It says כל המלמד את בן בנו תורה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו קיבלה מהר סיני – that if you teach your son or grandson Torah it’s as if he received it from Har Sinai (Kidushin 30a). What does that mean that he’s receiving it from Har Sinai?
We must understand one fundamental fact. We don’t have any emunah – it means there’s no such thing as a commandment for a Jew to believe in Ma’amad Har Sinai. It’s not a special mitzvah, no. And that’s because Ma’amad Har Sinai is history.
I’m going to explain that to you, a very important fact. At Ma’amad Har Sinai there were two million witnesses. Everything that happened in the midbar, all the nissim, were witnessed by millions of people. That’s why the last words in the Torah are לעיני כל ישראל – before the eyes of all of Israel. The nissim were done le’eini kol Yisroel. That’s very important. That’s why never do you find curses in the Torah on people that didn’t believe in that. I mentioned already that in the Koran lehavdil and in the New Testament lehavdil it’s full of curses on those who disbelieve; that’s because there’s a reason to disbelieve. There are no witnesses! All the stories were invented without witnesses. The Am Yisroel on the other hand has a history that states that more people were present at Har Sinai than ever saw lehavdil George Washington. More people were present at Har Sinai than ever saw any one of our presidents. At one time two million people were present. Six hundred thousand between the ages of twenty and sixty besides older and younger and women. Two million people at least. That’s why never do you find in the Torah or in the Tanach anybody is blamed that he didn’t believe in our history. And therefore we have no question of emunah. It’s common sense; it’s our history.
I’ll explain to you. Recently there was a headline in the New York Times. About what? They were very happy that a certain rasha who in charge of education in the State of Israel was undertaking now to stop teaching Jewish children “ancient myths”, old-time stories. “Ancient myths” means the Torah; that’s what the New York Times calls it – “ancient myths.”
Now, what’s so ancient about it however? Two thousand years ago Josephus wrote in his history all the events of the Torah; so take off two thousand years. Two thousand years ago we’re standing now with Josephus. The Torah is not very old then. However, even before Josephus, four hundred years before Josephus, the Torah was translated into Greek. It was in the possession of the gentiles. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Torah, was in the hands of goyim. So four hundred years before the churban we already had the Torah. The gentiles are testifying to that! We don’t need it—we understand that we had it all the time—but the gentiles are testifying!
Now look at the Kusim, the Samaritans. The Samaritans have only Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua. Why don’t the Samarians have Shmuel Alef and Shmuel Beis, Malachim Alef and Malachim Beis? You hear that question: Why do the Shomronim not have anything except the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua?
The answer is that when the aseres hashevatim broke away in the days of Yeravam ben Nevat—that’s right after Shlomo Hamelech—at that time the sefarim were not yet popular. The sefarim written by Shmuel Hanavi were not yet widespread. They didn’t have printers to print a thousand books at one time. So the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua were the only ones available and that’s what Yeravam ben Nevat took along – after all he wouldn’t take along Sefer Melachim that it speaks against him; and therefore it didn’t exist the Sefer Melachim by him. So therefore when Yeravam ben Nevat broke away that’s all he took along and so the ten tribes only had the sefer of the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua.
Then, when the ten tribes were sent into exile the Kusim, gentiles, were brought into the land and then when the lions began terrifying the gentiles, the Kusim, they called back kohanim of the Aseres Hashevatim and these kohanim taught them the religion of the Aseres Hashevatim; and they taught them what Yeravam ben Nevat had taken along – Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua and that’s all.
So now, if you want a testimony to the recency of the Torah go up to Har Greizim today in Eretz Yisrael and look at the books, at the sefarim of the Shomronim. You’ll see they only have Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua. It shows that the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua were already in the hands of Yeravam ben Nevat. Ancient? There’s nothing ancient about it. Nothing ancient at all.
If you want more, Moshe Rabeinu is described in Tehillim. Tehillim describes Matan Torah only five hundred years after it happened. Tehillim is only five hundred years later.
So therefore our history is all recent. It’s not ancient at all. It’s not a matter of belief. Nobody ever had a question of believing in the Torah. And therefore we don’t find anybody who is blamed for disbelieving in the Torah. Everybody understood that’s our history. Our history is more certain than all the histories of the history books. Nothing in all the books of the gentiles is as genuine and is as deserving of credence as is the history of the Am Yisrael. We’re the ones who have the most solid foundation for all the things that we have in our traditions.
Now this is not merely talk. We can prove it scientifically. They’re not my words. They’re words from Isaac Halevi, a great doresh and a scientist in Tanach. And therefore the whole history of the Jewish people is clearly stated in the words of the Torah and in the words of the nevi’im. And the gentiles who came later all cherished our sefarim; they cherish our books to this day. Even Oso Ha’ish quotes constantly from our books. And these books all state all of our history; which means in the time of the Beis Hamikdash when these people lived everybody knew that these were the facts of history.
And so there’s no question of belief among the Am Yisrael. It’s a very important point that you heard just now.
And therefore when you teach your son Torah, you should know you are a recipient of a tradition that you gained from your father and your rebbi and he from his father and his rebbi and so on. It’s an unbroken chain of tradition. And so when you teach your son Torah you should know that the son is getting it from Har Sinai, from the most reliable witnesses. In every generation the father is handing down what their fathers had told them that they had seen with their own eyes. And therefore when you teach your son Torah, you’re teaching him as if he was present and he himself was at Har Sinai to listen.
TAPE E-241 (August 2000)