Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 13 principles of the Jewish Faith. # 1. God exists

In his Perush haMishanyot, Maimonides (1135-1204) formulated the principles of the Jewish faith.

"The first principle involves the belief in the existence of God".

God is our Creator, the Creator of the universe and the Creator of life.

"The ultimate foundation and the pillar of wisdom is the realization that there is a Being, a first cause, who brought everything into existence."

In Mishne Tora Maimonides describes this belief as knowledge of God.

What is knowledge of God? We, the Jewish people, experienced collectively God's revelation at Mount Sinai. In a sense, our knowledge of God is based on historical facts. At this very basic level, our knowledge of God is intimately related and depending on our trust in our forefathers --beginning with Abraham, Ytzchaq and Yaaqob-- as credible witnesses of God's revelation and as credible testifiers of all historical facts related in our Tora.

But this historical knowledge (=legacy) is just the basic ground of our faith. On an individual level, every Jew should set for himself as the ultimate goal of his and her life to acquire knowledge of God. "Knowledge" should not be confused with "understanding". We do not expect to understand God! This "knowledge" is a function of closeness, of us being aware of God's Presence, and our awe and love for Him. Praying to God, following His commandments and especially, studying His Tora, increases our closeness and knowledge of God.

The pursuit of this knowledge represents the fulfillment of the first of the Ten Commandments "I'm the lord, your God".

Don't miss this BRILLIANT presentation!!!

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks response to atheism