CHAPTER ONE – IN THE BEGINNING
Let’s begin at the basis; it would be foolish to look at a window of a bank and say that the bank, is a building for the purpose of letting light come in.
We must start before the bank was built, in its conception. Someone wanted to make money. A bank is a great idea, so he started loaning money on interest. Eventually he managed to get enough money to build a building that loaned money to many people so he can make more money. As this building has people in it, there are also windows in it.
Now let’s take a step back. Why did the man start lending money? The answer is, to make money! Why did he want money? Was he poor? If so, how did he get money to loan? Was he rich? If so, why did he want money?
The probable answer is that he was rich but wanted more money, because he enjoyed having money.
I am sure you can believe this story, because it is usually rich men who open banks or continue to expand their banks, even if they don’t need any more money.
Let’s discuss this idea of enjoyment. Why does someone do something they enjoy if they don’t need to do it? Obviously, this happens all the time.
Think of how many dreams you have that would be nice, but aren’t necessary.
Say you want to be famous. Is that necessary or is that pleasurable? Of course, no one needs to be famous to survive. Most people in the Western world can survive, so they seek things purely for enjoyment sake. Disneyland was built in America first, because Americans look for enjoyment because they are surviving in the vast majority of cases.
T.V. and movies also came from America for the same reason. You won’t find a Disneyland in India and if there is some entertainment center it is frequented by people who are not concerned that if they spend their money on a ticket, they won’t be able to eat for the next month. This is called “expendable income,” which is what is used for pleasure and not for the necessities of life.
Pleasure, Chassidus / Jewish Mysticism teaches, is a primary motive of people.
The Torah teaches that people were created in the image of G-d.
Chassidus explains, that this means, that similar to the sefiros of atzilut (levels in the highest spiritual realm) which G-d has united with, the souls of people are created in a similar format.
This is easily proven, but we will leave the proof for the moment, and focus on the worldview of the beginning of all time and space.
G-d had a pleasurable desire. Just like you cannot ask why people go to Disneyland or why a rich man wants money, you cannot ask the reason for G-d’s pleasurable desire.
Simply put, pleasure is the reason. There is no other reason but the desire for enjoyment which makes you go to Disneyland or expend lots of hard work on becoming rich or famous, or smart or nice, or beautiful or successful, or loved or cared for, or protected, and the list goes on and on.
The primary effort of a person is for enjoyment. Often we get stuck fighting for survival or just trying to get around a bill or illness G-d-forbid; Once we succeed in that, we go straight for pleasure – enjoyment. If you don’t believe me, find me a very rich man who doesn’t pursue his or her pleasures.
O.K. – So what’s G-d’s pleasure?
Why did G-d create this world?
The creation of the world necessitates a fundamental question that everyone asks and people have wondered about from the beginning of time.
When we look carefully at the world, especially as we can through modern technology, like with a microscope or electron-microscopes, we can see the amazing cells, which contain DNA and the atoms that are the building blocks of the cells.
This phenomena proves the amazing creation, which consists of an untold amount of atoms and of various forms of cells that can be receptacles for life on earth; the only place where life is possible due to an amazing and exact cycle of the sun and of weather patterns, with just the necessary amount of oxygen and water in the earth’s atmosphere for humans and all life to survive.
Obviously, whoever made this was a lot more than super-smart. “It” was capable of doing what no human (the most intelligent life form) can do, and that is to create a DNA and implant life into it!
Humans need to exert energy to accomplish. Just to split an atom took the smartest human minds, billions of dollars, and a colossal amount of time.
No human has ever even considered creating an atom from scratch. Simply put, even if all the humans in the world were Einsteins, and we had all the time in the world, we couldn’t create a single atom, then combine them into a DNA and implant within it, life.
“Something” really smart and really powerful created this world.
We explained before, that regardless whether anyone needs anything else, they still desire enjoyment.
G-d desires enjoyment, and in order to achieve this enjoyment, G-d created a world.
The world contains one specie that can think. This specie is called the human. If you were not human, you could not think about anything that you did not see, taste, smell, and realize and understand via your senses. If you were a dolphin or bat, you would have sonar senses. An ant, perceives with its antennas. Animals can only perceive using whatever senses they have.
As a human, you can realize, that everything has a cause. There is no such thing as a single rock or particle without a cause. What was the reason G-d caused the world to exist?
The answer is, that G-d desires that humans should have a chance to help G-d make a perfect world!
What does this mean? Isn’t the world perfect?
The answer is, no. I could bet that most people would agree.
What is imperfect about the world? Is it is nature? I don’t think so.
It seems that the only problem nature has is humans (who mainly take from nature). Nature seems perfect to me. So why is the world not perfect? The answer is violence. People steal, lie, cheat, are selfish, murder, kidnap, hurt, shame, and that is a very tiny list of things that people do.
So imagine our world, but with people who only do kindness! People who never steal, never lie, never cheat, are only selfless, never murder, never kidnap, never hurt or shame anyone else and do millions of other kind and generous things.
Wouldn’t you agree, that such a world would be an absolutely great place to live in! I think it would.
G-d gave people freedom of choice; they can choose to be mean or kind, harmful or helpful, cheat or be honest, derogatory or positive, selfish or selfless, and the list goes on and on.
The answer is, that in order to achieve, one must be able to fail. In order to truly be kind, you must be able to be mean. If someone forced you to be kind, you wouldn’t be acting kindly, rather selfishly. If you act selflessly, then you can be very kind and helpful.
According to Chassidus, when we do a mitzvah / commandment from the Bible / Torah which is divided into Mitzvos between us and G-d and us and other people [namely a good deed] we have a chance to perfect the world. By doing what is right and rejecting what is wrong, we make G-d feel comfortable in a world which is a good place.
G-d is essentially kind. We can see this via the amazing amount of kindnesses that is found primarily in giving people the freedom to choose a path.
By allowing people to err and act badly, G-d has given people the opportunity to be good and helpful.
By allowing people to do whatever they want, G-d allows people to do good even though they could do bad.
Most of the actions that people do, are neither good nor bad.
All life has a natural desire to live.
In order to live, we need to spend a great deal of our time and energy in obtaining food, shelter, clothing, paying the bills and much much more.
In order to live a meaningful life, we need to not only be focused on our own survival, but the survival and happiness of our family and friends.
When we do a mitzvah and spend time – which could be used selfishly – for a good cause, we are perfecting the world.
G-d desired to receive the enjoyment: that humans would choose, to do what is right, even when they could just as easily have done what is wrong.
Many people do not realize the tremendous accomplishment of doing mitzvahs. If they have been brought up doing mitzvahs they assume it is normal and therefore not very special.
Truthfully, if you have been brought up doing mitzvahs, it’s because there is someone who worked very hard on educating you that this is the proper thing to do, even if it becomes difficult.
The truth is, that one cannot say that “Because I keep the mitzvahs that I have kept when I was four years old, which were taught to me by my parents, I have done what I can to perfect myself and the world.”
By doing a mitzvah, a person perfects themselves and the world. If you don’t do a mitzvah, you have not perfected yourself and the world. By realizing the importance of Mitzvos you can understanding that all those funny ideas you heard like “Love a fellow man like yourself,” are actually Mitzvos (and the most important one too.)
When you were four, you possibly learned “Love your fellow man as yourself” by heart. When you are fourteen, it is time to try to turn it into a reality.
We can see, that there are many Mitzvos that we can work on even if we were frum [religious] from birth. Sometimes we might think that because we are frum from birth, we know and do all of the Mitzvos. The reality is that the Mitzvos that take self-control and control of your heart and mind will take years of practice to perfect, and constant vigilance to maintain.
You can now see, that Mitzvos can certainly challenge you, no matter how frum or smart or learned you are.
CHAPTER TWO – IN THE END
In the previous chapter, we started at the beginning; In this chapter, we will start at the end.
Moshiach [the Messianic Era] is simply, the world perfected. There is a very simple reason why Moshiach will come and that is because G-d, like you, wants a perfected world.
By examining G-d’s reason for creating the world, we can realize that the world could not start out with Moshiach, but rather with freedom of choice. In order to give a person freedom of choice, G-d took what you and I call a risk. Have you ever seen a successful businessman and thought, “I wish I was rich like him and running a big corporation?”
If you have, you’re very normal. Everyone wants to be rich and run a big company (at least most men do).
To get there, they had to take big risks. If there was a surefire way to make one million dollars everyone would do it. There isn’t. The closest you will get, without taking a risk, is playing the Lotto, but you are then sharing the risk of losing your hard earned dollar, with about three hundred million other players.
In order to make a million dollars, you need to be ready to risk losing a lot of money! Take Bill Gates, who is either the richest guy in the world, or the second richest in the world. He and Paul Allen started Microsoft in 1975 (when he was only 19) and bought DOS for fifty-thousand dollars a few years later. That was a lot of money for a young college student! He took a calculated risk of losing fifty-thousand dollars and having to mow lawns for a very long time after that! How many people believe in their dream enough to spend fifty-thousand dollars on it? The point is that in order to become rich you need to be ready to become poor. Many rich people become poor because of bad investments, but they keep on trying.
G-d gave people the chance to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. In order to do this, G-d allowed evil and crime to be committed.
Goodness isn’t goodness if there is no such thing as the opposite of goodness.
G-d’s ultimate desire is to give us the opportunity to make this world a perfect place. A place where true goodness feels welcome and at home.
The time of Moshiach is the realization of this goal, with G-d’s help. It would be great if Moshiach would come as a natural state of all people choosing to do only good.
The reality is that Moshiach will come despite the fact that there is bad in the world; possibly because G-d wants a perfect world very much.
Moshiach is the time of reward for all the Mitzvos that we do!
What will the reward be when Moshiach comes?
When Moshiach comes, we will not have to contend with our Yetzer Harah (an angel that constantly encourages us to do wrong, as is evidenced by the fact that when a human desires to do something good, another thought always enters the mind not to do it.) nor will there be any evil committed. For this reason, that perfect and beautiful world that we described in Chapter 1 will take place. It is almost impossible to imagine now, what a great exciting and fun world it will be when Moshiach finally comes!
Imagine never worrying that someone will shame you, never worrying that someone will hurt you; this is a very secure and comfortable world. Moshiach will bring peace to the world, which will mean that everyone will live securely without fear of harm or bombs or wars etc. It will be far greater and enjoyable, than you can possibly imagine!
CHAPTER THREE – IN THE MIDDLE
Right now we are before the coming of Moshiach. We are in the state of exile.
What are we doing in exile? What can we do? What should we do? And most importantly, why are we in exile?
To understand this, we need to understand why G-d gave us the Torah (the Bible.) (This is easily proven but we will discuss it later).
G-d gave us the Torah, so we can know what is good and what is wrong. Without the Torah, it is impossible to define right and wrong properly. Although there are many religions, the truth is, that half the world looks to the Torah for the very definition of right and wrong. Right and wrong is so difficult to define because every person will think right and wrong is what he or she feels should be right and wrong.
Each individual has many desires; each person will surely try to justify all of their desires! If they decide what is right and what is wrong, it will simply match their desires! For example, if someone believes a certain food should be eaten, it is often because they want to eat that food and vice versa (namely, if they believe certain foods shouldn’t be eaten, it is because they can’t stand or tolerate that food).
Eating, is one of the million of desires a human has and they will justify any of them. The human mind is excellent at justification. Think of the many times you did something you know is wrong, but you had an excellent excuse at the time!
The reason for this is; because we don’t like contradicting ourselves – if we believe something is wrong, we don’t like to be hypocritical and then do it. When we have a desire to do something that is wrong and we choose to do it, in order not to be hypocritical, we create a reason why it is okay to do it. Although we may feel guilty later – after our desire has passed – but by then, it is too late because we have already done it.
All of us need to have an objective standard of what is truly right and what is truly wrong. By living by this standard, even when we are not in the mood or don’t want to, we are objectively doing what is good. In fact, the more you don’t want to do something good, and you do it anyway, the greater is the action and goodness that you have done!
There are many stories told in which the lesson is that one cannot judge a Mitzvah; for depending on the circumstance, what may seem very small or not difficult, is actually very great and extremely difficult! Let’s say someone had great difficulty with Davening (praying); obviously when they Daven and concentrate, it is a tremendous accomplishment!
What is the benefit of doing Mitzvos? If I need to stop myself from doing things I enjoy, why do a Mitzvah? Also, what does G-d gain when I do a Mitzvah?
By doing a Mitzvah, you feel accomplished. You realize, that although you could have spent your time doing other things, you spent your time doing a Mitzvah.
This is not a small accomplishment. G-d created the world so he could enjoy when you stop your desires from overpowering you and you choose to do a Mitzvah instead. When you do a Mitzvah, you bring a tremendous joy to G-d!
Think about someone you couldn’t imagine being without? What would you do, to give that person joy? Without G-d, you wouldn’t exist; so to give G-d joy is no small accomplishment!
We discussed before, that in order to do a Mitzvah, you need to be able to do an Aveirah (sin), for if you can’t do an Aveirah, then a Mitzvah is not very difficult to achieve at all.
For this reason, it appears as if G-d doesn’t care if you do a Mitzvah or not. If someone was to die the moment they said Loshen Horah (gossiped about another) no one would say Loshen Horah and there would be no Mitzvah to not say Loshen Horah. What are the chances that anyone would eat non-Kosher food, if their teeth fell out if they just thought about it? Not very good.
Moshiach is a time of clarity! Exile is a time of concealment. It is as if there is a gigantic fog which cannot be seen through. By understanding that there are objects behind the clouds of the fog, one is careful not to bump into them. Exile is like a fog, because what you think should happen appears not to happen. A fog is when you think you should be seeing something but your vision is obstructed by something else.
There are many fogs in the natural world. You look at a drop of water and you can’t see if there are bacteria living there. You look at a table and you can’t tell that there are trillions of atoms there.
Fogs are not new; modern technology helps place fog lights on expensive cars. Having a set of Exile-Fog-Lights is an excellent idea.
The idea of fog-lights is, that they shine low, beneath the clouds, and therefore they eliminate the reflection that is seen when shining light into a cloud that reflects light.
By focusing on G-d, a person can eliminate the fog of Exile. This is not easy, for it may seem that G-d does not reward. That is why we must realize, that just because there is a fog doesn’t mean there isn’t something behind it. This is what is so special about humans, that they can see into what seems a reality based on their eyes and other receptors of information, and decide if it is a reality or not.
By realizing that G-d creates the fog, in order for us to peer behind it, we are able to see beyond it!
If there is a reward, there is a punishment. The punishment is not receiving the reward. By not receiving a reward, a person feels as if they could have worked harder and gotten it. This causes them pain.
One of the saddest things that people experience, is the loss of an opportunity.
Have you ever looked back at a time in your life when you could have done something, but you didn’t, and you say, “I should have done it!”?
(Often fear prevented you, but that is not for this book). The reality is that we have a limited time to live. For this reason, one of the greatest regrets a person experiences, is that time that could have been used for good and beneficial purposes was wasted. This feeling is the biggest punishment a person can have. When a person sees the rewards being given out to those that achieve, they feel much worse, than when they need to just think about it on their own.
Growing up under the influence of a western culture, I inevitably believed that there should never be a concept of punishment or discipline. I found it hard to accept the general concept of punishment from G-d. I think, that although there is reward and punishment, the reason that G-d gives it to us is different to how we imagine it.
Imagine a parent who loves their child and says to him or her, “If you get three A’s on the next report card, I will buy you that model car you want.” The child of-course tries hard to get the three A’s. If s/he succeeds, the parent very happily buys the child the toy. What makes the joy of the parent so great is that the child feels far greater joy for having earned the prize. When a person just gets something, they may or may not appreciate it (that is why children often don’t appreciate parents.) When a person earns something, they almost always appreciate it very much! For this reason, G-d gave us the opportunity to receive reward and punishment.
The idea that we earned the reward outweighs the punishment of not receiving it, which is a very big punishment as explained before.
Happiness comes from a very different place then from where many people believe it comes from. People have needs that they imagine that if and when they are fulfilled, then they will be happy. The reality is that most needs come from internal causes like hunger, or causes like wanting to be famous which usually comes from jealousy.
In order to be happy, a person needs to control their jealousy. It’s impossible to be happy and to be jealous. For no matter what you get, there is always more to dream of. Certainly not everything is mass produced, and there are individual items of certain things; so a person who is jealous will find something else to be jealous about after they have achieved their desires.
The Torah teaches us, to not be jealous; in order to do this, a person must be able to control their thoughts. If a person cannot control what they think about, they can’t stop being jealous and therefore they continuously think about what they desire. Not many people have great control over their thoughts, which come from their desires. Unfortunately usually their desires control them and they find it impossible to control their desires.
It is impossible to be happy like this. For this reason, the Alteh Rebbe (a great Rabbi) teaches us all about ourselves in the Tanya (the foremost modern book of Jewish Mysticism) so we may be able to gain control over ourselves and then gain control over our desires.
If a person can gain control over their desires, they can become happy; or they can then set realistic goals for themselves that can be achieved.
In order to achieve a person has to have the ability to fail.
What is the greatest act of achievement that brings the most joy to a person? Mitzvos. Although you may think that I am just writing this, this is the objective truth.
Mitzvos are divided into two parts: Those between us and G-d and between us and other people.
When a person lives only for themselves, they will never find happiness. There will always be something else that they want or believe that they should have. When a person does a Mitzvah, they leave themselves for a minute or two, and accomplish something amazing.
By giving Tzedokah (charity) we actually become an unselfish person.
This is a tremendous accomplishment, because a person is naturally selfish, so by breaking away from his or her nature or natural inclination to be selfish, and instead a person does good, the person can say to themselves, that they are truly good. This idea, that we are good in our own eyes, is very important to us. It motivates us continuously, because we don’t wish to be bad people in our own eyes.
It is very easy to make excuses why bad behavior is okay. But it is even easier to understand that good behavior is good.
I think sometimes people who are brought up with Mitzvos don’t realize how excellent their behavior is, if they follow all the Mitzvos. They imagine, this is how people live.
In truth, 99.9% of the world live only for themselves. For example, no nation gives Tzedokah like the Jewish people. This is because Jewish people don’t live only for themselves; they live for Mitzvos as well. This makes them an Am-Kodesh (a holy people.)
What does it mean to be an Am Kodesh? Kodesh means special, unique. By not living a selfish life, a Jew is unique and special!
By using the Torah as our guide, we become very special and live in a unique way of goodness.
This way is not easy. If it would be easy, it wouldn’t be an accomplishment.
Accomplishments that feel easy are not very great accomplishments. How many people feel great after drinking a soda? Not many (at least looking at it from an accomplishment standpoint.) How many people feel great if they earned the soda by getting an excellent mark in an exam or test? Far more!
In the nature of feeling good or doing good, the harder it was to achieve the good, the greater the feeling of achievement.
For this reason, G-d gave us a Yetzer Horah [a little devil that tries to convince us to do other things besides Mitzvahs.] In order to accomplish a Mitzvah we need to fight with our Yetzer Horah who has many other ‘good’ ideas for us the moment we try to do a Mitzvah. The Yetzer Horah is an expert at using our brain to find excuses why it is okay not to do Mitzvos, or Chas-VeSholem (Heaven forefend) do an Aveira.
By doing the Mitzvah anyway, or by not doing an Aveira, we become an Am-Kodesh, a special people, who do good, even though it is very difficult for us, because we need to fight off our Yetzer Horah.
Any person who fights their Yetzer Horah and gains control of themselves, can become happy, for they are the greatest and most difficult achievements anyone can ever dream of doing!
Well, what if I don’t want to?
The answer is that you do!
“But I don’t!”
“Okay, let me explain.”
Who would you rather be? A rich and famous person that thinks that he or she is worse than an ant with an absolutely terrible image of themselves (and this is very easy and happens to rich and famous people too) or would you rather be an average person who feels good about themselves, and have a great self-image. The answer is the latter (the second one). Even if you think you prefer the former (the first one) in truth you don’t.
The only reason you desire to be rich and famous is because you think that that will make you happy. But if you are ashamed of yourself, it makes no difference how much money or how famous you are, you will be absolutely and totally miserable. On the other hand, even if you are dirt-poor and had no fame, but you were proud of yourself for the many great accomplishments that you achieved, you would be a very proud and happy person.
(It would be great to be both, but I am just making a point).
Mitzvos are just that. If you are rich or poor, famous or not, average or eccentric – if you keep Mitzvos, you will be proud of yourself!
This means, by fighting your Yetzer Horah and doing good instead of bad, or doing good when you don’t have to, you will feel that you are good, and for this reason you will feel good. Very Good!
[Note: I wrote this before the explosion of desire for Spirituality today.] We live in a time where the primary occupation of thinkers is in the scientific field. There was a time, when the good minds of the gentiles would go to the Church to study about their religion. Now a good mind and someone who likes to think and discover, goes to university and becomes a scientist or professor.
There is one principle in science and that is that it needs to be proven.
No one can say a theory and expect it to be accepted if it can’t be proven. Although much of science is theory about how and why things work in certain ways, any real scientist would agree that if a theory is disproved, it isn’t science anymore, it is an emotional belief.
Is Torah’s worldview an emotional belief, or can it be proven?
The first requirement for someone who wants proof of a theory is they cannot have a reason why they don’t want to hear the proof. This is because, it is very easy for the mind to just say, “Because I believe differently, it isn’t true.”
Many scientists don’t believe new discoveries, because they are used to believing differently, and they don’t want to change their viewpoint.
Let’s begin at the beginning:
- We discussed that the world was created. I am sure you have heard of theories like the big-bang.
Without getting into the general theory of the big bang, even if it would be true, there still would have to be a G-d.
Everything in this universe is made up of matter. Matter is atoms.
An atom looks like this.
Each and every atom is a miracle, regardless of how one may think the world was created – all matter which consists of atoms testify to the eternal miracle of creation.
The big bang theory states, that all matter was condensed and then “miraculously” became the perfect universe that we know. Whoever could create the single atom, could just have easily have created a complete universe in six days. Furthermore, we know that all life consists of cells which contain a highly complex DNA code and it would be impossible for atoms to randomly create any of the many millions of different DNA codes. This would be like shaking millions of scrabble games and as an end result have an encyclopedia.
The reason some scientists prefer the big bang theory is because if we believe that the world is “an accident” then we have no responsibility of being good. Only if we believe that the world was created by G-d in order for man to do good, do we then need to do good. It is easier for people to ignore G-d and thus their responsibilities, but certainly not very scientific.
- Let’s talk about evolution. It is impossible for a DNA to be created by itself, as mentioned before.
A picture of DNA code.
This does not mean that the main point of evolution “the survival of the fittest” is untrue. We find that when millions of tents were sprayed with chemicals to kill mosquitoes in Africa, eventually the mosquitoes developed a resistance to the chemicals. This is because certain mosquitoes were not affected by the chemicals and their offspring became the dominant specie of mosquito.
The same thing happens with bacteria that can tolerate antibiotic medicines and eventually new antibiotic medicines are needed for the offspring of the resistant bacteria.
This does not mean that bacteria could create itself. Bacteria are highly complex cells with the ability to replicate themselves; to ingest, to expel, and many other complicated and sophisticated functions. Nothing that can do that; can create itself.
The complexity in a ‘simple’ bacteria.
Obviously the world was created. For a single fish to survive, the sun needs to be exactly where it is, there needs to be zooplankton (tiny microscopic ‘fish’ in the ocean) and there needs to be an ocean wherein they live.
Each one of these is a miracle. For a bird to survive, there needs to be air in which it can fly, and trees where it can build its nest, and worms in the ground which it can eat. For a person to survive, there needs to be both birds and fish for them to eat. This proves the Torah’s view of creation, for the Torah teaches how G-d created first the fish, birds and animals and only after, the human. Only in this order would man be able to survive.
Additionally, for any living organism to survive, there must be millions of different factors, such as the perfect temperature, the place where it will live, the food it will eat, the oxygen it will breathe, and only a single Creator could put all these things into place at exactly the perfect time for life to begin. If these things happen randomly, it would be impossible for them to happen simultaneously, and therefore no life could ever exist.
- Dinosaurs. Where did they come from? Before the mabul (Noah’s flood) there were dinosaurs. After the mabul, there weren’t. It is that simple.
As to the carbon dating process which claims many millions of years based on the release of carbon from atoms; I personally asked a scientist giving a lecture on the subject and he explained to me that it can by no means be accurate. Secondly, a far better question is the light of stars that reach earth traveling billions of light years to get here. Does this mean the world is billions of years old?
G-d created a finished world. In this world, the light already came here to be observed by the human eye. The carbon dating process is similar to the stars. A mature atom was created.
- The date of the universe.
There are many dates for the age of the universe by scientists.
The amazing thing is, that if they agree that there is a time for the universe, then they must agree it was created, for no beginning happened without a cause.
Every field that dates the age of the universe conflicts with the other. Geologists will base their data on carbon dating, while astronomers will base it on light, but these two and the many other different ways of assuming the “birth” of the universe, do not correlate.
The truth is, that all scientists believe that “civilization” started about five thousand years ago. This can be seen from tools which were used, but more importantly from the cultures people lived in which we call civilization.
If you believe that DNA was created, than people were created and if people were created, then they would immediately form civilization.
The reason is simple. It takes a lot of effort to live. By joining forces, people can live with less effort.
Remember, this was before cities were invented that had running water, grocery stores, and shopping malls.
The amount of work that went into surviving was tremendous, and for this reason people lived in groups and would have done so immediately.
This proves the Torah’s view of the creation of the world and the subsequent formation of civilization.
- The mabul (Noah’s flood).
There is an account of the story of the mabul in Babylonian history. We see from this that the mabul had such an impact that the story was told by the Babylonians and written down, which required a lot of effort in those days.
Furthermore, the American Indians also told their children the story of the mabul. This proves that the mabul did indeed happen and obviously the Torah recorded an actual event that happened in history, and was thus recorded elsewhere in history as well.
Avraham / Abraham was the first Jew. One of the ways we know Avraham existed was from “Alexander The Great”.
What’s the connection? Have you ever met a religious Jew named Alexander? I have. I am sure you know the reason and the story behind it.
When Alexander The Great wanted to conquer Eretz Israel, the Cohen Gadol went out to greet him. Alexander was most impressed with the Cohen Gadol and did not destroy Jerusalem, but he did request to put a statue of himself in the Bais Hamikdash / The Holy Temple. The Cohen Gadol suggested that instead, every boy born to a Cohen for a year would be named Alexander. This is why we find Jewish people with the name Alexander, but not Julius or Pontius. Within Jewish names you see a history (just like certain people are Cohanim and it has been “proven” by modern DNA testing that they all come from a similar ancestor.) So too, Jewish names in modern times reveal that our history goes back to the time of the Avos / Forefathers (Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov) and Shvotim / Tribes (Rueven, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yissacher, Zevulun, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Yosef and Binyamin.) This proves that we go very far back, and that we are a link in an unbroken chain.
- MATAN TORAH (The giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.)
This is a very important belief.
Even if one believes the world was created, but if they don’t believe in Matan Torah, they have no compelling reason to do Mitzvos.
Let’s begin with why G-d gave the Torah in the first place.
If G-d wanted us to accomplish, then if we wouldn’t have the Torah and we would do good, it would probably be an even greater accomplishment!
The truth is, that if we didn’t have the Torah, we wouldn’t know what good is. Whatever we would want, would become “good” and whatever we didn’t want to do, would become bad. If Chas Vesholem / G-d Forbid, we would want to steal, it would become okay in our mind (just ask any thief).
The Mitzvos give us an objective standard, by which we easily recognize deeds as right or wrong.
By knowing what the Mitzvos are, we can then choose to fight our Yetzer Hora or not.
Without the Torah, we would have no idea what is right and what is wrong.
If you don’t believe me, think about the world before the times of Christianity and Islam which brought some of the ideas of the Torah to people.
It was right then to kill people for sacrifices and if someone didn’t belong to your group, it was okay to kill them as well.
The Torah teaches, it is not right to kill, unless someone kills someone else, and two witnesses watched it and reported it to a court of at least 23 judges who found him guilty, and then it is important to kill the murderer before he kills someone else.
Without having an objective standard of behavior, people easily become worse than animals. Animals kill only if they are hungry. People kill sometimes for a pair of shoes rachamana litzlan / Heaven Forefend. The Torah teaches what is right and what is wrong.
We can easily realize that the Mitzvos of the Torah are fair and make perfect sense. G-d created people with the idea that things should be fair. If nothing was fair, then if something terrible happens, it isn’t terrible, because nothing is fair.
People believe in and desire that life should be fair. In order for a person to live normally, they need to create a perspective of how the world works. We do this with physical reality. We learn that a car travels at speed X and we walk at Y speed, so if we cross the street now, we will get there just before the car. Have you ever seen how a bird flies just above the car’s windscreen and with perfect timing misses being hit? No one taught you those mathematical calculations nor did the bird go to school. We were given the brain that can perceive motion, distance, and timing, and calculate it accurately.
We also have an ability to understand other people’s emotions. Without realizing it, a person senses tremendous amounts of information. Studies prove, that when a person speaks, we pay attention to the body language and the tone of voice far more, in fact ninety percent more, than we pay attention to what the person is actually saying. This is true even though you and I have probably never studied the intricacies of body language. We are amazing at perceiving anger, hostility, admiration and a whole host of emotions.
We would all like the world to follow a set of fair rules by which we could all know when our behavior is rewarded or punished accordingly.
We can achieve this, if everyone would follow the same set of rules. Many people see themselves as less than or smaller than other people, for they see themselves as a child and other people as an adult. This leads to a situation where a person expects to receive instead of give. In this way, there becomes an imbalance, for some people become givers and other takers, while in a perfect world, all people should help one another.
The real way to “Win friends and influence people” comes from a Mitzvah in the Torah called Ahavas Yisroel. The Torah says “Love your friend as yourself”. If a person expresses love for another person, usually they will express love back. This is in accordance with the dictum that emotions reflect each other similar to the reflection of a face peering into water / mirror. If you treat other people fairly, then they will treat you with respect and thus fairly. Of course there are exceptions, of bitter, bad, or spoiled people, but ninety-nine percent of the time, this is the case.
The Torah teaches us, how to be fair towards one another and thus create a fair world. We need to be part of this wonderful destiny.
The Torah applies now, just as much as it applied three thousand years ago. People haven’t changed one bit. Although we can drive to work instead of walk, and fly to a wedding, instead of taking a wagon ride, the desires of people and their needs haven’t changed at all. People have an immense desire to be known as a “good guy” or “a guteh”. We want other people to think positively about us.
By keeping Mitzvos, we achieve this; because we act positively, so people think of us positively! But by Chas-Vesholem doing Aveirous we create a bad name for ourselves, because we act badly.
This is why people respect good guys. Because they realize that a good guy could just as easily (and actually even more easily) become a bad guy, so he or she definitely deserves respect. I am sure that you can think of a “good guy or good gal,” “a guteh” who you and others respect for this reason.
A person needs an objective standard of what is right and what is wrong. As the Torah says: “Bribery blinds even clever people.” How many dreams did you have of ways to get what you want, but they were just dreams? They had no realistic chance, if you ever thought about them clearly. Why do we dream? The reason we do this, is because there is something we desire and instead of putting in all the effort and hard work, we prefer to imagine the success, which gives us great joy.
(Perhaps this is why the Rebbe teaches, that we should consult with a Jewish Spiritual Mentor for spiritual advice, and with a business-friend for business advice, and with a doctor-friend for medical advice, because by asking an unbiased opinion, you get an unbiased answer.)
No one says it is easy, for the Yetzer Horah always challenges us; but we can be sure that by following the Torah we will always be remembered by others as a “good guy.”
This is one of hundreds of thousands of benefits and reasons why G-d in his kindness, made and gave us the Torah to cherish.