13 Principles of Jewish Faith

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Rabbi Yehuda Chayoun brings down from R. Chaim of Brisk:

“Based on Rambam, R. Chaim of Bris maintains that, in questions of faith, even an unintentional nonbeliever is an apikores. For belief entails knowledge of the thirteen principles, so anyone unfamiliar with even one of them is remiss in his faith and therefore a heretic. It makes no difference if his ignorance is unintentional or predicated on a mistake. The fact that he does not know this principle makes him a heretic.” [From “When Moshiach Comes, ch.1]

As such, it is incumbent on all Jews to both know these principles and to believe in them. The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology vol. I has a great explanation of the Thirteen Principles. These Thirteen Principles are noted below:

  1. I believe with perfect faith that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.
  2. I believe with perfect faith that God is one. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our God – He was, He is and He will be.
  3. I believe with perfect faith that God does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing that resembles Him at all.
  4. I believe with perfect faith that God is the first and last.
  5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or anything else.
  6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
  7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all the prophets, both before and after him.
  8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses.
  9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another Torah given by God.
  10. I believe with perfect faith that God knows all of man’s deeds and thoughts. It is thus written (Psalm 33:15), “He has molded ever heart together, He understands what each one does.”
  11. I believe with perfect faith that God rewards those who keep his commandment, punishes those who transgress His commandments.
  12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. No matter how long it takes, I await his coming every day.
  13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when God wills it to happen. Source: Aryeh Kaplan Anthology, Vol I

In the Zechus of strengthening both the knowing and believing in the Thirteen Principles, we should merit the complete redemption of the Jewish People immediately through the coming of our righteous redeemer.

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