Rabbi Reuven Mann

The Torah is unique among religious books of the nations.  It contains an outline of what will befall the Jewish people in the course of its history.  All the writings of the other religions were authored by men who then claimed that they were recipients of revelation.  However, they were very careful not to expose themselves to the risk of having their deceptions exposed.  Thus they omitted any predictions by which the validity of their claims could be tested.  The lone exception is the Torah which goes into extensive details about the future course of Jewish History.  Why does our Torah include material which makes it vulnerable to refutation?  There is only one answer:  the Torah is the only scripture that actually comes from Hashem.  Only Hashem who knows the future could provide the details of what would happen to His people on their historical odyssey.  

Our history confirms the prognoses of the Torah.  All the events we have experienced conform to what is written in the Torah.  Unfortunately, many of these confirmed prophecies have been negative, e.g. the destruction of both Temples, exile, dispersion and persecution.  Even very convincing allusions to the Holocaust can be found by a careful reading of the text.  Indeed, the suffering of the Jews has been very great, and many ask; why, so much and Ad Masai, for how long will this go on?  The answer (to a very complex issue) in very simple and basic terms is found throughout the Book of Devarim.  It is expressed, succinctly, in the holiday prayers: "and because of our sins we have been exiled from our land".  The positive side of this declaration is that we can alter the situation through a change in our conduct.  It is important at this season of the High Holidays to take note of another prediction of the Torah.  This week’s parsha Nitzavim-Vayelech  promises that after experiencing the blessings and curses of our history we will consider the matter very carefully and recognize that the Torah is true.  The Jewish people will then engage in a national return to observance of the commandments and service of Hashem with "all our heart and all our soul".  This message is relevant to the season we are in and should give us renewed inspiration to engage in Teshuva in a manner which uplifts ourselves and inspires others.  We have witnessed the many curses, none more catastrophic than the Holocaust.  And yet we have also experienced the greatest miracle in two thousand years: the rebirth of the Jewish state in the land of Israel, and the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles.  We can look back at Jewish history from the vantage point of Tanach and proclaim:  Moshe emes vetoraso emes ( Moshe is true and his Torah is true).  This is a great time for a Jew to be alive.  We are experiencing the unfolding of Divine prophecy.  Our faith should be strengthened and we should yearn to participate in the National Redemption which Hashem has promised will happen.

Shabbat Shalom