What I believe

I have been getting a lot of posts here and
even more e-mails asking me, “what is it
exactly that Jews believe that make them…
well…“Jewish” and can you explain what it is?” All Jews, in order to be a Jew, must
either be born to a Jewish mother or have
properly converted but in addition to that,
they MUST believe in the RAMBAM’s 13 Principles of Judaism.

Here they are (enjoy):

Maimonides’ 13 Foundations of Judaism

Principle I. To know the existence of the Creator To believe in the existence of the Creator, and this creator is perfect in all manner of existence. He is the cause of all existence. He causes us to exist and we exist only because of Him. And if you could contemplate a case such that He were not to exist then all things would cease to exist and there would remain nothing. And if you were to contemplate a case such that all things would cease to exist aside from the creator, His existence would not cease. And He would lose nothing and oneness and kingship is His alone. God of strength is His name because He is sufficient with His own existence and suffices just Him alone and needs no other. And the existences of the angels, and the celestial bodies, and all that is in them and that which is below them all need Him for their existence. And this is the first pillar and is attested to by the verse “I am ‘Adonai’ your God.”

Principle II. The Unity of God Meaning to say to accept that this is the quintessential idea of Oneness. It is not like the oneness of a pair (i.e. pair of shoes - one group) or and not one like a species. And not like man that has many individuals nor like a body that divides into many different parts until no end (everything keeps on being divisible). Rather God is one and there is no other oneness like His. This is the second principle and is taught in what it says "Hear Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is one."  

Principle III. The Denial of Physicality in Connection with God. This is to accept that this Oneness that we have mentioned above (2) is not a body and has no strength in the body, and has no shape or image or relationship to a body or parts thereof. This is why the Sages of blessed memory said with regards to heaven there is no sitting, nor standing, no awakeness, nor tiredness. This is all to say that He does not partake of any physical actions or qualities. And if He were to be a body then He would be like any other body and would not be God. And all that is written in the holy books regarding descriptions of God, they are all anthropomorphic. Thus said our great Rabbis of blessed memory. The Torah spoke in man's language (i.e. using our terms so that we'd have some understanding). And the Rabbis have already spoken at length on this issue. This is the third pillar and is attested to by the verse "For you saw no image" meaning that you did not see an image or any form when you stood at Sinai because as we have just said He has no body nor power of the body.  

Principle IV. God's Antiquity. This is that God existed prior to everything and exists after everything. This is proved many times throughout scripture and is attested to by the verse "meuna Elokei kedem"  

Principle V. That God, blessed be He is worthy that we serve Him, to glorify Him, to make known His greatness, to do His commands. But not to do this to those that are below Him in the creation. Not to the angels or to the stars or the planets or anything else for they are all created things in nature and in their work there is no choice or judgment except by God Himself. Also it is not fitting to serve them as intermediaries to God. Only to God should you incline your thoughts and your actions. This is the fifth principle and it warns against idolatry and most of the Torah speaks out against this.  

Principle VI. Prophecy. And this is that it is known to man that this is a type of man who are created beings of high of great stature and perfection of the character traits. Who have tremendous knowledge until a different intelligence attaches to them when the intelligence of the person clings to the intelligence of God and it rests upon him. And these are the prophets and this is prophecy and the idea of it. The explanation of it is very long and the intention is not to bring a sign for every fundamental and to explain it all is encompassing of all knowledge (i.e. God's knowledge) but it is mentioned to us in a story form and all of the Torah attests to this.  

Principle VII. The Prophetic Capacity of Moses our Teacher, peace be upon him. And this is that we accept that he was the father of all prophets that were before him and that will be after him. He was on a qualitatively different level than any other and he is chosen from all other people before and after him of any that have any knowledge of God for his was the greatest. And he, peace be upon him, rose to the levels of the angels. He was granted all areas of knowledge and prophecy and his physical attributes did not diminish. His knowledge was different and it is through this difference that it is ascribed to him that he spoke to God without any intermediary or angel. My intention was to explain this puzzling concept and to open up the sealed areas in the Torah regarding the verses of "face to face" and other similar references but it's length would be tremendous and it would require numerous proofs from the Torah and other sources and encompass many areas. Even to write it the briefest of briefest it would require dozens of pages so I will save it and write it in another time. I will now return to the intent of this seventh fundamental that the prophecy of Moshe our teacher, peace be upon him, was different from all others in 4 ways: 1) All other prophets God spoke to them through intermediaries. By Moshe it was without one as it says "face to face I spoke to him". 2) By all other prophets prophecy came to them at night while they were asleep in a dream as it says "in a dream of the night" and other such references or in the day but only after a deep sleep-like state came over them and all their senses were shut off except their thoughts. Not so by Moshe. Moshe would receive a prophecy any time when he would stand between the two figures on the ark as God attests to it "and I will make it known to you there" and "not so my servant Moshe. Face to face I speak to him." 3) When a prophet would receive prophecy he would not be able to stand the intense effect and he would shake and not be able to stand. As it relates regarding Daniel in his encounter with the angel Gabriel. By Moshe he did not suffer from this. As it says "Face to face do I speak to him as a person speaks to his friend". And even though this is the greatest connection to God still he did not suffer. 4) All other prophets could not receive prophecy at their will. Only when God wanted to tell them. Some would go days or months without prophecy. Even if they wanted or needed something sometimes it would be days or months or years or even never that they would be told. Some would have people play music to put them in a good mood such as Elisha. But Moshe peace be upon him received prophecy whenever he wanted as it says "Stand here and listen to what God will tell you what to do" and "God said to Moshe tell Aaron your brother that he can't come to the holy of holies at any time [he wants[". Our rabbis said "Aaron was prohibited to come whenever he wanted but not Moshe.  

Principle VIII. That the Torah is from heaven (i.e. God given) And this is that you believe that all of this Torah that was given by Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him, that it is all from the mouth of God. Meaning that it was received by him entirely from God. And it is not known how Moshe received it except by Moshe himself, peace be upon him, that it came to him. That he was like a stenographer that you read to him and he writes all that is told to him: all the events and dates, the stories, and all the commandments. There is no difference between "And the sons of Cham were Kush, and Mitzraim, and his wife was Mehatbe'el" and "Timnah was his concubine" and "I am the Lord your God" and "Hear Israel [the Lord is God, the Lord is one]" for it was all given by God. And it is all Hashem's perfect Torah, pure, holy, and true. And he who says that these verses or stories, Moshe made them up he is a denier of our sages and prophets worse than all other types of deniers [form of heretic] for he thinks that what is in the Torah is from man's flawed heart and the questions and statements and the dates and stories are of no value for they are from Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him. And this area is that he believes the Torah is not from heaven. And on this our sages of blessed memory said, "he who believes that the Torah is from heaven except this verse that God did not say it but rather Moshe himself did [he is a denier of all the Torah]." And this that God spoke this and that each and every statement in the Torah is from God and it is full of wisdom (each statement) and benefit to those who understand them. And it's depth of knowledge is greater than all of the land and wider than all the seas and a person can only go in the path of David, the anointed of the God of Jacob who prayed and said "Open my eyes so that I may glance upon the wonders of Your Torah (Psalms 119)." And similarly the explanation of the Torah was also received from God and this is what we use today to know the appearance and structure of the sukka and the lulav and the shofar, tzitzis, tefillin and their usage. And all this God said to Moshe And Moshe told to us. And he is trustworthy in his role as the messenger and the verse that teaches of this fundamental is what is written (Numbers 16) "And Moshe said, with this shall you know that the lord sent me to do all these actions (wonders) for they are not from my heart."  

Principle IX. The Completeness of the Torah. And this is that the Torah is from God and is not lacking. That to it you can't add or take away from. Not from the written Torah or from the oral Torah. As it says "Do not add to it and do not take away from it." (Deut 3). And we already explained what needs to be explained about this fundamental at the beginning of this post.

Principle X. That G-d knows man's actions and does not remove His eye from them. His knowledge is not like someone who says God abandoned the land but rather like it says (Jer. 32) "Great in council and mighty in deed, Your eyes are cognizant to all the ways of mankind." "And God saw for the evil of man on the land had grown greatly (Gen. 6)." and it says "The disgust of Sodom and Amorrah is great" and this demonstrates the 10th principle.  

Principle XI. That God gives reward to he who does the commandments of the Torah and punishes those that transgress its admonishes and warnings. And the great reward is the life of the world to come and the punishment is the cutting off of the soul [in the world to come]. And we already said regarding this topic what these are. And the verse that attests to this principle is (Exodus 32) "And now if You would but forgive their sins - and if not erase me from this book that You have written." And God answered him "He who sinned against Me I will erase from my book." This is a proof that God knows the sinner and the fulfiller in order to give out reward to one and punishment to the other.  

Principle XII. The Era of the Messiah. And this is to believe that in truth that he will come and that you should be waiting for him even though he delays in coming. And you should not come up with times for him to come, or to look in the verses of Tanach to see when he should come. The sages say: The wisdom of those who calculate times [of his coming] is small and that you should believe that he will be greater and more honored than all of the kings of Israel since the beginning of time as it is prophesied by all the prophets from Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him, until Malachi, peace be upon him. And he who doubts or diminishes the greatness of the moshiach is a denier in all the Torah for it testifies to the moshiach explicitly in the portion of Bilam and the portion of "You are gathered (towards the end of Deut)". And part of this principle that there is no king of Israel except from the house of David and from the seed of Solomon alone. And anyone who disputes this regarding this family is a denier of the name of God and in all the words of the prophets.  

Principle XIII. Resurrection of the dead. And when the person will believe all these fundamentals and his faith will be clear in them he enters into the nation of Israel and it is a mitzva to love him and to have mercy on him and to act to him according to all the ways in which God commanded us regarding loving your neighbor. And even if he did all of the sins in the Torah due to desire of the emotions, and from his physical aspect's conquering him, he will be punished for his sins, but he still has a share in the world to come and is among the sinners of Israel. However if he rejects one of these fundamentals he leaves the nation and is a denier of the fundamentals and is called a heretic, a denier, etc and it is a mitzva to hate him and to destroy him (financially - not physically to kill him. And not to steal either.) And regarding him it is said (Psalms 139) "Behold will not the enemy of God be my enemy?" - Brock

Damn Brock. Can you now please explain to me the underlying principles of Reaganomics in a declining economy. LOL

Rumor has it that you will soon be releasing -“TORAH for
DUMMIES.” Is there any truth to this?

this forum has turned in revenge of yeshivah

Very informative. Are there any introductory books into the teachings of Kabbalists and the Torah that you would recommend?

Before Kabbalah you would need to master
Gemorrah. Before Gemorrah you would need to
master Mishna. Before Mishna you would need
to master Torah. It is a 20-25 year path
before one studies Kabbalah and can appreciate
it. One is not to study Kabbalah before they
are 30 years old said the old mystics.
I, myself, have not studied it yet and most
never will. You can check Amazon for
info and “translations” but if you can’t
read it in Aramaic or Hebrew, you will miss
out on most of it. Amazon also has (I kid
you not) the “Idiot’s Guide to Judaism”.
Good read. --Brock