Basic Judaism

What’s the Difference Between Judaism and Other Religions?

If we see a man, no matter how simple, who is planning some kind of project, we have no doubt that he has a reason for his project even if we can’t perceive it. If the person planning the project is a well known and distinguished dignitary and certainly if he is a prime minister, we of course realize there is an important goal behind the project. We wouldn’t have the slightest doubt that he has an excellent reason even if it is unknown to us. 

The more a project looks complex, encompassing, and planned to the tiniest detail, and the more that the person who is advancing it is a intelligent, illustrious and exalted personality, the more it is obvious to us that he is pursuing an indispensable goal. 

If this is the case with human beings, then we can apply infinitely greater motives to our Creator. There is no question that He had a purpose in creating the crown of creation, man, and all of creation in general. 

Even without the above introduction, a person should naturally ask himself: Who am I? What am I doing here? Why was I created? For what purpose am I living? To eat to work and to work to eat? To grow up to pamper myself and then get old and decay and become fertilizer for the worms?! Is this my purpose?! Is this the goal of my creation?!

Incisive questions like these which a “product” may ask can only be answered by his “manufacturer.” Which person can be so audacious to say that his finite logic can know our Creator’s true intentions in creating His world?

We daren’t gamble on the question of questions: a human being’s role and purpose in the world, which is the most important issue of our life.

* What is the truth? Did our Creator ever reveal to His creations the goal of creation? Is the goal of the crown of creation, man, merely to eat, sleep and die? Or maybe our Creator wants that I, His creation, should behave in His world in a certain way and according to certain rules, and I was created for that reason?

But if He has demands from me, why didn’t He inform me or my fathers, and give them guidance to pass down from generation to generation to me? And if He did that, why didn’t He do it in such a way that I could clearly know that the Creator of the universe, G-d Himself, gave those certain instructions?

After all, I won’t change my behavior and lifestyle just because someone dreamed that G-d wants me to behave in a certain way?!

* “And G-d said to Moses, Behold I will come to you in a thick cloud so that the people will hear when I speak with you, and they will also believe in you forever… Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow and have them wash their clothes. Be ready on the third day because of the third day G-d will come down in front of the entire people on Mt. Sinai. Border the people all around it and tell them ‘Beware lest you go up on the mountain and touch even its edge…’ And on the third day, it was morning and there was thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud on the mountain and an earsplitting sound of a shofar and all the people in the camp were in trepidation… and Mt. Sinai was completely quaking with smoke because G-d had come down upon it in a fire and its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain quaked. The sound of the shofar kept increasing… G-d spoke all these words saying: ‘I am the L-rd your G-d….’ And all the people saw the sounds and the flashes and the shofar sound and the mountain smoking and the people saw it and they moved back and stood from afar.” (Ex. 19:9-16)

Can one “invent” a historical event like this unless it truly happened? Let’s think a moment. There is no religion in the world (!) which has dared or dares to claim that it received its book of laws in a divine or even angelic revelation in front of 100 people or even 50 or even 10 and not even before 2. Judaism, in addition to the well known fact that it preceded all religions which are a cheap imitation of it, is also the only one (!) in the world that claims: G-d (the One and Only) revealed Himself in an divine revelation before an entire people, which numbered than 600,000 people besides women and children (a careful estimate would bring us to 2 million people who participated in the event), to give mankind His Book of Instructions for the proper use of His world (manufacturer’s instructions!). We know the exact year this occurred (2448 after Creation) and the exact day (6 Sivan) and the exact weekday (Shabbat), the exact time of day (sunrise) and the exact place (the Sinai desert, close to Mt. Sinai) where this exalted convocation took place.

The huge difference between Judaism and the false imitation religions, derives from a simple reason: it’s too dangerous to lie with a partner. Every swindler who founded a religion worries that the day will come when his partner in founding the religion will force him to tell the truth and announce: ‘It’s all a lie! There were no revelations and no prophecies. My friend is just a bloody swindler!’

Judaism is not afraid to declare that G-d gave His Torah to the chosen people in front of all the people, as is stated explicitly in the Torah. To the contrary, it’s impossible to invent a historical story like this and ask an entire people to keep Shabbat, put on tefillin, keep family purity laws, etc. because they will right away ask the person “Why should we believe you? You claim that there was this big event that took place before all our fathers, but how come our parents and their parents over the generations until today knew nothing about it and didn’t keep all those things that you’re asking us to keep?” 

They will also ask, “If you’re going to claim that this event occurred but was forgotten, then 1) this claim in untenable because it contradicts what the Torah itself says that the Jewish people would never forget it (see Deut. 31:21: ‘For it will not be forgotten from its progeny’). 

“2) And if such an event had happened, we would have known that there was such a story like this that had been forgotten, and somehow now became known. But we know that throughout Jewish history, the Torah was passed down exactly from father to son exactly as it is today in an unbroken succession, from the Revelation on Mt. Sinai until our generation so you are just scum who is trying to sell us an abject lie!”


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