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
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. 3
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
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
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
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
19:2). Their very existence is a hymn, declaring the glory of their
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
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 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
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
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?" 7
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
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:
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
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
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)
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
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
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)."
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
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
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).
About Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
Titles From OU/NCSY
Jacobs Shabbat Learning Center
1 Cf. Mesilath Yesharim 1.
2 Zohar Chadash 70d. Cf. Avoth
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
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
15 Ramban ad loc, and on Additions to Sefer HaMitzvoth,
negative commandment #2; lSefer Mitzvoth Gadol (Smag),
negative commandment #13.
16 Moreh Nevuchim 2:35.
17 Ramban loc. cit. #1, quoting Halakhoth Gedoloth.
Sefer Mitzvoth Gadol,
negative commandment #64.
18 This is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6.
19 Ibn Ezra, Ramban, ad loc.; Kuzari 1:25; Chinuch
20 Cf. Kuzari 1:1,2. See also Ezekiel 8:12, 9:9.
21 Exodus 15:2.
22 See Likutey Halakhoth (Yoreh Deah) Shavuoth
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
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
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
Nazir 3:6, from Ezekiel 14:5. Cf. Radak ad loc. Zohar
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
32 Yad, Avodath Kochavim 1:1; Moreh Nevukhim
33 Thirteen Principles of Faith #5.
34 Sanhedrin 7:6 (60b); Ramban on Exodus 20:3.
35 Sanhedrin 63a; Succah 45b; Yad, Shavuoth
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
38 See Tosafoth, Bekhoroth 2b s.v.
Sanhedrin 63b, s.v. "Asur;" Orach Chaim
156:1 in Hagah;
Rosh, Sanhedrin 7:3, Pi1pula Charifta ad loc.; Darkey Moshe, Yoreh
151:7; Mach'tzith HaShekel, Orach Chaim
1:139; Teshuvoth VeShev HaKohen 38;
Mishnath Chakhamim on Yad, Yesodey HaTorah,
quoted in Pithchey Teshuvah, Yoreh Deah
147:2; Maharatz Chayoth on Horioth
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
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
in Kithvey Ramban, Jerusalem, 5723, p. 1:144;
Teshuvoth Rambam 58; Teshuvoth Rivash
119; Akedath Yitzchok
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
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.
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
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
(Mesekhta Shabbath) 2:10b. Cf. Mekhilta
on Exodus 31:14.
48 Moreh Nevukhim 1:34; Radak on 1 Chronicles
49 Cf. Kuzari 1:114, 4:13.
50 Cf. lbn Ezra on Proverbs 30:19.
51 Sifra and Rashi on Leviticus 26:15: Yalkut
52 Cf. Pesachim 59b: Nazir 23b; Yoreh Deah
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
54 See note 17.
55 See Rashi, Radak ad loc.; Moreh Nevukhim
1:1 in Hagah. Cf. Sanhedrin 22a;
Reshith Chachmah,Shaar HaYira