GOOD MORNING!  According to Google there are 4,200 religions in the world. Each one claims Divine Revelation -- that God has revealed Himself and told us how to best lead our lives and relate to Him. They can't all be true -- especially when they contradict each other. How does one know which to believe?

Much of what I write below is adapted from a comprehensive and informative book, The Non-Orthodox Guide to Orthodox Jews by David Baum.

There are 3 possibilities for Divine Revelation: 1) God reveals Himself to an individual and that person convinces others 2) God reveals Himself to a small group and they convince others 3) God reveals Himself to the whole people -- and nobody needs to convince anyone else!

We Jews go for the third claim: The Almighty spoke to the whole Jewish people -- every man, woman and child -- at Mt. Sinai the first two of the Ten Commandments; the last eight, at our request, were given to Moshe to transmit to the rest of the nation (Exodus 19:9-20:15).

Could Moshe have fabricated the entire story and then convinced approximately three million people that they had experienced something that they did not? How do you convince someone that they experienced something they do not remember? Furthermore, how do you convince an entire nation?

It is impossible to invent a story of a national occurrence -- to approach a group and convince them that God had spoken to them or to their ancestors. How would one get large numbers of people to lie in unanimity? Stories would vary, and the conspiracy would be exposed. People do not lie to their children about something this important -- that they or their ancestors stood at Mt. Sinai and heard God, especially if their children could easily expose them as liars.

The Jewish people are known as a stiff-necked people (even the Almighty calls us that in the Torah!). We are opinionated and strong in our opinions. The old joke: Ask two Jews -- and get three opinions. The world has called us many negative things, but they never called us stupid or gullible. That would be going too far for anyone to believe.

If God had wanted the Jewish people to listen to and follow Moshe as His prophet, the only reasonable way was for the Almighty Himself to come to us and tell us, the entire nation, to do so. Had Moshe told us of a National Revelation that never happened, there is no way that he would have been believed. Had Moshe claimed a personal revelation from God, there was no way that it could have been verified.

However, there is a second part to our claim of National Revelation. Here's what the Torah says, "Go and ask (from the beginning of time, from one end of the heavens to the other) ... Has any nation ever heard God speaking from the midst of fire and survived? Has any god ever miraculously come to take for himself a nation from the midst of another nation ... such as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? You have been shown in order to know that the Lord, He is the God! There is none beside him!" (Deuteronomy 4:32-35).

The claim of National Revelation is the strongest of all possible claims. Yet, out of 4,200 religions ... no other religion has ever made that claim. Only one, Judaism, made this claim. Why? Because it can't be faked. If it could be faked, it would have been faked by other religions.. And the fact that no other religion would ever make a claim of National Revelation is prophesied in our Torah!

Judaism stands apart as unique: It is the only religion in the history of mankind that is based on a national event and not the words of an individual.

 

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Torah Portion of the week

Tazria, Leviticus 12:1 - 14:9 and
Metzora, Leviticus 14:1 - 15:33

The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin -- unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.

As mentioned above, there are three types of speech transgressions: 1) Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue") -- making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth. 2) Motzie Shem Ra -- slander -- where what is spoken is negative and false. 3) Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") --telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out http://www.chofetzchaimusa.org for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech -- or ask at your local Jewish bookstore, JudaicaEnterprises.com or call toll-free to 877-758-3242 for books and CDs.

The second Torah Portion, Metzora, continues with the purification process for the metzora, the person afflicted with tzora'as and then the home afflicted with tzora'as. The portion ends with the purification process for discharges from the flesh.

* * *

Dvar Torah
from Twerski on Chumash by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

The Torah states:

"When you arrive in the land of Canaan ... and I will place a tzora'as affliction upon a house in the land of your possession, the one to whom the house belongs shall come and declare to the Kohen, 'Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house' " (Lev. 14:34-35).

Why should the owner say, '"Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house"? Why not say, "An affliction has appeared to me in the house"? The Divine statement, "I will place an affliction upon a house in the land of your possession" appears to be a statement of fact rather than a punishment for improper speech.

Rashi explains that the Canaanites used to hide their treasures in the thick walls of their houses. The affliction in the house resulted in the walls being demolished, which would expose the hidden treasure. Thus, the affliction in the house was a blessing rather than a punishment.

This is why the owner should not say, "An affliction has appeared to me in the house." An affliction is a punishment, whereas the lesion in the wall of the house was a blessing leading to discovery of hidden treasure. Therefore, all he may say is, "Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house."

This has a far-reaching application. We all experience unpleasant things which at the moment are distressing and appear to be bad. In many instances, we realize much later that what we had assumed to be bad was really something good in disguise.

The Baal Shem Tov said that when an adversity occurs, one should not say, "It is bad." God does not do bad things. Rather, we may say, "This is a bitter happening." Some life-saving medications may have a bitter taste. Remembering this should help us keep our bearing in times of adversity.

 

Candle Lighting Times

April 24
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Jerusalem 6:38
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Quote of the Week

The truth is incontrovertible.
Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it,
but in the end, there it is
--  Winston Churchill

 

 

In Loving Memory of

Binyomin Ross
(Binyomin Yitzchok
ben Meir)


The Ross & Weiss Families

 

     
With Deep Appreciation to

Alby & Nancy Galbut

Miami Beach, Fla

 

 

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Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Copyright © 2018 Rabbi Kalman Packouz