By the Grace of G‑d
18th of Tammuz, 5714
[July 19, 1954]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sholom u’Brocho:

I have received your letter of June 13th, in which, after a brief biographical outline of yourself, you present your problem, namely, that you recently became aware of a feeling of apathy and indifference to the religious rites and practices, due to a perplexing doubt to the authenticity of the Jewish Tradition, by which you undoubtedly mean the Torah and Mitzvoth, and you wonder how this may be logically proved.

I hope that this is indeed your only difficulty which has weakened your observance of the Mitzvoth Maasiyoth in daily life; in most cases the true reason is the desire to make it easy for oneself and avoiding a “burden” and then seeking to “justify” this attitude on philosophical grounds. In the latter case the problem is more complicated. In the hope that you belong to the minority, I will briefly state here the logical basis of the truth that the Torah and Mitzvoth have been given to us Jews by Divine Revelation. This is not very difficult to prove, since the proof is the same as all other evidence that we have of historic events, in past generations, only much more forcefully and convincingly.

By way of illustration; if you are asked, how do you know there existed such a person as Rambam (whom you mention in your letter), author of Hayad Hachazaka, Sefer Hamitzvoth, etc., or the like, you would surely reply that you are certain about his existence from the books he had written, and although Rambam lived some 800 years ago, his works now in print have been reprinted from earlier editions, and those from earlier ones still, uninterruptedly, going back to the very manuscript which Rambam wrote in his own hand. This is considered sufficient proof even in the face of discrepancies or contradictions from one book of Rambam to another one of his. Such contradictions do not demolish the above proof, but efforts are made to reconcile them in the certainty that both have been written by the same author.

The same kind of proof substantiates any historic past, which we ourselves have not witnessed, and all normal people accept them without question, except those who for some reason are interested in falsification.

In many cases the authenticity of a historic event is based on the evidence of a limited group of people, even where there is room to suspect that the witnesses were not, perhaps, quite disinterested; but because there is nothing to compel to be suspicious, and especially if we can check the evidence and counter-check it, it is accepted as a fact.

From the above point of view, any doubts you may have about the authenticity of the Jewish tradition should be quickly dispelled.

. . . At any rate, millions of Jews knew and still do that G‑d is the Author of the Torah-Shebiksav and the Torah-Shebalpeh, which He gave to His people Israel not only to study but to observe in practice in daily life, and make it a condition of the existence and welfare of our people as a whole, and of the true happiness of every individual Jew and Jewess.

How do these millions of Jews know, and how did they know in the past that the Torah is true?

Simply because they have it on the evidence of their fathers, millions of Jews that preceded them, and these in turn from their fathers, and so on, uninterruptedly back to the millions of Jews (if we include women and children and those above and below the age range of the 600,000 male adults), who witnessed the Divine Revelation at Sinai. Throughout all these generations the very same content has been traditionally handed down, not by a single group, but by a people of many millions, of different mentalities, walks of life, interests, under the most varying circumstances, places and times, etc., etc. Such evidence cannot be disputed.

It is difficult, in the course of a letter, to elaborate, but I am sure that even the above should dispel any of your doubts, if indeed, you had any serious doubts, as to the authenticity of our Tradition, and that you will from now on not permit anything to weaken your observance of the Mitzvoth, the observance of which itself illumines the mind and soul more than any philosophical book can ever do. I shall be glad to hear good news from you. I wish you success.

With blessing,