Torah For Today! This week: Conspiracy theories
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Torah For Today! This week: Conspiracy theories

Rabbi Abel takes a topical issue and delves into Jewish scriptures for an answer

Rabbi Ariel Abel

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

Fifty years ago last month, mankind landed on the moon – but some people suggest it was all a fabrication. What does the Torah say about conspiracy theories?

Following the exodus from Egypt, 12 spies were sent to scout out the land of Israel, but 10 spread lies about the land, and about Moses and Aaron, saying they had conspired for their own glory to take control of the Israelites and were in fact endangering them.

The 10 spies were leaders of Israel, and the impact was fatal to the early entry of the people to the Promised Land. Later, Korach, a cousin to Moses, alleged the same theories against Moses and Aaron. For this, Korach and his supporters perished.

In the ninth century BCE, the false  prophet Tzidkiyah ben Kena’ana accused the real Prophet of God, Michayhu ben Yimlah, of being a traitor against the king, Ahab.

Ahab, who was unused to hearing prophecies that were contrary to expectations and Michayhu’s portent of Ahab losing an upcoming battle against the Arameans, offended Tzidkiyah, who slap-ped Michayhu across the face in indignation.

Condemned as a liar, Michayhu was imprisoned during the battle as a security risk. However, his warning was right – Ahab did not return from the battle. An enemy arrow struck the king and Ahab subsequently died from his wound.

In July 1969, Rabbi Alter, the Rebbe of the Gur Chassidic dynasty, first stated that a moon landing was not possible, as the Psalms declare: “The heavens are heavens for the Almighty,” implying that men cannot reach beyond the earth’s limits.

Once the landing was confirmed, he did not suggest that the event was fabricated.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe accepted the moon landing as fact and simply redefined the limits of earth as all created matter and heavens as the spiritual realm.

 

  • Rabbi Abel serves Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and is padre to Merseyside Army Cadet Force 
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