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    Knowing there is a God – Sh’lach L’cha

    The Exodus from Egypt, Golden Haggadah, Catalonia, c.1300

    The Exodus from Egypt, Golden Haggadah, Catalonia, c.1300

    The last verse of the sidra both begins and ends with a declaration, Ani HaShem E-lokechem, “I am the Lord your God” (Num. 15:41).

    Between the two statements about God comes a reminder that God brought us out of the land of Egypt.

    The reference to the Exodus must therefore be meant as a link between the references to HaShem as our God.

    That being the case, its purpose might be deeper than we would have thought at first sight.

    It must be saying, “How do you prove that God exists?

    You can try philosophical reasoning if you wish, as Maimonides did: you can arrive at hypotheses and test them by the rules of logic – but in the end what really persuades people about God is that they have experienced and encountered Him”.

    This does not prove that Maimonides’ philosophical approach was wrong, but it emphasises that only when we know God from encountering Him can we reinforce our certainty of His existence by applying our powers of reasoning to prove not so much that He does exist but that He necessarily must exist.

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