Thursday, January 10, 2008
Sudilkover Rebbe on: Why be Jewish Without a Divine Torah?
I spoke with the Sudilkove Rebbe again earlier this week, who I meet through A Simple Jew's introduction. We spoke about several things but I wanted to share one interesting story he told first, since I think it's a great and novel approach to those who say they do not believe in Torah Min HaShamayim.
He said that he was in an airport and he met a man who said he used to be religious but he researched and researched and researched, and he finally came to the conclusion that the Torah was not written by Hashem.
The Sudilkover Rebbe told him that this was fine and that he had no problems with him. They could be very good friends. The man was shocked. "What do you mean? It's fine with you?!"
The Rebbe responded that "It was no problem. The Rambam says that there are 13 Fundamentals of Jewish Emunah. If you deny 12 of them, you're called an Apikores, but you're still Jewish. But he says that if you deny the fact that the Torah is from Hashem, it is a sign that "lo amdu raglei avosav b'ma'amad har sinai," that "[your] fathers feet never stood at the foot of Har Sinai." According to the Rambam, you must not be Jewish. Perhaps you were switched with another baby at birth, or there was an intermarriage that was forgotten on your mother's side. I don't know exactly what happened, but I know that the Ramam says that you are not Jewish. And if a non-Jew doesn't believe in Torah Min Hashamayim, it's nisht gefeirlach, it's not so bad. So I have no problem with you!"
The man got very angry and asked the Rebbe how could possibly say that he's not Jewish?!
The Rebbe calmly responded. "I don't know what you're so upset about. It is not me who is saying that you are not Jewish. It is you who said that you do not believe that the Torah is from Hashem."
He further asked the man, "Why does it bother you so much that I must consider you Jewish? If you don't believe that Hashem wrote the Torah, why is it so important to be Jewish anyway? There are a lot of religions out there that believe in G-d. You can belong to one of them or to none at all and just believe n G-d but not the Torah. But WHY is it so imporant to be Jewish if you don't believe in the Torah?"
He said that "It's like insisting on calling yourself a Yankee, but not knowing anything about baseball, the rules of baseball, or even what a baseball field looks like. Why would you insist on calling yourself a Yankee if you don't associate yourself with the priorities & rules of the team?"
Hopefully, the man had something to think about in terms of what being Jewish actually means without the Torah and its mission for us.
(Picture courtesy of Chabad Online)
Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox.