The Infinite Lights - Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
The Infinite Light

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In order to speak about Judaism, we must speak about man and about life in general. Judaism is, first of all, a way of life, and its depth touches upon the very foundations of human existence. If you truly understand Judaism, you know the ultimate secret of life's purpose.

One of the most important elements of life is purpose. There is an old song that asks, "Why was I born, why am I living? What do I get, what am I giving?" These are questions that man has been asking himself every since he first began using his mind.

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself such questions?

Why was I born?
What meaning does my life have?
Why am I myself?
How should I live this one life of mine?
What do I have to offer life?

When we are young, such questions often bother us. Among the problems of growing up, we try to find a philosophy of life to follow. But then, caught in the business world, the market place, and the toil of raising a family, we often forget these questions. And sometimes we are rudely awakened. When tragedy strikes, the questions are thrown at us like buckets of ice water. When we grow old ---and we all do grow old ---we may gaze back at a lifetime and wonder, "What did I live for?"

We have but one life and must make the most of it. We all want to do what is "right." We want somehow to justify our lives. Rare indeed is the person who can say, "This is wrong, but I will do it anyway."

We all have a feeling that some things are right and others are wrong. We have a feeling that there is meaning to life. But many of us go no further. Even when we ask the questions, we do not go very far in seeking answers.

A very wise man once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living. "

People can spend their lives seeking pleasure, fame and riches, and never once stop to ask themselves if these things are really important. But unless one gives this serious thought, he will never know whether or not he is doing the right thing. He may spend his entire life pursuing useless and even dangerous goals.

The most fundamental principal of Judaism is the realization that the universe is purposeful, and that man has a purpose in life. 1

Our sages thus teach us, "A person must have the wisdom . . . to know why he is and why he exists. He must look back at his life, and realize where he is going." 2

Both man and nature have purpose because they were created by a purposeful Being. We call this Being God.

It is impossible to imagine the world as having purpose without a Creator. Without God, the universe would be purposeless and human existence pointless. All life would be completely without meaning or hope.

For the sake of argument, let us look at the negative viewpoint more closely. Let us look at the world through the eyes of a man without belief and see it as the absolute atheist would. Since his world has no purposeful Creator, there is no purpose in existence. Mankind becomes nothing more than an accident, with no more consequence than a bacterium or a stone. Man can even be looked upon as a vile infection and a disease on the surface of this planet.

If there is no purpose to existence, all our hopes, desires and aspirations are nothing more than the mechanizations of the molecules and cells of our brain. We would have no alternative than to agree with a noted cynic who declared, "Man is a sick fly, taking a dizzy ride on a gigantic flywheel. "

In a world without purpose, there can be neither good nor evil, since both of these concepts imply purpose. Without a belief in some ultimate purpose, all values become completely subjective, subject to the whim of the individual. Morality becomes a matter of convenience, to be discarded when it does not serve one's immediate goal. One's philosophy of life can simply be, "If you can get away with it, do it."

If existence has neither purpose, meaning nor depth, our attitude toward the world, toward our fellow man, and toward society in general need be little more than "so what."

If there is no God, there is no purpose. And if there is no purpose, all man's endeavors are in vain. The Psalmist alludes to this, when he says, "If God does not build the house, in vain do the builders toil; If God does not watch the city, in vain do the sentries wake" (Psalms 127:1).

But we can also look at the other side of the question and gaze at the world through the eyes of true faith. If we believe in God as Creator of the universe, then creation has a mighty purpose and life has an infinitude of depth. If man is to find meaning in life, he must seek God's purpose in creation and spend his days trying to fulfill it. The existence of man, a creature who can search for purpose in life, is no longer a mere accident, but the most significant phenomenon in all creation. The concepts of good and evil take on awesome proportions. That which is in accordance with God's purpose is good, while that which goes against it is evil. We are nothing less than partners with God in fulfilling His purpose.

Deep down, no one really feels that everything is meaningless. But many of us lose sight of the true Root of all meaning, often hiding behind a facade of cliches and excuses. Deep down, however, all of us know that there is purpose in life, and ultimately, in all creation.

The old fashioned materialist who was convinced that human life was without goal or purpose and that man is an irresponsible particle of matter engulfed in a maelstrom of meaningless forces, was a man without wisdom. A great philosopher once summed up the folly of this way of thinking by saying, "People who spend their lives with the purpose of proving that it is purposeless, constitute an interesting subject of study."

The Bible flatly says that the nonbeliever is a fool. The Psalmist thus said, "The fool says in his heart, there is no God" (Psalms 14:1).

What the Bible is saying is that one who does not believe is both stupid and blind. He does not see what there is to see. Not only is he blind, but he is also likely to act blindly. He does not recognize any purpose in existence, and is therefore likely to act without direction. He does not recognize Truth, and is apt to do everything wrong. He is so unperceptive that he cannot be trusted. He says that there is no God because he is a fool. He is too blind to see God all around him; or else he is too selfish to share his own world with its Creator.

In the entire Bible, you will not find a single philosophical argument for the existence of God. It is simply assumed. The Bible does not waste time trying to convince the atheist that he is wrong. He is considered a fool, too dull to understand, or too wicked to want to.

Belief, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For over three thousand years, the existence of God was self-evident to the Jew. He needed no proof or demonstration.

The very existence of a universe implied a creator. The Psalmist thus said, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim His handiwork" (Psalms 19:2). Their very existence is a hymn, declaring the glory of their Creator.

The Prophet speaks of this most lucidly when he says (Isaiah 40:21, 26):

Do you not know?
     Have you not heard?
Was it not told to you from the beginning?
     Do you not understand how the earth was
. . .
Lift up your eyes to the stars
     And see Who has created them
He numbers them all like an army,
     He calls them all by name . . .


There is a legend that throws much light on this subject: 6

A philosopher once came to Rabbi Meir and told him, "I don't believe in God. I feel that the universe came into being by itself, of its own accord, without any outside help."

Rabbi Meir did not reply. A few days later, he came to the philosopher, and showed him a beautiful piece of poetry, written in a find hand on smooth white parchment.

The philosopher looked at the parchment and admired it. He asked, "Who is the great poet who wrote this lovely poem? Who was the talented scribe who copied it?"

Rabbi Meir shook his head and answered, "You are completely wrong. There was no poet. There was no scribe. This is what really happened. The parchment was lying on my desk next to a bottle of ink. A cat accidentally knocked over the bottle, spilling ink all over the parchment. This poem was the result."

The philosopher looked at Rabbi Meir in amazement. He said, "But that is impossible! Such a lovely poem! Such perfect script! Such things do not come into being by themselves. There must be an author! There must be a scribe!"

Rabbi Meir smiled. He answered the philosopher, "You yourself have said it! How could the universe, which is much more beautiful than any poem, come into being by itself? There must be an Author. There must be a Creator."

What Rabbi Meir was dramatizing, of course, was the argument from design. We see a world that appears to be well planned and purposeful. Everything in nature fits into its place. Tremendously complex creatures, such as man himself, exist in this world. How can a sane man really believe that all of this came into being without a purposeful Creator?

There is a Midrash telling us that this is how Abraham first realized the existence of God. Abraham said, "Is it possible that a brightly illuminated castle can exist without an owner? Can one say that this world exists without a Creator?"

Ultimately, there is a certain blindness involved in not seeing God. This is what the Prophet meant when he said (Isaiah 29:16):

How upside down are things!
      Is the potter no better than the clay?
Can something say of its maker,
     "He did not make me"?
Can a pot say of the potter,
     "He has no skill"?

All that we must do is ask the right questions. The Zohar 8 quotes the verse, "Lift up your eyes to the stars, and see, Who has created these?" (Isaiah 40.26). The world that we see is these, Eleh in Hebrew. Look at these, and ask Who--- Mi in Hebrew. Combine the two words, Eleh and Mi-- these and Who-- and you obtain Elohim-- the Hebrew name for God. One must merely ask the right questions, and God appears in the answers.

A person need only look at himself, and he will see the handiwork of the Creator. The fact that you can think, or move your hand, is the greatest miracle possible. The Psalmist recognized this when he exclaimed, "I will thank God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139:14).

All of this is summed up in one sentence in the Bible: "From my flesh, I will see God" (Job 19:26). 9 I can see God in the very fact that something as miraculous as my flesh can exist.


It is told that King Frederic the Great once asked his Lutheran pastor to provide him with a visible proof of God's existence. The pastor answered with just two words: The Jews.

For the Jew, the question of God's existence is no mere philosophical exercise. It is linked to our very history. We have seen the rise of the Babylonians, the Persians, the Phoenicians, the Hittites, the Philistines, the Greeks and the Romans, all the great nations of the pagan era, and we have also witnessed their fall. All these great civilizations were born, reached maturity, and died. This is the pattern of history. All the great civilizations of antiquity have passed on. There is but one exception, and we are still reading and writing books.

We have a long history of miraculous survival and continuous growth. Our people have lived through four thousand years of persecution, enslavement, slaughter, exile, torture, inquisition, pogrom and death camp. We were enslaved by the Egyptians, slaughtered by the Philistines, exiled by the Babylonians, dispersed by the Romans, and butchered and chased from land to land in Europe. But miracle of miracles, we are still here today.

There is absolutely no theory of history that can explain this in a natural manner. Social scientists may find many unusual records of survival among various peoples of the world, but nothing even comes remotely close to the story of the Jew.

The Midrash 10 tells us that the Roman emperor Hadrian once remarked to Rabbi Joshua, "Great indeed must be the lamb, Israel, that it can survive among seventy wolves." Rabbi Joshua replied, "Great is the Shepherd, Who rescues her and protects her."

We are all familiar with the song in the Passover Hagaddah, where this theme is repeated: 11

This is what has stood up
     for our fathers and for us:
Not one alone
     has stood up to finish us,
But in every generation
     they rise to finish us;
But God, blessed be He,
     saves us from their hand!

This great miracle of Jewish survival cannot be without meaning. It is something that is unique in the annals of history. If you want to see a real miracle, just look into a mirror. One of the greatest possible miracles is the fact that after four thousand years, there is still such a thing as a Jew.

God told us through His prophet, "You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and I am God" (Isaiah 43:12). The Midrash states that God is known as such in the world because we bear witness to Him.
12 In a sense, our very existence and survival bear witness to God.


It is our history that defines our relationship with God and makes Judaism unique among world religions.

Once we see God as Creator, it is obvious that His creation has purpose. It should also be obvious that He would eventually reveal this purpose to man. We believe that this took place at Mount Sinai.

To understand our reason for this belief, we must see how Judaism differs from all other religions.

Other religions begin with a single individual. He claims to have a special message, and gradually gathers a following. His followers spread the word and gather converts, and a new religion is born. Virtually every world religion follows this pattern.

The one exception is Judaism.

God gathered an entire people, three million strong,
13 to the foot of Mount Sinai, and proclaimed His message. Every man, woman and child heard God's voice, proclaiming the Ten Commandments. Thus was a bond forged between God and Israel. 14

This was an event unique in the history of mankind. It remained imprinted deeply in the Jewish soul throughout all of our history. It was something that was not to be forgotten.

The Torah thus tells us, "Be most careful, and watch yourself, that you not forget the things that you saw with, your own eyes. Do not let them pass from your minds as long as you live. Teach them to your children, and to your children's children: The day when you stood before God . . . . .  (Deuteronomy 4:9-10). This is stated in the most emphatic terms, and there are some who count it among the commandments of the Torah. 15

The revelation at Sinai came just seven weeks after another unique event in Jewish history. This was the Exodus from Egypt. God revealed Himself to an entire people and literally changed the course of both nature and history. Here too was an event unique in the history of mankind. 16

The Torah itself speaks of this when it says "Did God ever venture to take a nation to Himself from another nation, with a challenge, with signs and wonders, as the Lord your God did in Egypt, before your very eyes. You have had sure proof that the Lord is God, there is no other" (Deuteronomy 4:34).

There may be other religions in the world, but none had the powerful beginning of Judaism. It is the Exodus that makes us unique.

The Exodus not only made us uniquely aware of God, but it also showed Him to be profoundly involved in the affairs of man.

The Torah warns us never to forget the Exodus. We thus find, "Beware, that you not forget God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery" (Deuteronomy 6:12). There are some who count this among the commandments of the Torah. 17

The impact of the Exodus remained imprinted on the Jewish mind throughout our history. We saw every persecutor as Pharaoh, with God standing on the sidelines, ready to repeat the miracle of the Exodus. This, in part, accounts for the miracle of our survival.


In giving the Ten Commandments, God opened with the words "I am the Lord your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery" (Exodus 20:2) 18

There are some commentators who ask why God mentioned the Exodus, rather than the more universal fact that He is Creator of the universe. 19 In other words, why did He not say, "I am the Lord your God, Creator of heaven and earth"?

They answer that this is because the latter statement would allow us to make a serious mistake. We could erroneously think of God as Creator, and yet believe that He has no interest in the affairs of man. 20

In the opening words of the Ten Commandments, God was telling us that He is involved in the affairs of man, and has a profound interest in everything we do. God gave the Exodus as an example, for it was here that the entire Jewish people experienced Him. To them, God was no mere philosophical abstraction. They actually saw His deeds, and were aware of Him to such an extent that they were able to point and say, "This is my God." 21

One who does not accept the fact that God is involved and interested in our affairs and actions cannot be said to believe. He may claim to believe in God, but it is not the God of Israel. As such, he is considered a nonbeliever. 22

We believe in God, both as the God of creation and as the God of history. Judaism totally rejects the deistic concept of a God who created the world and then abandoned it with neither ruler, guide nor judge. Our sages teach us that one who says "there is neither Judge nor judgment" is considered a nonbeliever. 23 It is of such people that the Prophet was speaking when he exclaimed "They say: God does not see, God has forsaken the earth" (Ezekiel 8:12).

The entire history of Judaism bears witness to God's active involvement in the affairs of man. Indeed, this is born out by the history of mankind in general. The experience of men and nations clearly indicates that only good is stable. Evil, on the other hand, always tends to destroy itself. 24 This is what the Bible means when it says, "There are many thoughts in man's heart, but the counsel of God is what stands" (Proverbs 19:21).

The first Commandment, "I am the Lord your God," is interpreted by most authorities as an actual commandment to believe in God. 25 As such, it is the first and foremost commandment. Any moment that a person so much as thinks that he believes in God's existence, he is fulfilling this commandment. 26

There are other authorities, however, who go a step further. They write that belief in God is much too basic a part of Judaism to be a mere commandment. 27 Rather, they see this as an introduction to the commandments, and a statement that forms the very basis of Judaism.

The second of the Ten Commandments tells us, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). Essentially, this is a commandment not to believe in any deity other than the One True God, Creator of all things. 28

Like the first Commandment, this can be fulfilled by mere thought. Thus, a person can fulfill this commandment at any time merely by thinking that he does not believe in any other God. 29 Conversely, one who even thinks and believes any idolatrous idea is guilty of violating this commandment and may be punished accordingly. The Prophet thus said, "These men have set up idols in their hearts" (Ezekiel 14:3). 30

The commandment states, "You shall not have any other gods before Me." When God said "before Me," He was stressing that one may not believe in any other deity, even if he also believes in God. 31 One who sets up any mediator between God and man is similarly guilty of violating this commandment. 32

Let us look into this a bit more closely. If a person believes in G-d, then what need does he have for any other deity? The answer that some non-Jewish thinkers give is that God is so high that He is unapproachable without a mediator. The second commandment teaches us that this, too, is idolatry.

God is infinite. To say that He needs a mediator to hear our prayers is to deny His infinite wisdom.

It is therefore a foundation of our faith to believe that all prayer must be addressed directly to God. 31

One who calls any other being a god is guilty of idolatry. 34

Our sages thus teach us, "One who takes God's name in partnership with something else is torn out of this world. It is thus written, 'only to God alone' (Exodus 22:19)." 35

The prohibition against idolatry applies both to Jew and non-Jew alike. 36 Some authorities, however, say that this is only true where an actual act of idolatry is involved. 37 The prohibition against believing in a "partner" or mediator, in this opinion, applies only to the Jew. These codifiers maintain that as long as a non-Jew believes in God, he may also accept another being as a deity or mediator. 38 They cite as evidence for this the passage, "That you not . . . be drawn away, and worship these things, which the Lord your God has allotted to all other peoples . . ." (Deuteronomy 4:19). 39  According to this interpretation, the Torah is saying that belief in other deities is permissible to non-Jews as long as they also believe in God. This opinion would hold that Christianity is a permissible religion for non-Jews, and may indeed be a partial fulfillment of God's ultimate purpose. 40  For a Jew, of course, belief in Christianity is not only forbidden, but is in direct conflict with the second of the Ten Commandments. Furthermore, many authorities extend the prohibition against idolatry to forbid even a non-Jew to believe in a mediator between God and man. 41

God Himself proclaimed the first two of the Ten Commandments to the entire Jewish nation. The first two therefore are given in the first person: "I am the Lord" and "You shall have no other gods before Me." In these two cases, God Himself is speaking. The following commandments, on the other hand, speak of God in the third person. Thus, the third Commandment says, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" (Exodus 20:7). Here God is not saying "do not take My name in vain." Rather someone else is speaking of God. Our traditions thus teach us that only the first two of the Ten Commandments were given to the Jewish people directly by God Himself. 42  All the others, however, were transmitted through Moses. Our sages interpret the following passage as speaking of the first two commandments: "God has spoken once, two [commandments] which I heard" (Psalm 62:12). 43

These first two Commandments constitute the very essence of Judaism. If a person denies the existence of God or accepts any other being as a deity, he is denying this essence. Our sages call him a Kofer BeIkkar, literally, one who "denies the essence." 44 They further teach us that no man is more rejected by God than the one who rejects Him. 45

The first five of the Ten Commandments all involve
essentials of Judaism. The commandment not to take God's name in vain relates to God's involvement with the world. If one truly believes that God is interested in man's deeds, he cannot openly show Him disrespect. One who grossly disrespects God's name is really demonstrating his lack of belief. 46

The fourth Commandment, regarding the Sabbath, is also related to our basic beliefs. Keeping the Sabbath is the one act by which we demonstrate our belief in God as Creator of the universe. One who does not keep the Sabbath denies this belief by his actions, and therefore thrusts himself out of the fold of believers in Judaism. 47

The fifth Commandment tells us to honor our parents, which again touches upon our faith. The sum total of our traditions has been handed down from generation to generation. Unless a bond of trust and respect exists between generations, these traditions cannot endure. 48 Through the traditions handed down from our ancestors, we know about God and His teachings, as the Torah itself says, "Ask your father and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you" (Deuteronomy 32:7).


Belief in God is the very foundation of Judaism. However, faith is not just the utterance of words. It is firm belief and conviction with mind and heart, to be acted upon through a course prescribed by God. 49 Faith which does not predicate obedience to God is an absurdity. 50

Speaking about God is very much like speaking about love. One can spend a lifetime speaking and reading about love, and never have the slightest idea of what it is all about. When one actually experiences it, however, lengthy discussions are no longer needed. The same is true of God. One cannot understand Him unless one experiences Him.

The only way to experience God is through the observance and study of our religious teachings. One who does not do this ultimately denies God. 51 On the other hand, if one studies God's teachings and keeps His commandments, he will ultimately find God. 52 Our sages thus teach us that God says, "If they would only abandon Me but keep My Torah, its fight would bring them back." 53

If one ignores God's commandments, he will ultimately also forget God. The Torah therefore warns us, "Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His ordinances and His statutes" (Deuteronomy 8:11). Some authorities count this warning among the commandments of the Torah. 54

It is not enough merely to believe. One must actually live in God's presence. This is what the Psalmist meant when he exclaimed, "I have set God before me at all times" (Psalms 16:8). 55

I can gaze at a beautiful sunset and try to describe it. But unless you open your eyes and see it for yourself, my words are in vain. You must see it to understand and appreciate it.

I can describe the most delicious fruit. But you must taste it to understand what I am saying.

The same is true of God. The Psalmist thus says, "Taste and see that God is good, happy is the man who embraces Him" (Psalms 34:9).


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    1 Cf. Mesilath Yesharim 1.
    2 Zohar Chadash 70d. Cf. Avoth 3:1.
    3 Yad, Yesodey HaTorah 1:1-5.
    4 Also see Psalm 53:2.
    5 Moreh Nevuchim 1:44.
    6 Chovoth HaLevavoth 1:6 end.
    7 Bereshith Rabbah 39:1.
    8 Zohar 1:2a.
    9 Chovoth HaLevavoth 2:5; Pardes Rimonim 8:1; Shnei
    Luchoth HaB'rith (Shaar HaGadol), Jerusalem 5720, 1:46b. Cf. Bereshith Rabbah 48:2.
    10 Tanchuma, Toldos 5.
    11 VeHi SheAmdah, in Passover Hagaddah.
    12 Sifri (346) on Deuteronomy 33:5, Midrash Tehillim 123:2; Pesikta 12 (102b); Yalkut 1:275, 2:317; Abarbanel ad loc.
    13 See Targum J., Mechilta on Exodus 12:37.
    14 Yad, Yesodey HaTorah 8:1; Kuzari 1:87.
    15 Ramban ad loc, and on Additions to Sefer HaMitzvoth, negative
    commandment #2; lSefer Mitzvoth Gadol (Smag), negative commandment #13.
    Moreh Nevuchim 2:35.
    17 Ramban loc. cit. #1, quoting Halakhoth Gedoloth. Cf. Sefer
    Mitzvoth Gadol, negative commandment #64.
    18 This is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6.
    19 Ibn Ezra, Ramban, ad loc.; Kuzari 1:25; Chinuch 25.
    20 Cf. Kuzari 1:1,2. See also Ezekiel 8:12, 9:9.
    21 Exodus 15:2.
    22 See Likutey Halakhoth (Yoreh Deah) Shavuoth 2:2.
    23 Cf. VaYikra Rabbah 28:1; Targum J. on Genesis 4:8.
    24 Cf. Avoth 4:11, 5:17.
    25 Yad, Yesodey HaTorah 1:6; Sefer HaMitzvoth, positive commandment #1; Sefer Mitzvoth Gadol, positive #1; Zohar 2:25a, 3:256b. See also Josephus, Antiquities 3:5:5, who also appears to concur with this opinion. Cf. Makkoth 24a.
    26 Chinuch 25. This may also answer the objection of the Ramban, quoted in the following note. However, the Ramban might counter by placing this in the category of remembering rather than believing. See note 17.
    27 Ramban on Sefer HaMitzvoth, loc. cit. See also Halachoth
    Gedoloth and Sefer HaMitzvoth of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, who also omit it.
    28 Yad, Yesodey HaTorah 1:6; Sefer HaMitzvoth, negative commandment #1; Sefer Mitzvoth Gadol, negative 1.
    29 Chinuch 26.
    30 Kiddushin 40a; Yerushalmi Nazir 4:3 (17a); Tosefta Nazir 3:6, from Ezekiel 14:5. Cf. Radak ad loc. Zohar 2:150b.
    31 Sefer Mitzvoth Gadol, loc. cit. See Mekhilta and Ibn Ezra on Exodus 22:19. Cf. 2 Kings 17:33, and Rashi and Radak on Judges 10:6, from Pethicha Eicha Rabbah 10, Betza 25b.
    32 Yad, Avodath Kochavim 1:1; Moreh Nevukhim 1:36.
    33 Thirteen Principles of Faith #5.
    34 Sanhedrin 7:6 (60b); Ramban on Exodus 20:3.
    35 Sanhedrin 63a; Succah 45b; Yad, Shavuoth 11:2.
    36 Yad, Melakhim 9:3.
    37 See Yad, loc. cit., which states that a non-Jew is only liable for those types of idolatry for which a Jew incurs a death penalty, cf.
    Minchath Chinukh 26:6. However, this only involves the deed of idolatry, cf. Sanhedrin 63a; Yad, Avodath Kochavim 3:4.
    38 See Tosafoth, Bekhoroth 2b s.v. "Sh'ma;" Sanhedrin 63b, s.v. "Asur;" Orach Chaim 156:1 in Hagah; Rosh, Sanhedrin 7:3, Pi1pula Charifta ad loc.; Darkey Moshe, Yoreh Deah 151; Shach


         ibid ibid
    . 151:7; Mach'tzith HaShekel, Orach Chaim 156:2; Teshuvoth     Tashbatz 1:139; Teshuvoth VeShev HaKohen 38; Mishnath Chakhamim on Yad, Yesodey HaTorah, quoted in Pithchey Teshuvah, Yoreh Deah 147:2; Maharatz Chayoth on Horioth 8b.
    There is another opinion that this is only forbidden in the land of Israel, cf. Maharatz Chayoth on Berakhoth 57a, Ramban on Leviticus 18:25: Rabbi Yaakov Emden, Mor U'Ketzia 224.
    39 Cf. Rashbam ad loc.; Derech Mitzvothekha (Chabad) p. 59b.
    40 Cf'. Kuzari 4:23; Rambam, end of Halkhoth Melachim (Amsterdam, 1702), quoted in Ramban, Torath HaShem


         Temimah Temimah
    , in Kithvey Ramban, Jerusalem, 5723, p. 1:144;     Teshuvoth Rambam 58; Teshuvoth Rivash 119; Akedath Yitzchok 88.
    41 Teshuvoth Nodeh BeYehudah, Yoreh Deah, end of 2:148;
    Teshuvoth Meil Tzadakah 22; Teshuvoth Shaar Ephraim 24; all quoted in Pithchey Teshuvah, Yoreh Deah 147:2;      Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 156:2, Sifethey Daath (Yoreh Deah) 65:11); Chatham Sofer on Orach Chaim 156:1; Minchath Chinukh 86.
    42 Makkoth 24a. However, see Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:1 where we find an opinion that disputes this and maintains that all Ten Commandments were given directly at Sinai. See Ramban on Exodus 20:7, and on Sefer HaMitzvoth, Shoresh #1 Also see Pirkey DeRabbi Eliezer 41, Radal ad loc. 41:77; Sh'moth


         Rabbah Rabbah
    42:7. In Moreh Nevukhim 2:33, we find that the very fact of revelation demonstrated these two commandments. See also Kol Yehudah on Kuzari 1:87 (52b) s.v. "VeEleh."
    43 Moreh Nevukhim loc. cit.; Rashi, Makkoth 22a s.v. "MiPi."
    44 Yad, Yesodey HaTorah 1:6: Avodath Kokhavim 2:4; Kiddushin 40a.
    45 Tosefta Shavuoth 3:5.
    46 Ramban ad loc.; Abarbanel on Moreh 2:31.
    47 Moreh Nevukhim 2:31, 3:32, 3:41; Sefer HaChinukh 32; Ibn Ezra, Bachya, on Exodus 20:8; Ramban on Deuteronomy 5:15; Menorath HaMaor 159; Akedath Yitzchok 4, 55; Sh'nei Luchoth


         HaB'rith HaB'rith
    (Mesekhta Shabbath) 2:10b. Cf. Mekhilta on Exodus 31:14.
    48 Moreh Nevukhim 1:34; Radak on 1 Chronicles 28:29.
    49 Cf. Kuzari 1:114, 4:13.
    50 Cf. lbn Ezra on Proverbs 30:19.
    51 Sifra and Rashi on Leviticus 26:15: Yalkut 1:673.
    52 Cf. Pesachim 59b: Nazir 23b; Yoreh Deah 146:20.
    53 Reading of Reshith Chakhmah, Shaar HaTeshuvah #7 (New York, 5728) 123c, of Yerushalmi Chaggigah 1:7 (6b). See Pethichta
    Eicha Rabbah 2; Pesikta 15 (121a); Yalkut 2:282.
    54 See note 17.
    55 See Rashi, Radak ad loc.; Moreh Nevukhim 3:51,52; Orach


         Chaim Chaim
    1:1 in Hagah. Cf. Sanhedrin 22a; Reshith Chachmah,Shaar HaYira 1 (8d).

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