Kenneth Cohen

Proof of G-d’s Existence

This year, our special commentary will be the Keli Yakar. His real name was Rabbi Shlomo Efraim Luntshitz. He was from Prague and lived in the early sixteen hundreds. He was a contemporary of the Maharal of Prague, and they are buried near one another.

The opening verse of the Torah, is out of order. It should have said אלוקים ברא בראשית, that G-d created in the beginning. This is how the seventy-two rabbis translated the Torah into Greek. They did not want others to think there was a deity named Bereishit, so they all, miraculously, switched the order of the verse.

The כלי יקר felt that the change in order was necessary, in order to grasp, more clearly, the essence of G-d. In this way, the concept of a god, was less abstract.

He would be able to be perceived by witnessing the work of His hands.

The Rambam stated this idea as well. Not only would we be aware of G-d’s existence, but marveling at the amazing world He created, would bring us to a level of fear, and even love of G-d.

The whole idea of the plagues in Egypt, were meant to be a strong response to Pharoah’s question, “I don’t know of your G-d.” Each plague was a further proof that there is a being that runs the world. He can act in a supernatural manner, any time he sees fit.

Some might remember the last line of the movie, “The Ten Commandments,” where Yul Brynner played Pharoah. He said, “The G-d of Moses, is G-d.

It is possible to come to the knowledge of G-d, by way of an intellectual knowledge. The use of the intellect, could bring a person to realize that there must be a Creator, that is actively running the world. But for most people, the intellect may be considered too abstract, and seeing is believing. This is what the Keli Yakar meant when he suggested switching around the wording of the first verse of the Torah. He understood the need for evidentiary evidence, in order to strengthen the belief in Hashem. This bond with G-d can and should become stronger, every day of our lives.

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