Reader: Dear Publishers of the Jewish Times,
As a Ben Noach, I appreciate very much your article in the JewishTimes of Dec. 16th for the Noachides about the Sabbath. As family we kindle one candle at Friday sundown and pray to thanks Elohim for His creation and the sanctification of the seventh day. And we pray that Israel may keep The Sabbath in shalom and a good manner and also all the Jews in the Diaspora. At Saturday sundown we do the same but we thanks Adonai that He will work again in the universe to keep it alive and expand it and we thank Him that His people the Jews kept the Sabbath. At Saturday we work (we work in the garden, we cook food, we do the laundry, we drive our car to visit the shul, etc.) Is there something wrong with that? Is it wrong to commemorate that Hashem rested on the Seventh day?
Mesora: According to Jewish law, a gentile must not observe the Sabbath, as we have explained, and to which, you admirably adhere. I commend you on your philosophical outlook, and your actions to commemorate the Sabbath. For by doing so, you too recognize in a permitted manner, the Sabbath, the Creator and His Sabbath institution. There is no contradiction for your performance of work on Sabbath, together with your commemoration. For law forbids your complete rest, but human perfection allows for your recognition as well.
Reader: Why do I have to believe in God as the Bible sees God? Why can’t I believe in what God, is based on my own experiences? Why are writings from ages ago necessary? Didn’t they believe that the world was flat?
Mesora: The answer is precisely for the very same reason you do not administer your own injections, but take counsel from a physician: you recognize that greater knowledge is available, aside from your own experiences and conclusions. We are not born with all the answers. Your very question here attests to you belief in this truth. Writings from long ago, or from today, may afford your increase in what is real and true, and simultaneously, your abandon from falsehood. Although we realized the Earth is a globe, and previous views were wrong, shall we discount all else that we learned from others, which remains true? Not only do others teach us great amounts of knowledge, one cannot live practically without relying on second hand knowledge. If we only believe what we witness, we will not trust doctors, or any professional claiming knowledge in any area. We cannot eat in someone’s home, lest he lie about being a Jew. We cannot send our children to school, maybe all the teachers are liars and are not educated. Finally, if you are only convinced of your own, subjective experiences, and you are sure it is true, why, according to your view, would it be wrong for another person to agree with “your” experiences? But you must claim he is wrong, for he is not following “his” experiences, but yours. This view is self-contradictory and must be abandoned.
Reader: How did God create the physical world?
Mesora: If we knew that, we would be God. Man will discover much in his life, and in the lifetime of mankind. However, whatever knowledge we obtain, is but a drop in the sea of all knowledge. We are limited by design, and are limited in our thinking as well. We realize when we know truths, and when we do not know. We also realize when we CANNOT know something. Since our minds function according to cause and effect, and prior to creation, cause and effect did not yet exist, we cannot know how God created “something from nothing.” (We are trying to breathe under water, in a sense.) Yet, He did somehow, for nothing physical can create itself, nor did it exist always. Matter cannot be infinite in size, or in time. Something - God - must have created the universe, for it too cannot create itself. But in this lifetime we will not know how God created the physical world.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram.”
“And the Lord appeared unto him [Abraham] by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him.” (Genesis 18)
From these passages and other passages regarding Moses and more on Abraham, the Lord “APPEARED” to man in a form that could be seen.
Mesora: You have interpreted the Torah without reading it entirely: (Numb. 12:6) “I appear to prophets in a dream or vision.” (Paraphrased) This means all prophets but Moses experienced “visions” or “dreams” since God is not physical, and thus, cannot be perceived by the senses. Even Moses did not “see” God for this very reason: God is not, and cannot become physical. Furthermore, God predates the physical world, and created it. Therefore, He cannot not be physical.
Reader: Reading further in Genesis 18 the text is even more specific that the Lord appeared to Abraham in a physical form that could eat food Abraham prepared for Him, drink, talk and had feet for Abraham to offer to wash.
Mesora: Assuming God to be physical is a sin, which forfeits one’s Olam Haba, “World to Come”. Offering your own explanations, which contradict the Torah, violates the Torah’s demand of referring to the “Torah She B’Al Peh” the Oral Law. Not one of the Rabbis or Sages throughout history accepted that God is physical, but they unanimously denied such an imagined notion. Many of these greats, including Maimonides and Unkelos went out of their way to explain seemingly anthropomorphic understandings of God. It is mandatory that you refer to their writings, and understand why minds far greater than we, went to such lengths to avoid any corporealization of God. Additionally, as God created the physical world, He must not be subject to its laws or features. He cannot be physical.