I have found in my friendship with Christians that the Oral Torah is a very sensitive subject. It's got a big STAY AWAY sign to it. A recent article mentions that another universe existed before the Big Bang - and black holes could hold proof of its existence, according to Nobel prize winner Sir Roger Penrose. I commented on this: This is nothing new. Science is just finally catching up. Did we know that there were worlds before ours...YES. The sages have been pointing that out for a LONG TIME: "In the beginning, the Holy One created worlds and destroyed them, created worlds and destroyed them" (Bereshit Rabbah 3:7). This was in order to ultimately create FREE WILL through the process of Tzimtzum. There is something more we learn from this, that science is confirming the validity of the Oral Torah.
A respected Christian questioned this. So below is our dialogue on this.
CFBF (Christian FB Friend): Please help me here. I don’t know Hebrew. In English what is Bereshit Rabbah? And why did God have to make worlds and destroy them multiple times just to eventually create free will? From what I can see in the Scriptures He already did that with this creation alone. In the beginning (the beginning of even time), God created the Heaven (universe), and the Earth. (The world we now live on). This was “In the beginning”. It doesn’t say He created other universes earlier because ours was created “In the beginning”. It doesn’t make Scriptural sense that an omniscient God would have to go through multiple universes before He got to ours and then can finally have free will. Please explain. Thank you.
Me: Thanks for asking. The idea of the worlds breaking and tzimtzum is as I mentioned a Jewish thought and understanding, it explains the process through which free will was created. The concept of Free will is known in Christianity, but not explained. Free will is understood from the Written Torah, but how it came into being is explained through the Oral Torah, which answers your question, what is Bereishit Rabbah? It is one of the Jewish sources explaining this process. The closest idea that I can think of for you to connect is by the thought of the Seven Heavens, of which I understand is also a concept in Christian theology. Again, even in the Psalms you read talks about the heavens above the heavens etc. The specifics are just more detailed in the Jewish sources, which science has now caught on to. The broken worlds are also related to broken vessels that through our partnership with G-d, can be mended again, even producing a much more beautiful result that what it started off as - the thought of broken vessels, our partnership with Hashem in taking care and restoring the world, is also not a foreign concept to you. Again, the Jewish sages are just getting in behind the clockwork, to tell you how a certain dynamic that you are aware of actually works. Remember that the Written Torah is tremendously concentrated. Every letter holds within it a concept, every word a world, every sentence a multi-dimensional universe. It falls out in four different levels, the one deeper than the other. Each of these concepts are, therefore, according to the rules laid out in the written Torah, broken down into more understandable and fathomable units, in order for a person to start wrapping their head around the idea (which is in itself tremendously awesome, only to realize that the more we know the more we know that we absolutely don't know anything ). Nevertheless, understanding these concepts helps us to understand G-d's world, our world, better and in that it doesn't just assist us to be more conscious of its dynamics but also enables us to align and synergize with it more effectively. The result is that we finetune our service and worship to Him in such a way that He actually derives pleasure and joy from it, or as the Bible says, worship that honors and pleases Him. Hope this helps.
CFBF: Ok. Thank you. Not be argumentative but this concept sounds like opinion of commentary. I don’t see it in the written Torah or the Prophets or Psalms. Christian theologians do this and of course have brought the trinity, (a pagan false Babylonian god), into Christianity. If one looks at Genesis 1:1 it says “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth”. This statement shows that time, “beginning”, the universe, (heaven) , and the Earth. So time itself is created here. According to this concept that some rabbis claim is in the Torah, along with atheist scientists, then time would have to be created, then done away with, then recreated, done away with, for each universe made and then destroyed. That doesn’t sound like an omniscient God but more like someone trying to get something right through trial and error. God put us on the basis of free will in this creation which is the very first creation. However being God He also knew who would accept or reject Him. Predestination through foreknowledge. Jacob have I loved, Esau I hated, before they were even born. So this concept of God going though multiple universes to finally get to ours is just opinion. Once again I’m not trying to argue. I’m just seeing where it came from.
Me: Thank you X, for your response, a healthy debate within in respect for the other is always good, that's how we get to the deeper stuff, so no need to apologize Two points you mentioned. one, you argue that time started with creation. In it you also argue the fact that this HAS to be the only beginning. G-d moves out of time, and He can, because of His omnipotence do whatever He wants. Create worlds, break worlds, as He pleases. We both agree that G-d has no beginning or end. So, what if He created something before He created our world, what is that to you? Because somehow it bothers you when I mention it. Why? Perhaps because it complicates our human understanding. On that G-d answers very clearly, "My ways are not your ways, My Ways are much higher than yours" and "Do not rely on your own understanding". The other reason is you might feel that that takes away from our special relationship with G-d. On this there is an answer Brian: What is important here is that 1) all of these things were done in order to prepare for the most important finale - Adam. That's you and me. 2) It wasn't trial and error, you are absolutely right. It was very meticulously done, VERY. And IF an omnipotent and omniscient G-d can't make mistakes (which we know He can't), then WHY is the current world, His world - the one you and I live in, SO BROKEN? You cannot for one second argue that our world is not broken. Again, where is G-d's omnipotence, if omnipotence = "nothing broken"? Maybe it doesn't. And why is it broken? Because of the greatest gift He gave us - Free Will. How was Free Will created? Through the braking of worlds. And THAT is where the answer lies to our broken world conundrum. My guess here is that you are not familiar with the concept of Tzimtzum that goes together with broken worlds. If any, this concept teaches us of G-d's GREAT MERCY and LOVE to "create space" for us to live by Free Will and not as robots. It's a great thought that we can explore if you want to. My only reservation here is that these very deep and truthful Jewish understandings are connected to the Oral Torah - something that has been vilified by Christian theology for millennia. This has also been one of the main reasons for tremendous Jewish persecution by the Church. I find it very confusing that Christians dispute this, as the Book of Jude in the NT (1:9) speaks of the battle over Moses' body. This is directly taken from the Oral Torah - DIRECTLY. The full account of what is only touched on in one verse in the NT, is a very deep, significant and touching account. There are a few of these anomalies in the NT. I call it an anomaly because you are taught to completely ignore the Oral Torah but still it's used in the NT - the only thing is you don't know that it's an Oral Torah reference. Christians have been taught to oppose this with everything they have. If that is the case here and this is the root motive of your argument, then we can't really explore the point further. If however, you want to really understand, then happy to look into this with you. Shalom from Jerusalem!
There is so much to be said here. Just to mention a few, the prophets are replete with references to the Oral Torah. For instance the fasts mentioned in Zech 8, where do they come from? - the Oral Torah. Haggai 2:12-13 (TANAKH numbering), Haggai asks the Priests a halachic question, Oral Torah at its best.
Lev 26:46, Exodus 18:20, Nehemiah 9:13 and Isaiah 24:5 are a few places that speaks of TOROT (two Torahs!). It can unfortunately not be detected in the English Translations.
An even more interesting observation is how many Nobel Prize winners are Jewish. There is no coincidence here. The method by which most formulas and algorithms are derived, corresponds with the way the sages methodically analyzed the Torah. This comes through the generations, it's in our DNA. The way that G-d runs His world is codified and embedded in His word. The sages were able to extrapolate that and help us "lay people" how to make sense out of it all.
So I propose this: If both prophets, and writings as well as the NT (the Christian Bible) references the Oral Torah, then perhaps the time has come to objectively look at the Oral Torah, and see it for what it is.
If you would like to research this more, please leave us a message here. If there is enough interest I will make sure we get more to you in the coming months (G-d willing).