#BlogElul 8 – Believe



Hey, didn’t I say just a few posts ago that Judaism is a religion of action, rather than belief? What gives now, Rabbi Sommer?

The articles of the Jewish faith are usually expressed in the form given by Maimonides, a great twelfth-century rabbi who was hugely influential in creating the kind of Judaism we know today, after the destruction of the Temple and the scattering of the Jewish people throughout the ancient world.

In his commentary on the Mishnah (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10), Maimonides formulates his “13 principles of faith”. They summarized what he viewed as the required beliefs of Judaism, and were quite controversial for several centuries afterwards. Nowadays, however, they are considered normative in Orthodox Judaism. While Conservative and Reform Jews may quibble with some of these tenets, in general most Jews agree that these are the most important ideas in Judaism.

The existence of God.
God’s unity and indivisibility into elements.
God’s spirituality and incorporeality.
God’s eternity.
God alone should be the object of worship.
Revelation through God’s prophets.
The preeminence of Moses among the prophets.
The Torah that we have today is the one dictated to Moses by God.
The Torah given by Moses will not be replaced and nothing may be added or removed from it.
God’s awareness of human actions.
Reward of good and punishment of evil.
The coming of the Jewish Messiah.
The resurrection of the dead.

Source: Wikipedia

If these philosophical ideas make your head hurt, just sit back and enjoy a musical rendition of the same concepts by the great Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a modern-day rescuer of lost Jewish souls. There are many ways to achieve a spiritual experience, and sometimes just humming along with Reb Shlomo is what the soul needs.

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2 Responses to “#BlogElul 8 – Believe”

  1. Zohar Says:

    Intersting. Do you agree with all of these? And do you think those are the MOST important tenets? What about tikkun? I was looking for it and couldn’t find it there – and instead found some paranoid or fearful tenets – why is the religion so afraid of additions? How much of a religion needs to be conservative? In that I mean, that things won’t change. It’s futile, of course, and things always change, and when the establishment doesn’t accept them, it ALWAYS loses – don’t you think so?

  2. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Remember that I said that Judaism is mostly about action? Tikkun totally falls under action, not under the things you are supposed to believe. You don’t find keeping kosher or saying prayers there, either. It’s about the philosophical underpinnings. That’s why I included Reb Shlomo ;-).

    And of course the Rambam knew that things change – he changed a bunch of things himself. There’s a reason his books were burned and some of them are still banned in some sects. I think all religions need to have a conservative core, in the sense that if you stray from it too much it is no longer that religion – it is something else, possibly something wonderful, but something else. The discussion is then all about where the line of “too much” lies, and that’s mostly politics. Some parts of Judaism move faster than others, but even the very slowest ones do move, kicking and screaming. Why do you think they are trying to ban iPhones in the Charedi communities?

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