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Basics of Emunah #13: Is Belief in the Exodus Story Irrational?

Why Jews, for Millennia, Defined Their Existence By the Egyptian Exodus

1 hr 49 min


Class Summary:

4 week series of classes on The Basics of Emunah at 20 Forshay Road, Monsey. Thursdays at 8:30pm, followed by Q A. March 16, March 23, March 30 and April 6. For Men, Women and Teenagers (separate seating). You can send questions in advance by email to [email protected] or submit written questions before or during the presentation. Anonymity of the questioners will be respected. Hot food will be served. No registration of fee required.

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    Elie -6 years ago

    Exodus did happen and there is evidence !! watch this

    I too wondered if it happened and was amazed to find this documentary from 2015 with tons of evidence if you know which era to look at.  Many archaeologists REFUSE to acknowledge the evidence because it would force them to accept the Torah account.  You wiull see the amazing cognitive dissonance of the israeli archaeologists and others but the evidence is compelling, 

    Exodus did happen and there is evidence !! watch this and decide for yourself :


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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      Unfortunately that video Youtube took down.

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    David -6 years ago

    I'm writing you regarding your class "Basics of Emunah #13" about the question on the historical validity of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Just to preface, I'm not suffering from sfeikos in Emunah, and the answer to this question will (hopefully) not throw me off the path. I am, however a baal teshuvah with a somewhat extensive background in science and secular thinking (btw you might remember me from when I was your talmid in Chovevei Torah about 11 years ago), and it occurred to me that the 2 options you presented for someone to fabricate Judaism may not be the only two. 

    To say that someone lied to a few million people and they believed it, very unlikely in both options you presented. However, this is only if you assume that this lie was yeish me'ayin. If, however, the Jewish people had been a long standing nation of people with many traditional stories about their history, including creation stories etc. (All cultures have stories) Maybe they had many quirky customs like resting on Shabbos and dietary restrictions (all cultures have quirky customs) which resembled those mitzvos we have from the Torah. For somebody to compile a book containing all the stories and all the customs, and then codifying them into law, then adding some compelling details about Matan Torah, would be (still unlikely, but) more likely than your 2 options. The question you asked in the shiur "who is this man who came along and wrote the book"?, Don't we learn about such a story in the second day of Pesach Haftarah? Chilkiyahu found the Sefer Torah hidden away in the Beis haMikdosh. Its contents were obviously somewhat familiar to everyone, but for the previous 70 years about who had a copy and who knew about it? I'm leaving out other details as well for the sake of brevity, but for a Bible critic this should be the perfect smoking gun... (I admittedly don't know much about Bible criticism)

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    • RY

      Rabbi YY -6 years ago

      In regards to your question:

      1. A man compiling a book with all stories and traditions and rituals etc. seems rational. But here we come agin tot he key issue: In this book he maintains that there was ONE AND ONLY defining event that turned this nation into a people with a mission to change themselves and the world.​

      Not just an event of liberation, but the entire story of the Exodus, the Plagues, the Yam Auf and primerily Sinai.

      And for forty years they learnt all the mitzvos before entering the Land.

      And any sane person to accept this book needs to ask: Okay, I heard of these rituals; but my father or grandfather never ever mentioned about this mass revelation which they were all commanded numerous times to share with their children, every single day, and especially on pesach and other holidays!

      And this is not a small detail in this man's book -- all Genesis and Exodus lead up to this. All of the rest of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the entire Tanach, follow this one defining story.

      And here we ask this man: And no one ever ever heard of this?!

      Unless he tells me: That entire egenration died out, and all their children died out, and we are not their children.

      But then, we would say: The Torah has no claims or connection to us.

      ​2. As far as the story of Yosheyahu and Chilkeyahu, it is based on a complete misunderstanding of the story and the Tanach. I have a long essay on this.

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  • D

    david -7 years ago

    I listened to your recent hashkofa shiur where you responded to a question from someone who was skeptical about the historical accuracy of many aspects of the pesach story.

    I thought you - - and perhaps your questioner - - might find this of interest. This is an article about the Exodus from a secular historical perspective.


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  • D

    Dodi13 -7 years ago

    Thank you, Rabbi YY. This is an amazing class. Once I've heard the very interesting interpretation of why we need to remember the Exodus every single day of our life: The world was created with Fifty Gates of Understanding (Nun Shaarei Binah) ... (Rosh Hashanah 21b)

    The profit Isaiah states: “Lift up your eyes on high and see, Who Created These”..... (me bara eileh) 50 (men-Yud) created 36 (Aleph-Lamed-Heh). Together 'Me' and 'Eileh' can spell Elochim.
    Also, we see Nun Shaarei Binah at the time of Giving of the Torah: Na'aseh v'Nishmah can also be read: Nun-asah, v Nun-shamah- "50 was done and 50 was heard", and that, in turn, correlates to the enslavement in Egypt and acquiring the Nun Shaarei Binah again.
    Egypt is written in Hebrew Mitzrayim, which can be divided into Mem-Tzaddi-Raish (Meitzer), which means "boundary" and Yud-Mem, which has gematria of 50, which alludes to 50 Gates of Understanding, So, Mitzraym is a boundary standing in our way not letting us get to 50. Thus, mitzvah of remembering and also not going back to Mitzraym is not physical but spiritual and emotional one. It's about not letting one’s mind to have a block, which does not allow to grasp the 50 Gates of Understanding.

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    p5uwtCq -7 years ago

    זייער געוואלדיגע דרשה וואס האט ערקלערט עטליכע קשיות וואס איך האב געהאט. איך וויל וויסן אבער פארוואס עס פעהלט אויס פיזישע באווייזונגען אויף יציאת מצרים אינעם סיני מדבר. דריי מיליאן מענטשען זיכער האבען געדארפט איבערלאזן שפורן פון זייער וואנדערונגען איבער אזא לאנגע שטרעקע. א הארציג'ן דאנק אייך, רבי. ברוך תהיה!

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    • S

      Shaya -6 years ago


      The Ananei Hakavod would level any mountains or ditches blocking the Jews, the clowds would return everything to it's natural manner once the Jews passed. Likely it cleaned their mess. 

      In addition to that, shevet Dan would travel last (according to one opinion) and would collect anything that was left. They did not produce much garbage...

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  • SS

    Shoshanna Silcove -7 years ago

    Thanks Rabbi, I listened while Pesach cleaning and it transformed it from drudgery into an inspirational experience!

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The Emunah Series

Rabbi YY Jacobson

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