By Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet
Last week we spoke about bris avos. At Har Sinai, over 400 years later, the bris avos became a bris with all of B’nei Yistoel. MatanTorah was one of the most fateful days of history, for the entire briah cried out in ecstasy, “This is day when the existence of the world has been established and guaranteed.” (Or HaChaim Hakodesh, Parshas Yisro) Hashem graced us with the instruction manual of life and the means to earn eternity. Relevant to our subject, the Torah contains all of the foundations of emuna. Furthermore we build our relationship with the Al-lmighty through learning and observing the Torah. Relationship with Hashem is the core of emunah, as stated previously. The proof of the authenticity of the Torah as well as our status as the Am HaNivchar occurred through the Revelation at Sinai. That’s all well and fine, but how do we know this event occurred?
Some axioms are considered self-evident and go unchallenged. Does anyone question the existence of Alexander the Great? The United States fought the Revolutionary War and General George Washington served as that country’s first president. These people and events are accepted as historical facts, even though no one living has seen them. (Rav Shimshom Pincus, Shaarei Emunah)
Maamad Har Sinai was witnessed by over three million people. It’s not something they read about or heard from someone. Millions of people experienced it. In Parashas Va’eschanan (4:32-33) it states, “Ask now from the earliest days… from when Hashem created man upon the earth and from one end of heaven to the other; has there been such an event as great as this, when G-d spoke out of the midst of the fire to all of you [Bnei Yisrael] or has anyone heard of it?” The Torah luminary Rav Nachman Bulman, citing the Sefer Haikarim exclaimed, “Search through any library, investigate any archeological excavation, study any religion, inquire at any university. Has anyone said that Hashem revealed Himself to a multitude of people? Can any religion even dare claim it?” The Igeres HaRambam echoes this same message.
This point is further reinforced by the two major gentile religions today. Christianity and Islam, although opposed to what we represent, never denied that Hashem revealed Himself to the B’nei Yisroel at Sinai. A claim of a similar revelation by any other nation would have been refuted long ago.
With the “knowledge of Sinai” our Hashem’s People have willingly been burned at the stake and jumped into the crematoria of WWII with Shema Yisrael on their lips. Would they have sacrificed their lives and the lives of their children for a fairy tale?
The experience at Sinai is not a matter of faith, but a fact. Hashem spoke to our ancestor and revealed to them the secrets of the universe. Our belief in the existence of prophets, the mitzvos, the veracity of our formation as a Nation, the nisim, and our destiny is predicated upon what was written in that Torah that was witnessed by the masses. Furthermore, we have a recorded history in Tanach and an unbroken mesorah from Sinai until this very day of those who corroborated, guarded and preserved the entire Written and Oral Torah(Rabbi Uri Zohar). Our knowledge of Matan Torah and what is written there is so firmly based that Rav Bulman exclaimed, “Let the burden of proof lie with those who don’t believe.” More to come.