What are YOUR 13 Principles of Jewish Faith?

Each week for the past 45 years or so, I have been expressing solidarity with the thirteen principles of Judaism as outlined by Maimonides (Rambam) in the 12th Century. I’ve done it through reciting Ani Ma’amin (“I Believe”) as set forth by him and in singing the poetic version of it, Yigdal, which is part of the daily prayer book. My reading is generally perfunctory, without much thought as to the content of the principles.

When a few months ago, my friend Dan asked me about the 13 principles, there ensued some real soul searching about whether my (and his) beliefs aligned with Rambam’s. We aren’t total originals; the Reform movement went about updating Yigdal decades ago to align with its beliefs. But those of us who are traditional or Orthodox in practice often recite prayers without delving too much into whether we deeply believe what we are saying. Cast in point: the Orthodox prayer book retains a Musaf service in which we affirm a desire to reinstate animal sacrifices.

So with an acknowledgement of Dan’s challenge, I am doing the following:

  1. Publishing below a link that includes the original 13 Principles of Faith
  2. Inviting YOU to create your own 13 principles and to send them to be for posting, including a brief bio
  3. Posting, for comment, the best of the ones that I receive

Please join the conversation.

You can find Maimonides 13 principles in Hebrew and English at http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/judaism/13-principles.html.

The list is:

  1. Belief in the existence of the Creator, be He Blessed, who is perfect in every manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.
  2. Belief in God’s absolute and unparalleled unity.
  3. Belief in God’s noncorporeality, that he is not affected by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling.
  4. Belief in God’s eternity.
  5. Belief that one is to worship Him exclusively and no foreign false gods.
  6. Belief that God communicates with man through prophecy.
  7. Belief that the that Moses was the greatest of prophets.
  8. Belief in the divine origin of the Torah.
  9. Belief in the immutability of the Torah.
  10. Belief in divine omniscience and providence.
  11. Belief in divine reward and punishment.
  12. Belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
  13. Belief in the resurrection of the dead.

Keep any comments on this post brief, but email me your complete 13 Principles for guest posting.

2 responses

  1. I won’t give anything away since I think I’m the first guest post coming soon, but I just took another look at them and I only got to ten. While I’m not great at math, this was not a clerical error but it was all I could come up with.

    And there were, and remain, challenges in my life that inspired the whole exercise in the first place.


  2. Great article. I have always wondered more about the Rambam’s phrase “B’Emunah Shlaymah” and it’s implications in the thirteen principles. Why was it necessary for that term to be repeated considering each sentence begins with “ani ma’amin” and specifically as “emunah shlaymah”? And, the Rambam calls them “ikkarim” and only the english translations refer to them as being the principles of faith, isn’t that presumptuous as to Maimonide’s intent? And if these are the thirteen answers, what was the question?


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