RCA Statement on Torah Min HaShamayim

In recent days there has been much discussion regarding the belief in Torah Min HaShamayim. We maintain that it is necessary not only to assert the centrality of this bedrock principle in broad terms, but also to affirm the specific belief that Moshe received the Torah from God during the sojourn in the wilderness, the critical moment being the dramatic revelation at Sinai.  The Rambam and others have included this in in their various Principles of Faith but its centrality is so evident that an appeal to these Principles of Faith is almost superfluous.  The very coherence of traditional Jewish discourse concerning the authority of theTorah she-bikhtav and the Torah she-be`al peh rests upon this conviction.
When critical approaches to the Torah’s authorship first arose, every Orthodox rabbinic figure recognized that they strike at the heart of the classical Jewish faith.  Whatever weight one assigns to a small number of remarks by medieval figures regarding the later addition of a few scattered phrases, there is a chasm between them and the position that large swaths of the Torah were written later– all the more so when that position asserts that virtually the entire Torah was written by several authors who, in their ignorance, regularly provided erroneous information and generated genuine, irreconcilable contradictions.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, none of the abovementioned figures would have regarded such a position as falling within the framework of authentic Judaism.

While we recognize and respect the theological struggles that are a feature of many a modern person’s inner religious life, the position in question is unequivocally contrary to the faith requirements of historic Judaism.

About the RCA:

The Rabbinical Council of America, with national headquarters in New York City, is a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States of America, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Membership is comprised of duly ordained Orthodox Rabbis who serve in positions of the congregational rabbinate, Jewish education, chaplaincies, and other allied fields of Jewish communal work

 

For more information contact:

 

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, President

Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President

 

The Rabbinical Council of America

305 Seventh Ave

New York, NY 10001

212-807-9000

www.Rabbis.org

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