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Rabbis since the Middle Ages onwards have sought to prove the validity of the Torah and our belief in G-d from the story of G-d’s revelation to the whole Jewish people at Mount Sinai. As explained by Rabbi Judah Halevi in the Kuzari, the logic goes like this: If G-d had not actually appeared to all the Jewish people, then it would have been impossible for someone to write a book that would be adopted as truth by those people.

Because Jews of previous generations accepted the Torah as truth and passed it down to subsequent generations, and ultimately to us, it must have actually happened. Hence G-d and the Torah are proven by the very fact that the Revelation at Sinai appears in the Torah itself. While many contemporary Jews may struggle with this proof, on the basis that they have accepted the Torah without necessarily believing its complete historical accuracy, they therefore assume that previous generations were equally negligent in their due diligence. But we can derive something even greater from this argument.


No other religion in the world claims that a whole people saw G-d and survived. Christianity and Islam make far less grandiose claims: that their leaders (and maybe one or two hangers-on) saw G-d and that was it.

Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson explains that the founders of Islam and Christianity were aware of the relatively weak basis of their claims to Godliness, and so they incorporated the Torah into their religions to make the greater claim: G-d appeared to the whole Jewish people, the ultimate proof of His existence and interest in mankind, but He changed His mind and reselected our people (Christian / Muslim) in their place.

This so-called “Replacement Theology” has mammoth implications for the Jewish people. Some Jews are skeptical or don’t believe altogether that our ancestors actually encountered G-d, but there are close to four billion Christians and Muslims on this planet who do believe it! They believe that the Jewish people are G-d’s witnesses, making them “the new Jews.” A side effect of their claim, however, is that as the only people to have actually witnessed G-d, in their eyes we are still His ambassadors on Earth, providing a moral model to the world.

As a result of this, other faiths have two options for how to interact with Jews. They can choose to build their morality through emulating us, which close to a billion Christians in the West have chosen to do, and live lives that are impacted by the Torah, incorporating weekends, family structures, and societal values such as justice, freedom and equality. Alternatively, they can choose to live immoral lives, murdering others without guilt and annihilating the Jews, as Hamas, Stalin and Hitler have all tried to do, in order to destroy the evidence of morality in the world.

So, the seeds of Jew hatred lie in the belief of our enemies, from Sefer Shemot, that we witnessed G-d as a people. But the story of Sefer Shemot also provides us with hope.

The Israelite people fell to the lowest level of impurity. We were slaves in Egypt for eighty years and on the brink of total assimilation into Egyptian culture. And then, just before we descended into the abyss, G-d took us out with many miracles. Seven weeks later, we encountered G-d at Mount Sinai and collected the original signed copy of His book! From this story we see a tremendous message of hope. Whenever the Jewish people are oppressed, they emerge stronger, more united, and heading toward redemption.

The very word “Sinai” (which translates to “hatred”) that is the historic basis of Jew-hatred is the same Sinai that promises us that we are moving closer to G-d’s final goal. From Sefer Shemot comes the paradox, the hope, and the joy of being a Jew.


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Rabbi Leo Dee lives in Efrat with his three children and is the author of Transforming the World - The Jewish Impact on Modernity.