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April 06, 1990 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

destroyer, swastika, Nazi,
Hitler, Eichmann,
Auschwitz„ destroyed by the
SS, Bergen-(Belsen), Holo-
caust, the executioner,
Zyklon B (used in the gas
chambers), death trains,
destroyed a great nation,
one-third (one-third of world
Jewry was killed in the
Holocaust) and the evil one.
How could any human be-
ing have written such in-
tricate codes that tell of
events thousands of years in
the future, Rabbi Mechanic
Also part of the program,
Rabbi Berger attempted to
prove that the Torah of to-
day is in fact the same Torah
God gave to Moses on Mount
Sinai. He noted a recent
study in Israel of 115 Torahs
from throughout the world.
Though filled with more
than 800,000 words each,

A comparison of
115 Torahs from
throughout the
world shows nine
variations in their
wording; the New
contains 10,000.

the Torahs were found to be
virtually alike. The excep-
tions were nine letters,
which were spelling differ-
ences rather than variances
in word meanings.
Rabbi Berger compared
this to a report, made by a
Christian, about the New
Testament. That report
found 200,000 variants in
texts alone, with 10,000
spelling differences and 50
word differences the author
said were "of great
To illustrate the validity of
the Oral Law, Rabbi Berger
told this story: a young man
was interested in converting
to Judaism. Though the man
expressed interest in the
Torah but not the Oral Law,
Rabbi Hillel agreed to take
him on as a student. He
began by teaching the man
the Alephbet.
The next day the student
returned. Hillel pointed to
the Hebrew letter aleph and
asked, "What's that?"
"Aleph," the man replied.
"No, it's a gimmel," Hillel
"It's an aleph!" the man
"But how do you know.
Nothing is written, is it?"
"But you told me yester-

day," the man said, realizing
now Hillel's point.
"Oral law is not a Jewish
principle; it's a universal
one," Rabbi Berger said. He
noted that the American
justice system is based on
oral law: criminals are not
simply dragged into a sta-
tion where an officer opens a
book and reads, "For this
crime, this punishment." In-
stead, the United States
employs a judge and jury to
try criminals.
Oral law cannot be passed
from generation to genera-
tion just by handing a child a
book, he said. "To live it re-
quires not just to hand it but
to learn it."
That all Jewish scholars
have agreed and continue to
agree on 99 percent of the
Oral Law gives further
credence to the idea that it
was given at Mount Sinai,
Rabbi Berger said.
He painted this scenario:
imagine a group of Jews
gather and decide to make
up an oral law based on the
Torah. How could they all
possibly agree on the com-
plexities that define kashrut
based simply on the phrase,
"Do not kill a kid in its
mother's milk?"
Rabbi Berger also discuss-
ed stories in the Torah,
noting that Abraham ques-
tions God, that his brothers
tried to sell Joseph, that
King David was the grand-
son of Ruth, whose people
were notorious for incest —
and from this same king the
Messiah will descend. Does
this, he asked, sound like the
kind of story people would
make up to gain supporters?
Rabbi Berger pointed to
the parallels between the
story of Jacob and Esau.
Three times the brothers
fought over the land, and
three times Jews have had to
fight those who would an-
nihilate them. First came
Amalek, then Haman, then
the Nazis.
He discussed similarities
between Haman and the
Nazis: Haman's 10 sons
were hanged, as were 10
Nazis at the Nuremberg
Eleven Nazis should have
been hung, but one of those
on trial managed to die by
his own hand. Hitler's top
aide Herman Goering got
hold of a cyanide pill, which
he took just before his
scheduled execution.
Haman had only 10 sons,
but he had a daughter who
committed suicide.
Rabbi Berger wondered
whether it was mere coin-
cidence that the 11th Nazi,
Goering, loved to dress in
women's clothes.

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