Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Following is a fictional dialogue between an inquirer "John" and Mesora.
Based on actual discussions with many individuals inquiring on the benefits and reasons for becoming observant

Part I
Proof that God Gave the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai

John: OK, let's start with the basics, there are many religions, why should I follow Judaism, or even any religion. What's wrong with me starting my own religion, or even better, why don't I just live a life without God?

Mesora: It's not a matter of right or wrong, its a matter of true or false. You should follow what makes sense, as in all other areas of your life. I'm sure you selected your career and your children's teachers and school very carefully. Why not use the same reasoning when selecting a philosophy?

John: True, I should engage the same level of rational thinking I use in other areas when I approach decisions in philosophy. First, prove to me God exists. Forget the veracity of specific religions for now, just prove there is a God.

Mesora: The world accepts the fact that there was an event, at which over 2 million Jews witnessed supernatural feats, and at which an Intelligence delivered a system of ideas to them. This intelligence spoke from amidst a fiery mountain, communicated laws, and claimed responsibility for the 10 plagues visited upon the Egyptians, the exodus therefrom, and many miracles which none present then denied their miraculous nature. The very same people, the Israelites, who saw these miraculous plagues in Egypt and who were spared the suffering of those miraculous plagues, now attested to a miraculous event at Mt. Sinai. They all admitted to hearing a voice delivering commands, a voice which they felt if listened to would kill them. They admitted to seeing the mountain burning with fire, a feat not capable of being duplicated by man. They admitted to hearing this voice emanate from the fire, an impossibility for any biological creature to perform - an Intelligence unaffected by the laws of nature.

The Jews and Moses attested to the fact that they received wisdom from He who his the controller of the laws of nature, the same being which performed the Egyptian exodus. No one then denied what they claimed their own eyes saw.

Today, the Jews, and many other nations admit that from this event we have demonstrative proof of an Intelligence which controls the laws of the world. We call this Intelligence God. Even scientists have come to the realization from the careful study of heavenly phenomena and laws, that there is a wise Designer of the universe. The heavens and all created matter did not create itself, hence, something external to the physical, created world caused our world's existence, and with such perfectly designed laws which govern it and actually sustain its integrity.

John: Well maybe they made up the story, or didn't grasp what really happened, and misconstrued the whole event.....

Mesora: Bottom line,....if any historically accepted account has as part of that story masses witnessing intelligible phenomena, the story must be true. You couldn't get them to lie unanimously, that's just not human nature for all the people there to have a common motive. You also won't have misinterpretation of what they saw and heard, provided it was understandable to an average intelligence. With this precise reasoning you would attest that Caesar was emperor of Rome. I'm sure you don't deny that, right?

John: Of course Caesar was the Roman emperor. Who could deny that? That's in all our history books, everyone knows that!

Mesora: Then the event at Sinai, where over 2,000,000 Jews witnessed God giving the Torah must also be true, based on your own reasoning. It's in all the bibles of the world. Even non Jews attest to its validity. The reason you might have a problem accepting Sinai, but no problem accepting Caesar, is that Sinai will obligate you in following the Torah's numerous commands. Believing in Caesar has no affect on your daily life.

John: Yeah, maybe. But why can't the story be made up by Moses then?

Mesora: If it was, don't you think the Jews back at his time would have said he was falsifying history? They wouldn't have accepted him. I mean, Moses would have to had convinced millions of people that they were all at an event which never occurred! There's no way the people would have accepted him, made him a leader, and unanimously followed him. That would be similar to me saying I was on the George Washington Bridge at rush hour, and the traffic was stopped, and said some spaceship descended and gave me some scroll in front of millions of spectators. Do you think one person would believe me if I couldn't produce those eyewitnesses? Even if I could get 10 or 12 people to go along with my story, I'd still go unbelieved, since my story said there were millions present.

John: So if any story is unanimously accepted it must be true? What about Jesus walking on water, or healing the sick? Millions of Christians believe that to be true!?

Mesora: You must distinguish between Sinai and all historical events, and from belief. Christianity does not proclaim that there were masses witnessing Jesus walking on water, healing the sick, or any other claim. They state that you must believe. So you either believe or not. But masses believing something is no proof to that belief. Masses also believe in UFOs.
Sinai however is based on historical evidence, not belief. It is based on the exact same principles of proof which any historical account uses. It is impossible that a false story would be accepted unless it is bereft of witnesses and claims simple belief. If however a story is in our possession claiming mass witnesses, it must be true, and certainly if it claimed miracles as a component of that story.

John: OK, so Sinai was true. It happened. But I'm not clear on the others, what about all those other religions, I mean, they have millions more followers than the Jews?

Mesora: Yes. But their story does not claim masses of witnesses. They purport there were some witnesses, but conspiracy is possible with small numbers. Keep in mind, they have millions of followers, but not millions of witnesses. They don't even have dozens of witnesses!

John: So again, tell me how do they have millions of followers....

Mesora: Because of two factors, 1) they offer people who follow their notions a feeling of emotional satisfaction. Some absolve you of all sin if you believe, a very strong attraction, and some offer eternal bliss if you believe. Secondly, they base their religions on belief. No proof is required. Belief is something anyone can have, even a fool. So masses of unlearned people can flock to following these religions. None offer proof of their religion's validity, it's all based on faith.

So those religions have two factors, 1) An open door for any person to partake, since no proof is required, and 2) a motive for everyone to follow, as they offer grand 'rewards' for believers.

John: But you're saying Judaism doesn't require faith?

Mesora: That is correct.

Now that we have proved that the event at Sinai could not have been fabricated, we apply this very same scientific argument to the rest of the Torah. Had the people denied witnessing anything, Sinai would not have been circulated as truth, and it would not have been passed down through the generations as historically accurate. However, we find in the Torah many passages where Moses urged the people to remember what their eyes saw (Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 4:3,9,34,35, and 36. ). Had they not seen the event, Moses's story would not have survived the scrutiny of that generation, and the story would have died there and then. But this didn't happen, teaching us with certain proof that they all agreed that what Moses said was what they actually witnessed. The story teaches us that Judaism is built on proof alone. The only role faith plays in Judaism is that God will fulfill His words written therein. But in terms of acknowledging God's existence, and the veracity of the event of Sinai, we have demonstrated by proof that it is historically true.

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