Shabbos Parashas Noach

Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaDaas (Gate of the Intellect), Chapter 7, Part 1
We now discuss knowledge we possess through hearing. At the revelation at Mount Sinai, Hashem spoke face to face with the entire Jewish People, including 600,000 men between the ages of 20 and 60 and the older men, the women, and the children. In addition, He passed on to us, through his prophet Moshe, the tablets with the Ten Commandments, written in His own hand. Hashem put the Jews of Moshe’s generation through this experience so that all their descendants throughout the generations, who did not witness the revelation personally – even those unable to engage in intellectual investigation – would have firm faith in the Torah, free of the clouds of doubt and the darkness of confusion. The voice of Torah that came forth at Sinai has been transmitted to us down through the generations.
It is the obligation of every Jew to bear in mind that when hears the Torah today, it is as if he is hearing it directly from Hashem’s mouth. And every day a Jew should regard the Torah’s words as if he heard them just now. We have no reason to doubt the Torah, neither on account of its content nor on account of its source. The Torah’s content is wholesome; in David HaMelech’s words it is “sweeter than honey” (Tehillim 19:11). And its source is unassailable, for the Torah was not given to us by any mortal man, but rather from the Creator of the world. There is no need to elaborate, for the validity of these points is beyond any reasonable doubt.
The words of the Torah that we see today are the same as those that our forefathers heard at Sinai. The Torah is implanted within us as if it has been permanently nailed into us from the time it was given. We are commanded by the Torah not to accept any new teaching or practice, even if a prophet conveys it to us in Hashem’s name. At the conclusion of Sefer Vayikra, the Torah declares (Vayikra 27:34): “These are the commandments that Hashem commanded to Moshe to the Children of Yisrael on Mount Sinai.” The Gemara in Shabbos 104a derives from this declaration the principle that no prophet after Moshe has license to introduce any innovations. Accordingly, we can point to a Torah scroll written even just now and declare with full confidence: “This is the Torah that Moshe placed before the Children of Yisrael, by the mouth of Hashem through the hand of Moshe.” There is no difference between the Torah scrolls Moshe conveyed to the Jews of his generation and the Torah scrolls we have now, except for the parchment and the ink.
Further, the Torah has been in our possession, and we have maintained it, for over three thousand years. Nothing in it has been changed, not even the tip of the little letter yud. The Torah’s continued existence and binding force – all of the mitzvos with all their details, down to the fine points – is itself reliable testimony that we received the Torah from heaven, in the same form as we have it now. We cannot deviate from it, neither to right nor to the left, nor can we deny anything written in it, far be it, and claim that we did not receive it.
Let us illustrate the point with an analogy. Suppose you come across a wondrously magnificent building with the builder’s name engraved on its outer wall. It is impossible for you not to believe that the building was built by a man of tremendous talent. What testifies to this? The building itself testifies to it! Similarly, the magnificence of the Torah’s wisdom, and the Torah’s continued endurance as the Jewish People’s perpetual instruction manual for life, is itself testimony of the Torah’s Divine origin. The word of the Eternal God is eternal!
Moreover, the Torah itself documents its nature, who wrote it, and the way it was received: in an assembly of the entire Jewish People, with the earth quaking and the entire world trembling, with Hashem coming down to earth with fire, great sounds, lightening, and flame, and with Moshe acting as the intermediary between us and Hashem. Before his death, Moshe wrote out the Torah, one scroll for every tribe, and one scroll placed in the Holy Ark, so that no forgery could be possible (see Devarim Rabbah 9:4). And we have preserved the Torah and maintained our possession of it down through all the generations.
The Gemara in Shabbos 105a presents a teaching that reflects the above discussion. The First Commandment begins with the word אנכי, meaning I. The Gemara presents three renderings of this word as an acronym. One of them is the following, with the letters of אנכי in reverse order (י, כ, נ, א): יהיבא כתיבה נאמנים אמריה – [The Torah] has been handed down in writing – faithful are its words.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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