Three Types of Belief
Types of Belief
This week’s portion is the beginning
of the fourth Book of the Torah. Much of this Book deals with the relationship
between G-d and the Jewish people while they traveled in the desert (this in
fact is the meaning of the word bamidbar: in the desert).
Although today we are no longer in the
physically in the desert, we are there spiritually. Just as the Jews were in the
desert, waiting until they reached the promised land, so too, we are in the
desert (the desert being a metaphor for exile), waiting for the Messiah to come
and rebuild the Temple.
In order to do that, we must first take
lessons from the Torah in how to establish a relationship with
To put our being as Jews into proper perspective, there is one categorical imperative; that is the belief in G-d. Without this belief everything else becomes moot. If our belief in G-d is an imperative, then we must clearly define exactly what our belief in G-d needs to be.
It states three times in the Torah that
the Jews believed in G-d. 1. When
they heard they were going to be redeemed (Ex. Ch. 4 V.31) 2.
By the splitting of the sea (Ex. Ch. 14 V.310). 3. By the receiving of the Torah (Ex. Ch. 19 V.9).
The Maharal explains that these three mentions of belief define the three types of belief that are incumbent upon the Jewish people.
The first is
the belief that G-d takes a personal interest in us. This is important, because
without this, there would be less of a desire to connect with Him. By nature
human beings desire reciprocity in their relationships. This reciprocity was
evidenced by the Jews believing in G-d, and G-d’s promise to redeem them from
belief is that G-d is unique. The Jewish people knew this when they saw Him
split the sea. This belief is crucial as it lets us know that only He created
the world and that it is dependent on Him.
The third belief is the belief in the
Sinai experience—that G-d spoke to the Jewish people at Sinai and that the
Torah is from Him. The importance of the third belief is obvious. Without the
belief that G-d authored the Torah, the Jewish people are left endlessly without
direction, because if any “scholar” can define the words of the Torah as he
pleases, the Jewish people are left floating in a sea of relative values and
trendy political correctness.
History has proven that Jewish groups
who reject these three important beliefs, sadly, no longer exist (Saduccees,
May we all integrate these three beliefs as we accept the Torah anew this Shavuos.