Proving the Torah

It can and should be done.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.
See More

Comments (58)

(51) Sophie, July 14, 2016 3:07 PM

So, prove it?

So what are the proofs, then?? I want to hear them! :)

(50) Howard Goodman, October 9, 2013 12:22 AM

Existence of G-d

Rabbi Salomon still doesn't say whether G-d exists. He says, in essence, don't try to prove it; just live a good life according to the Torah. And if he says religion is faith-based and not fact-based, that's something I would agree with. Every religion can show how beautiful they are and Judaism was the first. All religions, in one way or another, just use Judaism's essence for their own. That's how and why the other religions were created. If one studies the Torah, there would be no need for other religions. I personally don't believe there is an afterlife - no proof of it, only a belief. The same is true regarding the existence of a god. At some point in the not-too-distant future, science will find the solution to immortality. We know why people die - scientifically -and it's just a matter of time when we learn to turn that switch off. See telomeres and telomerase for details to the solution.

Anonymous, April 7, 2014 2:30 AM

I respectfully disagree...

For one thing, Judaism is not faith based. There isn't even a Hebrew word that directly translates to faith! (Emuna is often translated as 'faith' but it does not mean what the word faith means. The word faith means belief without proof) There are rational approaches to the existence of G-d as well as the validity of the Torah. As well as this, regardless of what science finds about death etc, this doesn't disprove G-d. Science is merely the mechanism of the physical world, the way in which G-d controls the world. In fact, the more science finds, the more we Jews should be in awe of the Being that created such a machine that not even modern technology can get close to replicating.

(49) Spencer, August 22, 2013 6:35 PM

Where are the Proofs?

Can anyone direct me to where I can read about these proofs? Are we talking about Historical, scientific (Anti-Evolution), or both?

(48) Anonymous, August 1, 2013 4:13 AM

TORAH can be proven

I have seen it done at a lecture. There is unrefutable proof that show inherit contradictions in other religions and the authencity of Judiasm

(47) Shades of Gray, July 17, 2013 4:22 AM

Torah Spoke to 4 Children

Ke'neged arba banim dibera Torah. The proof approach should not be abandoned, but neither should those who are exposed to various other sources of information.

Steve Savitsky interviewed Rabbi Moshe Benovitz( Savitsky Talks, "Technology and Social Media: How Are They Affecting the Post-High School Year in Israel?", 8/1/12, 14:00 in mp3):

R. Benovitz: ...In the kiruv community, for example, they are coming to grips with the fact that some of the arguments-- historical arguments, philosophical arguments-- that like I said a charismatic educator could tell a person off the street and who would know better, is checked instantly on a hand held device that’s pulled out of a pocket. If those arguments do not hold water, then we've done more damage than good. We need to adjust to that, and we should adjust to that.

Steve Savitsky: Do you have an example of that?

R. Benovitz: ...This is probably beyond the scope of this limited discussion because there are obviously complexities and layers here. But examples like mass revelation at Sinai being the only way possible, when you have challenges from other sources, the fact that Torah seems to have been forgotten in certain periods explicitly in the Navi and the like. The chain of the Mesorah-- there is certain reason to believe that were times where it was if not broken, but then it was down to a precious few; that’s a challenge, just to use one example, [to that] mass revelation argument of sorts. [Similarly there are challenges] in the scientific realm, and in the archaeological realm.

We need to be able to know that there is information at the fingertips of our students that of course we have answers to, and of course we have ways of responding to, but to just throw arguments out there, they’re not going to, nor should they simply accept at face value.

(46) Laurence Cohn, July 16, 2013 2:31 PM

Your choice is personal.

If you find something to be more reasonable than not you can chose to accept it as true or not, that is the human gift of reason.

(45) Anonymous, July 15, 2013 9:43 PM

Different strokes for different folks, but those that leave the fold need the beauty not the proof.

I agree with both views as different people need different approaches. However, when it comes to those who leave our religion, aka, off the derech, they must be shown the beauty. No amount of proof will bring them back because they don't leave for lack of proof. They leave because they have seen judgmental, rigid, and ritualistic Judaism practiced out of fear of hell from a vengeful G-d. The only way they will return is if someone shows them that living a Jewish life is really beautiful and what they have been taught is a Judaism with the beauty removed.

Rivka, July 17, 2013 12:53 AM

"off the derech" due to terrible treatment by "Torah Jews"

It is true that no kind of "proof" will bring back formerly observant Jews. I am sure that my son is not the only one who has left Judaism because of the way he was treated by "frum" Yidden. He has developed friendships with nonJews who are respectful of each other, decent, kind, and honest. Isn't that what he should have seen within our Torah community? There were many fine Yidden in his life, but the negative images have been much stronger. When another boy intentionally ripped his bike seat, the father refused to pay for a replacement (even though he was well able to do so) and just said, "keep away from my son." Why is such a man respected in the shul? Because he donates generously, and appears to be "shomer mitzvos". But actions like this show there is no real yiras shamayim for him. Due to this experience and others similar, my son will have nothing to do with the Jewish community.

(44) Nene, July 14, 2013 10:19 PM

Look at His Chosen

Everything about the nation/people of Israel before and now, is the PROOF of Torah's divine source.

(43) Joyce, July 14, 2013 5:26 AM

Keep the proofs

They were the biggest factor in persuading me to become frum.

(42) mike north, July 13, 2013 10:47 PM

rabbi david ordman

listen to any of this man;s lectures-you will have all the proof you need

(41) Joe, July 12, 2013 3:46 PM

God On Earth

Perhaps if God wanted us to know that he existed beyond any doubt, he would make more personal appearences.

(40) max rom, July 12, 2013 1:38 PM

Eyes that don't see and ears that don't listen

Having professionally studied anatomy, physiology histology,botany,biology,embryology and birth, an understanding of astronomy and nature,4000 years of Jewish history, the incredible TANACH, the rebirth and miracles taking place in Israel, fulfillment of prophesies on an ongoing basis, Hashgachah Pratis ( personal Divine Providence)- HOW CAN ANYBODY NOT BELIEVE IN HASHEM
We are living in one of the most inspiring generations of all time,and to be blessed to be a witness to Hashem's greatness, and to be part of this reality, and our need to extol it.

(39) Malka, July 12, 2013 11:43 AM

Definitly proving the Torah!

(38) Anonymous, July 12, 2013 8:16 AM

Our choices have to make sense

No intelligent investor would ever make an investment based on blind faith. Life is a resource just like money. When it comes to investing money, you do your due diligence and make the best decision that you can according to your limited knowledge and understanding. If you don't invest your money, you will never realize great profits. In life, if you don't invest yourself in real spirituality, you never LIVE in that capacity. To the degree that you understand the potential value of money, that shapes your requirements for your investments. If you understand that there is a world of the soul or a "greater truth", you will require more "proof of concept" to the veracity of the Torah before you invest your life on it. Rambam tells us that indeed we can come to "know" G-d but that comes through experience rather than book knowledge. So my view is that we do not need 100% proof to invest, but we do need some degree of convincing if we are to make wise decisions. At some point, through committed Torah observance, we can come to know G-d without a doubt.

(37) JD, July 12, 2013 5:37 AM

Necessary approach

Thanks Rabbi Solomon, I agree with you completely. This generation is highly focused on facts, science, and doing away with ill-founded ways of the past (most opinions would include all religion in this category). I see anti-religion memes on the internet all the time, all of which could be shot to pieces by just an elementary understanding of Torah.

(36) Scott Spiegler, July 12, 2013 4:54 AM

Proof defies logic

I will never understand the Jewish obsession with proving the existence of G-d or the veracity of the Torah. What it demonstrates is a lack of understanding of what a proof is. Proofs are based on observations in the empirical world. Since G-d transcends the world, it's like trying to sculpt in marble with a toothpick! Also, if I could mathematically prove to you that your spouse is your basherte, would you love her any more? Don't ruminate on the unprovable. Dwell on what Hashem wants from you right now.

(35) sharona, July 12, 2013 4:27 AM

Like someone else said, it's amazing how we Jews are alive after going through so much over centuries. There's the event where many Arab states went up against a young state, and yet it survived. That's beyond logic, Someone is with us. I enjoyed Rabbi Kelerman's rational approach to the Sinai relvolation, very good info. Of course, there are some that are given information but still have a choice whether or not to believe.

(34) Anonymous, July 12, 2013 3:56 AM

proof impossible

Problem is that you mention a number of generic proofs--witnessed by many thousands etc., but none is satisfactory. Indeed, from a scientific or evidentiary aspect, all so-called proofs are nonsense. I can agee with Dr Sacks that, as a way of life Torah is marvellous. Beyond tthat it is a matter of faith, which means that it is unprovable (otherwise it would not be faith!).

(33) SusanE, July 12, 2013 2:20 AM

Proof?

I thought I read an article about proving Torah.... but I can't find it on Aish. What does it mean to prove Torah and why is proof necessary? Is proving Torah the same as proving G-d? And is that a good idea if you are not following Torah laws 100%.

(32) David S. Levine, July 12, 2013 1:26 AM

Use the Double Approach

Both Rabbi Sachs and Rabbi Solomon are right. Do both--search out proofs and live the life!

(31) M Meisels, July 12, 2013 1:01 AM

Clarity removes doubt

You are backing down by downgrading to "not 100%" and "compelling evidence." The ideas are clear. No need to back down from 100%. Perhaps you need to investigate the source of your doubts. We are all 100% certain that George Washington was the first president of the USA.

(30) Lawrence McHargue, July 12, 2013 12:48 AM

We do need both approaches.

I come from the Reformed Christian tradition, and I find myself in agreement with Rabbi Salomon. Our theological perspective strongly affirms the inspiration of the Torah. Both approaches are needed in apologetics.

(29) Steve, July 11, 2013 10:51 PM

Both are needed

Different people get involved with a Jewish community for different reasons. Some are seeking existential meaning and for these people proof of the claims of Judaism is the primary thing thats needed. In fact I'm disappointed that this video didn't mention what these proofs are.

Other people though are not concerned with existential meaning, some are seeking resources for their children's Jewish education, others are singles looking for a relationship (if its Aish though they better be under 30 or the door will be slammed in their face LOL), some are looking for professional networking, some are new to the area and want to establish social contacts, others are elderly and have their own needs.

A community is made up of many kinds of people, some need these proofs, others need other things. Aish needs a a team of people in each community, with each member of the team specializing in a certain segment of a potential community (have one specialize in singles over 40 of which there are many, have another specialize in young professionals, another in women's issues, and another in teen issues etc)

(28) stan hembree, July 11, 2013 10:40 PM

Yes the Torah is the word of HaShem. All one has to do is read it. It teaches us how to live with him. And how to live with each other. This is the purpose of the 613 mitzvots. Shalom........

(27) Herb Simon, July 11, 2013 9:42 PM

What the Torah does for us

My grandson, do you remember last summer when we went on a float trip? For those of you not familiar with this, it is simply taking a canoe, putting in your food for a picnic and other needed items, climbing in with the paddles, and let the current pull us to the next stopping point. This is like life and the Torah. Do you remember we used the paddles to help guide the canoe, when it went too fast, or started to get out of control, we used the paddles to slow it down and bring it back into a straighter path. The Words of the Torah are like the paddles , it evens out the currents of life, it helps guide us to a smoother ride, a straighter ride, and a safer ride. Use the Torah as you would your paddles and your ride thru the currents of life will have the fewest interruptions and problems. (presented to my grandson on his Bar Mitzvah

(26) Phil, July 11, 2013 8:18 PM

One bad proof

One bad proof can do more harm than all the good proofs.

(25) Burtb, July 11, 2013 7:49 PM

discovery is great, but not complete proof

I loved the three days I spent at a Discovery seminar.

However, They are strong arguments, but they are not proof.
Proof is a repeatable experiment.

G-d requires us to have free will.
So his system always allows some doubt to exist. I would argue that the Discovery program makes it really hard to doubt, but then, I wanted to believe.
Let's face it, the Jews who wandered in the desert started to believe that Manna was part of the natural order.

If a person wants to believe that life on Earth is an accident, G-d has left enough doubt in the system for them to hold onto those threads. In the way a man wants to go, G-d will lead him.

(24) Yoni, July 11, 2013 7:36 PM

Prove

I agree with you Rabbi 100% thank you for making time to teach us Torah.

(23) Graham, July 11, 2013 7:09 PM

Torah

With Torah we live in a Lawless Society ,We all end up doing what is right in our own eyes ,We follow our hearts and feelings
G-d;s ways are not our ways Our ways are not G-D ;s ways
With out Torah we are lost , Torah is about our relationship with G-D and his relationship with us We reject Torah we reject G-D
Bless you
Shalom
graham

(22) Anonymous, July 11, 2013 6:23 PM

Proof that Judaism is true -What Jewish People Believe – the Foundations of Judaism

to decide to believe in Judaism you should answer the following:1) Does it make more sense that G-d exists or not?2) Did G-d Give a Law to People?3) What is that Law?4) Did G-d Change His Mind?Here are answers:1) Yes. It doesn’t make sense that the world came about by randomness.2) Yes, A company wouldn’t offer a product without user instructions – even clothes have washing instructions.3) The Torah is the only law that was given to an entire nation & that the giving was witnessed by millions of people – only once in History. Of the thousands of religions that exist, no other religion claims this fact. Almost all people agree that the Bible – the Old Testament / the Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish People.4) G-d said he will not abandon the covenant with the Jewish people. Also, does it make sense, that G-d, Omniscient and Omnipotent, with knowledge of all the past, present and future will change his mind. If you were G-d, would you bet on a team (ie, the Jews) that you knew was going to win or going to lose?

Anonymous, July 11, 2013 8:41 PM

Proof Of Existence

Does the Good Rabbi believe along with Rabbi Sacks that ultimately you cannot "prove" anything 100%? Leter in the video, he says there are ways (THERE ARE WAYS!) to provide a great deal of evidence that the Torah is true, if not 100%. Ulitimately, it is an epistemological question. And an essential part of this is the concrete nature of things; "'I think therefore I am" Can we prove the God of Torah? Probably not, if he's not 100% sure that he, himself, exists.

(21) ALIZA MIRIAM, July 11, 2013 5:54 PM

ROOM FOR BOTH

While we never need to prove that the Torah is Emmes--
I believe that it is a great source of validation and comfort for many people to experience tangible evidence of its truth. It can serve to strengthen one's resolve, and remind all of us that there is always more in Torah than we can know or understand; and just because we might not understand something; doesn't mean there is nothing else to understand.
On Shabbos, I presented an interactive workshop connecting Torah and the scientific evidence of the emotional mulit-functions of the heart--precisely what the Torah has been telling us for thousands of years. The clarity of this issue is very meaningful to many...

(20) Antonio Perez, July 11, 2013 5:23 PM

Jews prove Torah is from G-d

I think the existence of Jews and Israel today is proof that Torah is from HaShem. There was a Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the people named. Ultimately it comes down to faith. I have no doubt and the miracles I've seen and heard of convince me also. I believe there is only one true religion, Judaism. It's good!

(19) isaac, July 11, 2013 5:15 PM

what are those proofs

What are those proofs you talk about regarding the Torah
as divine?

martin, July 12, 2013 12:05 AM

agree w you isaac

unfortunately, the word 'proof' are used by the yeshiva world when they mean 'argument' or sometimes 'evidence'; this makes the whole problem more confusing

JD, July 12, 2013 5:30 AM

There are many but it takes time

A good starter 'proof' that a person can check themselves, is that the word Torah is hidden in the text of the Chumash. If you know Hebrew, count 50 letters from the first 'tav' in Bereishit and you will get vav, count 50 more and you get reish, 50 more and you get hay. This works the same way in Shemos. Count backwards from the last tav in Bamidbar and Devarim and there it is again. This is one interesting thing but there are so many which are better and stronger. Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi specializes in these subjects (divineinformation.com) Gateways also holds seminars that extensively cover this issue

(18) Anonymous, July 11, 2013 5:15 PM

We need both approaches: experiential and evidential.

Some people are more emotional/spiritual, others are more intellectual/analytical. I have seen some people react negatively to Discovery or Gateways approach. Others find them motivating in terms of accepting Torah as Divine and Judaism as rational. Bottom line is that Judaism is not "one size fits all" and we have to be sensitive to customize the approach to each person.

(17) Ann Canada, July 11, 2013 4:44 PM

We think as you think, dear Rabbi. Thank you for a great clip.

(16) richard, July 11, 2013 4:37 PM

finding discovery seminar

i was in israel this summer but coulnt attend discovery seminar is it possible to attend on the web?

(15) RMF, July 11, 2013 3:50 PM

Evidence for the truthfulness of Torah

Like "Anonymous," I, too, would like more information on what you consider reliable evidence for the validity of Torah as God's word.

(14) Betty, July 11, 2013 3:36 PM

Show me the proof

I would have appreciated some examples of your "proof' that the torah is the word of a personal God.

(13) Danny Jo Kuper, July 11, 2013 3:24 PM

Rabbi Sacks is right.

While a rationalist approach will inevitably lead to a lack of any provable solutions, the attempt to even try to convince a secular world of the veracity of the Torah's sacred origins is both naive and misguided (sorry Saloman).
A sophisticated thinker like Lord Sacks knows, having spent over an hour in intense debate with New Atheist Richard Dawkins, that this is a fruitless challenge.
Rather it is those within Orthodoxy who need to attempt to understand the modern philosophical challenges of proving or disproving theism.
Saloman, you are not just out of your depth, but with all due respect, you're not even in the same swimming pool as an intellect like Sacks (who I met and chatted to at Muswell Hill synagogue recently during his farewell tour of Uk United shuls).
'Something to think about' methinks...

(12) Steve B., July 11, 2013 3:23 PM

If you have only a very limited amount of time to get a person's attention, use the proofs.

But convincing someone to change their life and bind themselves to a Halachic framework/community is a marathon run rather than a sprint. So for that long run, having gotten the person's attention, one now uses Rabbi Sacks approach - lead by example.

(11) Mel Friedman, July 11, 2013 3:13 PM

I believe it's the word of G-d but that's the problem...

I have spent the past 23 years examining the attacks on the Chumash from science, archeology and our fellow Jews.
Of course I am not done but I am convinced that the Torah is correct and true and the word of G-d.
There is one issue though I cannot resolve with satisfaction and that is the apparent morality of slavery.
In the case of a non Jewish slave it is permissible to pass the slave on to your children, to sell the offspring of the slave etc.
I have heard many excuses and rationalization of this set of commandments but not one that explains why G-d did not outlaw it right from the start. A creator that does not permit us to take the eggs from the nest while the mother is still in the area allows us to rip the infant child of a human and sell it to a stranger. This is enormously troubling!
Mel Friedman
San Antonio

(10) Raymond, July 11, 2013 3:12 PM

Okay, So Do It

I 100% agree with this Rabbi that what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks may sound pleasant, but is ultimately unsatisfying, and that nothing can satisfy a person, as much as solid and overwhelming evidence in support of a given position. So then my reaction is, So Do It. Give us that overwhelming evidence that you speak of, that gives a strong case for both the existence of G-d, and for the validity of Judaism. And how how Judaism has the most likelihood among all competing belief systems, of being the true one.

(9) Ralph Loewenthal, July 11, 2013 3:09 PM

Please could you email me a short index of proofs?

Please could you email me a short index of proofs with sources. I often get into discussions, verbal and on the web, and need something to back up to what I am saying, and the way I behave.

(8) Anonymous, July 11, 2013 2:50 PM

I believe but can you give more detail on the proofs you speak of?

I enjoyed your beautiful comments and believe that the Torah is divinely inspired. I would like to know more about your thoughts on the proof.

ALIZA MIRIAM, July 11, 2013 5:59 PM

I would be happy to discuss this issue with you...

from a persective that included some compelling scientific evidence connectioning Torah and the functins of the heart. I hope the website will give you my email. If not we'll figure out a way to connect.

(7) Sarah, July 10, 2013 6:30 AM

I agree !

I became religous about 25 years ago because I went on a Discovery Seminar, and they showed me that only G-d could write the Torah !!! Keep up the great work - and hopefully Moshiach will come very soon.

(6) Sam, July 9, 2013 8:27 AM

I agree with you. At the same time, I believe the ultimate purpose for a Jew to embrace their faith heritage is the covenant we have with G-d. I think this is exceedingly well stated in just an approximate one minute video by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis entitled "I Am A Jew" which is on YouTube.

(5) Gary, July 9, 2013 3:36 AM

different Jews - different ways back

Rabbi - in 100% agreement - summing up the difference between Chabad's outreach approach and Aish's. I am personally an Aish fan - but also strongly value the Chabad approach. I believe Chazal would say that Abraham figured it out.. If you don't have some level of provable truth - then the argument from Father to son can be - "Hey, I went to Duke - you should go to Duke - you'll marry someone from Duke and then you'll have a nice life.. " Many of us seek clarity and truth and want to find the rock of truth - once we have some sense of truth then we can build back and forth between both perspectives...

(4) Lisa, July 9, 2013 3:04 AM

Nice new summery background !

I agree with Rabbi Saks.....explain (& learn) by example!! However attending the Discovery program is also proof that Man could not have written the Torah.

(3) Sarah Rivka :), July 8, 2013 7:59 PM

I agree!

Some people want to be shown how beautiful a Torah life is but some people want to see that it makes sense intellectually. Different people need different approaches.

Where can one find these proofs online? I've read "Permission to Receive" by Lawrence Kelemen but can you point us to a more concise proof, maybe an article on this very website?

Ron, July 10, 2013 10:16 PM

Very good book

I think the best out there besides permission to recieve is Rabbi Gottleib's Living upo to the Truth. You can download it free here: http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/rabbi-dr-dovid-gottlieb/living-up-to-the-truth/ebook/product-17571550.html

(2) ross, July 8, 2013 6:23 PM

To each his own

Each person is different...what turns that key is different in everyone. I wasn't convinced by mesorah (my gr. grandfather never told me about Sinai), I wasn't convinced by nature, I wasn't convinced by codes. I hated when someone said, "Can't you see the truth?!" (Thanks for calling me stupid.)

I was convinced by the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, and the beautiful, yet against-my-inclination middos that this obviously not-written-by-a-human Torah demanded of us. Now the other things above are support.
Start learning with the person. Something eventually will hit home.

(1) Aharon, July 8, 2013 4:34 PM

you can't convince someone to be religious

I have heard these rational proofs for the divinity of the Torah. They have their place so we don't look like fools. However, how many Baale Tshuva do you know became religious because it was proved to them? I became religious because I found it a more meaningful way to live my life. Regardless of whether it can be proved, I think Rabbi Sacks is right. Show people the beauty of a religious life. That is ultimately what will draw people to Torah and Mitzvot.

 

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub

Receive Weekly Current Issues Emails

Sign up to our Current Issues Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy