Jewish Debates

There is an interesting discussion related between Rabbi Akiva and the Roman, Turnusrupus. The Roman asked in a mocking manner, why we need to cut the foreskin of every Jewish male. Must we correct or improve the work of Hashem?

Rabbi Akiva responded that G-d also made wheat and barley, and we cannot benefit from them as they are. We must go through the process of harvesting and turning the wheat into flour, before baking bread. The finished product also requires fixing.
This is the reason why Avraham first offered the three angels bread. He was anticipating the possibility that they might make fun of him for doing the Brit Mila, just as Turnusrufus did to Rabbi Akiva. He showed them the bread as a reminder that it is upon us to perfect some of the things in this world.

Throughout our history, we have debated many scoffers of our practices. Jews always won these debates, and often the other side were “sore losers,” and killed the victors of the debate.

How sad it is today that after going through a one day Holocaust, we still need to justify our position, and our right to exist.

We are coming closer to that time when all of the world will recognize the truth of G-d, the Torah, and Judaism. All will acknowledge this truth, and no debating will be necessary. “On that day Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One.”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at