Letters Nov. III
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim:
I would like to know how we explain the account of Yoshiyahu discovering a Torah Scroll. Apparently, Manashe had eradicated Judaism to such an extent that the people were completely unfamiliar with the contents of the Torah. This would refute the claim of mass revelation. Yoshiyahu could have introduced the idea that G-d spoke to our ancestors long ago, but they all strayed and we must return. Thus the religion could have started at that point with a claim of mass revelation in the past so nobody could refute it.
Mesora: As we read in Maimonides introduction to his Mishne Torah, there was an unbroken chain, from Moses to Rabbeinu HaKodesh, which includes the era of Yoshiyahu. Maimonides names every teacher and student – no break in the chain. Therefore, we learn that although many were bereft of Torah, there were others who retained the Torah’s transmission in its full form, from Moses. Additionally, does not the very identification as the found scroll, as a “Torah” reveal that those Jews in the times of Yoshiyahu, recognized what “Torah” is? Had they been ignorant altogether of Torah, no one could have identified the scroll as “Torah”. Hence, they too had some knowledge of Torah. The proof of Sinai thereby remains intact.
Reader: Hi, Rabbi Moshe. I've been posting many of your articles from mesoa.org on a blog perspectives forum. A Christian missionary has been responding to the contents of one your articles. He says that proof of Jesus can be found in the story where G-d demonstrates to Moses something about a rock. Can you please say more on this? Here is a response of the missionary to your articles and some of my arguments:
Missionary: When Moses was in the desert with his people, God would tell him to hit the rock ONLY ONCE to bring water out of it. When Moses hit the rock Twice God was upset with him and told Moses why you disobey me, I told you only to hit the rock once, and he told Moses you would not see the Promised Land. Why was God so upset that he punished Moses from seeing the promise land? Is it just because he hit a rock twice instead of once as God commanded him? No, this hitting the rock once and getting the water from it was a prophecy, that the Son of God will be tortured and crucified ONCE. Jesus explain this to a women when he was at the well, he told her “I will give you water from heaven and you will never thirst”. And he told her in the desert, “Moses had given your grandfathers water but they still died, who ever drinks of the water I (Jesus) shall give them, they shall never die”. Get it? Moses’ breaking the stone ONCE represents Jesus being crucified. The water coming out of the rock for the people to drink so they wouldn’t die (the water Jesus said he would give us so that we don’t die)? Do you understand this prophecy?
Me: First, realize that the second coming belief was created
by Christianity to mask Jesus’ failures. THE TANAKH SAYS LOUD AND CLEAR THAT THERE
WILL BE ONLY ONE COMING. And since the Messiah is human, he'll be able to walk
upon the earth only once.
As to your reference to the rock, that has ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION TO ANYTHING. It wasn't connected to any prophecy.
You tell me to compare my "belief" in Moses to that of Jesus; but I don't have BELIEF in Moses’ prophetic capacity, or in G-d. In fact, blind acceptance is contradictory to Judaism, the only religion BASED ON NATIONAL REVELATION. Sinai was conducted in front of all the Jews and the memory lives on. Just like you don’t question other ancient happenings such as major Greek battles or the existence of Pharaohs, there is no reason to question Sinai, Moses, or G-d the Most High.
That Missionary goes on claiming the same things.
Mesora: Good job Gregory...keep up your
good work. You might even retort as follows: "Why can't another person
claim with equal justification that Moses hitting the rock twice is a prophecy
that Jesus will fail twice?"
But don't leave it there. When he responds to that, tell him that the Torah was given with an Oral Law, essential for understanding the Written Law (Bible). And since he is bereft of the Oral Law, he cannot possibly understand the Torah, the Written Law.
As Rabbis and Jews, WE are the recipients - to his own admission - of the Torah, and WE alone possess the correct interpretations. Just as another person cannot approach Henry Ford claiming he has the original Ford, Christians too cannot approach the Jew claiming they possess the correct interpretations, or God’s authentic word.