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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  G-d knows the actions of humans and is not neglectful of them. Hashem knows the thoughts of all men and their wicked plans G-d frustrates. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it remained.

2  But the actions and the plans of the wicked nations He nullifies, the counsel of the nations He overturns; He cancels the plans of the people. Hashem watches over to defend the poor, the widow and the destitute.

3  Hashem watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The eyes of Hashem keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.

4  Woe unto them that seek hard to hide their actions from G-d. Some try to hide their works in the darkness thinking that no one can see them , but G-d sees them, the Creator knows them and theirs ways is not hidden to Him.

5  In Psalm 94:3-13 we learn how the wicked think and what they think about the G-d of Israel. And the Psalmist started asking G-d, how much longer will this wickedness go on for:  “Hashem, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked be jubilant? They gush out, they speak arrogantly (They keep boasting); all the workers of iniquity bear themselves loftily. They crush Your people, O Adonai, and they afflict Your heritage. They kill the widow and the stranger, and they murder the fatherless. And they dare to say: 'Hashem will not see what we are doing,  the G-d of Ya'akov (of Israel) will not get it”. (In other words, they are saying that the G-d of Israel will not understand what is going on).

6  Consider, you idiots and ignorants people from the nations; and you fools, when will you understand? He that (created and) planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who made (formed) the eye, shall He not see? He that instructs nations, shall He not correct? Isn't it He who teaches knowledge to human beings? Adonai certainly knows all the thoughts of humans, He knows that they are all vanity.

7  Happy is the human being whom You, O Yah - Adonai, instruct and teach out of Your law; That You may give him rest from the days of evil, until the pit be dug for the wicked.”


1  G-d rewards those who obey the Mitzvot (commands) of the Torah and punishes those who violate its prohibitions.  
2  Performing the Mitzvot (commandments) in the whole Torah, both the written and oral one will be greatly rewarded by G-d. Indeed, obeying the complete Torah will bring great merit on the Tzaddik (Righteous). However, the study of Torah itself bring greater merit, greater merit than that of all the Mitzvot combine. As we learned in the scriptures: “These are the things which man performs and enjoys their fruits (right now) in this world, while the principal remains for him for the world to come, namely: honouring one's parents, the practice of loving – kindness (deeds of kindness), and making peace between man and his fellow, while the study of the Torah surpasses them all. (Tractate Shabbat 127a)”

3 Rabbi R H Isaacs describes how the primary texts of Jewish tradition, even the Shema itself, enjoin Jews to study Torah. Following one standard approach, Rabbi Isaacs states that Torah study is rewarded because it leads to the performance of the commandments. This is, perhaps, an oversimplification. For as it is clearly stated by the sages, Torah study has a greater value in and of itself.

4 In the first paragraph of the Shema, which is derived from the Book of Deuteronomy 6:4-8, the Jew is charged to express his or her love for G-d through constant study of the Torah, “To speak of it when you lie down and when you rise up.” Besides, G-d commanded Yehoshua after the death of Moshe Rabbeinu, to never allow the words of the Torah to ever depart from his mouth, that he was to meditate in the Torah day and night, and that this constant study and meditation in the word would cause him to succeed in everything he does. Also we find the following advice to King Solomon by his father David : “and keep the duty of Hashem your G-d, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to that which is written in the Torah of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do, and wherever you turn to.” I kings 2:3

5  Such studies has the potential to bring the people into a closer relationship with G-d. Torah study sweetens one’s life. To emphasize this sweetness, children–especially in Eastern Europe–used to begin their study of Hebrew with letters that had been written in honey. As they learned the letters and enjoyed the honey, they also learned that the study of Torah was sweet.

6 What does G-d really wants, why so much study? "Rabbi Meir (Mai-eer) said: Anyone who engages in Torah study for its own sake (Torah Lishma) merits many things. Not only that, but the entire world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called 'friend' and 'beloved,' he loves G-d, he loves man, he brings joy to G-d, he brings joy to man. It [the Torah] clothes him in humility and fear. It enables him to be righteous, pious, upright, and faithful. It distances him from sin and brings him to merit. [Others] benefit from him advice and wisdom, understanding and strength, as it says, 'To me is advice and wisdom, I am understanding, and strength is mine' (Proverbs 8:14). It gives him kingship, dominion and analytical judgment. It reveals to him the secrets of the Torah. He becomes as an increasing stream and an unceasing river. He becomes modest, slow to anger, and forgiving of the wrongs done to him. It makes him great and exalted above all of creation."

7 This scripture describes the exalted level of those who study Torah "Lishma", literally, "learning it for its own sake" (even more literally, "for its own name"). The above-mentioned level of dedication to Torah not only raises the scholar to an exceedingly high level of closeness to G-d, but it endears him to all mankind -- as well as all mankind to him. It's important to state from the start that studying Torah Lishma is considered an uncommonly lofty level of Divine service -- something not typically found even among accomplished scholars. Thus, we may observe that this goes well beyond the "everyday" advice of most teachers of Torah. It instead gives us a glimpse of the sublime and glory -- the world of true Torah study.

8 The ideal motive would then seem to be to study for the Torah's sake -- seemingly just in order that the Torah be studied -- or better, that G-d's will that Torah be studied be fulfilled. This, however, does not seem to suffice. What's so lofty about the Torah being studied per se? Is there nothing more to Torah study -- and to all the mitzvot (commandments) for that matter -- than blind fulfillment just because G-d says so? Shouldn't we attempt to gain an appreciation for the beauty and significance of what we do? Isn't a mitzvah so much less meaningful if we do not?

9 Torah study Lishma means studying because it is G-d's will. But what *is* G-d's will -- and why does He want us to study Torah? The answer is that G-d's ultimate will is to do good to mankind. He gave us a world in which we can serve Him and become worthy of reward -- closeness to G-d in the World to Come. Thus, one who studies lishma is doing so in order that G-d reward His creations for following His will.

10 What is the ultimate reward G-d will grant His servants? R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in his seminal _Derech Hashem_ ("The Way of G-d") offers a fascinating idea: The greatest good G-d can bestow upon mankind is that ultimate source of all that is good: G-d Himself.

11 Now how can G-d "give" us Himself? What does that even mean? The answer is that He does so by allowing us to develop a relationship with Him -- and thereby develop a sense of closeness to Him. This is the function of the Mitzvot (commandments). They are not just arbitrary means of earning Heavenly reward. They *condition* us for a relationship with G-d. They develop us as human beings -- making us more godlike -- so that we will eventually be able to earn and savor a true relationship with G-d.  

12 In this respect, Torah stands alone. Torah study is unlike all other Mitzvot. The commandments make us more godlike sometimes in visible ways, but more often in subtle, metaphysical ways -- ones we will appreciate only in the World to Come. Not so Torah study. It brings us closer to G-d right here and now, and in leaps and bounds. We *understand* G-d. The deepest, most satisfying form of relationship two people can have is when they understand each other -- when they relate to each other's needs, feelings, and aspirations. We do exactly this -- *with G-d Himself* -- when we study Torah. We understand how G-d views life and the world. We begin to share and appreciate G-d's values and attitudes -- and we feel infinitely closer to Him, and this is exactly what G-d wants.

13  We can thus understand why our mishna states that the entire world is worthwhile for such a person. He single-handedly fulfills the entire purpose of creation -- that man attain closeness to G-d. 


1  The days of the Messiah will come. As it is written u’va letziyon Goel u-leshavei Peshah Be-Yaakov… , and a Redeemer will come to Tziyon, and to those who do Teshuva (Those who repent).  Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of the main prayers in the Siddur. It is included in the Shemoneh Esrei recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service. 

2  Traditional Judaism has always maintained the messianic idea. The mashiach is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the abstract concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to "the End of Days" (Acharit Ha-Yamim), which is the time of the Mashiach; thus, the concept of Mashiach was known in the most ancient times. 

3  The term "Mashiach" literally means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The Mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the Acharit Ha-Yamim (The End of Days).  

4  The word "Mashiach" does not mean "saviour." The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). He is not someone coming to save people from sin, as mistakenly believed by many. The Mashiach is often referred to as "Mashiach Ben David" (Mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural beings. 

5  It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the Mashiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person's lifetime, then that person will be the Mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the Mashiach, then that person is not the Mashiach. 

6 Before the time of the mashiach, there shall be war and suffering (Ezekiel 38:16, Zechariah 14). The events of the time preceding the arrival of the Mashiach are called Hevlei Mashiach (The birth pangs of Mashiach).  

7  The mashiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15).  

8  The world after the messiah comes is often referred to in Jewish literature as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come. This term can cause some confusion, because it is also used to refer to a spiritual afterlife. In English, we commonly use the term "messianic age" to refer specifically to the time of the messiah.  

9  Olam Ha-Ba will be characterized by the peaceful co-existence of all people (Isaiah 2:4). Hatred, intolerance and war will cease to exist. Some authorities suggest that the laws of nature will change, so that predatory beasts will no longer seek prey and agriculture will bring forth supernatural abundance (Isaiah 11:6-11:9). Others, however, say that these statements are merely an allegory for peace and prosperity. 

10  All of the Jewish people will return from their exile among the nations to their home in Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). The law of the Jubilee will be reinstated.  

11  In the Olam Ha-Ba, the whole world will recognize the Jewish G-d as the only true G-d, and the Jewish religion as the only true religion (Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9). There will be no murder, robbery, competition or jealousy. There will be no sin (Zephaniah 3:13). Sacrifices will continue to be brought in the Temple, but these will be limited to thanksgiving offerings, because there will be no further need for expiatory offerings.  

12  Ve-allu Moshiyim be har Tziyom, And many Mashiachs will go up to Mount Tziyon to rule upon the Mount of Essav. 

13 As briefly explained above, the word Mashiach means anointed one. All throughout the Tanakh, we see this term used. Hashem called all His servants, Mashiachs. This title is applied to many people, from abraham to all the anointed kings. 

14  As it is written in regards to the forefather, “Do not do any harm to my prophets, do not touch my Mashiachs.” King Shaul was called Mashiach, King David was called Mashiach, etc. And in this context we understand that the future Mashiach will be a normal Jewish Leader anointed for the position of King, as will also be many other people anointed for different positions and roles in the Kingdom of G-d, all of them are Mashiachs (anointed ones).  


1  There will be a literal resurrection of the dead, for it is prophesied in many places in the Tanakh, and it is clearly written in the book of Daniel that all the Tzaddikim will be brought back to life to inherit the world and receive their rewards and be crowned.  For Hashem loves justice, and He doesn't forsake His Hassidim (saints); they are preserved for ever; The Tzaddikim (righteous) will inherit the earth, and will dwell therein for ever. But the seed of the Reshayim (wicked) shall be cut off from the earth. (Psalm 37:28-29)

2  "Just as a person goes, so he will return. If he died blind, deaf or mute, he will return blind, deaf or mute. As he goes clothed, he will return clothed. G-d said, 'let them rise as they went—and afterwards I will heal them'"—Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 95.   

3  The very body that died will be resurrected. According to tradition, there is a miniscule bone in the upper spine called the luz bone. It is from this indestructible bone that G-d will reconstruct the entire body when the time arrives for the Resurrection of the Dead. (Today, with our understanding of how DNA works, this age-old tradition doesn't seem so far-fetched.) Incidentally, this bone receives its only sustenance from the Melaveh Malka meal, the Saturday night meal that honors the Shabbat Queen as she goes on her way. 

4  The order of the Messianic redemption is as follows: First Mashiach comes and he will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Then comes the Kibbutz Galuyot (The ingathering) of all the exiles. HaShem promises that all the Jews will return to Eretz Israel. Following that the Kiriat ha-metim (resurrection) of the dead will occur forty years after the exiles return to the Land of Israel. The Tzaddikim, the Hassidim (saintly) righteous men and women of all generations, are an exception to this rule; they will be resurrected immediately with the arrival of Moshiach. 

5  First the dead who are buried in Israel will rise from their graves, they will be followed by the dead buried in the Diaspora, followed by the generation that left Egypt and died in the desert. Last of all will rise the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Their resurrection is postponed so that they should have the nachas of waking to find all their children alive, well, and happy. 

6  The categories mentioned above will also be further subdivided. The more righteous individuals will be resurrected before the general population. Amongst these righteous individuals, those who were primarily preoccupied with Torah study will take precedence over those whose forte was mitzvah observance.



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

Rav Moshe Ben MAIMON ZTz”L
Copyright:  © 2015 ABA - EYBO


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