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THE 13 PRINCIPLES OF FAITH בס''ד

 בס''ד



ANI MAAMIN BE EMUNAH SHELEMA

What Are The 13 Principles?
The great codifier of Torah law and Jewish philosophy, Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon Ztz”L ("Maimonides" also known as "The Rambam"), compiled what we know and refer to as the Shloshah Asar Ikkarim, the "Thirteen Fundamental Principles" of the Jewish faith which by reciting and keeping in our mind are a great help to our faithfulness to the Boreh (The Creator of all), the G-d of Abraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov. One thing to keep in mind is that these are all derived from the Torah. Maimonides refers to these thirteen principles of faith as "the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations." The Thirteen Principles of Jewish faith or Emunah (faithfulness) are as follows:

1. Belief in the existence of the Creator, who is perfect in every 
     manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.

2.  The belief in G-d's absolute and unparalleled unity.
3. The belief in G-d's non-corporeality, nor that He will be affected  
      by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, 
      or dwelling.

4.  The belief in G-d's eternity.
5.  The imperative to worship G-d exclusively and no foreign false gods.
6.  The belief that G-d communicates with man through prophecy.
7.  The belief in the primacy of the prophecy of Moses our teacher.
8.  The belief in the divine origin of the Torah.
9.  The belief in the immutability of the Torah.
10.  The belief in G-d's omniscience and providence.
11.  The belief in divine reward and retribution.
12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
13. The belief in the resurrection of the dead.

The 13 Principles are part of the daily and regular morning prayer (Shacharit) in the Siddur (Jewish Prayer book). It is the custom of many congregations to recite the Thirteen Principles daily at the end of Shacharit. Some do it in a slightly more poetic form, beginning with the words Ani Maamin -- "I believe" -- every day after the morning prayers in the synagogue.

PRINCIPLE I – G-D IS THE ONLY AND UNIQUE SELF-EXISTING ONE

1 We are commanded to know that G-d exist and that He created all things. Judaism, the Jewish faith is based on a strict monotheism and a belief in the unique, the one single, indivisible, non-compound G-d. 

2 The “Shema Yisrael” which is one of the most important Jewish prayers, is believed to encapsulates the monotheistic nature of Judaism. 

3 “Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ehad ("Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our G-d; Hashem is one").”

This first principle, stresses that the existence of G-d means that He is the absolute existence, He is the only Source of reality. None of the created beings (heavenly or earthly), no things, and no matters have life of or in themselves independently from the Creator, in fact, if G-d was not feeding or pumping, so to speak life into everything He made continually, everything would immediately revert back to nothingness. As we recite every morning in our Shacharit prayers, in the preliminary prayers leading to the morning Shema, “Baruch Ata Adonai, Yotzer Ha Me’orot”, Blessed are You, Hashem who fashions the great luminaries.

PRINCIPLE II – G-D IS ONE, AND HE HAS ABSOLUTE AND UNPARALLELED UNITY

1  We are commanded to know that G-d is One. "The Torah and all our god-given teachers (Rabbis), wise sages and prophets emphatically reject any concept of plurality with respect to G-d". Our faithfulness to G-d’s words exhorts us to explicitly reject polytheism, dualism, and trinitarianism (the pagan doctrine of trinity), which are "incompatible with monotheism as Judaism understands."

2  The unity of G-d is stated many times in the faithful Jewish body of teachings. It is the second of the 13 principles of faith and faithfulness; Maimonides wrote that G-d is One, not two or more than two, but One whose unity is different from all other created existing unities.

3 In Judaism, dualistic and trinitarian conceptions of G-d are generally referred to as Shituf ("partnership"). They are all incorrect ways of viewing our Self-existing and unique Creator, who has no needs, who needs no help from anyone, and who certainly needs no partners for Him to exist, to do anything or to bring anything into existence.

4  G-d cannot be explained as a unit of parts, or as many components creating one unity, such as a mechanical device or even like one of the created living beings. For example a human being is the results of all its parts, organs, bones, cells, atoms. A person could be divided into many parts or ways. Our body is an amazing machine, that is so perfectly made, when all is well, the human being lives his life for the most part unaware of the many parts that make him up. Except when sick sometimes, some kind of pain could make us very aware of a suffering part or organ. This does not apply to G-d.

PRINCIPLE III – G-D IS INCORPOREAL– WITHOUT A BODY

G-D HAS NO PHYSICAL BODY
1 G-d is not one as a genus, which contains many species, He is one and unique. Nor is He one as a body, containing parts and dimensions, He is one with no body. His unity is like no other existence  anywhere in His Heavens or in His earth which He alone has made" (Yad, Yesode Ha-Torah 1:7).

2 In the Mishneh Torah (Torah Teachings book), Maimonides asserts that anyone who believes that G-d is corporeal is a heretic. In reference to this; although we have strong oppositions to this severe judgement by Rambam, in general all religious Jews have embraced 13 principles. 

3 We might not call anyone heretic, but we cannot deny that the 13 principles are fundamental rules coming straight out of the Torah. In Judaism debating Halachic rules or commandments has always being part of our strong values. At the end most debates have clarified unclear issues of the Torah. 

PRINCIPLE IV – HASHEM HAS NO BEGINNING AND / OR END
G-D HAS NO BEGINNING AND NO END
1  G-d existed prior to all else. There is no other G-d, but Hashem; and there is nobody else that can save, except Hashem: “You are My witnesses, and My servants whom I have chosen, says Hashem; so that you may know and may believe, and understand that I am the one (I am He); before Me there was no G-d formed, neither will there be any after Me. I, even I, am Hashem; and beside Me there is no saviour. Exodus 20:2 Isaiah 43:10-11”

Some commentators  to Genesis 1:1, Abraham Ibn Ezra suggests that the word bara (created) implies cutting or setting a boundary. Scholars such as Joseph Tov Elem and David Arama understood this to mean that Ibn Ezra believed that G-d sculpted the world from eternal matter. Gersonides also believed that the world was created from eternal matter.


PRINCIPLE V – THE ONLY ONE TO BE WORSHIPPED

WORSHIP G-D ALONE
1 G-d should be the only object of worship and praise. One should not appeal to intermediaries, but should pray directly to G-d.

2  Some people object to this dogmatic view, because in our Siddur (Prayer book) the selichot prayers of repentance recited on fast days and during the High Holy Days as well as the third paragraph of the Shalom Aleichem hymn, sung prior to the Shabbat kiddush, are directed to angels. 

3  However, despite any opposition to the above view, it is very clear, although we may speak to a created being, human or heavenly; our praises, worship and adoration, however may only be directed to the Creator and only one G-d. Otherwise, we would be falling into idolatry, and violating that commandment, you shall not have any other G-d before me.

PRINCIPLE VI – HIS PROPHETS ARE TRUE

G-D’S PROPHETS ARE TRUE AND PROPHECY IS TRUE.  WHAT IS A PROPHET?

1  A spokesman for G-d, chosen to convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to G-d. Hashem uses both human and heavenly messengers called Malach (angels). But human messengers called Prophets were the most commonly sent. Many people today think that a prophet as any person who sees the future. While the gift of prophecy certainly includes the ability to see the future, a prophet is far more than just a person with that ability.

2  A prophet is basically a spokesman for G-d, a person chosen by G-d to speak to people on G-d's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to G-d. They set the standards for the entire community. The Hebrew word for a prophet, Navi (Neviim) comes from the term niv sefatayim meaning "fruit of the lips," which emphasizes the prophet's role as a speaker. The Talmud teaches that there were hundreds of thousands of prophets: twice as many as the number of people of Israel who came out of Egypt, which was 600,000. But most of the prophets conveyed messages that were intended solely for their own generation and were not reported in scripture. Scripture identifies only 55 prophets of Israel. A prophet is not necessarily a man. Scripture records the stories of seven female prophets, listed below, and the Talmud reports that Sarah's prophetic ability was superior to Abraham's.

3  A prophet is not necessarily a Jew. The Talmud reports that there were prophets among the gentiles (most notably Balaam, whose story is told in Numbers 22), although they were not as elevated as the prophets of Israel. And some of the prophets, such as Jonah, were sent on missions to speak to the gentiles.

4  According to some views, prophecy is not a gift that is arbitrarily conferred upon people; rather, it is the culmination of a person's spiritual and ethical development. When a person reaches a sufficient level of spiritual and ethical achievement, the Shechinah (Divine Spirit) comes to rest upon him or her. Likewise, the gift of prophecy leaves the person if that person lapses from his or her spiritual and ethical perfection.

Why is Daniel Not a Prophet?

5  Some people sometimes ask, why the Book of Daniel is included in the Writings section of the Tanakh instead of the Prophets section. Wasn't Daniel a prophet? Weren't his visions of the future true?

6  According to Judaism, Daniel is not one of the 55 prophets. His writings include visions of the future, which we believe to be true; however, his mission was not that of a prophet. His visions of the future were never intended to be proclaimed to the people; they were designed to be written down for future generations. Thus, they are Writings, not Prophecies, and are classified accordingly.


PRINCIPLE VII – THERE HAS NEVER COME ANYONE GREATER THAN MOSES

NO PROPHET LIKE MOSHE (MOSES)
1 Moshe Rabbenu was the greatest prophet who ever lived. No prophet who lived or will live could comprehend G-d more than Moses.

2  We have had great teachers, prophets, Sages, and Rabbis throughout the centuries. There are those that have gone as far as claiming that some Tzaddikim have gained such great prophetic abilities as to be compared to Moshe, others have acquired great understanding of our Holy G-d, blessed be He.

3  However despites all the claims; whether it be about the Messiah and his great knowledge of G-d, or the great prophetic abilities of any other renowned Tzaddik or kabbalist, one remain unquestionable is that G-d Himself said that there would never be anyone like Moshe. And He said: 

4  “Hear now My words: if there be a prophet among you, I, Hashem do make Myself known unto him in a vision, I do speak with him in a dream. (But) My servant Moshe is not so; he is trusted in all My house, with him I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches. And the similitude of Hashem he behold; why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moshe?' Bemidbar (Number) 12:6-8

5  Without question, Moses was the greatest prophet, leader and Rabbi (teacher) that Israel has ever known. Moses' prophecies are true, and he was the greatest of all the prophets that would come after him. He is called "Moshe Rabbeinu," meaning, Moses, Our Teacher or Rabbi. Interestingly, the numerical value of "Moshe Rabbeinu" is 613: which is the number of mitzvot (commandments) that Moses taught the Children of Israel! As G-d described it Himself, Moshe was the only person who ever knew G-d face-to-face (Deut. 34:10) and mouth-to-mouth (Num. 12:8), which means that G-d spoke to Moses directly, in plain language, not through visions and dreams, as G-d communicated with other prophets. Some non-Jewish sources claim that their prophet was greater than Moshe, that if was true would contradict G-d's words.

6  Moses was born on 7 Adar in the year 2368 from Creation (circa 1400 BCE), the son of Amram, a member of the tribe of Levi, and Yocheved, Levi's daughter (Ex. 6:16-20). Unlike the heroes of many other ancient cultures, Moses did not have a miraculous birth. Amram married Yocheved, and she conceived, and she gave birth (Ex. 2:1-2). The only unusual thing about his birth is Yocheved's advanced age: Yocheved was born while Jacob and his family were entering Egypt, so she was 130 when Moses was born. His father named him Chaver, and his grandfather called him Avigdor, but he is known to history as Moses, a name given to him by Pharaoh's daughter.

7  The name "Moses" comes from a root meaning "take out," because Moses was taken out of the river (Ex. 2:10). Some modern scholars point out that the root M-S-S in Egyptian means "son of" as in the name Ramases (son of Ra), but it is worth noting that Moses' name in Hebrew is M-Sh-H, not M-S-S. According to one Jewish source, Pharaoh's daughter actually named him Minios, which means "drawn out" in Egyptian, and the name Moshe (Moses) was a Hebrew translation of that name, just as a Russian immigrant named Ivan might change his name to the English equivalent, John.

8  Little is known about Moses' youth. The biblical narrative skips from his adoption by Pharaoh's daughter to his killing of an Egyptian taskmaster some 40 years later. One traditional story tells that when he was a child, sitting on Pharaoh's knee, Moses took the crown off of Pharaoh's head and put it on his head. The court magicians took this as a bad sign and demanded that he be tested: they put a brazier full of gold and a brazier full of hot coals before him to see which he would take. If Moses took the gold, he would have to be killed. An angel guided Moses' hand to the coal, and he put it into his mouth, leaving him with a life-long speech impediment (Ex. 4:10).

9  He fled to Midian, where he met and married Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest (Ex. 2:16-21). They had a son, Gershom (Ex. 2:22). Moses spent 40 years in Midian tending his father-in-law's sheep. A midrash tells that Moses was chosen to lead the Children of Israel because of his kindness to animals. When he was bringing the sheep to a river for water, one lamb did not come. Moses went to the little lamb and carried it to the water so it could drink. Like G-d, Moses cared about each individual in the group, and not just about the group as a whole. This showed that he was a worthy shepherd for G-d's flock.

10  G-d revealed the entire Torah to Moses. The entire Torah includes the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) that Moses himself wrote as G-d instructed him. It also includes all of the remaining prophecies and history that would later be written down in the remaining books of scripture, and the entire Oral Torah, the oral tradition for interpreting the Torah, that would later be written down in the Talmud. Moses spent the rest of his life writing the first five books, essentially taking dictation from G-d.

11  Moses was not perfect. Like any man, he had his flaws and his moments of weakness, and the Bible faithfully records these shortcomings. In fact, Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land because of a transgression (Deut. 32:48-52).

12  Moses died in the year 2488, just before the people crossed over into the Promised Land (Deut. 32:51).

13  Moses' position as leader of Israel was not hereditary like most kings. His son, Gershom, did not inherit the leadership of Israel. Moses' chosen successor was Joshua, son of Nun (Deut. 34:9).

14  The greatest of the prophets was Moses. It is said that Moses saw all that all of the other prophets combined saw, and more. Moses saw the whole of the Torah, including the Prophets and the Writings that were written hundreds of years later. All subsequent prophecy was merely an expression of what Moses had already seen. Thus, it is taught that nothing in the Prophets or the Writings can be in conflict with Moses' writings, because Moses saw it all in advance.

15  The Talmud states that the writings of the prophets will not be necessary in the World to Come, because in that day, all people will be mentally, spiritually and ethically perfect, and all will have the gift of prophecy.

PRINCIPLE VIII – THE TORAH AND ITS ORAL PART WAS RECEIVED FROM HEAVEN

THE ENTIRE TORAH IS FROM HEAVEN
1  The Torah is from heaven. The Torah we have today is the Torah that G-d gave to Moses at Sinai. 

2  G-d revealed the entire Torah to Moshe. The entire Torah includes the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) that Moshe himself wrote as G-d instructed him. It also includes all of the remaining prophecies and history that would later be written down in the remaining books of scripture, and the entire Oral Torah, the oral tradition for interpreting the Torah, that would later be written down in the Talmud. Moshe spent the rest of his life writing the first five books, essentially taking dictation from G-d.

3  After Moshe received instruction from G-d about the Law and how to interpret it, he came back down to the people and started hearing cases and judging them for the people, but this quickly became too much for one man. Upon the advice of his father-in-law, Yitro, Moshe instituted a judicial system (Ex. 18:13-26).



PRINCIPLE IX – NO ONE IS AUTHORIZED TO ADD OR REMOVE FROM THE TORAH

NO ONE IS AUTHORIZED TO ADD OR REMOVE FROM THE TORAH

1  The Torah will never be abrogated, nothing will be added to it or subtracted from it; G-d will never give another Torah.  There is no Old or New Testament.

2  The word "Torah" is viewed in different ways and contexts. In its most limited sense, "Torah" refers to the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But the word "torah" is also used to refer to the entire Jewish bible (the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament and to Jews as the Tanakh or Written Torah). The word Torah actually means instructions; therefore, in its broadest sense, the whole body of Jewish law and teachings is called Torah. To Jews, there is no "Old Testament." The books that Christians call the New Testament are not part of Jewish scripture. The so-called Old Testament is known to us as Written Torah or the Tanakh.

WHAT IS A BRIT (COVENANT)? WHAT IS HASHEM REFERRING TO WHEN HE SAYS BRIT?
3  The concept of New Testament come from a misinterpretation by the non-Jews of the prophecy of Jeremiah. Interpreting the word Covenant (Brit) as Testament is very problematic and leads to multiple errors. In fact it should also be clarified that the word covenant (Brit) does not mean Torah either. G-d made many covenants with humans in the past, from Adam to Israel. There was a covenant with Noah, another one with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; one with Levi, Aharon, Pinchas; another with King David, etc. So what are all those covenants? The following are some of the covenants G-d made with humans: The rainbow (for No more flood), The Shabbat, The circumcision, Practising Mitzvot (commandments),  The priesthood, the Kingship, studying Torah, etc. 

THERE WILL NEVER BE A NEW TORAH
4  So what is this future covenant, that has mistakenly caused some to create a new book to replace the irreplaceable Torah of G-d? Ironically, that covenant is very well described in the book of Jeremiah  and it has not yet come. It will not be a book just like all the other covenants were not books. Here it is, if anyone wishes to verify this fact:  

5  “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Hashem, I will put My Torah inside of them, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their G-d, and they shall be My people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: 'Know Hashem; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says Hashem, I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”  Jeremiah 31:32-34

6  It cannot be more clear, the new covenant is simply that G-d will write the same Torah which we now have on paper, in our hearts and when it happen in the future, no preachers will be needed. Nobody will need to teach anyone, because everyone will know G-d.

IF TORAH IS NOT COVENANT, THEN WHAT IS TORAH?
7  Torah is simply the whole body of Jewish law and teachings, for more details see point 2 above at the beginning of this section (Principle IX.2). Torah is the instructions that G-d gave to His nation, Israel. This instructions came in two forms, written form, and Oral form containing all the explanations required to do what Hashem has commanded every Jew to do. In the written, we find all the laws, decrees, statutes and obligations including the several covenants, such as Shabbat, Brit-mila, Priesthood, etc.). In the Oral Torah we find all the how to… ,  so to speak. We also have other materials that form part of the body of Jewish writings, such as Midrashim (other details about the written Torah), and the Gemara which are the commentaries by some of our sages that help us understand the Oral Torah.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Moshe Ben MAIMON (RAMBAM, MAIMONIDES); Mishneh Torah
Abraham Ibn Ezra; ArtScroll Series (Siddur)
Torah Exodus XX.2 ; Tanakh  Isaiah XLIII.10-11
CHABAD Moshiach 101; Judaism 101; Aish; TORAH.COM


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FAITHFULNESS TO YAH
13 PRINCIPLES
EMUNAH  
Rav Moshe Ben MAIMON ZTz”L
Copyright:  © 2015 ABA - EYBO

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