Talk:Jewish principles of faith

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I recently made a minor modification to a paragraph that has been in this article for over a year. In the past Danny, I and others have been in agreement on this point. However, on looking it over the point seemed too strong; it made it look as if Orthodox Jews reject all of modernity, which they certainly do not. (They live in the greater gentile society which sourrounds them, use all modern technology and medicine, and participate in the general economy and society.) As such, I changed a few words to tone down the original. Out of nowhere, Danny wrote "removed ill-informed statement by user who does not know what he is talking about." and took out the entire paragraph. All I can say is "huh"? RK 17:06, Jul 5, 2004 (UTC)

From Hirsch to Kook to Soloveichik to Greenberg, all have adopted ideas from the "Enlightenment," so stop your pompous posing and try to write about things you know. Danny 19:05, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Danny, first off, stop your ad homenim attacks. Secondly, this paragraph has been in this article for a year. Third, you and I already discussed this issue. I never claimed that every single Orthodox Jew rejected every single idea from the enlightenment. You are attributing an extreme position to me that I never had; You and I worked on the articles on Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and we came to a consensus on them. In fact I repeatedly praised the hard work you did on them, and the fine material you added. You know that we agree on this topic. So why this outburst to the contrary? RK
In any case, I find a problem with your examples. While Rabbi Irving Greenberg is a product of the enlightenment, the result is that many of his writings are considered unacceptable to many Orthodox Jews; his views are not representative of any mainstream Orthodox rabbinical group or Yeshiva, and he has been condemned by some of his own modern Orthodox peers as beyond the pale.
As for Rabbis Abraham Isaac Kook and Joseph Soloveitchik, they reject many religious and philosophical enlightenment ideas. Just to give two significant examples, Kook didn't even want women to have the right to vote. And Soloveitchik attacked all post-enlightenment bible research on the Torah as heretical, and held on to some rather medieval ideas about the status of women in Judaism. The fact these men embrace some enlightenment ideas is true, but I never claimed or implied otherwise. I think you are reading way too much into what I wrote. RK

Finally, you literally misread the entire point of the edit I made! The original paragraph made all Orthodox Jews out to be anti-modern, and in (apparent) agreement with you, I toned down this idea. Do you wish to phrase that paragraph another way? Fine, I would welcome your input. RK 19:45, Jul 5, 2004 (UTC)

Acceptance of post-enlightement ideas is admittedly a thorny issue. Nevertheless, a lot of ideas have eventually filtered into religious thought, sometimes after their share of controversy. With every novelty, the question is "halanu atta im le-tzareinu" (Joshua 5:13) - is this development going to be good or detrimental? JFW | T@lk 20:30, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Is dogma inherent in mitzvot? The Maharal ( 1525 – August 22, 1609 or Elul 18) obviously cannot have argued againt Moses Mendelsohn (September 6, 1729 – January 4, 1786). Yaakov N.

View of non-Jews and permitted relationships with them.[edit]

For such complete article the omission of the above is curious.

Curious in what way? Why do you think that topic would be relevant to this article? Jayjg (talk) 01:38, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Jewish Holidays template[edit]

Why is the Jewish holidays template at the bottom here? This article is not about a Jewish holiday. -Joshuapaquin 03:37, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)

Creation of the universe[edit]

JFW, I don't see why what I wrote should be seen as "unbalanced". From what I understand, it has been a mainstream view in Judaism that one should not take the creation account of Gensesis literally. For the last 150 years a great many Orthodox rabbis have stressed that the Bible does not explicitly claim that the world was created six thousands years ago. That was an assumption based on the dating in Seder Olam, a non-canonical midrash that has no formal status in either Jewish law or Jewish theology. In fact, some Kabbalists teach that Jews whp accept Kabbalistic texts as geunine and accurate - which includes a great many Orthodox Jews - should understand that our universe is billions of years old. See the works of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Since the development of modern geology which has proved that our world is some 4.5 billion years old, the great majority of religious Jews (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox) have taught that one must find a way to re-read the Bible in accord with this finding. Why should this not be noted within the main article? RK 17:24, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Kabbalistic views on Creation[edit]

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes about the little known view of Kabbalists about the creation of the world and the evolution of life on Earth. He notes that the Tiferes Yisrael (Rabbi Meir Simchah of Dvinsk, 19th cent) cites a tanna (rabbi of the Mishna) that God created many worlds, and destroyed them, before our world was created. He holds that fossil remains of dinosaurs are indeed millions of years old, and are the remains from these earlier worlds.

The Soc.Culture.Jewish FAQ summarizes more of Aryeh Kaplan's summary:

In Gen 1:1, G-d creates ex nihilo (matter from nothing). Then, before verse 2, these other worlds (in this opinion, epochs) rose and fell. Then, there was "chaos and emptiness" from which our world emerged. The universe as a whole, even the planet, can therefor be older than 5758 years. Since current theory is that the world started as a singularity -- in other words, not within the purvey of science, it is all a matter of faith if the ex nihilo was with the intent of the Creator or not. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan quotes R' Yitzchak of Akko (a student of the Ramban, late medieval) who concludes from the Zohar that the first creation was 15.8 billion years ago -- the age astronomers and physicists seem to be converging on, given multiple ways of measuring the age. The Netziv (R' Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin), in his commentary on chumash, argues against the idea that these earlier worlds left physical evidence. It doesn't fit the precise translation of the quote, that G-d "created worlds umachrivam -- and destroyed them". Instead, the Netziv points to a medrash in which it is explained that the fall of morality in humanity in the days before the flood reflected itself in nature. Even animals interbread, leading to the monstrosities that archeologists find.

Rabbinic statements that are compatible with evolution[edit]

  • Talmud Chagiga 13b states that there were 974 generations of humans before God created Adam.
  • Many midrashim state that the "first week" of Creation lasted for extremely long periods of time. See Anafim on Rabbenu Bachya's Sefer Ikkarim 2:18; Midrash Bereshit Rabba 9. (I haven't read the Anafim on this discursus myself - RK)
  • Midrash Bereshit Rabba 14 states that humans were created with tails!
  • Midrash Tanchuma Genesis 6 states that people born before the time of Noah had webbed fingers!
  • Breshit Rabba 23 states that in the days of Enosh the faces of men became ape like.

So given the above statements in classical rabbinic literature and the Kabbalistic literature, it is hard to say that the classical Jewish view demanded that people accept that the world was created as is some 6,000 years ago. I think the text should stress that the literal understanding of creation in six days was one of a number of religious Jewish understandings, but was not the only one. RK 20:33, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Yet, Rav Kananetsky has ruled that if a ger tzedek believed the world was millions of years old his conversion is pussel even b'di eved. One wonders how you know the above, but a gadol hador does not. The only explenation I can think of is he knows more that enlightens the above in such a way that it does not mean what you think it does. Basejumper2 18:23, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Comment working entirely from memory of my Yeshiva days and later study: First off, the world is described as having being created in motion, so that in answer to the chicken and egg problem, the chicken was created laying on the egg. Therefore looking back through time (as anthropologists do) there should be no recognizable divison line at the moment of creation. (If there were than freedom of choice with regard to belief in divinity would be suspended.) Therefore belief that the world was created 5768 years ago is based on a belief-statement that anything that 'happened' before that happened before creation.

Point 2 is then that there are two ways to continue with this. Method one is that none of that really happened at all, God just created the record of it. Method two is that the word creation refers to the creation of Adam and anything before that is not subject to conversation (religiously) because it has no bearing on us and our relationship to God, as we are described as children of Adam, specifically. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Moisheweiss (talkcontribs) 21:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)[edit]

This vandal Special:Contributions/ appears to be the same as Special:Contributions/Jmac800 and I've noted the additional alias at Wikipedia:Vandalism_in_progress/RU_Moderate.


Why is the {{JewishHolidays}} template included in this article? It's a nice template, don't get me wrong, but I don't see what relevance it has to the Rambam's (or anyone else') interpretations of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism... Tomertalk 09:10, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

You're right. I've removed it. Jayjg (talk) 20:28, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Thirteen Principles[edit]

The main Judaism article had a very jumbled list of Maimonides' 13 Principles (henceforth referred to as 13Ps). I replaced it with the simpler, more accurate list I found on this page. However, while I believe that is sufficient for the Judaism article, the 13Ps are important enough to deserve more thorough treatement in this (or their own) article. I'm pasting below the old list that I removed from the Judaism article, as it has some useful stuff in it, despite being wrong in places. Let's try to get it up to standard and put it into this article. Nomist 16:38, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

  1. God is one - strict unitarian monotheism, in which the eternal creator of the universe is the source of morality.
  2. God is all powerful (omnipotent), as well as all knowing (omniscient), and the different names of God are ways to express different aspects of God's presence in the world (see also: Names of God in Judaism).
  3. God is non-physical, non-corporeal, and eternal. All statements in the Hebrew Bible and in rabbinic literature which use anthropomorphism are held to be linguistic conceits or metaphors, as it would otherwise be impossible to talk about God.
  4. One may offer prayer to God alone — any belief in an intermediary between man and God, either necessary or optional, has traditionally been considered heretical.
  5. The Hebrew Bible, and much of the beliefs described in the Mishnah and Talmud, are held to be the product of divine revelation. How revelation works, and what precisely one means when one says that a book is "divine", has always been a matter of some dispute. Different understandings of this subject exist among Jews.
  6. The words of the prophets are true.
  7. Moses was the chief of all prophets.
  8. The Torah (five books of Moses) is the primary text of Judaism.
  9. God will reward those who observe His commandments, and punish those who violate them.
  10. God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with Him (see also: Jews as a chosen people).
  11. There will be a moshiach (Jewish Messiah), or perhaps a messianic era.
  12. The soul is pure at birth, and human beings have free will, with an innate yetzer ha'tov (a tendency to do good), and a yetzer ha'ra (a tendency to do bad).
  13. People can atone for sins through words and deeds, without intermediaries, through prayer, repentance, and tzedakah (dutiful giving of charity), if accompanied by a sincere decision to cease unacceptable actions and if appropriate amends to others are honestly undertaken, always providing a "way back" to God. (see also: Jewish views of sin)


Actually, Maimonides explains his principles in detail in his commentary to Sanhedrin, Perek Chelek. It would seem that that should be the source for further explanation in the article as the ideas listed above bear very little resemblance to Maimonides' own explanation there. I will attempt to put an exact translation onto this talk page in the near future (time permitting). Shykee 06:54, 21 May 2006 (UTC)shykee

Your principles are a bit mixed up, and you're missing some and you add some others.

  1. The Creator creates and guides all creatures , and He alone, made, makes and will make everything.
  2. The Creator is unique and there is no uniqueness like His in any way, and He alone is our God, Who was, Who is and Who will always be.
  3. The Creator is not physical and is not affected by physical phenomena, and there is no comparison whatsoever to Him.
  4. The Creator is the very first and the very last.
  5. The Creator - to Him alone is it proper to pray and it is not proper to pray to any other.
  6. All the words of the prophets are true.
  7. The prophecy of Moses out teacher was true and he was the father of all prophets - both those who preceded him and those who followed him.
  8. The entire Torah now in our hands is the same one that was given to Moses our teacher.
  9. This Torah will not be exchanged nor will there be another Torah from the Creator.
  10. The Creator knows all deeds of human beings and their thoughts, as it is said, "He fashions their hearts together, He comprehends all their deeds." [1]
  11. The Creator rewards with good those who observe his commandments and punishes those who violate his commandments.
  12. The Messiah will come, and even though he may delay, nevertheless it is anticipated every day that he will come.
  13. There will be a resuscitation of the dead whenever the wish emanates from the Creator.

[2] DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 12:14, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Article lacking crucial context, re-write in progress[edit]

  • To quote Maimonides, "There is no difference between [the Biblical statement] "his wife was Mehithabel" (Genesis 10,6) on the one hand (i.e. an "unimportant" verse), and "Hear, O Israel" on the other (i.e. an "important" verse)...anyone who denies even such verses thereby denies God and shows contempt for his teachings more than any other skeptic, because he holds that the Torah can be divided into essential and non-essential parts...".
  • To quote Sefer Haikarim (R' J. Albo), "He who transgresses a law because he questions wether the law was commanded by God or communicated orally by God to Moses is excluded from the ranks of the believers...there are as many articles of faith [in Judaism] as there are commandments in the Torah." (Ch.14,Book 1).

It would be great to hear a response, but it seems that the lack of context in the article results in a profoundly skewered presentation of the "Rishonim's" ideas and beliefs. The article can easily be understood to imply that the Rishonim viewed Judaism as some sort of ephemeral, intangible belief system with only a few basic concepts and "principles" necessary in order to be a Jew in good standing. Some basic ideas are neglected: the controversy surrounding the enumeration of any principles at all; the idea, very clear in their writings, that these basic tenets are only underpinnings necessary for a full acceptance of the complete Written and Oral Torah. Because these criticisms would demand a very large overhaul of the article, it seems only fair to first set them forth in the "talk" area for discussion before editing. Shykee 05:22, 21 May 2006 (UTC)shykee

Additionally, the article incorrectly describes Mendelsohn's views. Of course he believed that Judaism had inherent beliefs. His innovation was saying that those aspects of Judaism that dealt with belief could be utilized as universal truths applicable to all mankind. The rest was considered exclusively jewish "law". Shykee 06:42, 21 May 2006 (UTC)shykee
Have slowly begun the re-write. Any suggestions or criticisms would be appreciated. Shykee 20:16, 12 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Yetzer Hara article[edit]

The article Yetzer Hara should perhaps be expanded, or merged with Jewish principles of faith -- 01:50, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Introductory paragraph[edit]

The first of the following two sentences

"Some later rabbis have attempted to reconcile the differences, saying that Maimonides' principles are covered by Albo's much shorter list. While some later rabbis have attempted to reconcile the differences, claiming that Maimonides' principles are covered by Albo's much shorter list, the difference, and alternate lists provided by other medieval rabbinic authorities seem to indicate a some level of tolerance for varying theological perspectives."

Is unnecessary. I will hereby delete it for the sake of clarity and rectitude. Fine work over here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

This is an old comment, but I decided to follow through and rework the intro. Please review. ←Humus sapiens ну? 23:35, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I am so confused[edit]

I have read this and i have read Islam there is so much in common, so why is there so much hate? Why do Jews prefer Christians to Muslims when Muslims and Jews have a better history? Is Israel the source of this division? I mean the whole one god thing, the purification, the praying, Christianity is so different and yet why does this article not say "like Islam" but it compares to Chritianity? Oh yeah and the whole laws of leviticus, no pork , no usary, --HalaTruth(ሀላካሕ) 22:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

While others may share your observations and emotions, let's restrict the talk pages for their direct purpose: improving WP articles. Thanks. ←Humus sapiens ну? 23:19, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

the comment is in relation to the refernces to Christianity why not make the more sensible refernces to Islamic belief. So It is a suggested imporvement,--HalaTruth(ሀላካሕ) 00:32, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

ahh found what i was looking for Abrahamic religion this is where the topic lives., thank you mr humus sapien for your time (again)--HalaTruth(ሀላካሕ) 01:06, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Paragraph 4 -- Halacha[edit]

"Although Orthodox and traditional Jews continue to stress the divine origin of Torah, most rabbinical authorities have agreed that there is no halakhic obligation to adhere to any particular statement of principles of faith, other than a belief in the oneness of God."

Since halacha and halachic have not been defined for the reader, perhaps the sentence should read "most rabbinical authorities have agreed that there is no obligation under Jewish law to adhere..." Alternatively, you may want to link the word halacha to an appropriate wikipedia page or definition. Eyshetchayil 04:45, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

A Misquote of Asher ben Jehiel[edit]

"In the fourteenth century Asher ben Jehiel of Toledo raised his voice against the Maimonidean articles of faith, declaring them to be only temporary, and suggested that another be added to recognize that the Exile is a punishment for the sins of Israel. "

The above quote regarding Asher ben Jehiel's comments are false. These comments are quoted in his name because they appear in a forged set of responsa attributed to him named Besamim Rosh. This book was proven a forgery in the eighteenth century (which is also when it first appeared) by Rabbi Mordechai Bannet. The Besamim Rosh was actually written by the reformer Saul Berlin, who " attempt[ed] to undermine traditional Judaism." This quote, as well as all of the information above, can be found in Marc B. Shapiro's book The Limits of Orthodox Theology on page 21. Therefore, I believe this passage should be removed from the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DJS20 (talkcontribs) 16:57, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

If you read the rest of the paragraph, for the next sentence to have the meaning it previously had demands part of the content of the sentence you removed be restored to it. "took the same attitude" meant "the same as was expressed in the sentence you cut". Can you fix this? GRBerry

Suggested corrections/additions[edit]

Before I begin, in the interest of fairness I must profess an ignorance of non-Orthodox Judaism. The comments below are based on a lifetime of study - in Yeshiva and afterwards - of Orthodox Judaism, mostly Misnagdish, some Chasidish. Someone else will have to clarify where the points I am making are valid only for Orthodox but not for non Orthodox.

Big huge point number one: End of 2nd paragraph: "Judaism stresses performance of deeds or commandments rather than adherence to a belief system." This is totally false. As mentioned in many places throughout Jewish law (and touched upon in the article) observance of the commandments without belief in their source or observance of all the commendments except one is considered observance of nothing at all. For example there is a statement in the Mishnah (I forget where, but near the end of order Nezikin)that "Epicurus" (often called an opikores, but actually the name of a person) has no place in the world to come. The Artscroll compilation of the Mishnah has a note on bottom that Epicurus was a contemporary of aristotle who believed in the Jewish principles from a humanistic rather than divine standpoint.

Big point number two: The article leaves out some important information about the Maimonides 13 principles of faith and others like it. At the time they were first written other rabbis took great exception (in various responsa) to certain priniciples being labeled as more fundamental than others, since it is all equally divine. Other Rabbis responded that the concentration on these particular principles of faith were based on a logical argument: given a few principles taken as axiomatic the rest follow by reason. The principles stated by Maimonides and others are therefore the ones each think must be taken as axiomitic in order to derive the others. However: All agree that all the principles of the bible are divine and neccessary. As mentioned in the article there is an educational advantage in selecting a few principles to concentrate on and it is for this reason that the Principles of Faith were written.

Next point, not sure how to handle it: the name Moses Mendelsohn in Orthodox Judaism is fairly synonymous with the term heretic. Therefore in siting principles of faith as different between the branches of Judaism this must be clarified.

Next point, while no principles of faith of the size and shape of Maimonides' 13 have been cannonized, this is specifically because much larger works, such as the Talmud in specific more than any other, is cannonized as the tome of not just law but faith as well. The Talmud is the cannonized tome of priniciples of Jewish faith. No shorter work can be described as definitive because belief is an all or none proposition. In summary of this point the statement that principles of faith are not cannonized is false. The Talmud is that cannon. --Moisheweiss (talk) 21:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

In The soul is pure at birth, it seems to me that this phrase: "Thus, human beings have free will..." is ill-advised. The "thus" signifies the force of a conclusion. However, that humans possess free will does not obviously follow from the capacity to do either good, or evil, or both. It would be better to simply begin, "Human beings have free will..." -- though that almost belongs under a different section.rasqual (talk) 03:42, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Rabbi Wells on the principals[edit]

Rabbi Wells, an orthodox rabbi, in a speech given at Yeshiva University comments that 'perfect faith' implies more then just faith. Perfect faith can only come through logic (as belief can differ from person to person) and therefore these principals must be according logic. He said "those that claim that religion is based on thoughtlessness or non-rationality are very sadly mistaken". He believes that logic must be the ruling force when it comes to accepting or rejecting Judaism. <== that belongs somewhere - where?

Really negative[edit]

Has anyone noticed that the first four out of six sentences are all written in the negative? And that the lead reads like a discussion, not an encyclopedia entry? Yoninah (talk) 23:03, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


According to our article:

Maimonides' 13 principles were controversial when first proposed, evoking criticism by Crescas and Joseph Albo. They evoked criticism as minimizing acceptance of the entire Torah (Rabbi S. of Montpelier, Yad Rama, Y. Alfacher, Rosh Amanah). The 13 principles were ignored by much of the Jewish community for the next few centuries.

I actully heard that Rambam was excommunicated by suome rabbis at the tim, though I do not know the details. Can someone (or people) fill this in? I am not trying to get down on Rambam, but the fact that dafka he was criticized reveals a lot about the egree of dissent that Judaism can bear. I think it is a very instructive moment in Jewish history. The debate - what, specifically, were Crescas and Albo's reasons, how did Rambam or orhters respond ... would go much farther than illustrating something the article already says (at times it has been hard or controversial to establish uniformity of blief), it will actually reveal the true if heterogeneous nature of Jewish faith, by detailing the diferent things Jewish sages considered worth arguing over, and taking the time to explain what these rabbis believed, and why they disagreed so. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:30, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

This is surely a joke![edit]

At the introduction it says, "Although Jews and religious leaders share a core of monotheistic principles, Judaism has no formal statement of principles of faith such as a creed that is recognized or accepted by all."

However, it seems to me that most people know of the 10 Commandments at least. These in themselves define the principles on which an individual's relationship with God, i.e. faith, is established. Therefore there is a clear statement of such principles in the core document of Judaism, and the central authority for it in none other than God --Meieimatai? 22:41, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

What's the problem here? Ten Commandments or not, there is a vast difference between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, most of which revolves around the principles of faith. Saying all Jews, in which Reform are super relaxed about this stuff, define their principles based on these 10, at minimum, simply because they are Jewish, is original research. Considering your last sentence and your user pages, I worry you may have a strong bias here. I would appreciate you coming at this with an unbiased perspective. Thank you. --132 04:54, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Is it really biased to refer to God when speaking about religion? We're not talking about Club Med, you know. Bus stop (talk) 05:10, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
[[User:thirteen squared|13], the problem is that statement. Judaism did not begin with modern definitions of either Reform or Orthodox. It begun way back when. At that time Jews and Jewish religious leaders did share a core of monotheistic principles, and there was a formal statement of the principles of faith. That some members of some of the groups that are not considered a part of the wider spectra of Judaism do not share these principles NOW is really putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?
I don't really care what you think or worry about, or how you approach the issue posed here in this talk based on your assumptions about my user page!
At one time all Jews did hold the 10 Commandments to be a basis of faith. So much so they are listed twice in the Hebrew Bible. You think that is "original research"?
And how does one remain unbiased about seeking to define a central creed as principles of faith in the original monotheistic faith? Bias is not a crime you know. It serves to identify those avenues of thought which are better suited to arriving at the answer. For example I have a strong bias against articles that make unreferenced statements. You have a problem with that?
I for one do not appreciate your antagonistic and evasive approach to this discussion--Meieimatai? 12:20, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
You just said it yourself..."At one time..." This is no longer the case. You're trying to force the view "At one time..." on a modern issue. This article has to use current wording, not wording from "at one time" and that is the original research here. You're saying that "at one time all Jews did hold the 10 commandments at the basis of faith" and trying to apply it to a modern issue, which is a conservative way of thinking, and that is just not the case at present. Note, the sentence you have issue with is worded in the present tense, not the past. Thus, my issue with your message. I wouldn't have nearly these concerns had you been arguing about a statement about the past, as opposed to one about the present, because at one time, that was indeed the case. --132 16:22, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
No, read it again. The introductory sentence says that at NO time did Jews have a set of principles of faith. This is patently not true. Not only that, but only a minority of Jews that now ascribe to Judaism as a faith rather than a cultural tradition do not hold the 10 Commandments to be a cornerstone of their expression of faith regardless of the degree of observance of the other 610 commandments. I have been in several synagogues which had the tablets of Moses displayed over the ark with the commandments on them either in full or abbreviated form. Clearly they hold an important meaning to Jews, at one time, and still.
As for your claim that "This article has to use current wording", this is untrue either. The article uses whatever warding is required to deliver the information for the reader. Since principles of faith in a religion that spans several millennia are likely to be found in a historical source and not a modern one, then that is the wording that is used.--Meieimatai? 20:37, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
I am Jewish and I have some idea what an "article of faith" is and it starts with "I believe in". The ten commandments are laws to be obeyed, in earlier times >because you already had faith<. So adding some clarity to our thinking doesn't make you wrong,it simply points out you are arguing a "non-cause" and putting peaches in the bit where the tennis balls go. I suppose that one had faith in G-d thus followed It's commandments. Otherwise it's faith in a book and I'd have to ask why? There's also faith in reason and faith in tradition, faith in a parent or ancestor. There's faith that you have received a personal trasmission. The question we are dealing with is what are the _Jewish_ articles of faith. The 10 commandments are part of the entire Torah. Is there is _Jewish_ understanding of them as more important? IDK. (talk) 06:12, 31 March 2012 (UTC)OD-CA
I think you all are missing the point here. What is faith or belief in the first place? The article says other monotheistic religions (i.e. Christianity, Islam) have a central declaration of faith, where-as Judaism doesn't. Specifically, to be a Christian or Muslim, you must "declare your faith" in Jesus as being a Messiah, or as Mohammed being a "seal of the prophets". Judaism doesn't have anything like this - in order to be Jewish, you don't declare "I believe this" - instead, you follow the Jewish commandments (613 of them, traditionally). Maimonides' 13 principles of faith, are sort of a negative reaction to Islam and Christianity - i.e., he is pointing out that Jews don't believe that the Messiah has come yet, they don't believe that there was a prophet after Moses, and so on. Before Judaism was threatened by religions declaring you have to "declare faith" in something, it wasn't necessary for Judaism to have a "declaration of faith". Instead, they had the "Shema", which basically says to follow God's commandments.Jimhoward72 (talk) 10:15, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Tikkun Olam[edit]

In section 1.3, Reward and Punishment, it is stated: "Judaism has always considered "Tikkun Olam" (or Perfecting the world) as a fundamental reason for God's creating the world. Therefore, the concept of "life after death," in the Jewish view, is not encouraged as the sole motivating factor in performance of Judaism. Indeed it is held that one can attain closeness to God even in this world through moral and spiritual perfection."

I am under the impression that Tikkun Olam is a Kabbalistic formation, and was elucidated in the middle ages. This section is unsourced. Is there any documentation for the assertion that "Judaism has always considered "Tikkun Olam" as a fundamental reason for God's creating the world."? Mweisenfeld (talk) 22:59, 27 December 2009 (UTC)mweisenfeld

Maimonides' 13 principles of faith[edit]

In the French version of the 13 principles, there is a subtext to each of them that further explains their meaning. I find them quite helpful but unfortunately no references are given. My French is adequate but not great. Does anyone know of an English version of these? If so, it might not be a bad idea to add them to this article. Mike Hayes (talk) 18:02, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

I like this idea. It enriches the topic. Mike, maybe you could find them in French at least. OD-CA76.172.73.97 (talk) 06:14, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Having grown up under the distinct impression that it is presumptuous for me to assert the existence of an Afterlife, I was surprised to read the following in this article:

"..However most Jews today believe in a Heaven as opposed to an Underworld. ..".

Understandably, opinions have evolved over time amongst American Jewry on a variety of topics. Unfortunately, the lack of an in-line citation makes it difficult for anyone to verify this purported statement of fact. At minimum, such a citation must disclose polling results, and that these results must be representative. Vonkje (talk) 15:18, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

A very strong North American bias[edit]

There are two MAJOR related issues with this article which I think is beyond me to fix. The first issue is the absence of the Mizrahi / Sephardi viewpoint (at least after the Rambam), and the second issue (quite related) is the strong emphasis on the North American division of Ashkenazi Judaism into 'sects' (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox'. The article gives the impression that these divisions span the entire Jewish world, which happens to be what most North American Ashkenazim think, however we need someone or a few people who are familiar with the Mizrahi & Sephardic viewpoints, as well as the viewpoints of Jews in Israel and elsewhere in the East. It so happens that most English-speaking Jews live in North America and are Ashkenazi, so it makes sense that the English wikipedia article reflects that viewpoint, and yet this paints an unbalanced view of the reality in which a large part of Judaism is being unrepresented. And I am aware that there are some significant differences here. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

This lead is a mess[edit]

The lead on this article is not beyond salvation but it needs a serious review and something has to go. A tip would be to avoid using parenthesis for so-called clarity. It offers nothing but makes the thing hard to read. Its the lead, be general, sum up the article without trying to accommodate every single last known position to mankind. --Inayity (talk) 22:39, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

look at this transcendent, non-compound God, who created the universe, and continues to be concerned with its governance. What is the definition of Transcendent so ... G-d is transcendent and Immanence I may have missed something. Either way this article is about principles of faith not the nature or properties of G-d in Judaism. --Inayity (talk) 22:47, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Psalms 33:15
    • ^ Scherman, Nosson. Artscroll prayer books, listed imediately after morning prayers. Numerous ISBN, including ISBN:1-4226-0035-1