I understand that Islam and Christianity began with a “prophet” relaying a dream he had in which G‑d revealed Himself and made it known that he was chosen as G‑d’s messenger.

Didn’t G‑d give Moses the Torah while he was on top of Mount Sinai away from the rest of the Jews who were waiting down below? Isn’t this similar to the stories of Jesus and Mohammad, because no one was actually there to verify that anything was unequivocally given from G‑d to Moses?

How is Judaism different?


Indeed, there is a great difference between Judaism and other religions. Although most of the Torah was given from G‑d to Moses, who later transmitted it to the people, there is one important difference. Moses did not have to convince the people that he was G‑d’s prophet, because they all heard G‑d speak to him when they stood at Mt. Sinai.

In the words of Maimonides:

The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the wonders that he performed. Whenever anyone’s belief is based on wonders, the commitment of his heart has shortcomings, because it is possible to perform a wonder through magic or sorcery.

All the wonders performed by Moses in the desert were not intended to serve as proof of his prophecy, but rather were performed for a purpose. It was necessary to drown the Egyptians, so he split the sea and sank them in it. We needed food, so he provided us with manna. We were thirsty, so he split the rock [providing us with water]. Korah’s band mutinied against him, so the earth swallowed them up. The same applies to the other wonders.

What is the source of our belief in him? The revelation at Mount Sinai. Our eyes saw, and not a stranger’s. Our ears heard, and not another’s. There was fire, thunder, and lightning. He entered the thick clouds; the Voice spoke to him and we heard, “Moses, Moses, go tell them the following...”

Thus, (Deuteronomy 5:4) relates: “Face to face, G‑d spoke to you,” and (Deuteronomy 5:3) states: “G‑d did not make this covenant with our fathers, [but with us, who are all here alive today].”

How is it known that the [revelation] at Mount Sinai alone is proof of the truth of Moses’ prophecy that leaves no shortcoming? (Exodus 19:9) states: “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will hear Me speaking to you, [so that] they will believe in you forever.” It appears that before this happened, they did not believe in him with a faith that would last forever, but rather with a faith that allowed for suspicions and doubts.1

Throughout Jewish exile there were many who were skeptical of various rabbinical teachings, such as the Sadducees and early Christians However, when it comes to the giving of the Torah on Sinai to the Jewish nation, there is one undisputed account, uncontested for millennia.

See Is there an independent source that can verify the events recounted in the Torah? from our selection on the Historical Proof of the Giving of the Torah.

Rabbi Shmary Brownstein
for The Judaism