The lead story in this month’s Harvard Business Review (HBR) tackles the challenge of deciphering the “tidal wave of data” that is essential to help the world combat coronavirus. HBR asks, “Which Covid-19 data can you trust? In a crisis situation like the one we are in, data can be an essential tool for crafting responses, allocating resources, measuring the effectiveness of interventions, such as social distancing, and telling us when we might reopen economies.”
HBR points out that incomplete or incorrect data, misunderstanding the data, or not employing the appropriate personnel such as epidemiologists to properly assess the data, can “produce serious missteps with consequences for millions.”
“Whether you’re a CEO, a consultant, a policymaker, or just someone who is trying to make sense of what’s going on, it’s essential to be able to sort the good data from the misleading — or even misguided.”
In contrast to the coronavirus epidemiological figures that continue to pour in, the data already exists to determine whether or not the Jewish people received the Torah at Mt. Sinai and perpetuated the Torah transmission until today. HBR highlights the importance of objectively and rigorously researching and examining data to protect the lives of millions. The same is true for the data surrounding the origin and history of the Jewish people that has stunning implications not only for the quality of life, but also for the very meaning and purpose of existence. As I once heard Rabbi Leib Kelemen ask a group of graduate students, “What would it mean if G-d actually spoke the Ten Commandments to the entire Jewish nation at Mt. Sinai?”
Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb, former professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and now a senior lecturer at Ohr Somayach has applied his experience at Hopkins to teaching and writing about Jewish thought. Rabbi Gottlieb recently wrote a comprehensive text, Reason to Believe, examining the evidence that G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mt. Sinai. He writes that ascertaining the truth is “crucial for success in all our goals.” Surprisingly, however, Rabbi Gottlieb demonstrates that one does not require “absolute proof” to determine that the Torah was given at Sinai. For making a religious decision is no different than any other life decision –100% proof is simply not possible. For example, does anyone know for certain if a medical procedure will be successful, or if choosing a specific profession will play out as projected? No, yet one goes ahead on those decisions after collecting and analyzing as much information as possible.
Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah and Rosh Kollel of the Jerusalem Kollel takes a different approach to demonstrating how the Torah is anchored at Har Sinai. Rabbi Berkovits encourages his talmidim to master sugiyos in Bein Adam L’Chaveiro. Rav Berkovits promotes his rabbinical students to teach and aspire to fulfill the many mitzvos of Bein Adam L’Chaveiro in their communities so their talmidim in turn will clearly recognize that such refined character attributes can only come from a Divine source.
Rabbis and educators preparing their communities for Shavous and Kabbalos HaTorah will most certainly be taking the correct steps to inoculating their communities with limud Torah fortifying untold numbers of lives! Feel free to refer to the following shiurim to assist in your upcoming programs:
- The Jerusalem Kollel’s Bein Adam L’Chaveiro shiurim
- Olami / NLE Bein Adam L’Chaveiro Shiurim
- The Olami / NLE Morasha shiur on The Revelation of the Torah.
- The Olami / NLE Morasha shiur on Historical Approaches for Providing Evidence for National Revelation
- The Olami / NLE Morasha shiur on Witnesses, Prophecy, Jewish Survival, Mitzvot, Torah Scrolls