Basic Jewish Beliefs

Understanding basic Jewish beliefs is critical to understanding the core of Judaism. This section will explore the tenets of Judaism one by one, attempting to answer your most frequently asked questions, to dispel common myths, and to elucidate the confusing and obscure.

To “believe” in something does not imply flying blind, nor does it connote faith in the illogical. To the contrary: a vital element of belief – and especially in Jewish beliefs – is the asking of questions and the challenging of dictates and theorems.

To help you in your exploration, study, and understanding of Jewish beliefs, I invite you to fill out this form and send in your questions and comments. I will do my best to answer you as soon as possible.

To begin your quest, here are some of the topics that typically arise when exploring the fundamentals of Judaism and the Jewish faith.

  • Who is God?
  • What does Judaism have to say about the creation of the world?
  • What is the Torah?
  • Does Prophecy always mean to see the future?
  • Are there consequences to our actions? (“Retribution”)
  • What is the nature and importance of Jewish Prayer?
  • What is Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) and how does it relate to the practice of Judaism?
  • How will the world be affected by the Redemption of the Jewish nation?
  • What is meant by the Jewish concept “Resurrection of the Dead”?

Of course, a discussion about basic Jewish beliefs wouldn’t be complete without addressing the issue of “emunah” – faith. Is having faith the same thing as believing? And where does the concept of “proof” (proof of the Torah, proof of God) fit into the realm of Judaism? These and many more questions will be addressed in these pages. To begin our journey in the tenets of Judaism, the most widely accepted summary of basic Jewish beliefs is the Rambam’s “Thirteen Principles of Faith.” According to the Rambam, here are the minimum beliefs required of every Jew:

  1. God exists
  2. G-d is one and unique
  3. G-d is incorporeal
  4. G-d is eternal
  5. Prayer is to be directed to God and to no other
  6. The words of the prophets are true
  7. Moses was the greatest of all the prophets
  8. Both the Written and Oral Torah were given to Moses on Sinai
  9. There is and will be no other Torah
  10. God knows all man’s thoughts and deeds
  11. G-d will reward the good and punish the wicked
  12. The Messiah will come
  13. The Dead will be resurrected