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various questions regarding redemption, God & Torah truth


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 19, 5781
Hello Rabbi, I was wondering about Mashiac Ben David and about how the messianic prophecies teach that he will instruct mankind in the one true way. Doesnt this imply that there is a chance that our teachings have been corrupted? What are the chances that our texts and teachings were corrupted and that we are not calling HaShem by an accurate name? Adonai for instance, could it not imply reverance to other deities by referring to the lesser deities as lords? And wouldnt that mean we are transgressing the Abrahamic and Sinai covenants? What about the term Elohim? Doesnt Elohim mean more than one G-d? What are the chances that someone who wanted to make with great certainty that we didnt fulfill our end of the covenant infiltrated and corrupted our educational systems and Rabbinical organizations for the sole purpose of leading us away from the most high? Also in respect to the Jewish Apocalypse, the "Day of the Lord" what does it say exactly about Israel and the final battle that leaves the Jewish people with the Animals of the Earth? I remember there being something in the text about them being exhausted after having to fight off the oppressors and then every knee bends and every head bows and the lion lays with the lamb. Can you also tell me why there are two different versions of the Shema prayer?
You asked many questions, and many have been dealt with before on our site. I will answer briefly as our framework allows: 1. The Mashiach will not change the Eternal Torah, just as no one and nothing can. He is mainly a political and military leader, and the Sanhedrin (High Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem), not the Mashiach, is the top Torah authority. 2. Regarding how do we know the Torah has never been corrupted, see: 3. Adonai is not plural (which would be written with a "patach" vowel under the letter "nun", e.g. Breishit 19, 2, or the common: "Rabbotai"), but is singular (and written everywhere with a "kamatz" vowel under the letter "nun"), as God's Name, e.g. "God, You began (in singular)... Your (in singular) greatness and Your (in singular) mighty Hand..." (Dvarim 3, 24). It's an easy mistake to make for many today don't differentiate in their pronunciation, but it's good that you asked to clarify the issue. 4. Regarding why Elohim is in the plural, see: that it's the respectful plural common in many Semitic languages, similar to the "royal 'we' ", in English. 5. The Jewish people, and especially rabbis, are extremely critical, often even skeptical, so constant scrutiny and control is a basic norm of Torah and rabbinical literature by "the People of the Book". You should also know that, to this day, rabbis cannot rise to significant posts through "public relations". In the yeshiva world, where students interact and debate daily with each other, everyone knows each others' exact scholastic and spiritual level, e.g. who are the top students in every yeshiva. It takes decades of intensive study, with constant sharpening questions and answers, and accordingly, there is absolutely no room or possibility for charlatans or fakers. Every couple of decades, even when a rare personality may draw followers just based on his charisma, and not on brilliance or true spirituality, it's just a matter of time before his "game" is revealed by the other brilliant rabbis. Even being spread out for 2,000 years, in hundreds of different communities simultaneously in far-removed continents which were in contact by messengers, upon our re-uniting in Israel over the past century, we found that yes, here and there, local rabbis inevitably sometimes interpreted different from each other, but the base, the Talmud, stayed identical everywhere (with no "earth-shaking" differences). In short, there's no chance to "infiltrate and corrupt our educational system", and even raising that "conspiration theory" would be clearly laughingly dismissed by anyone familiar with the "transparent" yeshiva system. 6. There are tens of chapters in the prophets about the messianic era. No where does it say that only the Jewish Nation will remain among mankind (in addition to the animal world, as you inferred), but to the contrary, righteous gentiles from all the nations will survive and participate, as well. Yes the anti-Semites will get what they deserve and won't be around any longer (e.g. Zecharia 14; Yechezkel 38-39), but we hope they will be a small minority. And yes, mankind will all worship the same God, and the lion will live with the lamb, representing world peace (Yishayahu 11). 7. There is only one version of Shema Yisrael. You may be referring to the second paragraph of the Shema, which is a little similar, but significantly different, and even a simple comparison will show the many self-explanatory distinctions (e.g. the first is written in singular, so doesn't mention reward and punishment which are usually national (rain, peace, famine, etc.), but they are mentioned in the second paragraph which is written in the plural=national. All the best!
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