"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The revelation at Sinai

FNQ – 5 q's for the week

Now that we have all re-experienced the giving and receiving of the Torah I would like pose some questions on the nature of this sublime and out of this world event. Belief in what is described in the Torah about the Sinai experience is a non-negotiable deal breaker. Belief in anything less than the revelation of G-d to the Jewish people and direct transmission of something (exactly what is a machloket) places one firmly outside of a Jewish belief system. Sinai is the backbone of our entire tradition and those who have unfortunately attempted to change our age old practices have always begun their redecorating by dismantling the keystone that is the Sinai experience. Perhaps one way to respond to those who deny the revelation at Sinai is to, in addition to affirming our absolute belief, gain a better understanding of what happened there and why it was so meaningful. May these questions and thoughts (later in the week) be a step in that direction.

  1. Many religions claim that they originated through a divine revelation, is there anything that makes the Jewish version unique?

  1. The Rabbis say that when the Torah was given G-d said to us either we accept Torah or die. What is the value of an experience where the receiver essentially has no choice?

  1. After witnessing the miracles of the Exodus why did the Jewish people need the Sinai experience, didn't they already believe in G-d?

  2. If the Jewish peopled committed such a grave sin (Golden Calf) so soon after receiving the Torah does that mean that the experience was essentially a failure?

  3. If every Jewish soul was at Sinai why do we need to recreate that event every year on Shavuot?

What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question

1 comment:

  1. i would like to address the first question and last question - the first. something that the kuzari mentions that for some reason has resonated with me is that unlike with most other religions the revalation at Sinai was witnessed by 600,000 adult men plus women and children. For most other religions their revalation was something that one person experienced and reported to other people. So the way I see it one person hearing the voice of God has the possibility of being a halucination, a mass group - less likely so.

    As for the last question - there's no particular mitzvah of the yom that requires that we relive maamad har sinai. If we do that is of our own volition. Perhaps it is our way of saying to God we want to recreate that experience for our own selves to better understand what perhaps only subconciously we can remember.