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Beit Midrash Jewish Laws and Thoughts Foundations of Faith

Chapter 13

13. Faith Needs No Rational Proof

Jewish faith does not need rational proofs. It is above this. Because we witnessed with our own eyes God's Divine intervention in taking us out of Egypt, splitting the Red Sea, and giving us the Torah on Mount Sinai, we need no additional proof.
Dedicated to the memory of
Amram son of Sultana
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Jewish faith does not need rational proofs. It is not dependent upon human reasoning. It is above this. Because we witnessed with our own eyes God's Divine intervention in taking us out of Egypt, splitting the Red Sea, and giving us the Torah on Mount Sinai, we need no additional proof. Hence, the Torah itself is the source of our knowledge of the creation of the world and everything in it. Likewise, it is from the Torah that we learn of the genealogy of humankind from Adam until the giving of the Torah. And though we are in no need of external proofs, it is interesting to note that the entire world observes a seven-day week. When did all of humanity come to agree upon this division? Is it not reasonable to assume that all of humankind evolved from Adam and his offspring, and that they are the source of a number of practices shared by all humanity, like the seven-day week and the decimal-based numeric system? True, various scientists have attempted to offer theories to account for these phenomena, yet, despite this, these shared practices continue to evidence the fact that there is one common starting point to all of humankind. As stated, though, these facts are not brought here as proof, but as additional support for the reliability of the Torah's account of the creation of man and the universe.
Foundations of Faith (50)
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
12 - 12. A History of the Divine
13 - 13. Faith Needs No Rational Proof
14 - 20. God's Incorporeality
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Here the Khazar king inquires, "Is not your faith in creation and human genealogy as presented in the Torah weakened somewhat by the fact that the people of India possess ancient traditions and practices which are supposed to date back a million years!"

The wise Rabbi responds, explaining that the traditions of the people of India in no way weaken the Jew's faith. How can the people of India have any serious traditions when, in fact, they lack a proper culture altogether? They are idolaters who place their faith in superstitious belief. They have no culture and have produced only a small number of books, which at any rate are incredulous. Only a genuine ignoramus could be convinced of the reliability of their claims.

Were Bedouins from the Sinai Desert - a people who possess no intellectual background - to approach us with the claim that they have ancient traditions which differ with ours regarding the creation of the world and the history of humankind, should we even feel the need to defend our tradition against their claims? Do the traditions of peoples who lack intellectual standing hold any genuine significance? This was the state of the people of India in the days of the Kuzari.

True, people who live more closely to nature develop unique senses that cannot be found among cultured people - they know how to sense when rain will fall, they are able to uncover footprints and therefore make excellent trackers, and they boast various other sharpened natural talents. They are even likely to possess certain spiritual capacities and unique decorum. However, all of this is far from being a reason to place faith in their traditions - the sort of traditions which are passed down from generation to generation by the light of a bonfire. They are no more than the fruit of healthy imagination. In short, such traditions are not worthy of serious consideration.

All sorts of interesting natural characteristics developed among the people of India, as did unique and even praiseworthy mannerisms. Nevertheless, they were not a learned or intellectual people. In this respect they were very undeveloped, and there is therefore little value to their tales about ancient traditions. This, though, is in no way true when it comes to the Jewish people, "a wise and intelligent nation." The Jews are "the People of the Book" who, throughout the generations, have occupied themselves with learning and Torah. The Jews' profuse literary output in the fields of both Oral and Written Torah serves as proof of the Jewish people's commendable spiritual level.
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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