Moses’ Message to Mankind:
Judaism is the One True Religion
This week’s Torah reading contains Moses’ most profound message to mankind. God’s inclusion of Moses’ words in His Torah is a direct command to each Jew to share Moses’ message. Jews commit the worst crime to our fellow man by concealing Moses’ message:
“6. And you shall guard them and perform them [the mitzvos] for they are your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations, who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Certainly this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7. For what great nation has God close to them like Hashem our God whenever we call Him? 8. And what great nation possesses righteous statutes and laws as our entire Torah that I give you today?
9. [Do] only this: guard yourselves and guard your souls exceedingly, lest you forget the matters that your eyes witnessed, and lest you remove from your heart all the days of your lives, and make them known to your children and grandchildren; 10. the day you stood before Hashem your God in Horeb [Sinai] when God said to me, ‘Assemble the people and I will make them hear My words in order that they should learn to fear Me all the day they live on Earth, and their children they shall teach.’ 11. And you drew close and stood at the foot of the mountain and the mountain blazed in fire up to the heavens; darkness, cloud and thick darkness. 12. And God spoke to you from the midst of the fire; the sound of words you heard, but a form you did not see; only a voice. 13. And He told you His covenant that He commanded you to do, the Ten Sayings [Commandments] and they were written on two stone tablets (Deut. 4:6-13).”
Moses is consistent. When God threatened to destroy the Jews due to the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses argued that this will become a source of scorn by Egypt, who will say that God took us out of Egypt to “wipe us off the face of the Earth (Exod. 32:12).” God’s intended fame as a righteous and just God will thereby be thwarted. Moses cared for all mankind, that all people recognize God.
Here too as seen above, Moses is concerned not only for the Jews, but also that the Jew produces a Kiddush Hashem — sanctification of God’s name — in the eyes of the world. Like Abraham, Moses wished that all peoples benefit from true knowledge of God. Unlike many of today’s corrupt Jewish communities boasting the fallacy that Jews are superior, Moses recognized the fundamental that God wishes the good for all mankind, who are all created equal. All people descend from the same original couple; Jews cannot be superior. Plus, we must care for all of God’s creatures as we care for ourselves.
God included Moses words above in His Torah, precisely to endorse their truths: all nations will admire the Jew through our observance of the laws that impress the world with the superior nature of Judaism. They will discount their own religions as Jeremiah says, “Our fathers bequeathed us falsehood; futility that has in them no help (Jer. 16:19).” But how will this impression occur?
First, how will the nations “hear all these statutes”? Additionally, will they truly hear “all” of them? They aren’t studying our Torah! Next, Moses says the other nations will respond about the Jews saying, “Certainly this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Moses’ explanation for this response is, “For what great nation has God close to them like Hashem our God whenever we call Him?” One second…not being in earshot of us, how exactly will the nations know God is close to us “whenever we call Him”? Moses should have skipped that verse, and instead, explained the nations’ admiration of our laws, not because God is close, but because “what great nation possesses righteous statutes and laws as our entire Torah?” That verse parallels the nations’ response. But Moses didn’t give that second reason alone. He also first said the nations will admire us as wise and understanding because “God is close to us when we call Him.” So, by what exact process will the nations admire the Jew and Torah? Specifically, how does their impression of us depend on these three ideas of,
1) God’s closeness to us when we call Him,
2) the righteous Torah laws, and
3) the fact that Moses gave these laws?
What is this formulation?
Sforno says, “God’s closeness to us when we call Him is taught through God’s selection of the Jewish people.” And this “selection” is none other than His granting the Torah during Revelation at Sinai. This explains why Moses follows with his warning that we must not forget that event (ibid 4:9). For it was this event that renders the Jew and Judaism unique from all religions and peoples. It was this event which remains the only time in all history that in front of masses, (2.5 million people), God gave a religion to mankind, and included proof that the source of that event, and Torah, is Divine. That proof being the sound of a “voice,” meaning “intelligence” — not mere thunder or quakes — which emanated from fire without any physical form. Fire is the one element in which all life perishes. An intelligent voice heard from inside an inferno, where there is “no form only a voice”, proves that that intelligent being is not of this material world, but is purely spiritual, unaffected by fire. This is precisely why God orchestrated that event using intelligent voice, and fire. He wished to prove that Torah is from God; Judaism is His only religion.
This is why Moses strongly urges the Jews to never forget, and to also teach all children and grandchildren this event. Moses reminds the nation that they were “all” there. This mass testimony of hearing intelligence from amidst a blazing mountain cannot get started, and certainly cannot travel through time as historical fact (accepted by the two major religions) had just a few Jews initiated the claim, or if it were a lie. No, Moses reminds the nation that God “assembled the people.” This was crucial to the validation of God’s one Revelation of religion to mankind. Masses witnessed the giving of the Torah, but no masses witnessed the claims of any other religion. Now for our answers…
The nations must recognize Revelation at Sinai as a reality, the meaning of “God being close to us.” Moses mentions this first, as this is the core fundamental in proving Judaism. Secondly, the nations must view the commands as intelligent, evidenced through our intelligent answers to their questions about Torah laws, and through Moses giving us the Torah. Meaning, the wisest of men attested to the Torah’s wisdom, precisely by giving it to us, thereby endorsing Torah as intelligent it in the eyes of nations, who respect wise men. We deduce this: an intelligent man plays a crucial rule; he enables others to identify with him, and adopt his values.
This, then, is God’s formula for attracting all other nations to Torah as the one true religion, and rejecting their religions as false:
1) God is close to the Jew, proved by His Revelation: the event validates Judaism as the only religion;
2) Torah laws reflect wisdom;
3) Moses gave us the law: the most intelligent prophet enables identification by other peoples.
Moses chose to convey Revelation as historical truth with the phrase “God being close to us whenever we call Him.” Why didn’t Moses simply recall the historical event, just as he does a few verses later when he admonishes us to not forget that event?
The reason is that Revelation teaches a one-time event. But Moses knew that to attract the nations, a sustained relationship between God and man is of greater value. God didn’t simply give us a Torah and leave it in our hands. God went much further and established an ongoing relationship with the Jew, where He responds “whenever we call Him” as testified throughout the Torah. This relationship is what the other nations value, more than the truth of Revelation. Not yet being trained in the appreciation of Torah wisdom, the nations still have a greater desire for the relationship with their Father in heaven. Although Revelation is what distinguishes Judaism from all other religions, it is the sustained relationship between God and man that appeals more to the rejected sibling. The attention of the Father fills a void in the hearts of the other nations. Other nations might regain their father’s love by following His Torah, as does the Jew.
Finally, the nations will not necessarily hear “all” our laws. Rather, all laws they hear will display great wisdom, reflecting Revelation at Sinai, and God’s relationship with mankind.
God was successful, as Islam and Christianity do not doubt the Torah, which they call the Bible. Islam and Christianity accept the Bible, including words quoted above, that they are enamored by the Jew and Torah, admitting Judaism’s unique status. But this reality is as difficult as a father favoring another sibling over one’s self. The rejected sibling responds either with jealousy and hatred as do Islamists, or they accept the favored Jew but pretend this favoritism is temporary, “until Jesus returns.” Islam confirms the Bible, but fabricates history taking credit many times in the Koran for “giving Moses the Book”, and “giving miracles to Pharaoh.” While Christianity too fabricates God’s words by adding a “New Testament” and distorted interpretations to their accepted Old Testament (Bible), so as to change the favored son Moses and the Jews, to Jesus and Christians. They both contradict God’s words to not add to or subtract from the Torah, which Moses said just before the quote above (Deut. 4:2). Neither possesses an ounce of proof for their claims. Their proper approach would be to accept a religion using the identical means employed to accept any historical claim: mass witnesses. And since only Judaism possesses this validation, the wise Christian and Muslim would admit the fallacy of their religions and follow Torah.
“Our fathers bequeathed us falsehood” is what the Prophet Jeremiah says will be echoed by the nations in the future. The Jew can play an essential role in helping to bring about this realization, but not through silent fear of speaking truth. The wise Muslim and Christian will recognize that might does not make right, and that the current events unfolding where one religion threatens others actually backfires, exposing its lack of proof: force is needed instead. One cannot communicate ideas to a boor, so our concern is limited to the wise Christian and Muslim. Such individuals will recognize which religion possesses proof, and which does not. We must be concerned about our fellow man and share truths, enabling them to then use their minds to select their own path in life. By remaining silent, we violate God’s Torah and reject His concern for all peoples.
God’s Revelation and Moses’ words have stood the test of time; no other religion lays claim to mass revelation. Islam and Christianity therefore resort to “blind faith” since proof is absent. One either believes or does not, that their purported miracles were a reality. But without proof, one is foolish to dedicate his life any religion.
To gain acceptance and traction among adherents, Islam and Christianity adopted the Torah, creating a semblance of a religion. But rejection by their Father in heaven was too much to stomach, so distortions, lies and hatred are the result.
Our obligation as the Jewish nation is to fulfill Moses’ words, where the other nations recognize Torah as unique and admirable, not something of contempt. And this can only occur if we are steadfast in studying Torah, so as to perform it with intelligence, becoming the “wise and understanding people” Moses wished the world would witness and appreciate. This is God’s goal, and we must embrace all other people and share the beauty contained in Torah through a unwavering adherence to Torah study and mitzvos. By doing so, by openly sharing our knowledge with the world, and by abandoning the fallacy of a superior people, we might remove the current contempt against us, and open the hearts of the nations to genuinely inquire into God’s wisdom, and recognize Judaism as His one religion, for His one mankind.