« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
without performing a miracle.* (But it must be observed, that in no case whatever can the temporary suspension of any precept be regarded, as a permanent abrogation of the same; on the contrary, such a measure is never known to have been resorted to, except in cases of extreme emergency, when for instance, it had become necessary, to produce a striking and convincing proof of the truth of the whole law upon the minds of the people, but to effect which, required, from the necessity and urgency of the case, an infringement of the precepts of the Mosaic religion. A remarkable instance of this kind is the sacrifice of Elijah on Mount Carmel. If therefore any prophet, or one pretending to be such, should teach the permanent abrogation of any precept, he is to be considered as a false prophet, and what follows of course, he is on no account to be obeyed. (58.) And whereas the spirit of God cannot err, since every thing is known and manifest to the Almighty : any prophet, who predicts any thing to take place for certain, or at a particular time, is to be considered as a false prophet, if the predicted event does not take place at all, or at the time specified; and a man so offending is to be punished as it is written :)
by 9277 1707" Xbo 'n DVI X3171 777 908 “ When the prophet 193799772 • '07.1927 x 10873773 8107 X3' speaks any thing,
in the name of the הנביא לא תגור ממנו •
Eternal, and it happen not, nor come to pass : then has the Eternal not spoken this word ; the prophet has invented it from wickedness, and thou must not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18 ch. 22 v.)
* Yet even in this case it is not always necessary, that the prophet should perform miracles; as it appears from Maimonides 7100 71097 , and from the Talmud (Tractate poarjo ). And say our wise men: If God permits wonders to be performed, we ought to view it with a thankful heart, as a particular and extraordinary favour, of which not every age can be worthy. But we are not permitted to ask for wonders, nor to found our faith upon them; because miracles alone can never be of sufficient value to constitute good grounds for argument, either for or against the truth of any doctrine.
54. Did our teacher Moses ever work miracles? Yes, a great many; as we also read : Ws nuo 5x90') Tly X'23 Dp xbg “And there never again rose a snan 505. o'zb 48 D'D '17 17 prophet in Israel like Moses, por nivy''n imbo un d'ndinni to whom the Eternal apsian babenpinn 776562--0'18n p eared so clearly; also sogyny non noy v hroan with respect to the signs and
sorun miracles, which God had sent him to do in the land of Egypt—and all those mighty and fearful deeds, which Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel.” (Deut. 34 ch. 11–12 v.)
55. But, is the promulgation of the law founded on miracles solely?
No, the public legislation is an immediate fact, of which more than six hundred thousand persons were witnesses. Our ancestors themselves did hear and see,* at the foot of Mount Sinai, how the Eternal, in the most solemn manner, announced and enjoined the ten commandments.
na dobap sa 6877270587093777 " These words the Eter90's So Siga bop bowynı yuyn un giro nal spoke to all your
congregation , on the ויכתבם על שני לחת אבנים ויתנם אלי.
Mount, out of the fire, clouds and thick darkness, with a loud voice, and nothing more (meaning, that no figure of the speaker was visible); and he wrote them on two tables of stone, which he gave to me.”' (Deut. 5 ch. 19 v.)
* In the year of the world 2448.
56. What need was there of this great and ever-memorable appearance, since Moses had already performed so many miracles, and was already fully accredited as the chosen messenger of God ?
Miracles and extraordinary signs are no arguments for or against everlasting truths. They can only confirm evidences, and support authorities, and only serve to induce us to do that, which the performer of the miracle may command us to do for that period of time, in so far, as this command of his in no other manner contradicts an irrevocable truth; for example, Joshua, when he commanded, to capture Jericho on the Sabbath; and Elias, when he ordered sacrifices to be brought on Carmel, (which was in fact against the precepts of the law contained in Deut. 12 ch. 13 v.), were thus obliged to confirm their mission by miracles. But, through the promulgation of the law, God intended to establish such doctrines and precepts, as should last permanently for all coming generations, and for this purpose mere miracles would have been insufficient. It was therefore necessary, that an immediate revelation of the Eternal to the people should take place. This also the Eternal said to Moses. (Exo. 19 ch. 9 v.)
,That the people may hear“ בעבור ישמע העם בדברי עמך וגם בן
obrys 12DS when I speak with thee, so that they may in thee also believe for ever.”
. 57. What follows out of this fundamental article of Judaism ?
That these holy doctrines and precepts, which were communicated in so solemn a manner, without a mediator, to the whole assembled nation, cannot be abrogated and set aside for us, (the Israelites,) in any other way, except by a similar and equally solemn and public communication of the divine will.
58. But suppose a prophet were to prove his mission by publicly performing miracles, and at the same time declare, in the name of God, a part of the fundamental precepts abrogated; shall we not obey him then?
No; for of such a prophet it is said: (Deut. 13 ch. 4 v.)
ovo boi or such a dreamer ; for the Eternal your God will but test you, (give you an opportunity,) to prove, that ye love the Eternal your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
59. On what do we found the belief, that Moses added nothing of his own, and wrote down and taught nothing without having received the command of God to do so?
This unlimited confidence in Moses is founded upon the historical fact, that the whole nation placed the most ample confidence in his truth and rectitude, and chose him themselves as their mediator, and spoke unanimously: 15p nag ab 71 789 1732 na 120bo 'n 128977 yo · Behold, the Eternal
our God has let us ON 108 ka nx yovi ans ap ni 07877 n see his glory and
greatness, and his • 12"Vynnynui 795892758 voice we have heard from amidst the fire ; this day we have seen, that man can live, when God speaks to him. Do thou approach now, and hear all, that the Eternal our God may yet say, and speak thou to us, all that the Eternal our God will speak to thee, and we will accept it and act accordingly.” (Deut. 5 ch. 21—24 v.)
שמענו מתוך האש היום הזה ראינו כי ידבר אלהים
ה' אלהינו ואת תדבר אלינו את כל אשר ידבר ה'
60. Did God approve of this choice of a mediator?
Yes; for he said: 736581937 108 1111 dyn
27 Sup nx nynw “I have heard the words
היטיבו כל אשר דברו מי יתן והיה לבבם זה
of this people
Dipino bonisos bons puby no 77875 oos they have spoken to
obyes 0733bi dob 20" qyos thee ; they have spoken well. O, that their will might ever be so ! to fear me, and to obey my commandments at all times ; that they and their descendants might be happy for ever.” (Deut. 5 ch. 26 v.)
61. What does God himself say in another part of the law, relative to the credibility of Moses ?
• 897 708) 'n'a bo non 73y “My servant Moses is trusty in all my house." (Num. 12 ch. 7 v.)
After this most exalted testimony, and after having seen the expression of the unanimous and universal confidence of the whole nation, we can no longer doubt, that all the precepts and doctrines of holy writ, as they are yet in our possession, are of divine origin.
62. Is there then no material difference between the ten commandments, which God himself announced to the whole people, on Mount Sinai, and the other laws, which were communicated to us through Moses ?
No; for the latter, as well as the former, were commanded by God. The ten commandments, however, were only therefore made known with so much solemnity; because they comprehend in a measure the rest of the laws, and contain the foundation of all the others.
The Talmud (Tractate Berachoth, fol. 5) adduces, in illustratration of this principle, the following verse, (Exo. 24 ch. 12 v.) which says: