million.
Light unto the Nations
Genesis 12:3 G-d tells Abraham, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” And in Gen 22:18, “And through your children shall be blessed all the nations of the world, because you hearkened to My voice.” Isaiah 42:6-7 “I am the Lord; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people's covenant, for a light to nations. To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison.”
The Jewish people have been told that they will be a light unto the nations. Throughout history, the Jews have done this more than any other nation, in spite of the fact that they were never more than a tiny percentage of world population, spread through the world as a hated and persecuted minority.
The world perfect seminar demonstrates how six basic values that every progressive and democratic society now takes for granted, originated from the Jews and their Torah. The Jews have impacted and helped advance civilization, completely out of proportion to their numbers - Jews represent less than 0.2% of world population. See  for a partial list of Jews who have impacted civilization. 22% of all Nobel Prize winners have been Jewish. Of the four most influential people of the 20th century, Darwin, Freud, Marx and Einstein, the latter three were Jewish. Jews consistently give much more money to charity than do non Jews as a percentage of population.
Pages and pages could be devoted to demonstrating the Jewish impact on the world, instead we’ll merely use two quotes which sum it up well.
John Adams: “I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations ...They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.”    John Adams, Second President of the United States (From a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp [Feb. 16, 1808] Pennsylvania Historical Society)
Mark Twain: “If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.” (“Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899)
Interdependence of the Jew and Land of Israel
The Torah has promised the Land of Israel to the Jew many times. Archaeological evidence has placed the Jew in Israel for millenia.
Yet in Leviticus 26 (and Deut. 28) G-d promises the Jews that if and when they do not follow His law, He will bring enemies from other lands to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into exile.
In verses 32-33, G-d tells the Jews, “I will make the Land desolate, so that it will become desolate [also] of your enemies who live in it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you. Your land will be desolate, and your cities will be laid waste.” Similar prophesies can be found in Deut 29:21-22, Jeremiah 9:10 and Ezekial 33:28-29.
In Leviticus 26:32, 11th century commentator Rashi brings a Talmudic quote “I will make the Land desolate: This is actually a good thing for Israel, namely, that since the Land will be desolate of people living in it, the enemies will not find contentment in Israel’s Land [and will have to leave]. [Torath Kohanim 26:38]”
13th century commentator Nachmanides states a similar idea on that verse: “Similarly, that which He stated here, “and your enemies that shall dwell therein shall be desolate in it,” constitutes a good tiding, proclaiming that during all our exiles, our Land will not accept our enemies. This also is a great proof and assurance to us, for in the whole inhabited part of the world one cannot find such a good and large Land which was always lived in and yet is as ruined as it is [today], for since the time that we left it, it has not accepted any nation or people, they all try to settle it, but to no avail.”
16th century Talmudic commentator Maharsha similarly states (Sanhedrin 98): “As long as Israel does not dwell on its Land, the Land does not give of her produce as she is accustomed. When she will begin to re flourish, however, and give of her fruits in abundance, this is a clear sign that the end—the time of Redemption—is approaching, when all Israel will return to their Land.”
Clearly, the Torah and it’s commentators understood that there is an interdependence of Israel and the Jew.
What is amazing is that when the Jews lived in Israel it was a flourishing land. When they were exiled from Israel, the land did not give forth it’s abundance and much of it was a veritable wasteland with a declining population. Yet with the advent of the recent aliyah’s starting in the late 19th century, Israel has flourished once more.
Regarding the abundance of Israel during the 1st century, second Temple era, when Israel was populated with millions of Jews, Josephus wrote: “For the whole area is excellent for crops or pasturage and rich in trees of every kind, so that by its fertility it invites even those least inclined to work on the land. In fact, every inch of it has been cultivated by the inhabitants and not a parcel goes to waste. It is thickly covered with towns, and thanks to the natural abundance of the soil, the many villages are so densely populated that the smallest of them has more than fifteen thousand inhabitants.” (Josephus, The Jewish Wars; Book III 3:2 Penguin edition, p. 192)
H. T. Frank, Discovering the Biblical World (1975), pp. 20-22 – “The abundance of the Land led to prosperity.In Biblical times the Upper Galilee was heavily forested … The Southern plateau of Samaria ismountainous and … into the Biblical period, the steep hills and valleys were heavily forested. As trees were felled and land gradually laid open the area became famous for its crops. The soil of Southern ​Samaria, among the most fertile in the land, produced beautiful harvests of grains in the valleys, and​ ​the denuded, terraced hillsides became renowned for their olives … The fertility of [Judea’s] soil, ​particularly at its highest elevation around the ancient capital, Hebron, is so striking that the Bible ​speaks of it as “the land of milk and honey.” The reference is not to cows and bees, but to the nectar of grapes and to other crops which flourished in abundance … Twenty miles south of Mt. Carmel the narrow coastal lands of Dor open into the wider Plain of Sharon. In Old Testament times … there were thick forests of stout oaks … By the [beginning of the Common Era] Herod the Great had built his wonderful artificial harbor at Caesarea. The area became an economic asset and was famous, as it still  is, for its orange groves.”
Yet when the Jews were exiled out of Israel, the land closed up and would not give forth it’s produce until the Jew returned.
Mark Twain, who visited Israel in 1867, describes the Land of Israel, “We traversed some miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given wholly to weeds - A silent, mournful expanse… A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action . The further we went the hotter the sun got and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became.” (“The Innocents Abroad” Vol. II)
Alfons de Lamartine: “Outside the walls of Jerusalem however we saw no living being, heard no living voice. We encountered that desolation and that deadly silence which we would have expected to find at the ruined gates of Pompey… A total eternal dread spell envelopes the city, the highways and the villages… the burial grounds of an entire people.” “Recollections of the East” Volume I London (1845) pg. 238 (Hebrew-French)
Professor Sir John William Dosson: “Until today no people has succeeded in establishing national dominion in the land of Israel… No national unity or spirit of nationalism has acquired any hold there. The mixed multitude of itinerant tribes that managed to settle there did so on lease, as temporary residents. It seems that they await the return of the permanent residents of the land.” “Modern Science in Bible Lands” London (1888) Pp. 449-450
It is true that even in the 19th century, prior to mass Jewish immigration, there were pockets of land which were very fertile, such as the Jezreel and Jordan Valley’s, but those were the exception, not the rule.
Yet since the Jew returned to Israel, it has become an agricultural leader. Israel is the only country in the twentieth century to have a net increase in the number of trees in its land, in spite of the fact that much of its land is desert or swamp.

Return To Israel
One of the most amazing historical occurrences in recent history is the prophesied return of the Jews to their ancient homeland (after 2000 years). No other nation in history has returned to its ancient homeland after an extended period of exile.

Deuteronomy 30:1-5 “And it shall come to pass when these things shall come upon you, the blessing and the curse that I have placed before you, you will take it to heart amongst all of the nations where God has scattered you; you will return to the Lord your God and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you today, you and your children with all of your heart and with all of your soul. Then the Almighty will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you; and He will return and gather you from among all of the nations where he has dispersed you. If your dispersed ones will be even at the ends of the heavens, from there God Almighty will gather you and from there He will take you. And God your Lord will bring you to the land that your fathers inherited and you shall inherit it and He will do good for you and make you more numerous than your forefathers.”
Also see Jeremiah 16, 31and 33, Isaiah 41 and Ezekiel 11 and 36 which state similar prophesies.
Israel now has more Jews than any other single country according to: This fulfills the ancient promise of G-d to bring His people home after their long exile.
Teshuva - Spiritual Reawakening of the Jewish People
In numerous places, the Torah and prophets speak of a mass Jewish spiritual reawakening at the end of the exile. Maimonides, Laws of Repentance 7:5 states: “All the prophets commanded [the people] to repent. Israel will only be redeemed through Teshuvah. The Torah has already promised that, ultimately, Israel will repent towards the end of her exile and, immediately, she will be redeemed as [Deuteronomy 30:1-3] states: ”There shall come a time when [you will experience] all these things... and you will return to God, your Lord.... God, your Lord, will bring back your [captivity].”
Amos 11 - 13: “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord God, and I will send famine into the land, not a famine for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the word of the Lord.And they shall wander from sea to sea and from the north to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. On that day, the beautiful virgins and the young men shall faint of thirst.”
Also see Malachi 3:23-24
In the last half century the Jewish people has seen an until now unheard of number of Jews numbering in the tens of thousands, previously estranged from Judaism, return and come close to the G-d and Torah of their ancestors. All this in spite of an increasingly secular and anti religious environment in general society.

Shmittah - The Sabbatical Year
In Leviticus 25, the Jews are commanded to refrain from farming and cultivating the land of Israel every seventh year. This commandment should cause deep consternation. In an agrarian society, where 80% of people farmed and the ability to import food for millions of people being unrealistic in ancient times - apart from the fact that Israel was surrounded by enemies who would like nothing more than to see her people die of starvation - it seems to be a suicidal commandment. How long can such a religion last and why would people follow it? More important, what possible benefit can the author of the Torah receive by giving such a commandment? One would imagine that the Torah would at least allow the Jews to rotate which land is rested, so that not everyone rests the land on the same year, but this isn’t the case. Everyone must rest the land on the same year, every seventh year.
But then something even crazier is stated. Verses 20-22 state, “And if you should say, "What will we eat in the seventh year? We will not sow, and we will not gather in our produce!" [Know then, that] I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will yield produce for three years. And you will sow in the eighth year, while [still] eating from the old crops until the ninth year; until the arrival of its crop, you will eat the old [crop].”
So the author of the bible guarantees that on the sixth year, the Jews will receive a bumper crop to take them through the rest of that year, the seventh and then the eighth year, until the new crop comes in.
One must ask, how long will this religion last? How could the author guarantee a bumper crop the year prior to shmita - sabbatical year? Once again, why make the command - a recipe for suicide - in the first place? Why not at least allow for a rotation so that not everyone refrains from farming on the seventh year?
Unless there is a Divine Author who can guarantee that the Jews will not starve.
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Who says the Jews ever kept Shmitah? Perhaps the author of the bible was never actually tested with this situation?
Reason why this objection is incorrect: The evidence being presented relates to the mitzvah of shmita and the guarantee of a bumper crop prior to the seventh year. Whether or not we can prove that the Jews kept shmitah is beside the point. The question still remains, why make a commandment doomed to failure and destruction of your religion in the first seven years? What is to be gained by this unless you can guarantee its success? And why guarantee a bumper crop unless it is within your power to ensure it?
Objection: Talmud Sanhedrin 26 states that Rav Yannai allowed farmers to plant on shmittah in order to pay the Roman tax, Why was there no bumper crop? What happened to G-d’s guarantee?
Reason why this objection is incorrect: R’ Yaakov Y Reinman answered: “The triple bounty would not be the result of some magical manifestation but rather of an especially good harvest year with plentiful rainfall and everything else being just right. Therefore, the blessing would only manifest itself if all the people kept Shemmitah. Otherwise, you would have to have triple rainfall on one person’s field and normal rainfall on another person’s field. Hashem avoids such overt miracles. (E.g. Exodus 14:21 An east wind blew all night before the sea split.) The blessing was, therefore, promised to the Jewish collective rather than to individual farmers.” This seems reasonable, since the Shmittah commandment is one which was communal in nature.
Aliyah L’regel - Pilgrimage to the Temple
Exodus 34: 23-24 states: “Three times during the year shall all your male[s] appear directly before the Master, the Lord, the God of Israel. When I drive out nations from before you and I widen your border, no one will covet your land when you go up, to appear before the Lord, your God, three times each year.”
The Torah commands Jewish males to make a thrice yearly pilgrimage to the Temple. This means that although Israel was surrounded by enemies, whomever gave the Torah to the Jewish people felt confident enough to guarantee them that during the holidays of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, no enemy would invade their land, in spite of the fact that there would be no male soldiers to defend the land.
This truly boggles the mind. If the Torah was not from G-d who could guarantee this, why would the author give this command which is a recipe for suicide? What possible benefit can come from this command? Why risk the entire religion and nation on this ridiculous rule. Unless it was given by G-d who could guarantee the Jews their safety.

Purim, Esther and the Nazis
The holiday of Purim commemorates G-d’s hand in the victory of the Jews of the Persian Empire, over their enemies. One of the evil protagonists of the story was Haman, who came from the nation of Amalek, the historic arch enemy of the Jewish people. Haman plots with the evil King Achashveirosh (Xerxes) to destroy the Jews, only to be stymied by Achashveirosh’s Jewish Queen Esther. Esther has Haman’s ten son’s killed and hanged, while, according to the Talmud (Megilla 16), Haman’s daughter killed herself.
We find many amazing parallels between Amalek, the Purim saga and the Nazis.
  • Talmud Megilla 6 states And Rabbi Yitzchak said: “What is the meaning of that which it is written: 'Grant not Hashem the desires of the wicked one, do not remove his nose ring, that they should be exalted, selah' (Psalms 140:9) Yaakov said: “Master of the World: Do not grant Esau the evil one the desire of his heart – Do not remove his nose ring- This refers to Germania of Edom (Rome), who if they would go forth, they would destroy the entire world. And Rabbi Chama bar Chanina said: There are 300 crowned princes in Germania of Edom (Rome).”  The Talmud (written in 550) seems to identify ancient Germania - Germany - of Rome, as a manifestation and descendant of Amalek.
  • Germany was known as the Holy Roman Empire and consisted of a confederation of approximately 300 city states (Also see Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” page 121) just as the Talmud indicates in Megillah 6.
  • Amalek was dedicated to Jewish destruction even if it itself would get hurt as Rashi to Deut 25:18 states: “He cooled you off and made you [appear] tepid, after you were boiling hot, for the nations were afraid to fight with you, [just as people are afraid to touch something boiling hot]. But this one, [i.e., Amalek] came forward and started and showed the way to others. This can be compared to a bathtub of boiling water into which no living creature could descend. Along came an irresponsible man and jumped headlong into it! Although he scalded himself, he [succeeded to] make others think that it was cooler [than it really was]. — [Midrash Tanchuma 9]” Germany diverted badly needed train transports to the eastern front and instead used them to transport Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz (See Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews 1933-1945. Bantam Books, 1975)
  • Amalek disdained the mitzvah of circumcision (See Rashi to Deut 25:18 ‘And cut off’ quoting Midrash Tanchuma 9) as did Hitler: The Jews have inflicted two wounds on the world: Circumcision for the body and conscience for the soul. I come to free mankind from their shackles.” (Herman Rauschning, Hitler Speaks, p. 220)
The book of Esther 9:7-9 lists the ten sons of Haman being hanged and includes three small letters, of which there is no explanation given as to why they are written small. Those letters are tav (verse 7), shin and zayin (verse 9) which equal 707 when those letters are used for their numerical equivalents. What is amazing is that there were ten Nazi officers hanged on Oct 16, 1946, which is in the year tav, shin, zayin on every Jewish calendar. (Now, even though it was the year 5707, when Jews write what year it is, they generally leave out the millennium (in this case 5), since that is usually assumed to be known.) That year (1946 post Rosh Hashanah) was written in Hebrew as tav, shin, zayin, the exact letters which are written smaller in Esther 9:7-9, which retells the hanging of Haman’s ten sons. Furthermore, Oct 16 of that year fell out on the Jewish quasi holiday of Hoshana Rabbah, which, according to the Zohar, though one is judged on the Day of Atonement, that verdict is not delivered until the last day of Sukkot (Hoshana Rabbah), and until then a person may still repent (Zohar, Va-Yehi 120a; Terumah 142a). Additionally, we mentioned that Haman’s daughter had previously committed suicide. Hermann Goering was supposed to have been the eleventh Nazi to be hanged but he committed suicide. Goring was alleged to have been a cross dresser.
Finally, what boggles the mind is that, Newsweek reporter Kingsbury Smith, reported that one of the Nazis to be hanged was Julius Streicher, who, as he was about to be hanged, blurted out, “Purim Fest 1946.” There is no reason why Streicher would have said that, since it wasn’t Purim, nor should there have been any mention of it to the American executioners.
The evidence is in the striking coincidence and connection, both historical and Torah based, which connect Amalek, Purim and the Nazis.
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Objection: Dovbear, Talkreason and others, challenge this because Yemenite and Soncino Tanach’s do not have the letter tav shin and zayin as being small in Esther 9:7-9, but tav shin yud or tav shin tav zayin.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: Our small letters of tav shin zayin follows the Aleppo Codex which is the most authoritative version of the Jewish bible that we possess and almost all megillahs that are written today follow this version. Open a standard Artscroll or Koren Tanach and you will see only the tav shin or zayin letters as small. The evidence is in the coincidence. The fact that we all use megillahs which have these three letters being small - the same as the year in which the ten Nazi officers were hanged, is an amazing coincidence, regardless of whether there may be other versions of the megillah.

An Argument Based on the Existence of G-d
92% of Americans believe in G-d or some type of universal spirit. There are many reasons why one would believe in G-d; some more and some less rational. Below are four basic rational reasons to believe in the existence of G-d or some Higher Power:
  • It is irrational to suggest that in every area of life we understand that chaos does not cause order, yet the atheist would have us believe that from the chaotic beginning of life we now have brilliant and beautiful order and an ecosystem where each species is so dependent upon another.
  • It is irrational to believe that in every area of life, when we see even the simplest design, we assume there is a designer, yet when we see indescribable order and perfection in almost every area of the natural world the atheist would have us believe that they simply evolved through random mutations and natural selection.
  • It is irrational to believe that in every area of life we know that something doesn't come from nothing, yet the atheist would have us believe that in the beginning of the world, the big bang started from - ??? (Yes, the atheist asks, where did G-d come from? The answer is of course that we know that physical entities cannot just pop up into existence. But G-d who is reality - not merely a being existing in reality - is the source of all. He cannot come 'from,' He is the 'from.)'
  • It is irrational to believe that the things that science can't quite explain, such as our emotions, feelings, sense of morality, etc, are merely an accident.
There is much more, but this is the baseline of why, to many, the existence of G-d is so obvious.
If G-d does exist it would seem logical to conclude that there would be some ultimate purpose in creating us. While one could argue that G-d created the universe and then just left, or that He ignores the world He created, it would strain the mind to understand where exactly an omnipresent being goes, or why He would leave a world to continue to exist though He has no interest in it. It seems much more logical to conclude that He indeed had a plan for us and that He does intervene and take interest in our affairs.
One would assume that G-d would want His creations to have some idea as to what the purpose of life is and how to attain that purpose. We would then look to see which, if any, claim of receiving instructions from G-d is most likely true and to whom it is most likely, that such instructions were given.
Based on the unique nature of Jewish history, it would seem logical to conclude that the Jews were the recipients of such instructions. The Jews have:
  • Been around as a distinct entity longer than almost any other group.
  • Heavily influenced much of the world’s religion and the Torah forms the basis of much of Western values.
  • Influenced the affairs of man more so than almost any other group in history (See ‘Eternal Nation’ above).
  • Undergone more hatred and for completely irrational reasons, far more than any other group.
  • Lived among almost every culture and society, thus being able to be a world influence.
  • Are generally more educated and give more charity than any other nation.  
Objections to this piece of evidence: Why would G-d choose to reveal Himself to only one tiny nation and not to everyone? Does G-d play favorites?
Reason why this objection is incorrect: It is beyond the scope of this paper to explain this in detail. An interested reader must study Derech Hashem Part 2 chapter 4 which explains this in depth. This can be found at

The Vilna Gaon, Pi and the Book of Kings
Concerning the “molten sea” made by King Solomon, I Kings 7:23 states And he made the molten sea, ten cubits (a cubit is approximately 1 and a half feet) from brim to brim; it (was) round all about, and the height thereof (was) five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about (i.e. its circumference).” The question is, how can this be? If it was ten cubits across, it would be more than thirty around. (It would be closer to 31.4, a difference of 1.4 cubits, or approximately 3 feet.) The simple answer is that the Torah is giving an approximate measurement.
However Vilna Gaon enlightens us to the fact that the value of "pi," 3.1415, is hinted in this verse. In Hebrew, each letter has a number associated with it. In the above verse, the word "circumference"(kav) is written one way "kuf vav heh" which equals 111 but it is pronounced a slightly different way "kuf vav" which equals 106. This is called a kri/ksiv, which means that certain words in the Bible are written in Hebrew in one way, but are pronounced another way. The kri is a stated value and perception of the word and the ksiv is an actual value and reality. The ratio of these two numbers equals the ratio of 3 ("pi" as stated by the verse) 3.1415 (the actual value of "pi" to the 10,000th). (111 / 106) x 3 = 3.1415 The fact that pi to the fourth decimal point is hinted to in the very word that means ‘circumference’ is an amazing ‘coincidence’ unless there is an actual ‘Designer’ placing it there as such.
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Objection 1: The word for circumference in that verse contains a vav in the beginning of the word and then spells out kuf vav heh, which would throw off the equation.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: Vav in the beginning of a word means ‘and’ in Hebrew. It is not relevant to the second part of the word, kuf vav heh, which means circumference.
Objection 2: Pi is 3.1415926 while the calculation in the verse is 3.14150943
Reason why this objection is incorrect: The verse never claimed that the molten sea was a perfect circle, only that it was round. As this site says: Some commentaries explain that the 30 cubit measurements of the verse as being taken around the inside of the vessel, while the 10 cubit diameter was measured from the outside of the vessel. The thickness of the walls of the vessel can explain the deviation from a more accurate value of pi. Others explain the deviation by saying that the vessel might not have been perfectly round.
Objection 3: Radak (Rabbi Dovid Kimchi) states that Kri/Ksiv is merely a result of the Jews under Ezra, not having clear knowledge of the spelling of certain words in the bible and so where there were two versions, they wrote it one way and pronounced it the other. Thus, there can be no real meaning behind the words kav and kavva, nor would it’s numerical value be significant.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: Radak’s opinion on this matter is troubling and not well accepted, for the following reasons. Talmud Nedarim 37 states that kri/ksiv are “Halacha L’Moshe Misinai,” laws given by G-d to Moses at Sinai. In other words, kri/ksiv is a tool used purposely in the Bible and not a result of lack of clarity in the text. Furthermore, Talmud Sotah 31, Megillah 27 and other places, derive ideas from kri/ksiv, something that makes no sense if they were mistaken words. Furthermore, there are kri/ksiv in the book of Ezra. Did he not know what he wrote in his own book!? Finally, Radak himself in a few places (such as Zecharia 4:2, Chaggai 1:8 and Amos 8:4) derives ideas from both the kri and ksiv of a verse, which can only mean that they both have meaning and aren’t a result of some mistake. Perhaps Radak understood different kri/ksiv’s in different ways.
Therefore, the opinion of Maharal (tiferes Yisroel 66) and others, that kri/ksiv is a tool used in the Bible to present multiple ideas in a verse, seems more accurate.
Circumcision on the Eighth Day
The Torah commands us to circumcise baby boys on the eighth day after birth. See this site that states: We now know vitamin K is responsible for the production (by the liver) of the element known as prothrombin. If vitamin K is deficient, there will be a prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur. Oddly, it is only on the fifth through the seventh days of the newborn male’s life that vitamin K (produced by bacteria in the intestinal tract) is present in adequate quantities. Vitamin K, coupled with prothrombin, causes blood coagulation, which is important in any surgical procedure. Holt and McIntosh, in their classic work, Holt Pediatrics, observed that a newborn infant has “peculiar susceptibility to bleeding between the second and fifth days of life.... Hemorrhages at this time, though often inconsequential, are sometimes extensive; they may produce serious damage to internal organs, especially to the brain, and cause death from shock and exsanguination” (1953, pp. 125-126). Obviously, then, if vitamin K is not produced in sufficient quantities until days five through seven, it would be wise to postpone any surgery until some time after that. But why did God specify day eight?
On the eighth day, the amount of prothrombin present actually is elevated above one-hundred percent of normal—and is the only day in the male’s life in which this will be the case under normal conditions. If surgery is to be performed, day eight is the perfect day to do it. Vitamin K and prothrombin levels are at their peak. Vitamin K and prothrombin levels are at their peak. The chart below, patterned after one published by S.I. McMillen, M.D., in his book, None of These Diseases, portrays this in graphic form.

Holt, L.E. and R. McIntosh (1953), Holt Pediatrics (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts), twelfth edition.
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Objection: How do we know that the Jews picked the eighth day because G-d told them, maybe they figured it out by process of elimination, because that was when most babies would survive the circumcision?
Reason why this objection is incorrect: If the Jews figured that out, why didn’t anyone else? Muslims don’t perform circumcision specifically on the eighth day, nor do Africans, traditionally.

The Wisdom of Hebrew Language
(Special thanks to R’ Ephraim Nissenbaum who provided much of the material here)
When we study languages, there is no apparent reason why words mean what they do. There is no reason why man is called a man, or a river is called a river, the letter a is designed as it is, or called an a, etc, other than that was what society decided it as such. This is not the case when it comes to Hebrew (I mean here biblical Hebrew, not modern Hebrew which has many newly introduced words, such as “autoboos” for bus). Each letter and word have deep meanings, in terms of their shape, word roots, numerical value, etc. This is evidence of a “Designer” who meant it to be this way. As the Midrash Bereishis 18 states, “The world was created with the holy (Hebrew) language.”
Let us give some examples of the depth and wisdom of biblical Hebrew:
1. Adam, the first human, was called Adam אדם, which means ‘human’. This word in Hebrew is a combination of aleph, daled and mem. Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, has the numerical value (See here for Hebrew letter numerical values, names and shapes)of 1. The alef is formed by two yuds, one to the upper right and the other to the lower left, joined by a diagonal vav. While this alone has deep meaning, the simple numerical value of two yuds and a vav is 26. Interestingly, the way we spell G-d’s name (but don’t say it - due to it’s holiness) is Yud - hay - vav - hay, which also equals 26. An aleph starts off the word that means human, because each human is given a soul which is contains a divine spark, as it were.
Let’s now go to the second half of the Adam, the letters daled mem which spell dam, ‘blood’. This indicates that each human is physical, as defined by the blood, our life source. So each human has divine characteristics, as expressed by the aleph,  and physical ones, as expressed by daled mem.
A seemingly unrelated quote from Talmud Kiddushin 30b: “There are three partners in the creation of man, “ G-d, the mother and father.” What is amazing is that we see this in the numerical value of the word Adam as well. In Hebrew, a father is called “Av,” aleph bet, which equals 3 and a mother is called “Aim,” aleph mem, which equals 41. (The usual words of Imma and Abba mean mom and dad) The word Dam (daled mem) also equals 44. To signify that the father and mother supply a person’s physical life force - the dam, blood. On top of the that, the Aleph in the beginning of Adam, is the divine spark in a human.
2.  The word for ears is aznayim. A related word with the same root, is moznayim, which means measuring scales (used to weigh something by balancing a weight against the object being placed on a scale). It is only recent that science has discovered that a body’s sens of balance is based in the ear.
The word for a hand is Yad - yud daled, which equals 14. Count the joints in your hand, there are 14 of them. Two hands together yad/yad, spells yedid - close friend, which is symbolized by a hand in hand. Furthermore, the numerical value of yedid is 28, the same as the word koach - strength. Because when you use two hands, you are putting in strength.
The word for pregnancy is herayon - hay resh yud vav nun - which equals 271. 271 days equal three quarters of a year, the approximate amount of time that a woman is pregnant. Interestingly, the first two letters of Herayon are hey resh, which mean mountain - a pregnant women’s belly looks like a mountain.
Water is spelled Mayim mem-yud-mem. Interestingly, the chemical makeup of water is two atoms of hydrogen surrounding one atom of oxygen.
The letter vav is used in the beginning of words to mean ‘and.’ When spelled out as a word it means a hook, something which connects things. The shape of a vav also looks like a hook ו
The first letter, aleph, represents G-d and His unity. The second letter bais, represents multiplicity, which is why the Torah starts with a bais, because Torah is the study of the human condition from a divine perspective; Divine anthropology, as R’ SR Hirsch put it. It is interesting to note that a garment in Hebrew is spelled bais-gimel-daled, beged, which are the next three letters after aleph, to connote that G-d covered Him unity, by creating a world of multiplicity. The other word for clothing is me’eel, which is the same root as the word for desecrating holy objects, me’eelah, for by desecrating them, one is covering over the object’s holiness. (Heard from R’ Dr. Akiva Tatz)
There are many such amazing word and letter values in Hebrew, I am merely giving you a taste.
3. We also see that seemingly disparate words, which have no connection to each other in other languages, are intricately connected in Hebrew, by a two letter basic root. Let’s see some amazing examples:
Birds have the following characteristics: They chirp, fly, can see far while flying, and are covered with feathers. The Hebrew word for bird is צפּור, tzipor. The first two letters, tzadi fay, are the two letter root of the word. Chirping is tziftzoof - tzadi fay, tzadi fay (a double of the letters suggests a lot of that thing - birds chirp a lot). To fly is tzaf - tzadi fay. To see far is Tzofeh - tzadi fay hey. Feathers are tzifiyah - tzadi fay yud hey. (As a side note, chirping birds are heard in the morning, which is called tzafrah in Aramaic, a Semitic language)
Seemingly disparate words with the letters ches lamed חל, almost always refer to that which lacks firmness. In English, there is no word connection between a hole, dead body, an ill person, rust, sand, fat, milk, the beginning of something, a window, to switch, separation, weakness, removal of something, or a dream. But in Hebrew, these disparate words all have the same root of ches lamed because they all describe things which lack firmness and a basis: A hole - ches lamed lamed, dead body - ches lamed lamed, an ill person - ches lamed hey, rust - ches vav  lamed daled, sand - ches vav lamed, fat - ches lamed vais, milk - ches lamed vais, the beginning of something - hey tav ches lamed hey, a window (in old times there was no glass, just a hole in the wall) - ches lamed vav nun, to switch - ches lamed fay, separation - ches lamed koof, weakness - ches lamed shin, removal of something - ches lamed tzadi, a dream (something fleeting) - ches lamed vav mem.
The root letters of  גל, refer to things which move or are removed. In English, to reveal, a wave, a wheel, feces, to cut off and exile, have no word connection. But in Hebrew, reveal - gimel lamed vav tav, wave - gimel lamed, wheel - gimel lamed gimel lamed (double gimel lamed because it’s always moving), feces (removed from the body) - gimel lamed lamed, cut off - gimel lamed vav ches, exile - gimel lamed vav tav.
There are many more such examples.
Additional resources: Mystical depth of Hebrew:
Isaac E. Mozeson The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals The Hebrew Source of English:
The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet:
Objections to this piece of evidence:
Objection 1. There seem to be many languages before the generation of the dispersion which, according to the Torah (Genesis 11), seems to be the earliest development of languages other than Hebrew. Archaeologists believe that languages were developed thousands of years before that and that even Egyptian language was going through a transitional stage at that time.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: Talmud Yerushalmi Megillah 1:9 states two opinions as to what the verse (Genesis 11:1) means when it says that the world was "Safah achas udevarim achadim." One opinion is that everyone spoke Hebrew (as cited by Rashi here) and the other is that they spoke 70 languages. We can say that the whole world spoke Hebrew in addition to one their own languages (out of 70) which were derived from Hebrew. (I.E. Mozeson actually shows how all of language can be traced back to something close to Hebrew
Actually, it is most reasonable to assume that humankind spoke many languages along with Hebrew before the generation of the dispersion, because if they only spoke Hebrew till the  generation of the dispersion, how did they learn so quickly after G-d confused their language? Did G-d teach each nation its language? This seems unlikely, as only Hebrew is G-d given. It seems more likely that they already knew other languages along with Hebrew as Talmud Yerushalmi indicates.
I recently saw that the commentary Torah Temimah states this exact approach. He proves it by quoting Genesis 10:20 which states ‘These are the sons of Ham according to their families, and their tongues, in their lands, in their nations.’ This means they had languages and this was before the dispersion (haflagah).
Objection 2. Gematria (number values and equations) is not reliable since one can make gematrias of anything:
Reason why this objection is incorrect: We do not claim that all gematrias have meaning - though gematria is one of the ways of deriving concepts in Torah (see #29 of the 32 means of Torah derivation of R’ Eliezer the son of R’ Yosi, found in the back of a standard Talmud Brachos). Even Ibn Ezra (Gen 14:14) states that gematrias can be formed anywhere, even for evil things. The word for smoke in Hebrew is ashan, ayin shin nun, which equals 420, a number associated with marijuana.  However, gematrias may be used to express an already true concept, or used as a way of remembering something. The evidence being used here is not suggesting proof, rather, these are amazing ‘coincidences’ which suggest a Divine Designer of Hebrew and not just a language like all others which were man made.
Objection 3. There is an opinion in Sanhedrin 21b that the original Hebrew letters were in Ivri script (Paleo-Hebrew) and only changed to our current script (also called Ashurith) during Ezra’s time.
Reason why this objection is incorrect: A full explanation of the subject can be seen in the second half of this article:

Archaeological evidence supporting Torah
Archaeology is a study which is more of an art than a science. I have written extensively on the subject and I admit that archaeology can be used to both prove and disprove Torah. In order to show that archaeology does not disprove Torah and also provides some evidence supporting it, I have referenced the following articles. Remember that although most of these sites are Orthodox, they are all well sourced and can be cross checked:

W. F. Albright in Archaeology and the Religion of Israel.  "The Mosaic tradition is so consistent ... so congruent with our independent knowledge of the religious development of the Near east in the late second millennium B.C. that only hypercritical pseudo-rationalism can reject its essential historicity."
“ Hebrew national tradition excels all others in its clear picture of tribal  and family origins. In Egypt and Babylonia, in Assyria and Phonecia, in Greece and Rome, we look in vain for anything comparable. There is nothing like it in the tradition of the Germanic peoples. Neither India nor China can produce anything similar. In contrast with these other peoples the Israelites preserved an unusually clear picture...”[The Jews : The Biblical Period W.F. Albright 1963]
Dr. Yohanan Aharoni, in Canaanite Israel during the Period of Israeli Occupation.  "Recent archaeological discoveries have decisively changed the entire approach of Bible critics.  They now appreciate the Torah as a historical document of the highest caliber. ...  No authors or editors could have put together or invented these stories hundreds of years after they happened."

Further reading:

Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb: Living Up to the Truth
Lawrence Keleman: Permission To Receive:


  1. Please provide a printer friendly option. Thanx!

  2. Perhaps this can help?

  3. The finding of the Sefer HaTorah in Josiah's time disproves the so-called Kuzari argument, as it breaks a tradition of Torah observance. Furthermore, it disproves the oral Law. If Josiah had a written law , ie private copy, he would not be swayed by finding another copy elsewhere, even if it was an original one. He was doing teshuva precisely because he found the Torah! However, there was also no oral law then (or at any other time before the rabbis invented it). Who was preserving and practicing the oral law if even the Kohen was unaware of the contents of the written law?
    The arguments you provide only weaken the DH, which claims that they found Devarim in the temple - which is a false claim in itself, as it refers to the Torah, not to Devarim.
    But the story in Kings and in Chronicles - disprove the claim of unbroken tradition.

    1. You completely ignore what I wrote and obviously didn't read Rabbi Gottlieb's conclusive demolition of your argument. I will re-post it here so that people don't get confused by your misleading statements:
      Objection 1. Perhaps the Torah was forgotten by the Jews during the 57 year reigns of Menashe and Amon, when the Jews were steeped in idol worship and it was reintroduced by Josiah. The discovery of a Torah scroll by Josiah’s servants which is the impetus for national repentance found in II Kings 22, is used as evidence to this.
      Reason why this objection is incorrect: This site conclusively destroys this argument: Furthermore, II Chronicles 33, states that Menashe repented and got rid of idolatry, during his reign. It is clear that there were not 57 consecutive years of idol worship and rejection of Torah.
      Furthermore, II Kings 22 first states that an eight year old Josiah did what was proper in the eyes of G-d and only 18 years later does the story of the Torah scroll occur. To prove this point, II Chronicles 34 recounts the story of Josiah, yet the first 14 verses discuss Josiah and the Jewish people’s repentance to G-d and only afterwards does the story of the suddenly discovered Torah scroll occur.

    2. Thanks for your response Meir, but you are exaggerating. Your points i will respond to. Gottlieb's, maybe afterwards.
      in 2Chr 34 it says: "3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the Asherim, and the graven images, and the molten images. "
      So even after menasseh's late life teshuva, things had reverted back to idol worship. Josiah knew of God, and he knew of monotheism, and knew - perhaps from the Prophets, that idolatry was wrong, and had to be stopped.
      Then it says: "18 And Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying: 'Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book.' And Shaphan read therein before the king.
      יט וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֵת דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה--וַיִּקְרַע, אֶת-בְּגָדָיו. 19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the Law, that he rent his clothes. "
      You are suggesting that Josiah already had his Stone edition of the Torah, and he had the Artscroll talmud, in oral form, perhaps on CD.
      Then a really revealing pasuk:
      21 'Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according unto all that is written in this book.'
      If Josiah had full access to this Torah, as well as the commetaries and oral law - why is this statement so remarkable? the words of the book would already known to him.! Furthermore, it says according to the words written in This book. not the Talmud or mishna or shulchan aruch! And Rabbanim do not pasken according to the plain writing of the Book, but they change everythign around, eg the mis-count of the Omer.
      You ignore the words of Divrei hayamim, because they are inconvenient to you:
      27 because thy heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest His words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and hast humbled thyself before Me, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

      Had Josiah already been learning the weekly Parsha with rashi, as you obviously believe, he would have wept and humbled himself way before finding the Torah.

      30 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both great and small; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.

      Oh - so until then, Josiah did not have all the words of the סֵפֶר הַבְּרִית, did he? If Josiah was fully covnersant of the Law from Sinai, he would have already done this from his own set of books!

      31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments, and His testimonies, and His statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book

      Obviously he did not have his own book, otherwise this would have happened when he was 16 or what have you.

    3. It seems R'Dovid Gottlieb refutes your arguments, not mine:

      He writes "4 - the king calls the house "beis Hashem"

      So even the king, who participates in idol worship, refers to the Temple as the house of Hashem, using G-d's proper name from the tradition.]"

      He is claiming that the King Josiah participated in idolatry!

      Now, I don't wish to get into a debate with what Dr Gottlieb is writing, as he has been disproven many times, but his claims are not at all honest ones.
      here is one ridiculous comment by Gottlieb:

      " Yes, it is possible. But possibilities play no role in a serious investigation. We would need positive evidence of forgery before we could consider mere possibilities of possessing or counterfeiting old parchment.]"

      OK, so any possible explanation that does not suit Mr gottlieb is rejected. That is not an intellectually honest position. Unfortunate, the Bible Critics have a field day with these verses. Another difficulty is Hulda, who is an unheard of figure. Where is Jeremiah? The rabbinic commentaries claim he was out bringing in the exiles. maybe he was.
      My point is not to deny the Torah - I fully accept the TNK. It is to show that the claim of Kuzari as used in orthodox arguments, is false. If you wish to reject all alternative theories, that is your choice, but it would not be convincing to a skeptical academic analysis.
      In any case, the verses cited from Chronicles demonstrate that Josiah was not in posession of the written torah, perhaps he had a copy of the 10 commandments or an ancient Mezuzah (which would have contained the 10 commandments)
      that he referred to the Temple as Beit Hashem, does not mean he knew the whole Torah. I might know that leningrad used to be called St petersburg or what have you, but that doesn't mean I know all of War and Peace = lehavdil.

      The final comment of Gottlieb is also false, and internally contradictory.

      "(3) It remains to explain why the king was part of the idol worship of the times. He was eight years old when he became king. His father was a leader in the idol worship. Even though he knew of Hashem and the original tradition [as did the vast majority of the population, if not all of them], he regarded the syncretism as natural, and perhaps even not in contradiction to that tradition. Hearing the contents of the sefer, and knowing that it is the unique, genuine sefer Torah [perhaps even going back to Moses], made its absolute prohibitions against idol worship, and the curses resulting from idol worship, impossible to ignore."

      He is admitting that the King was an idol worshipper - which is problematic for you if you claim he was righteous!
      He claims the King was practicing Syncretism. throwing around big words for uneducated yeshiva students is a common tactic by those who came into Orthodoxy from a secular background. However, it is not a convincing explanation of what took place. If the king had the Torah, and also Shulchan Aruch at hand, he would not be able to reconcile the 2. A good example is the takeover of Islam from Zoroastreanism, or Christianity from Druid and Paganism. the new faith members have some vague idea of what was practiced in the past, but do not have the entire religion at hand. If he had the Artscroll Chumash, he would not need to find an older Scroll to be so shocked by idol worship, and all the other violations. he knew some basic issues of monotheism, and maybe 10 comandments. I am not arguing by the DH. Gottlieb is trying to demolish the DH, but it is not enough to salvage his disprove Kuzary hypothesis. Since Gottlieb bases his faith and entire being on his own KH, he is highly invested and is unwilling to see it is demolished by the TNKh.

      All this said - this is not a disproof of the TNK. It is simply demonstrating that the unbroken chain theory is false - and documented to be so in Israelite writings.

    4. You are all over the place here, so I will just restate my position. 2 Chronicles 34 is clear that he started to look into Judaism at age 16 and 4 years later, he then started to demolish idol worship in Israel. It is clear that the discovery of the Torah when he was 26 was not the turning point in his religious career, rather a mere continuation of the path towards G-d that he started some 14 years prior to that.

    5. Now, what was in the book of Hashem that shook him up? The verse isn't clear, but to say it was the rediscovery of the Torah, which had been lost, is not at all convincing. After all, he had been on a righteous path for 10 years. It is more likely that Rashi's comments here are what really shook him up: that he rent his garments: When he heard them reading (Deut. 28:36): “The Lord will lead you and the king, etc.,” he interpreted [the following words] as referring to himself: “whom you will appoint over yourself.” The people had made him king, and he was not a prince by the word [of God].

    6. You are tryiing to conceal the argument that undermines your claim.

      " It is clear that the discovery of the Torah when he was 26 was not the turning point in his religious career, rather a mere continuation of the path towards G-d that he started some 14 years prior to that. "

      There are several turning points. He did seek God, and he did start cleaning up things, but after he discovered the Torah, he went into full throttle. Had he had his own private Torah scroll, then he would have carried out these big moves at the age of 18 or 20, prior to seeing the comandments in the Book.

      Again, you are ignoring what i quoted, so here goes:

      30 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both great and small; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.

      You are not "convinced" , but that is because of your sloppy scholarship, and unwillingness to read the text.

      You mentioned Gottlieb , but he demolishes your own claim, by saying that Josiah was formerly an idol worshiper.

    7. How do you know what he would have done? Maybe the reading of the curses and the new understanding he got at age 26 caused him to go into 'full throttle," as Rashi indeed says.
      Gottlies doesn't demolish my argument. I agree with his analysis that he was, before age 16, both an idol worshiper and Torah follower. He learned it from his father Amon.

    8. If you are saying the turning point was when he was 16, and he supposedly had the Torah and learned it with Rashi, he would have already carried out the reforms. He would have already called on Public Pesach.

      You are just pushing your position but ignoring the text.

    9. Working backwards in history is not the same as working forwards.
      If they claim the Torah was written or tampered with, and you work back, when u have broken link in the chain, you cannot just ignore it. Unfortunately, there is a broken link. But even if we say the Written Torah survived, there could not have been an oral torah. Who exactly was transmitting it?
      There are other reasons why there could not be an oral T, but that is written in the Torah that we r not to add, and that we must keep only what is is written in the book.

    10. The notion that you can have a written Torah without any oral explanation is utter nonsense. I don't have the space or time to write out why, but among the reasons are; a) vowels to letters, grammar, syntax, etc can only be known through the oral law. b) The Torah gives no details of its laws and is often contradictory. How do we reconcile these problems without an oral law? c)The Torah hints to an oral law in a number of places as do the prophets. This requires a long article and now isn't the time or place but the need for the oral law is as obvious as the written Torah itself

    11. No, sonny boy you are talking rubbish that you have been spoonfed. If you don't have the time, it is your problem, it is not an excuse.

      But you repeat false notions.

      a) vowels did not exist in ancient Israel, as i already mentioned. They also did not exist in Phoenecian; canaanite; old arabic. You are too dumb to grasp this. If you say vowels are part of the oral law, then you are saying that the Koran also had an Oral law.. Today a secular Arab in Israel can read a Hebrew newspaper without vowels. Did he on the quiet go to yeshiva to study Talmud? You are thick!

      b) The Torah gives all the details we need. A few terms we are not clear, they are species that we have lost due to lack of continuity in hebrew language. hebrew was not a spoken language for 2000 years or so. In any case this assumption f yours is entirely false, since the Tzaddikim (Saducees) kept only the Torah and they kept it all.
      c) the Torah does not hint at any oral law. This is just chicanery made up buy Kuzari et al. The torah says explicitly we should keep what is written in the Book, and not add to it.

      Finally, if you say you cannot follwo the Torah, then I cannot rely on you for anything else.

    12. One of the fallacious claims of the Rabbis is that where in Det 12 it says:

      "21 If the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to put His name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat within thy gates, after all the desire of thy soul. "

      the rabbis say that this means there is a method of slaughter but not mentioned in the Torah. They infer from this that it is in the oral law.

      Firstly, the verse does not say "as I have commanded you". it says כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִךָ, = "that which" .

      Now it is most likely referring to the permission to slaughter in a domain ourtside of the temple: A few verse earlier it says:

      15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh within all thy gates, after all the desire of thy soul, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which He hath given thee; the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the gazelle, and as of the hart.

      But if you are looking for the Torah prescription for slaughter, it is given in the next verse:

      16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; thou shalt pour it out upon the earth as water.

      So the torah does tell us what its requirements are for slaughter. To spill the blood on the floor like water.
      All the other examples are also disprovable.

    13. Karaite, one more insult and you are done on my blog. Watch your mouth.

    14. If there were no oral law to help us with vowels, then how do you know, for example that one shouldn't cook a kid in it's mothers milk (chalav), maybe it means in it's mother's fat (chaylev, still spelled the same though). There are many such examples.

      Where does the Torah give us details regarding which work is forbidden on Shabbat? How do we know which species to shake on Sukkot? All it says is to take a 'nice fruit (pri etz hadar)'. Why shake an etrog? I find watermelons to be nicer? What are totafot? What are tzitzit? no definitions given.

      Spilling blood on the floor isn't a prescription for slaughter, it is a prescription for what you do after slaughter. Clearly the verse was referring to slaughter, for which one needs oral law to know how to do it.

      Sorry, the truth is inconvenient for you.

    15. Meir - only point of agreement is to cease insults. Now let's look at the arguments you bring . These are largely suffering from the "begging the question" fallacy". I hope you are not insulted by that.

      Chalav Eim is a well known phrase. Thus it is obvious that the term used in referring to mother's milk. Next, we know Chelev is forbidden anyway, so it is bringing a new concept to us.

      Torah says Kol Malacha - all work. It also mentions work done by your servant, maidservant, animals etc. Do you not know the difference between work and leisure? The rabbinic 39 melachos are artificial. Do you think God forbids taking a bone out of your fish, that you must do it the other way round?

      Sukkot - thanks for this one, you got this right out of the rambam, and it is a fallacy. First fallacy is begging the question. The Torah doesn't say "shake". So you are conflating your assumption with your conclusion, which is fallacious. Next, in Nechemiah 8 we see that the people you claim to have handed down She b'al peh, were really only following Mikre.

      14 And they found written in the Law, how that the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month;

      15 and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying: 'Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.'

      So from the text of the Torah, Nechemiah, and Ezra deduce that these species are good fruit, and they choose the good fruit of the land - olives. But more than this, they say that they are doing it as it is written, and nto to shake, but to build sukkot.

      Totafot: Exodus 13 uses the term Zichronot (v9) and totafot (v16) interchangeably. This chapter in Exidus is referring to 2 -3 ceremonies, and asking us to keep them as reminders between our eyes.
      The ceremonies are matzoh/and Haggadah; and pidyon rechem (behemos). I have seen no orthodox jew, not even Lubavitch, wearing matzah on his teffiliin. I have not seen and Rabbi wearing a Pidyon Chamor (donkey) on his forehead.

      If you consider totafot as being a physical object, then you should do this with matzah and with firstborn cattle.

      The Torah is speaking figuratively.

      Slaughter: again, you are begging the question. The exact method of shechita is not prescribed in the torah. The only requirement is that it involves spilling the blood. The most common way of slaughter in the ancient world was to use a blade to the neck. This will make the act of slaughter most efficient, and since in those days, everyone had cattle, and everyone did their own slaughter, it was a common skill. The industrialization of shechita and Kashrut , means that only specialists can do it. Thus people have lost the skill, jsut liek they have lost the skill to build their own houses.

      Apologies for insults, please mochel me. I also love watermelon.

    16. You still haven't answered the question regarding Shabbat. How does one avoid work? How is it defined? Why was the stick gatherer executed? Maybe he was gathering sticks to play stickball?

      How did the people before Nechemia define Sukkot? You cannot bring a proof from a book written almost 1000 years after the Torah if there is not oral law.

      Why does the Torah use Totafo altogether? What does it mean? How do you know it is figurative?

      What is the law with abortion? Euthanasia? Self defense?

      In the end of the day, you guys also interpret, only, you guys didn't want to be beholden to oral law, so you made up some poppycock about staying loyal to mikre and then interpreted it the way that you wanted anyway.

    17. My friend Ami Hertz deduced all the verses where work is forbidden, and came up with these:

      "The forbidden activities are:
      business- or work- related activity: anything by which the person earns money or sustains his livelihood;
      sowing, pruning, reaping, and gathering (but see below);
      cooking; and
      lighting a fire. "

      If you avoid work, in the field, carrying a load with your mule, having your servant do chores for you; or your daily grind, eg being a postman, then you avoid work. Te guy gathering sticks was doing heavy work, presumably to build a fire.

      Nechemiah is a very interesting point, because it demolishes the myth of the mesora and oral law, as is claimed in Pirkei Avot. how did they deduce it before him? In exactly the same way! They read the Torah and they saw what was written. Remember, their proficiency in Ivrit was greater than ours. they knew the slang, the accents etc.

      A few words are unknown to us today. Just like the tribes are unknown to us. But we can reverse engineer what totafot means by looking at the verse. It is interchangeable with zichronot. It is figurative becasue we see the entire chapter is telling us of ceremonies to remember. We do not have a dictionary of idioms used in those days. How do you circumcise your heart? It is also figurative.

      Abortion euthanasia etc That is more complex. it requires a deeper search, perhaps we can visit those discussions later. BTW, did I mention that the talmud gives a blank cheque to pedophiles, as long as the boy is under 9 years old? That even goes for incest. Do you think God gave such perverse laws?

      Good Shabbes

    18. I have no problem with interpretation as long as it doesn't contradict the text.
      The Kohanim knew how to slaughter animals, and how to administer the Law. The Perushim, like Korach before them, were jealous and wanted power, and would stop at nothing to get it. Thus they invented things like Simchas beit Shoevah, which has not basis in the Torah. they murdered the Kohen Gadol who objected to their bal tosif. This was and is the nature of Perushim.

    19. In any case, Sir, you asked about Sukkot and etrog - and you ignored the evidence of Nechemiah. We know for a fact that Nechemiah did not have an "oral law", that he did not keep Etrog; that he learned directy from the Torah itself. We can also deduce from this that there was no so-called Anshei Kneset Gdolah, that there was no Mesora of Oral law, and that the claims of the MIshna are manufactured in their own time and political landscape.

      Now you misdirect from there and ask about "abortion? Euthanasia? Self defense? " . But there is no longer any pretense that there was a historical transmission of the Mishne and Oral law. There are questions that Torah authorities will have to rule on. The Torah say we go to the Cohen and the Levi in the Place that Hashem will choose. That place, was the Beit Mikdash or the lishkat Gazit. There is evidence in the Neviim that people would enquire of the Kohen or the Shofet or the Navi.
      The biggest irony is that the Perushim did not accept this authority, and they acted to undermine it.

    20. So basically you reject the Oral law interpretation but accept Ami Hertz. Very convenient.

      How do you know why the stick gatherer was gathering sticks? Maybe he was cold? So put the guy to death because of some vague interpretation you made up? Huh?

      How do you know Nechemia had no oral law? Maybe they deduced it before him the same way as always - the oral law transmitted through the generations. Otherwise how did Nechemia know about a citron? How was a citron deduced from 'a nice fruit'? What is nice about a citron? Because it looks like a lemon on steroids? Does Barry Bonds use a citron?

    21. I reject Oral law because it contradicts the Written. Regarding your next comments, I think you are confused about the facts.

      1) The stick gatherer - he was seen gathering sticks by witnesses, and Moses inquired of the punishment. A) What has cold got to do with it? b) Even if it is not exactly clear to us, it was clear to Moses what his crime was, and this had been a type of work. c) Why did Moses need to ask what the punishment is, if he had been given an oral law?

      Your comment about Nechemia is either a "convenient" slip of the memory, or I hate to say, misdirection. You ask " how did Nechemia know about a citron?" But the text says he didnt bring a Citron, he read fromt eh Torah and told us to bring Olives and oil fruit. It says nothing about a citron, anymore than it says watermelon. So you comments about barry bond on steroids are completely irrelevant to the discussion. Please read the source again, as i think you are [conveniently] misreading what it says.

    22. The same chapter - Num 15, says about those who sin with a high hand:

      30 But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand, whether he be home-born or a stranger, the same blasphemeth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

      This was chazal's specialty, to add(and subtract0 to the Torah with a high hand. Why else was the Temple destroyed under YBZ's watch?

    23. Another example of Rabbinic departure form torah law:

      Lev 3: 17 It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that ye shall eat neither fat nor blood.

      a few verses earlier, it mentions the fat tail (olia) 9 And he shall present of the sacrifice of peace-offerings an offering made by fire unto the LORD: the fat thereof, the fat tail entire, which he shall take away hard by the rump-bone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,

      The entire fat tail is considered heleve, yet the rabbis permit the tasty parts of the fat tail to be eaten - how convenient!

    24. 1) The stick gatherer proves my point. If the written torah is the be all and end all, why is everything so vague? Why no definitions? Shouldn't there be some explanation as to why the stick gatherer was punished? Shouldn't we have some guidance here if we are going to get THE DEATH PENALTY? We need more to go on than Ami Hertz pulling interpretation out of his tuchus. Moses didn't receive the written or oral law all at once, as is evidence by the laws given to him throughout the 40 years in the desert.

    25. the Torah is not vague. It says "kol melacha" All Work - you shall not do. In my back garden there are some branches of trees that were cut down. Now even on a weekday it is quite heavy work to move that wood into one place, or to set up a fire. That should be self evident. However, this is how the rabbinic mind works. There is a statement somewhere that a Talmudic rabbi has to be able to interpret something 50 ways one way, and 50 ways another. So there is no real search for the truth, but it is all a charade to entrap people as their slaves.
      You still have no concept of what work means.

      As for Ami Hertz, no he did not bring interpretation, but cited the different types of work which are explicitly forbidden in the torah.

      Here is from Devarim 5 what it says about work:

      13 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou.

      Now let us just focus on one of these subjects - חֲמֹרְךָ

      Your donkey, can do all sorts of work. It can pull a cart; can pull wood; can pull a millstone; and pull a plough. Have you not heard of the phrase donkeywork? So would you need a list of types of work that a donkey might do before you can accept the Torah? Your position is quit ridiculous.

      But your argument is not based on logic but on your own mental exercises. What in actual fact you are doing (I do not blame you personally, as you are tinok she'nishba) is deconstructing the Torah, and then adding a new testament narrative to it. This had me fooled for quite a few years and i am ashamed at myself for being fooled. But this is your new testament. BTW, Yashke used similar twists and turns and convoluted logic to change the Torah.

      We could go on. I once saw a choshuver Rav who had a private security guard , even on Shabbat. He gave his tallit to the (non Jewish) guard to carry for him on shabbat! This was despite there being an eruv. The 10 commandments say "that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. " Yet orthodoxy have no problem employing servants to work for them on shabbat, as long as they use a loophole.

    26. But in any case, you have not shown why Nechemiah kept Sukkot differently from the rabbis. This shows that there was no Oral law at the beginning of the 2nd temple period. The Anshe knesses gedolah is a myth at best. Even if there was such an organization, they were Torah Sh'bikhtavniks.

      Same goes with so many other violations of the torah by your people; the Red heifer; the Ketoret; Heleve Olya; shaatnez (Beged Kehuna). etc etc

      You WANT there to be an oral law, just like your Christians want the NT to be referenced in the OT. But the evidence disproves the presence of an oral, and that changes to the Torah are in fact Giddoof - blasphemy.

    27. So lets say I want my donkey to take me to a party, is that work? Lets say I am a congregational Rabbi and most of my job is to give classes to the congregation on Shabbos, is that work? What you're saying is the Torah proscribes the death penalty for work on Shabbos yet kept the definition vague. Same with Yom Kippur and Inui Nefesh. Sorry, you are just wrong

    28. In what way did Nechemia change anything from the oral law? He was telling them what type of schach to use

    29. The Torah explicitly says that your donkey should rest on Shabbat. So if you sit on your donley or get him to pull your chariot, then the donkey is working for you.
      You can give divrei Torah on Shabbat. If you earn money for it, or if it is part of your contract, it seems to me that it would be work. similarly, if your contract says you shall be the Shalaich tzibbur, and it is part of your responsibilities as a paid rabbi, then you have serious problems, according to the Torah.

      YK /Inui Nefesh - it is a good argument. the use of the term in Isaiah is juxtaposed with fasting. So then you can ask what about prior to Isaiah? There are several approaches to answering this today.

      1) That the term was understood in hebrew of its time as meaning to fast.
      2) That the Neviim of teh earleir generations also udnerstood it the same way.
      3) That Inui nefesh is a relative term. Can /should a 5 year old; a pregnant woman; and elderly person or a sick person do the same level of inui as a strong 25 year old gibbor?

      My personal view is the 3rd. And that might answer your question about definitions. Certain things may be slightly vague , so that strict judgement isn't brought in every case. That would be for the judges to decide,and that is why the judges were prompted to be righteous and to do tzedek.

      The verse in Neh 8 says:
      15 and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying: 'Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written
      But you do not interpret this as it it written of the torah as referring to scach, you understand it to be referring to the 4 species. You identify the good fruit as being citron (which did not exist in Israel in the first temple days). But nehemiah interprets the verse from leviticus as being a different good fruit.
      So the points of difference between Nehemiah and the oral testament are a) the type of species and b) what to do with it. The Torah does not command us to shake 4 species, only to take it and build a sukka with it.

    30. So what you are saying is that the Torah gave a bunch of laws with no precise definition and if the judge decides to, he can give you the death penalty, even though you had no way of knowing for sure that your act was punishable by death. Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds? Please, enough already. This is beyond stupid.

    31. That is my personal theory and not a mainstream karaite view, so ridicule it as you please. Did not rabbi Akiva say that if he had a sanhedrin, there would be no executions?
      The judges have to keep to the law, but they have also the Torah obligation to do mishpat tsedek. What i am saying is that some laws which apply to all people may have some degree of tolerance for the peoples' needs. My argument (which is not mainstream karaite) is that inui nefesh may be precisely that kind of law. How can all people have the same physical requirements placed on them if they are not of the same physical build? What f someone has type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes? You would simply say they shouldn't fast, so where is the inui nefesh? Maybe the injections they need to take?

    32. If you want a more literalist approach, there is psalm 35;13
      יג וַאֲנִי, בַּחֲלוֹתָם לְבוּשִׁי שָׂק-- עִנֵּיתִי בַצּוֹם נַפְשִׁי;
      וּתְפִלָּתִי, עַל-חֵיקִי תָשׁוּב.

      Thus the phrase, to afflict one's soul is given to mean to fast.

    33. In Exodus 30 it says:
      כג וְאַתָּה קַח-לְךָ, בְּשָׂמִים רֹאשׁ, מָר-דְּרוֹר חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת, וְקִנְּמָן-בֶּשֶׂם מַחֲצִיתוֹ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם; וּקְנֵה-בֹשֶׂם, חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם. 23 'Take thou also unto thee the chief spices, of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty,

      The problem is, that the rabbis claim the measure of cinnamon is 500, instead of the stated 250! That is deliberate tampering with the Law!

    34. from Amos 8: 5 Saying: 'When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth corn? making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances of deceit;

      Now this refers to the business that was not done on Shabbat. But the critique is aimed at those who cheat the people, by falsifying balances.

      It was your mentors, the Rabbis who brought this to every aspect of jewish life. Weather falsifying the balances / weights of the holy spices of the temple; falsifying time, eg the mis-counting of the Omer; imposing harsher laws and adding to the Torah, thus diminishing the freedom of Israel. Adding thousands of restrictions on everything from food to menstruation.

    35. I actually thought of a good stira to your claims. You ask for "definitions" of work. The torah gives definitions, in general, e.g. the work that people do 6 days a week. The Torah is not the dept of Employment to list 100K types of labor. The rabbis made up 39 types of physical actions. But according to your rabbis, writing is not forbidden by the Torah, and is only d'rabbanan. So any kind of labor hat entails writing, eg accounting, office work, and even architectural drawings, are - according to your chaps, permitted d'oraita! This is despite the torah clearly forbidding us to carry out our weekly labors on shabbat! what an ironic joke about your so-called "melachos".

    36. Joshua 1:

      7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.
      8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

  4. Regarding "Is Evidence Necessary" , and the comments of Rabbi Soloveichik, who was a great talmudist and Philosopher - this argument is also false. And it is nothing new, or even Jewish in its nature. Muslims actually bring the same argument, and as far as I know, they originated it. They say, if you learn arabic, and then learn their (treif) book, the koran, then you will have exactly the same experience that Soloveichik was having in learning the talmudic commentaries! Ie it will prove the - khalila - "div-ine" origin of the Koran. karaites and rabbanites alike agree that the Koran was the work of a Navi Sheker.

    1. Rav Soloveitchik never claims that this argument is unique to Judaism - he is quoting a Christian. He is merely asserting that each one of us can sense truth internally when we discover it. Of course it is possible that we may be deceiving ourselves- as do members of other religions. Still, the inner sense of truth is how we come to recognize something as it is so.

      In any case, I wrote this post in order to give a more substantial and logical argument for Torah, even without Rav Soloveitchik's approach.

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  5. Aliyah L’regel - Pilgrimage to the Temple -

    Davka, I was reading this earlier today, and it is surprising. However, it is not in and of itself proof of the Divinity of the Torah. If it can be demonstrated that whenever everyone did make aliyah b'regel, Israel was magically protected, that would be proof. And today, we have no Temple, and presumably there would be attacks and riots if all the Jews went up to Jerusalem - although it is not a bad idea, we should try it.

    1. It is clear that you are misunderstanding the evidence here. The evidence is based on the promise that they will be protected during their aliyah l'regel. Why make a promise which can be tested three times a year and proven false, which also threatens national security? What is to be gained? People don't make such uncalled for promises if they can't back it up, as per every other religion. The evidence is in the promise itself, aside from the fact that they weren't actually attacked.

    2. your question is to the Author, not to me. I believe it was a Divine author and that these miracles took place, if we kept His commands.
      But this is not convincing to the skeptic.

      You speak of evidence - can you clarify evidence for what?

      Let us suppose you are arguing with a secular, skeptical, thinker. you are saying that the Torah is divine because it makes amazing claims. And that these claims might never have been fulfilled, so necessarily the author was G-d!
      That is not a proof, it is trickery. I hope and believe that G0d did write it, but it hasn't stopped others from making great claims in other religions and cults.
      Anyway, there are places where people state that some promises were not fulfilled! And you have to weave your way out of the talmudic story by saying the opposite - that the claim could not be fulfilled supernaturally. So a writer could also rely on such sophistry. He cloud say that the promise would have been fulfilled, had Joe Shmoe not committed sins x,y, and z.
      So your argument is not an argument at all, it is self deception.

    3. The evidence is that the Torah makes a mitzvah of aliyah l'regel for all males thrice yearly. Why make such a claim if is a sure route to national suicide unless you have a G-d who can back it up? And how many years would such a nation last? Yet the Jews did this during the two temples combined for over a millennium. That is quite amazing

    4. I hope you realize I am playing the devil's advocate on this...

      If we were living at that time, and we saw the miracles, the Neviim, and prophecies coming true, then yes it is amazing, and we wouldn't need proofs.
      however we live now, and there is little evidence to support our story. The archaeologists have little evidence for yetziat Mitzrayim; they say they don't have any evidence for david or solomon ever existing. that Jerusalem was a small town and not what the tenach states it was. They claim the Torah was written in later years etc etc.
      You are arguing that by the mere fact of these promises having been made in the Sefer, it is therefore true. But it is true only because it was revealed to Moshe at sinai. If G-d forbid this was not true, then this statement will not prove it. Or, even if we believe it to be true, this statement is not enough to convince a skeptic. they could say it was a magic claim, and nobody even adhered to the aliyah etc, or they hired mercenaries etc.
      In fact, there is a great theory of history in the Torah, especially in Devarim, whereby our fate is determined by our conduct. Now this is mind boggling, but it won't convince a skeptic. I am still trying to think through these promises, eg in Eikev, to see whether they offer rational arguments. But you can always say people sinned, , even if we or they were not aware of them.

    5. You are not at all grasping my point. No other religion has commandments like shmittah every seven years or aliyah l'regel thrice yearly. There is too much risk involved as they are both recipes for national suicide. If the Torah wasn't divine, it could simply not have commanded these two commandments and saved itself the risk of national rebellion, if and when the Jews were attacked on a holiday with a defenseless border, or when they would starve after not planting for a whole year. Why make the commandment in the first place unless it can be backed up? Why does no other religion ever make such requirements of its adherents? That is the evidence. I frankly don't care if it convinces a skeptic. The Torah is for truth seekers, not skeptics.

    6. "I frankly don't care if it convinces a skeptic. The Torah is for truth seekers, not skeptics. " Your definition of a truth seeker, is probably someone who accepts all of your statements.

      I do grasp your point. You are preaching to the choir. Let me make a suggestion. You claim no other religion would make statements or requirements which would risk rebellion. You say this with some conviction, but you suffer from blind zeal in your protests.

      We know from the Torah itself, that the ancient idol worshipers would sacrifice their own children to their gods! We also know from archaeology that this was taking place in native South American religions, they would sacrifice their own to their false deities.
      You claim that such an absurd requirement would cause rebellion. Well, a) in idolatrous religions, it was accepted, such an anti-human edict.
      b) Even in Israel, there was rebellion against the Torah, and a swing to idolatry.

      So your claim is totally false, and is refuted by empirical evidence.

    7. I never said sacrificing children would foment rebellion (unless everyone had to - you conveniently ignore the fact that child sacrifice was only for the few, not the many). I said that mass suicide - such as a thrice yearly open border policy or mass hunger every seven years - would foment rebellion and is in and of itself, pointless. What is the incentive to make such a ridiculous law in the first place?

    8. No, but your argument implies that it would. A food shortage would in the end mean people will break the law. A child sacrifice is much more severe, yet people did it. What is the incentive to legislate child sacrifice?

      I don't know the incentive, and I am not denying the nature of the Torah. I am just saying your argument is no proof.
      Perhaps the incentive would be obedience, to induce creativity, etc. In any case the Neviim said that people did not keep the Shemita, and that the exile would make up for them.

    9. You are comparing apples to oranges. Maybe a law that a few would have to sacrifice their children would be acceptable to a group. But why would a new religion tell an already rebellious people that ALL OF THEM should risk starvation every 7 years and have open borders three times yearly. Your example from child sacrifice is a very poor one.

    10. It is not apples and oranges. They are different systems which ask its adherents to do irrational things. As i said, since the torah itself - or the Neviim, criticizes Israel for not keeping the 7th year, then obviously they did not keep it regularly. the mere fact that it was required is not proof.

    11. Deut 4: 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

      13: 1 All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

      30:10 if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

  6. Shmittah and various explanations:
    "What is to be gained by this unless you can guarantee its success? And why guarantee a bumper crop unless it is within your power to ensure it?"

    This is a ridiculous argument. Many - lehavdil - false religions make duff promises. making a promise in itself does not prove the promiser to be true. In fact the torah's own criteria for false prophet is one whose predictions do not come true.
    To use the quasi -cognitive argument that only a true G-d would give an outrageous promise is not proof of anything.
    next, the objective of the rabbi Reinman is also ridiculous. The bumper crop in the 6th year would already precede the 7th year - so there would be no need for "faith". If there is no bumper crop in the 6th year, then the people will be forced to sow on the 7th year or face starvation. A better explanation for the problems in Roman times would be the usurpation of the Temple (pre -Hurban) by Yochanan ben Zakai, who falsified the Torah, introduced new laws, brought impurity of the dead into the temple to kill off the righteous Priests; abolished other Torah laws such as Egel Arufah and the Sotah ceremony - all leading to the destruction of the Temple and the start up of a new and fake religion called oral testament judaism.

    1. Once again, the question still remains, why make a commandment doomed to failure and destruction of your religion in the first seven years? What is to be gained by this unless you can guarantee its success? And why guarantee a bumper crop unless it is within your power to ensure it? These are falsifiable and testable claims, unlike other religious claims which cannot be tested.

      Your attack o Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai is based on your own bias, nothing substantiated.

    2. I am not going to speculate on why an author would make a claim he cannot deliver. If I were to agree with your so-called evidence, I might use it to justify Jesus. You are saying his pretensions to Messiahood would be easily falsifiable - because he would need to defeat Rome (which he didn't) secure the Temple , obviously live more than 32 years of age, and have offspring. On top of that, he needed to set up a monarchy, as great as David's.
      Your hypothesis suggests he would only make such a claim if he was the true messiah - since his claim would be falsifiable.
      So your argument is not a good philosophical argument. And anyway, I read it before on some funny ultra-orthodox website. you won't convince Naftali, or even a neutral skeptic, with this type of claim.

    3. Incidentally, it was the same RBZ who - according to talmudic legend - had influence with the Roman invader to possibly save Jerusalem and the Temple. Instead, he chose to start his new religion in Yavne, where he would be free from Sadducees, and gave the OK to his Roman partners in crime to liquidate Jerusalem.

    4. Your point about Jesus make no sense. Jesus' guarantees are all things that he claimed would happen in some future time, not anything which can be immediately shown to be false. Commanding a nation to halt food production every seven years is crazy unless you can actually back it up, which they did.

      Your point about Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai is based on Talmud Gittin. You cherry pick quotes from there that fit your silly attack on him yet ignore his intent as stated by the Talmud. You are very dishonest

    5. "Your point about Jesus make no sense. Jesus' guarantees are all things that he claimed would happen in some future time, not anything which can be immediately shown to be false. "

      No, Jesus - or his writers, claimed he was the Messiah, so it would be visible and testable. instead he failed, and his followers still believed.
      You don't really understand your own argument. You have a "Goldberg" principle. This states that an author will not make a claim that can be easily refuted. however, jesus made such a claim. So the Goldberg principle is false.

      YBZ stated later on that he could have asked for Jerusalem to be spared. if he really had those supernatural powers to foresee who would be the next emperor, then he could have at least tried his luck and ask for Jerusalem.
      but my main point about YBZ was his perversion of the Torah, as stated in Parah. this was part of his battle to eject the Sadducees from their rightful place in the temple. the Torah says that touching the parah will make someone impure until night. So the Rabbinic position, that they are clean by day, is a reform position. You guys do this all day and all night. Nothing in the Torah is given its plain meaning, and that is why you succeeded in destroying the temple. The Oral Law is essentially a new testament, the only difference is that it was written by talmidei hachamim, whilst the Yashke version was written buy a bunch of amateurs. the statement in Erubin, where they claim that the new Testament (d'rabbanan) is more precious than the Old Testmament (Mikre) is simply lifted from the Letter to Hebrews of Yashke + co. Your religion is new testament, face the truth.

    6. You are wrong about Jesus. The new testament states that he'll have a second coming, so his death did not destroy the religion. In any case, the new testament was written after his death, so the Messiah claim was always understood to mean a second coming.

    7. You conveniently leave out that which Tractate Gittin states that it was G-d who caused Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai not to ask the Romans to spare the Temple, not some nefarious intent. If you are going to quote the Talmud, at least be honest and quote the whole passage, not just the part that fits your argument.
      As far as the oral law goes, it is too much too go into the entire idea here. I would point anyone seeking truth, to understand things by listening to

    8. "You conveniently leave out that which Tractate Gittin states that it was G-d who caused Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai not to ask the Romans to spare the Temple,"

      That is only valid if you accept the Talmud as being a divine document. But it is a circular argument or tautology. Talmud often whitewashes the behavior of people in a self-serving way.

      The argument is not convincing. Assuming the story is true, and Josephus also made the same claim, ie that he was the one who had the dream, then YBZ would have had the choice to ask. But in a strange way, this was self serving - it was in the narrow interests of YBZ to have Jerusalem destroyed, and to have a Roman backing for developing his new religion without trouble form the Sadducees.

    9. So you believe the Talmud's account of RYBZ giving up the Temple, but not when the Talmud states that he was influenced from Heaven to do so. How convenient.

    10. NO, my position is that many of the contents of the Talmud , re historical events, may hodl some truth. Even so, these may be embellished stories. When it comes to interpretations of the Torah and reality, I have to be very careful in accepting Talmudic Ideology. Same goes with its sister publication, the New Testament. There may be some historical truths there, maybe heavily embellished. But I don't accept their claims to have had communications from God. It is even possible that Jesus performed some miracles or tricks. But that doesn't oblige me to accept him as the Messiah.

  7. "Your attack o Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai is based on your own bias, nothing substantiated."

    First, we have the Mishna in Parah, where he falsifies verses in the Torah regarding impurity in preparing the Parah Adumah, in order to disqualify the righteous kohanim. He invents "tevul yom" which contradicts the pshat of the Torah. Then in Mishna in Sotah, we see he cancels the Sotah ceremony. If under his takeover of the Temple, the "correct" Oral torah practice was introduced, why was this supernatural bitter waters ordeal - which had worked fine when the Sadducees were operating it, suddenly became ineffective? The clear reason is that YBZ and his Pharisee cronies were impure and were not correctly carrying out the Torah's commands. the cop-out answer is that there was adultery, and hence the test to catch out an adulteress could not perform. Presumably, then, it only worked if there was no adultery?

  8. Incidentally, you claim "Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb (he received his Ph.D. in mathematical logic at Brandeis University and was a Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University)". However, he was never a full professor, but assistant or associate professor. This means he was a lecturer, who never made it big, and did not hold a Chair in Philosophy (unlike his kid brother Roger, who is now a professor).

    Check this out:

    Gottlieb, Dale--Assistant Professor, 1969-1975; Associate Professor, 1975-1980; Visiting Associate Professor, 1980

    In US universities, all lecturers are some kind of "professor". But someone big, like Chomsky, becomes a Professor, like a European Professor.
    In all his time in academia, he published a single book! Compare this to Prof Jacob Neusner, the conservative Rabbi, who has published around 1000 books, 200 of them authored, and around 800 edited by him. So there are professors, and there are Professors.

  9. As regards to the Wisdom of the Hebrew language, the sensational claims made by the rabbis are largely false. First, the Biblical Hebrew used was not written in the current script of block letters, which is Aramaic and not Hebrew. This language was not invented by Abraham or Moses, but was used in Proto- or Paleo_hebrew by the Phonecians, Hittites etc. The Hebrew people innovated several interesting things - vowels, according to Dr Joel Hoffman. But these are letter vowels, yod, vav, and heh. This enabled Hebrew to expand and develop a wider literary form. However, the basics, like Aleph, Bet etc were used by ancient peoples, and we can at best say that they originated with Adam.
    As for the Kabbalah and the alleged wisdom of these letters, sorry but this is based on their anachronistic use of Aramaic block letters, and assuming this is what was used in Ancient Israel.
    Another popular rabbinic myth is that it was the Oral Law/rabbis who created the diacritic vowels, these are the small dots and lines below the block letters which give pronunciation cues. All linguists who have studied the field would agree that these came much alter in the day, and in fact the Tiberian Karaite Massoretes created this system that was adopted by Orthodoxy at the behest of maimonides, and contrary to Saadia gaon, the hunter of karaites. The same goes for the massoretic text of the Bible which is now universal. The BEN Asher family of karaites had preserved this text - and hence they influenced all of Judaism.

    1. Regarding Naphtali's Problematic issues, which is a second essay, one of the things he claims is that Hebrew language did not develop until a few centuries after the Torah was given. His evidence is that some canaanite steles dating from after the Israelties entered Israel, were still written in Proto_Cannanite or the pre-hebrew script. This argument is weak, because it is based on absence of evidence, which is not the same as evidence of absence.
      Furthermore, we can argue that the real Hebrew of the Torah was perhaps "invented" by G0d - as His signature letters, Yod; Heh; and Vav appear in the Hebrew but not in the Canaanite script. A new language system may take time to diffuse into the general population, which still has Canaanite remnants.
      This is a possibility - but then Gottliebn rejects "possibilities" - or rather when they do not suit his goals. When they do suit his goals, suddenly they become highly probable. Read Perakh and Rubin's critiques, and they expose a lot of his dirty tactics.

    2. Ben Asher was not a Karaite.
      Sanhedrin 21/Megillah 3 state/imply that the Hebrew we have now was indeed inscribed into the tablets given to Moses, though ksav ivris was commonly used until the second temple period.

    3. ben Asher was clearly a Karaite. The father donated his masoretic text to the Karaite Synagogue in Egypt and blessed them to continue. If he was a Rabbi he would not have done this. can you Imagine Saadia blessing a karaite shul to continue from strength to srength?

      The Rabbis of the talmud had no idea abotu hebrew linguistics, and there are opposing views in the talmud anyway.

    4. Devarim 21: In v. 5 it says
      וְעַל-פִּיהֶם יִהְיֶה, כָּל-רִיב וְכָל-נָגַע.

      this is referring to הַכֹּהֲנִים, בְּנֵי לֵוִי

      So the entire foundation of Rabbinic power crumbles under the correct reading of the Torah. And that was the reason they undermined the Bnei Tzadok

    5. That Ben Asher was a Karaite is speculation which started in 1860, almost a millenium after his death. Aron Dotan has sufficiently shown us that this is nothing but nonsense.

      The reason the Torah singles out the Kohanim and Levites for halachic decisions is because they were set aside to serve G-d and be scholars and not be busy earning a living. Anyone can do this if they choose, not just Levi.

    6. It is not speculation, it is highly probable - as he was sponsoring the karaite community. Saadia opposed his version, precisely because of his animosity to karaites. Show me one Gadol Rabbi who blessed the karaite shul to go from strength to strength!

    7. "The reason the Torah singles out the Kohanim and Levites for halachic decisions is because they were set aside to serve G-d and be scholars and not be busy earning a living. Anyone can do this if they choose, not just Levi. "

      No, this is the reason the Talmud retrojects into the Torah. The talmud is very much like the new testament. In fact Daniel Boyarin has written a book making the same point. Just like the NT reads all sorts of christology into the torah and Neviim, so the Talmud reads all sorts of Pharisology into the TNK.
      Your statement about Cohanim is so farcical and false that it betrays your shallow knowledge of the Torah. The Cohanim are repeatedly spelled out as the Legal and Temple authorities. this is indisputable. Do you think the Hoshen Mishpat is named after a section of the shulchan aruch?

      You are combining Christianity and communism, (and a bit of rambam) when you say anyone can be a Levi. the Torah stipulates who are Cohanim and Leviim. So this is another fallacy of the Talmud. And of course, this was the original crime of the mafia boos, YBZ.

    8. In fact, YBZ's project was the usurpation of the temple, and the religion. The onslaught on the Sadducees, the murder of High priests, eg by stoning them with etrogim, the bringing in Tumat of metim to diqualify the true Cohanim, and replacing them with puppet or fake kohanim; these were all part of Pharisee agenda to change the Torah and usurp power. The spiritual destruction of the Temple was in large part, carried out by YBZ. The Mitzvot were one by one abolished; Sotah ceremony; eglah arufah; ref heifer. YBZ destroyed the Temple from within, and this is why it was destroyed by the Romans from without. Phariseeism is all about exile and destruction. The same will be done to Israel today if the Hareidi parties ever get into power.

    9. So the fact that Maimonides warred with the Karaites yet highly praised and relied on Ben Asher codex means nothing to you? Clearly Maimonides didn't think he was a Karaite

    10. That is a false argument about Maimonides.

      a) BY your logic, he would not consider their wine to be kosher. But in a teshuva he says that "we" can drink Karaite wine as they are not AKum.

      b) In any case, he also praised Aristotle, and further stated accept the truth from whoever you hear it. So your argument is an empty one.

    11. They arent akum so they don't worship idols, so thier wine is permitted. He still fought against their theology.
      He praises Aristotle for his general knowledge, not when it came to Torah.

    12. So why is their Masoretic text forbidden, if it has the least errors?

    13. Your argument is based on a house of cards. you are posing supposed cognitive reasons why Ben Asher was not a Karaite. And this is your approach to all matters. The evidence is strong that Ben Asher were Karaites. Maimonides or saadia would not have blessed a Karaite synagogue, so it is impossible that Ben Asher was mainstream orthodox, as he donated the Masoretic text with a blessing to the Bnei Mikre. If he was a Rabbi, he would have called on them to do "teshuva".

      Next, your argument that HaRambam would reject a good text because of the author is going agasint what he himself teaches. he will prefer a goyish astronomer if it delviers the goods over a Yiddisher one. So clearly he would not object to a Karaite Massorete if it beats the Heimishe version.
      In any case, the Kohanim were the guardians of the original Sefer Torah that Moses wrote, and they did not have any Oral Law ;)

    14. Can you provide evidence that Ben Asher was a Karaite? Don;t just parrot something you heard. Give me real evidence. At least as good as Aron Dotan's evidence which shows that Ben Asher was a Rabbinic Jew.

    15. what is Dotan's evidence? I do not have his book.
      I saw that one of his arguments was that Maimonides accepted him. This is a false argument as I have already proven. Read his letter on Astrology, and u will see maimonides was open to non Orthoox and non Jewish truths.

  10. Meir - have you been contacted by "Naftali" or his colleagues?

    I wish to congratulate you for attempting to debate the points he raises.

    1. Thank you. My intent was not to convince Zeligman or his ilk, since they have made their minds up already and aren't interested in truth. I am merely trying to help honest people and show them that Torah is true and Zeligman's attacks are dishonest.

  11. Zeligman, and many other critics of the Torah, make a claim that the use of the name Dan in the Torah "proves" its late authorship, since they claim the land had not yet been apportioned or conquered in the time of Moses. not so. It is a Karaite adage to search the scriptures well. Thus we see in the book of Joshua 14:

    1 And these are the inheritances which the children of Israel took in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed unto them,
    2 by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half-tribe.--

    These verses tell us that Moses had already apportioned the land, and that Joshua was now carrying out its implementation.

    This refutes one important strand of Bible Criticism, and the claims of Mr Zeligman.

    1. I already stated as much in another post, though I reject Karaiteism

  12. Zeligman, in his accompanying essay, or list of problematic issues, claims that hebrew did not exits and nor did the Phoenecian language (proto-Hebrew) at teh time of the torah being given, and thus claims it could not have been written in 1300 BCE.
    However, current records date Phoenecian alphabet to the 12th C BCE,
    That is 100 years later than the traditional view on the writing of the Torah.

    This is simply absence of evidence, which is not evidence of absence. If a 22 letter alphabet existed 100 years after the date we are talking of - it is highly likely that hebrew could have existed in that form , 1300 BCE. There is not a complete record of all texts, from 3300 years ago. Hence, to assume that what we have is the oldest is not a very scientific assumption. It could be assumed that a variation of a couple of hundred years exits, and hence this does not disprove the age of the writing of the Torah.

  13. Naftali claims there is a contradiction between Exoduus 32:14 and Num 23:19. Whereas in Exodus, God does repent of a decree to destroy Israel, in Numbers it says God does not repent. However, reading the verses in Num 23, these are the words of Balak, rather than God himself. And we are told that God will show mercy, hence he can repent of an act of destruction, if we beseech him. On the other hand, Balak is saying that he cannot curse Israel, since God will not repent of his blessing. In other words, man cannot make God do undeserved evil, but he can ask the reverse to forgive evil .

    So Naftali's arguments are very superficial. I would also add eh is being disingenuous. He is not trying to be objective, but to look for pints and interpret them in the worts possible way.

    1. Naftali, together with other critics, attack the statement of the Torah of there being a firmament, and of there being water above it. However, there is water in space.

      The Rakia - or firmament, may refer to the escape velocity needed to exit the earth, or another gravitational or space concept.

      Dating the Universe is a good question, but the 7 days could also be metaphorical.

      So naftali's scientific knowledge is limited, and he is in error when he claims there is no water aboe the sky!

  14. Naftali makes a song and a dance about the quails that came from the sea. He makes a concerted argument, that quails are not sea birds; that the Rabbinic Homer measure is what is in the Bible, and that it is impossible for 256M quails to be caught, since this number never existed. He ignores, as is his style, what the text actually says.

    Most important, is that those who ate these birds died. he is assuming all 3Million people ate them, in which case they would all have died. however it was only the rebels who complained, and they are the ones who died. I haven't seen a figure for those who died, but it may have been a few thousand. Next, we do not know if the "Slav" mentioned int he Torah is the same as the quail of today. It might have been another bird or sea bird. So Zelig's analysis is flawed and deeply exaggerated. The Torah is not claiming that everyone ate them, and hence his mental gymnastics are of no use to anyone.

  15. Torah: Ex 30:

    9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-offering, nor meal-offering; and ye shall pour no drink-offering thereon.
    34 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense; of each shall there be a like weight.

    That is 4 types of incense in equal weights.

    What did the rabbis do?

    1)Balsam 2)Onycha 3)Galbanum 4)Frankincense the weight of seventy portions each 5)Myrrh 6)Cassia 7)Spikenard 8)and Saffron, the weight of sixteen portions each. 9)12 Portions of Costus 10) Three of aromatic or Bark 11)Nine of Cinnamon

    That is more than the , and in different quantities.

    Then: Further, nine kavs of Lye of Carsina. And three kavs and three Se'Ahs of Cyprus wine. And if one should not find any Cyprus wine, he should bring old white wine and a quarter of the salt of Sodom. And a small measure of a smoke raising herb

    In every way, the Rabbis violate the Torah, Ex 30; v.9

    a) by bringing strange incense
    b) they use unequal weights
    c) the bring drink offering!

    This is blasphemous!

    1. Here are the Rashi's, the most basic commentary of the Bible, on the verse from Ex 30:34.The interpretation is based on a careful reading of the verses, with the understanding that no word or letter can be superfluous since the Bible was written by G-d:
      "and pure frankincense": From here our Rabbis learned that eleven ingredients were told to Moses [when he was] at Sinai: the minimum of aromatics-two [since סַמִּים is written in the plural form]; balsam sap, onycha, and galbanum-three, equaling five; aromatics [written a second time]-to include again the number of these, equaling ten; and frankincense, totaling eleven. They are as follows: (1) balsam sap, (2) onycha, (3) galbanum, (4) frankincense, (5) myrrh, (6) cassia, (7) spikenard נֵרְדְּ) (שִׁבֹּלֶת, and (8) saffron, totaling eight, because שִׁבֹּלֶת and נֵרְדְּ are one, for spikenard נֵרְדְּ is like an ear [of grain] שִׁבֹּלֶת. [To continue:] (9) costus, (10) aromatic bark, and (11) cinnamon, thus totaling eleven. Borith carshina [mentioned further in the Baraitha, is not counted because it] does not go up in smoke, but they rub the onycha with it to whiten it so that it should be beautiful. -[from Ker. 6a]
      "they shall be of equal weight": Heb. יִהְיֶה בַּד בְּבַד. These four [ingredients] mentioned here [explicitly] shall be equal, a weight for a weight. Like the weight of one, so shall be the weight of the other. So we learned (Ker. 6a): The balsam, the onycha, the galbanum, and the frankincense the weight of each was seventy manehs. The word בַּד appears to me to mean a unit; each one [i. e., the weight] shall be this one like that one.

  16. I have a question: what about the biblical prophecies of the jews being as vast as the stars and sand"?

    1. Great question. I don't have a great answer for you. But it seems that this promise is a qualitative one, not a quantitative promise. They will be many as they were when compared to the few Jews that existed in Abraham, Jacob or Moses' time. They would shine and stand out like the stars.

      It is also possible that if you take the total number of Jews who have lived from Abraham/Moses until now, it was many, many millions, perhaps the total number of stars.

  17. Karaite and the Rabbi each make some good points. Ancient cultures had oral traditions that evolved over time, and Judaism was likely no different. Rabbinic tradition probably preserves SOME authentic ancient Israelite interpretations of the Torah.

  18. Dear Rabbi you state "Then, there is a hundred year gap in the history. What happened during that 100 years? For that you have to go to the Babylonian records. That is when the Babylonians were kicking the stuffing out of the Egyptians. The Egyptians don't record that because that doesn't glorify their empire. They just leave it out.
    An example is the question of the Exodus. Why is it that no ancient Egyptian records mention the Exodus? The answer is that the Egyptians never recorded their defeats. Therefore, since the Exodus was a massive defeat, you would not expect them to record it. So, its absence from their records is not evidence against the Exodus.”

    You make a good point, but seem to be contradicting yourself. The claim is Egypt did not record defeats, yet the Babylonians recorded the Egyptian defeat. But if there was a defeat of Egypt ( over 2 million yidden left), should not there be other reports of it ? Do we have such reports ? Or is the only report th eone found in the Torah ? Thank You THE TRUTH IS G-D's SEAL

    1. I read to quickly. I see a response as follows: Nobody else had the motivation to record it . THE TRUTH IS G-D's SEAL

  19. Dear Rabbi,

    Circumcision on the 'eighth day' is not confined to yidden. Also the Talmud (and Rashi commentary) explain the dangers of circumcision, and not just for families with blood issues. THE TRUTH IS G-D's SEAL

    1. Can you tell me which other culture circumcises specifically on the eighth day (that doesn't follow the Bible)?

    2. Dear Rabbi

      I can answer your question on one condition. You agree to answer my question regarding the Talmud saying infant circumcision was dangerous .
      THE TRUTH IS G-D's SEAL. Thank You

    3. I'd be glad to answer you though I don't understand your question. Why is it problematic that the Talmud states that circumcision is dangerous? Whoever claimed it wasn't dangerous? I merely noted an amazing 'coincidence' that this very dangerous procedure takes place on the day when a person's clotting is most potent.

    4. Dear Rabbi

      Thanks for response. It is odd Hashem orders a dangerous procedure - which can kill an infant and then you argue day 8 is the best day ! Weird, just saying. The ways of the Lord are mysterious indeed.

      The Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th edition 1910-1911: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences ..., Volumes 5-6 Under Circumcision: "Some tribes in South America and elsewhere are said to perform the rite on the eighth day, like the Jews." ; "Circumcision was known to the Aztecs (Bancroft, Native Races, vol. iii.), and is still practiced by the Caribs of the Orinoco and the Tacunas of the Amazon". "The Caribs of the Orinoco and the Tacunas of the Amazon practise the rite, as well as the Automecos, the Salivas, and the Guemos, who perform it on the eighth day, the earliest time recorded among savage tribes".

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    5. While it is strange that G-d would order us to circumcise a young child, there is protection when doing what G-d commands. I merely pointed out that it is an amazing 'coincidence' that we are commanded to circumcise on the exact day that a person has his highest levels of blood clotting.

      According to the following book, only the Guemos (and I also saw the Susu people who lived near Timbuktu) practiced circumcision on the eight day.,+and+the+Guemos&source=bl&ots=zC6XWGEcYQ&sig=iJ2YLYQLXP9gxNkRpb5jvvm51zw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-A9-VNmCLs35yQTf84K4Bw&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Salivas%2C%20and%20the%20Guemos&f=false

      In any case, even if there were some small tribes who practiced it on the eighth day, it still is an amazing coincidence that the oldest reference to circumcision from several thousand years ago, picks the best possible day and almost nobody else realizes that the eighth day is the best.

    6. Dear Rabbi,

      Thank you for getting back to me. The reference you provide does not say 1) only the guemos and susu. It is not providing a comprehensive list. 2) With the addition of the Susu there are at least three KNOWN that perform it on day 8. 3) Many cultures perform the ritual near puberty. It is possible near this age it is safer than day 8. Recall the Talmud itself teaches us day 8 was dangerous !

      The Truth is god's seal

    7. Who else other than the Guemos and Susu are said to have performed circumcision on day 8? It is likely that the two sources you cited are quoting the book 'medical record' and that book only says two tribes did it on Day 8 - the Guemo and Susu tribes.

    8. Dear Rabbi,

      Yes, there are at least two non jewish, not 3 non jewish listed. I am not sure this is an complete exhaustive listing since the wording used in one reference was SOME and not a couple. In any event the two are sufficient to take the force out of your argument. My other comments read with an open and compassionate mind with no apriori assumptions also reduce the force of the argument.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

  20. I just wanted to bring out a point here. Going back to the previous argument regarding Josiah allegedly rediscovering the torah. Lets face it, 57 years is ridiculously low number of years for such detailed history to have been forgotten. One could have easily just asked his grandfather whether his parents ever kept shabbos wore tefilin, or kept any other 0fthe 613 mitzvos or whether there was any sort of tradition the exodus believed. So it would take a much greater leap of faith to assume that the discovery of the torah is what caused newfound belief in the religion than to say it was simply the finding of the torah scroll itself that caused an strengthening of the old religion. Furthermore, wouldn't such an event (rediscovery of tradition) of such epic proportions be the foundation of our oral tradition? Why is it that every other jewish accomplishment which seem relatively small compared to this, included in every comprehensive jewish history book? For example, Rebbi codified the mishna, ravina and rav ashi did the same with the gimara.

    1. Excellent point. If Josiah rediscovered a completely lost tradition, we would undoubtedly assume that he would be a much greater Jewish hero then he is made out to be.

  21. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

    I am amazed at your good midos, patience as well as your vast knowledge. I have a question regarding written Hebrew since you base one of your arguments on it. In Midrash Rabbah Esther IV:12 - does it not write Hebrew is a spoken tongue with no script of it's own ? And also the Israelites thus chose the Assyrian script. So would this not put a huge dent in one of your arguments ?

    The Truth is G-d's Seal

    1. The Midrash is referring to the 'Ivri script' which was used during the first Temple, but was not commonly used after the Jewish return to Israel after the Babylonian exile. That is why it wasn't written language, because only the Ashur script was then used. To explain how both Ashur (Assyrian script) and Ivri were both used in the Torah at Sinai and why Assryian Hebrew is called Assyrian, see: The last section titled: The Script Of The Torah

    2. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

      Thank you for the response and please have patience with me. 1) The Midresh Rabbah Esther is saying Hebrew has no script of it's own. Period. Maybe the Hebrew language never had a language of its own. ! And indeed this is consistent with my understanding that other cultures contributed to the actual letters used to write Hebrew in the Torah. That the Hebrew letters evolved from older types of writing systems from non Jewish peoples. 2) In you 'Evidence for Divine..." you are using 'hebrew' letters as part of your argument. Are those Hebrew letters really assyrian -gentile letters ?

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    3. Dear Rabbi Goldberg, There is typo in my March 19,2015, 3:14 PM comment I meant this:
      Thank you for the response and please have patience with me. 1) The Midresh Rabbah Esther is saying Hebrew has no script of it's own. Period. Maybe the Hebrew language never had a SCRIPT of its own. ! And indeed this is consistent with my understanding that other cultures contributed to the actual letters used to write Hebrew in the Torah. That the Hebrew letters evolved from older types of writing systems from non Jewish peoples. 2) In you 'Evidence for Divine..." you are using 'hebrew' letters as part of your argument. Are those Hebrew letters really assyrian -gentile letters ?

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    4. I don't think that is what it means. I think it means that the original written Hebrew was ksav ashuris and it was only changed to ksav ivris later on. In other words, Ashuris is the intended written text of the Torah, not Ivris.

  22. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

    I have a follow up question regarding written Hebrew since you base one of your arguments on it. It is my understanding that other cultures contributed to the actual letters used to write Hebrew in the Torah. That the Hebrew letters evolved from older types of writing systems from non Jewish peoples. Would this not put a huge dent in one of your arguments ?

    The Truth is G-d's Seal

    1. Dear Rabbi Goldberg - "The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet (Hebrew: הכתב העברי הקדום‎), also Palaeo-Hebrew alphabet, is an abjad variant of the Phoenician alphabet. It dates to around the 10th century BCE. It was used as the main vehicle for writing the Hebrew language by the Israelites, who would later split into Jews and Samaritans."

      The Truthis G-d's Seal

    2. "The ancient paleo-Hebrew alphabet is similar to those used for Canaanite and Phoenician. Modern scripts are based on the "square" letter form, known as Ashurit (Assyrian), which was developed from the Aramaic script."

    3. Dear Rabbi Goldgerg,

      "Biblical Hebrew has been written with a number of different writing systems. The Hebrews adopted the Phoenician script around the 12th century BCE, which developed into the Paleo-Hebrew script. This was retained by the Samaritans, who use the descendent Samaritan script to this day. However the Aramaic script gradually displaced the Paleo-Hebrew script for the Jews, and it became the source for the modern Hebrew alphabet."

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    4. Dear Rabbi Goldberg ,

      "The Northwest Semitic languages, including Hebrew, differentiated noticeably during the Iron Age (1200–540 BCE), although in its earliest stages Biblical Hebrew was not highly differentiated from Ugaritic and Amarna Canaanite."

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    5. Dear Rabbi Goldberg

      "The Israelite tribes who settled in the land of Israel adopted the Phoenician script around the 12th century BCE, as found in the Gezer calendar (c. 10th century BCE).[56][57] This script developed into the Paleo-Hebrew script in the 10th or 9th centuries BCE.[58][59][60]"

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    6. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

      Sorry for all the Wiki Citations but they explain my perplexity.
      Hebrew Script evolves/comes from gentile people. So arguing special things based on hebrew script seems an odd argument for the divinity of the Torah.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    7. You are basing all of your arguments on one premise. You are buying into the archaeologists premise that Hebrew mustn't be more than 3000 years old (if that much) since they haven't found anything older than that. In other words, since the arrogant archaeologist hasn't found it, it must not exist. Crap like that would never stand in a court of law. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

      My premise is that Hebrew was the original language of creation, so Phonician, Assyrian, Semitic languages, etc are all derivatives of Hebrew.

      Now I am not trying to use a scientific proof re Hebrew language. I am using a logical piece of evidence. There is a big difference.

      Therefore, I don't think the Wikipedia articles disprove anything. There are merely the logical conclusion of the assumption that the Torah is man made and untrue.

    8. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

      Please bear with me, the way our great sage Rabbi Hillel may have.

      1) I think your are grossly overly simplifying and misrepresenting the linguistic, archaeological, historical evidence regarding Hebrew.

      2) The Midrash Megillah citation supports the academic discipline findings. I suggest you read the Midrash, and not rely on memory. You are required to 'interpret' the Midrash to fit a preconceived notion. But maybe the Midrash is meant to be taken as peshat reading.

      3) Your '..premise is that Hebrew was the original language of creation...' Then you have a circular argument, in that you assume that which you are trying to prove.

      4) We must distinguish script from language. The latter may be divine, while not the former.

      5) "My premise is that Hebrew was the original language of creation, so Phonician, Assyrian, Semitic languages, etc are all derivatives of Hebrew."

      I think this is is contrary to the opinion of virtually every if not every academic scholar. You need to support a premise with evidence. If you have this evidence present it in peer reviewed journals.

      Furthermore do you not find it odd that so many scripts and languages of the world have no relation to hebrew ? If hebrew was the original language and script should not traces also be found (as a second language or embedded) in every culture all over the world ? Why are the similarities limited to the ancient near east countries ? This strongly suggests that Hebrew related languages and scripts are localized and not world wide.

      Good Shabbos

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    9. Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

      As I study this more, my perplexity deepens. "The Ancient Aramaic alphabet is adapted from the Phoenician alphabet and became distinctive from it by the 8th century BCE. It was used to write the Aramaic language." "Ashuri alphabet (Hebrew: אָלֶף־בֵּית אַשּׁוּרִי‎, álef-bet ashurí) means Assyrian alphabet and also refers to the Assyrian script (Hebrew: כְּתָב אַשּׁוּרִי‎, ktav ashurí) which is the name for a traditional calligraphic form of the Aramaic alphabet, and a term that was first used in the Mishnah to refer to either the Aramaic alphabet or the formal script used in certain Jewish ceremonial items, including Sefer Torah, Mezuzah, Tefillin also abbreviated as STA"M[1] (Hebrew: סת"ם‎). It is also referred to as the "square" script. This is the Aramaic script that replaced the original ancient Hebrew alphabet, becoming the modern Hebrew alphabet."

      The square script is Assyrian Aramaic script which forms by the 8th century. But Matan Torah was way before this. So the Torah could not have been written in square script. So mystical inferences are being made from gentile script or at least not from our ancient original Hebrew alphabet.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    10. Thank you for your comments. Please allow me to explain and elaborate:
      1)The wikipedia articles you brought are the source for my opinions regarding the archaeologist. The earliest Hebrew manuscripts they have are the Gezer calendar and that which was found at Kirbet Kefiyah which they date to the 10th century BC. No wonder they assume the Hebrew does not predate 11 or 12 century BC. But if they will find some Hebrew writing from before that, then they will change their estimate.
      Archaeologist William Dever wrote in 1996 - “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.”
      These archaeologists have dug up a mere fraction of Israel and they come to conclusions based on that. They assume that the Torah is man made and give it no historical legitimacy. Fine. Follow that opinion if you want to. But let's not give them too much credit.

    11. 2) I have looked up the Midrash and it is taken from Jerusalem Talmud 1:9 which states that there were 70 languages yet everyone spoke a common tongue (See Genesis 10:20 and then 11:1 which seems to imply this as well). That Talmud quotes the same as the Midrash and goes on to state that ivri is paleo Hebrew and Ashuris is the Hebrew that we have. It is clear from that Talmud that the Torah believed that the luchos (tablets) were given in either form (ivri or ashurit - most likely, the first in Ashurit and second tablets in Ivri) see So clearly the Talmudic understanding is that the Ivri not having a script, indicates that the primary script of Torah is Ashuri, not ivri. No need to twist ourselves into a pretzel.

  23. 3) I'm not making a circular argument. I merely stated my belief that Hebrew is the original language of G-d and given to man. I try to prove that in the article in this blog post. I am not proving this by saying that it must be true because the Torah said so, but rather by showing the deep wisdom of Hebrew and making the argument that it is unlikely to have been man made.

  24. 4) It is possible that the language is divine but the script man made. But unlikely. For then you would be saying that G-d had no script of His own and had to borrow the Assyrian script.
    Still, Even if that were true, we can still say that G-d imbued it with deep wisdom, hence the above blog post.

  25. 5)I am not bound to limit my life based on what the academicians allow me to think. The academic starting point is that the Torah must be false and G-d must not exist, because by definition, G-d is unscientific. They are left with no choice but to reach other conclusions. It is not permitted in science to use G-d as an explanation, because science is the study of physical phenomena, while G-d is not physical.
    Furthermore, the notion that the academics are objective is almost laughable. See which shows how the academics themselves admit their bias against the religious.
    I have presented evidence. See the blog bost

  26. Finally, it is possible that while all languages may have derived from Hebrew, written language may have been created independently around the world, and only semitic scripts derive from Hebrew script.
    There is evidence of a single language source:

    Furthermore, see and I.E. Mozeson's books which trace languages back to Hebrew.

    So, do I have some academic support now?

  27. Dear Rav Goldberg

    תדה for the response and כל כבוד. You have given things to think about. I hope I have not wasted your time.

    Best Wishes

    The Truth id G-d’s Seal

  28. Dear Rabbi,

    If I did the math, counting and biology correctly look what I just discovered.

    The English word hand = 8+1+14+4 =27

    Wiki wrist - “In the hand proper a total of 13 bones form part of the wrist: eight carpal bones—scaphoid, lunate, triquetral, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate— and five metacarpal bones—the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth metacarpal bones”

    If we add the rest of the hand bones of which there are 14, 13+14 =27.
    IS THIS NOT AN AMAZING FINDING ? Is English divine also ?

    The Truth is G-d's Seal

    1. Nice try Mr. Seal (Arp Arp) but your math is off. Firstly, letters used to represent numbers (like in Hebrew) go by 10's after the tenth letter. So in your example, N would have a value of 50. Secondly, if you are representing a hand by including the wrist and knuckles then you would have to include the bones in the palm of your hand area, so there would be more than 27 bones. Sorry, nice try.

    2. The Truth is G-d's Seal

      I am pretty sure the Hand has 27 bones. Maybe you can verify on your own. Why must I go to 10's ? I am specifying A=1, and increase by one for each letter.

    3. Ok, I assumed you were using a real number system like Hebrew, in which you go to 10's after the tenth letter. In your system, it does work out.
      If you read the blog, I wrote "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." My point was, there are many amazing word connections and depth in Hebrew. If you can find that in English consistently, then you will have disproved my point.

    4. Dear Rabbi,

      1) I found my English amazing finding in only about 10 minutes !!!! I keyed off yours for Hand in Hebrew. I assure there are thousands of others. This is expected to occur. You will find some words in Hebrew or English with no amazing connections and others with amazing connections. 2) A strong house can not be built on a weak foundation or framework. If those are weak the entire house will be weak. So a few weak arguments does not make a convincing case.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    5. What other arguments did you find weak?
      Since it is so easy for you to find examples in English and you assure me that there are thousands of others, can you provide me with another example?

    6. I think my Hand example is superior to your Yad example. The Hand has more than 14 joints, but the hand has exactly 27 bones. THe reason why I say there are many other examples in Hebrew and English is because I found the English one so fast. You provide two examples hand and Pregnant. And your pregnant example is not very convincing because there is a wide range of potential number of days and 271 would not even be the average !

      Thruth is G-d's Seal

    7. Here is a cute one. What does a Cat and Dog do ? They fight right ? Dog + Cat = Fight. Dog=26, Cat =24, Fight=50

      So Hebrew Yud gives 14. What about Hebrew for foot what would that give the number of foot joints ? Or Hebrew for Head - the number of joints in the skull ? You get my point. You ignore those cases since they dont give anything amazing. But then if you find some word with a connection and say divine. This is called confirmation bias.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    8. DAY =D+A+Y = 30, and there are about 30 days in a month ! SECOND=60 and there are 60 seconds in a minute !. Amazing ?

      The Truth is G-d's Seal.

    9. What goes with a lock ? A Key. Lock = 41=Key Amazing !
      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    10. I think your day and second examples are cute, but the problem is that 30 doesn't relate to days inherently. It more relates to a month. Same thing with second and hour. 60 relates to a minute, not seconds.

    11. I have never seen a dog and cat fight. I think you have been watching too much Tom and Jerry

    12. My examples are showing amazing connections, even if some of them are not of the same exact type of my Hand example. As far as dog and cat, you must be joshing, because most people know the expression to fight like the cat and dog. That is why the cartoon Tom and Jerry harp on it.

      Truth is G-d's Seal

  29. Dear Rabbi,

    The English words influence, flush, flue, flucuate and many other 'disparate' words are related to the root word 'flu', meaning flow/river. There is often logic behind scripts and languages. In this case, flue as in passage for air to flow, or as a river may wave as in
    fluctuate etc: etc:

    I see this as a result of man's creativity, ingenuity and reasoning. None of it seems supernatural.
    The Truth is G-d's Seal

    1. There is a difference. In English we started with Flu and then added words on that basis. So you get flush, flue, flucuate. In Hebrew, we didn't start with the letters ches lamed חל and then build in milk chalav, sand chol and rust chaludah. They are totally dissimilar in how they would have been started yet they are comparable.

    2. The Truth is G-d's Seal

      I dont understand. Maybe Chal was a root word. Then concepts or things related to the rough meaning of Chal would incorporate Chal in it. THis what happens in English.

    3. It makes sense that there was a base word flu in English from where other words were derived. It strains the imagination that if a human created Hebrew, he built it structurally so that totally disparate ideas which are commonly used all of the time (sand, milk, fat, worm) would all have a common two letter base. Languages often adopt word descriptions already in use. Most of the words in the ches lamed family are common words already in use, before one would build specific words for them. Flush, fluctuate and flue are not that common. So they could have started from a similar root.

  30. Dear Rabbi,

    "..חל, almost always refer to that which lacks firmness..." I am not so sure. Chalev (fat- tallow), Cholad (mole), Chalook (pebble) and many others. Nevertheless, just like there are English root words, there are Hebrew root words and we would expect the root to be used for concepts or things related in some way to the root word.

    The Truth is G-d's Seal

  31. Where is the word chalook for pebble in Tanach? Is this a word made up for modern Hebrew or an ancient, biblical one?
    One can say that a choled, a type of rodent, doesn't have firmess as it seems to slither in the ground (as per Rashi's explanation on why rodents are called sheretz) and not walk firm and upright.

    1. The Truth is G-d's Seal

      You may take most adjectives or descriptions and retrofit them to anything. Take Ice. You can say it lacks firmness because you may slip on it. You get the idea. Infirm does not come to mind to describe Choled. You are kvetching it. ALSO, are the examples you gave all from the Tenach ? So many Chal words in the Gemara, Midrash etc: would not relate to infirm unless with a major kvetch.

    2. Dear Rabbi,

      See I Shmuel 17, Pasuk 40 for חַלֻּקֵי smooth stone. So yeh, it is in the Tenach too.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    3. We don't necessarily use words not found in Tanach, because words found in the gemara are often man made. The claim is that only Biblical Hebrew is Divine and so it contains an inherent, amazing structure. Words found in Mishna are not necessarily so because they are words often made by humans.

      The word in Shmuel that you brought means smooth. Pebble there is the word 'avanim.' So pebble is even, not chalook - smooth.

    4. I Shmuel 17, Pasuk 40 for חַלֻּקֵי =smooth, agreed. But not related to infirm as it is used for a stone which is hard. So, this is a case where your premise Chal = infirm/lacking would fail.

      Truth is G-d's Seal

    5. I never said that anywhere it says Chal it means infirm. I only showed you many places where it does. But I never claimed this as an absolute rule. It is certainly possible that the word for Chalook has a two letter root of lamed kuf, not ches lamed. So maybe that is why it doesn't relate to infirm.

    6. Oy Vey. So when a word with Chal may imply infirm in some fashion you are amazed, but when it does not you make up excuses. Chal may have been a two letter prefix/root that may have related to lacking etc: and so many words with it may relate to lacking. Not impressive.

      Truth is G-d's Seal

    7. I never said that I know which words mean what. Maybe the two letter root of chalak is lamed kuf, not ches lamed. I only pointed out that often there is an inherent connection

  32. Dear Rabbi,

    My example Flu is just one of many - it was a root. But consider these words: circumcise, circuit, circumvent... Do you see the connection ? Just like Chal may mean to weaken and hence be used in words that involve infirm/lacking, so too many English words having CIRC may involve the concept of 'around'. Evidence of the Divine ? Hardly.

    The Truth is G-d's Seal

    1. Again, words which are not day to day and not plainly used by have been built structurally in every language. The claim I am making is that common, everyday words (not developed over time, but used by an ancient society all of the time), which have no inherent connection, also have amazing connections.

    2. 1) How do you know that Hebrew words and also their spelling did not develop over time, just like you claim happened in other languages ?
      2) You seem to be contradicting yourself. First you say words with Chal imply lacking/infirm meaning there is a connection between the words, then you say the words are not connected. 3) If you look hard enough you can make connections or if you desire disconnections between any two words. 4) I provided a list of English words seeming with no connection, that in fact have a connection thru CIRC, around.

      Truth is G-d's Seal

    3. The world was created with Lashon Kodesh (see Genesis 2:23 and Rashi there) so I am claiming that words found in Tanach have inherent meaning and were divine. Certainly, Hebrew developed over time, like all languages, which is why you find many new Henrew words in Mishna, not found in the Tanach (such as safek and vadai).

    4. I am not contradicting myself. Allow me to explain. In every society, there are certain words which are basic to us because they are so common. Milk, sand, sick, body, etc are all words which every society would have. They wouldn't likely develop over time because they were always used. So for there to be an inherent connection in the words is pretty amazing because it means that the language was carefully planned, unlike most languages where there is no inherent meaning/structure to the basic words. After all, they were developed by the earliest users of the words, usually unsophisticated people. On the other hand, every language develops. So words not usually used by early society's, like Fluctuate, Flue or the words that derive from Circ, may certainly develop over time. But they wouldn't usually be basic words commonly used by early society's

    5. To salvage a weak argument you are inventing ill defined, questionable and artificial word catagories. IE. "basic" versus none basic words. Please.

      1) Consider these words: mistletoe, mist, milk, milch, micturate. Would you consider these words 'basic'. If so why not ? Are you aware all four of these words are related by starting with 'MI" and all the words are related conceptually ! ?

      2) Why do you find it surprising any language or script is planned ? At some point people needed to form a system to communicate. Would it not be better if there was some internal logic rather than random ? I would argue there is an inherent
      logic in say the Greek language, "basic" words etc: etc: . Languages, scripts are in part designed by people but they also evolve and change over time.
      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    6. I don't disagree that languages are too some extant planned. Hence even in English, you will get similar word patterns for words that develop over 1400 years (the length of time that English has been around). However, my argument is in the inherent logic and structure in Hebrew which I don't think is planned like any language, but rather has some amazing connections.

    7. I respectfully disagree and have tried to explain where I think you are in error. Please reread all of my comments to see if you may have missed some of my explanations and their force. I see nothing so amazing in the connections you have provided for hebrew nor the ones I provided for in English that would require divine planning. The amazing findings are based on chance/ human planning and design of language/confirmation bias.

      Truth is G-d's Seal

  33. EARTH = E+A+R+T+H = 52 and and what is amazing Earth has a 52 weeks in a year.
    With all these amazing connections, seemingly unrelated words with the MI example having connections, the amazing roots of English, I am becoming convinced English is Divine ( just joshing).

    Truth is G-d's Seal

    Truth is G-d's Seal

  34. Hi rabbi Goldberg. Two questions: what about Zeligmans point about the Mary apparitions where millions are said to have witnessed it? And what about his point on the discrepency between the torah and modern science on the point of the hare and hyrax not eing ruminants?

    1. Yossel, sorry for the long delay. As I wrote, the Torah states that other religions can perform miracles. That isn't disputed and indeed was a regular feature of idolatrous civilizations (such as Bilaam). Furthermore, the Marian apparitions were nothing more than a beam of light in the vague shape of a woman hovering above a church (you can see them on youtube). This proves nothing in comparison to a mass witnessing of G-d giving the Torah or the like. It simply means that something happened above the church. Once again, if creating a mass witnessing of G-d giving the Torah to many people is easy to duplicate, why haven't we seen others do it?
      Regarding the Hare, Hyrax, etc, see:

    2. Rabbi Golberg - You may not realize the full impact of the Miracle(s) of the Sun. If it is so easy to fool people with a Sun miracles why have
      not other religions made use of it ? Also, “For the vast majority of those present, there was no doubt that something supernatural had occurred.” If you accept Rabbi Gottlieb's Kuzari Principle you may have to accept real Sun miracle(s) occurred, or that a mass of people can be wrong about an event. And it is of no help to claim other religions can perform miracles. Maybe the some ancient Israelites also performed a miracle and it was not really G-d.
      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    3. And the Christian religion did not do the miracle of the Sun. Nobody got up and screamed Hokus Pokus. Rather, it can be said the miracle occurred for the sake of Christians and Christianity. As if to prove Christianity as the one true religion.

      The Truth is G-d's Seal

    4. Yossi, the Sun Miracle, as I point out in the post, only had three followers claim they saw Jesus while the rest made other claims. In any case there was no consensus. Not at all the same as Sinai and quite similar to miracle claims of other religions such as the Aztec claim cited above. IN any case, if G-d wanted to reveal Himself as a Christian G-d through the Sun miracle, surely He could have done it with more clarity to there would be no doubt as to what the people were seeing. Should be the same as Sinai at least.

  35. Dear Karaite, are you familar with R' avigdor miller Zt'l?