Jewish declaration of faith?


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Indiana, United States
i know that christians have a variety of creeds, and muslims have the shahada, but is there any prayer in Judaism that summarizes Jewish beliefs in a similar way, like a declaration of faith?

thank you!

Sorta. For a very very long time there was nothing. At some time (I want to say 1500s but am really unsure) a statement was added based on the formulation of Rambam (Maimonides.)

1) I believe with complete (perfect) faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, creates and guides all creatures, and that He alone made, makes, and will make everything.

2) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, is unique, and there is no uniqueness like His in any way, and that He alone is our G-d, Who was, Who is, and Who always will be.

3) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name is not physical and is not affected by physical phenomena, and that there is no comparison whatsoever to Him. (ie There is nothing what so ever to be compared to Him.)

4) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, is the very first and the very last (G-d is eternal.)

5) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name--to Him alone is it proper to pray and it is not proper to pray to any other (Only G-d is to be worshiped and obeyed. There are no mediating powers able freely to grant man's petitions, and intermediaries must not be invoked.)

6) I believe with complete faith that the words of the prophects are true.

7) I believe with complete faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was true, and that he was the father of the prophets -- both those that preceded him and those who followed him. (Moses is unsurpassed by any other prophet.)

8) I believe with complete faith that the entire Torah now in our hands is the same one that was given to Moses, our teacher, peace be upon him.

9) I believe with complete faith that this Torah will not be exchanged nor will there be another Torah from the Creator, Blessed is His Name.

10) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and their thoughts, as it is said, 'He fashions their hearts all together, He comprehends all their deeds' (Psalm 33:15)

11) I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His Name, rewards with good those who observe His commandments, and punishes those who violate His commandments.

12) I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come. (of course, the Jewish view of the Messiah and the messianic era are not the same as those of the Christain faiths).

13) I believe with complete faith that there will be a resuscitation of the dead whenever the wish emanates from the Creator, Blessed is His Name and exalted is His mention, forever and for all eternity.

Those in the liberal movements will most likely reject some of these statements, but they may also accept all of them. Judaism has never been a faith-based religion and Rambam's formulation would be seen by some as a reaction to being surrounded by two faith-based religions, a need for redefinition. I would recommend the shorter, "Listen Israel: Hashem is our God. Hashem is One/the Only." It's something that would better define the beliefs of catholic Israel.

ah, thank you! that helps alot. it's interesting how "peace be upon him" is put after the name of Moses. i'd only ever seen that before in Muslim writing.

i also like this less ornate translation of the Shema:

"Listen Israel: Hashem is our God. Hashem is One/the Only."

peace and thanks-


Rambam lived in the Muslim world. He was actually Saladin's personal physician. He sometimes wrote in Judeo-Arabic (Arabic with Hebrew letters.) Other Jews who lived around his time also say things like "Peace be upon him" in their writings. Like a text I am studying now, sefer hakuzari by Yehuda Helevi, does the same thing. The formulation of the text itself owes to that period of time. It would be less likely to find a modern Jew saying the same thing in normal speech.

Ditto all that dauer wrote, however, for the sake of historicity, the Chakham Moshe ben-Maimon (Maimonides) lived (and wrote for that matter) in the 12th century. His works are historically contemporaneous with that of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He was one of Judaism's first great legal codifiers and a first rate philosopher. It is interesting to note that despite the seemingly orthodox nature of his Thirteen Principles of Faith, his major philosophical work, THE GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED is often seen as heretical by some major Orthodox streams or explained away, by others, as not really meaning the explicit read of the text because it is mystically transcendent; therefore, only a "kosher" rabbi can draw the "correct" conclusions from this work. It appears to be the case that, like most brilliant minds, he is often misinterpreted. Ultimately, his Thirteen Principles of Faith require serious academic scrutiny to glean the Chakham's intent.

All the Best,

PS- A lot of Sephardi Jews still use axiomatic terms that find parallels in Arabic. For example using phrases that refer to "God" as "Allah" (as the pronouns are denotatively areligious). English speaking Jews often use English epithets to describe Jewish experiences, as it is their idiom. This is the same for Jews from Arabic lands.
For further clarification, the sephardic seem to accept the ramban entirely. In fact, I think you might be safe saying that most in the orthodox world accept his writings, with the exception being one of the chapters in the guide to the perplexed. I think it is the 2nd chapter or maybe the 1st. In any case, the issue is that Maimonides wrote this book for a very mature audience, and in one section he makes a rationalist attack on G-d followed by a counterattack. It was believed that if you were not mature enough to read through the guide, you might not make it to the counterattack before falling asleep and so might spend the night as a heretic. In any case, I think most communities accept the ramban today.
NAN - i think you mean the ramba"M, not the ramba"N.

and, for the record, i'm with those who think that there's nothing heretical in the "guide" - those who think there is are simply suffering from an inability to unclench and deal with complex points of view. my own opinion tends towards the guide as ramba"m's take on ma'aseh bereishit and ma'aseh merkavah. not that i believe he was a mekubal; he said explicitly that he wasn't. however, i *do* think that this is his attempt at showing that ha-meivin yavin - after all, he definitely qualifies as "one who understands". this is because of a combination of books which i read almost completely by accident, which when read together make a convincing case imho. the most important one of these is david bakan's "maimonides on prophecy", in case you guys are interested.


We have the Shema. Jews recite it 3 times a day. It is also in the Torah/Old Testament. Here is it:

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d,
The L-rd is One.
Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom
Forever and ever. And you shall love the L-rd your G-d,
With all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions.
And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart.

And you shall teach them to your children
And speak of them when you sit in your home,
When you walk up the way,
When you lie down and when you rise up.
And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand
And they shall be Tefillin between your eyes.
And you shall write them
On the doorposts of your homes
And upon your gates.
Welcome Shy! I noticed you stopped before v'hayah...