Lesson video

In progress...


Hi everyone, my name is Rabbi London, and today we are going to learn about the 13 principles of faith by Maimonides and actually a lot more about Maimonides and the evolution of Jewish law.

And finally, a little bit about Jewish people from around the world.

Before we get started, please find close any apps that might be open and finish any conversations you might be in the middle of.

Try to find a space where you're going to find the least amount of distractions.

And today you're going to need to have a pen or pencil and some paper or something to write on and something to write with.

If you haven't already done so, press pause and gather any of the things that you need.

And when you're ready to begin, press play.

At the end of our last class, we started to talk about the Talmud and the Mishnah and how the rabbis decided that because of the destruction of the temple and Jewish life, moving from Jerusalem outside, that they wrote down what was known as the oral law into the Talmud.

Now, since the Talmud was redacted or written down, there was a lot more Jewish writing that happened.

Most of it was on commentary on the Talmud.

So to make things make more sense, the Talmud itself is written in Aramaic and in most printings there isn't any punctuation.

So, and now all of those sentences are in full sentences.

It takes quite some time to get around the ideas of how the rabbis were thinking and talking.

So there were rabbis that took ways to explain what was going on on these pages.

And as the Talmud was only conversations there wasn't an end result in the arguments.

Some rabbis decided to write what was, what should the lobby, how should be people be writing? So there's a lot of writing that used to happen.

And in the middle mediaeval period, the early time, this is when is the beginning of the written down legal code.

So we went from everything being, a lot of it being oral to the Talmud, to now rabbis deciding to write down what the laws should be.

One of the first of these types of book was called The Mishneh Torah.

Now it's not the same name as Mishnah, it's Mishneh, but it's from the same root.

Now, this book was written by Rabbi Moses Maimonides and around 1180.

Moses Maimonides is also known as the Rambam.

The Rambam is an acronym of his name Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the son of Maimon.

And actually by Maimonides means the son of Maimon.

The Rambam lived between the years of 1135 and 1204.

He was born in Spain, and during that time, to avoid prosecute persecution, he and his family moved to Morocco then to Israel, and then to Egypt.

He was known not only for his writings of Jewish law, but he was actually a doctor, a physician in Egypt.

The book we'll talk about the most here, and we're actually going to learn more about him later is called The Mishneh Torah.

This book was the goal, was to have a guide to Jewish people on how to behave according to Jewish law without having to look up everything in the Talmud.

Is again, the Talmud is a list, is full of the rabbis having conversations without any endpoint.

So to decide or know what one should do in any given situation.

It's not always so easy, so he decided to put this all into one book.

This book, The Mishneh Torah served as a model for future books, such as the The Shulchan Aruch, which we're going to learn about soon and many other guidebooks of Jewish law that came much after him.

All right, let's go over a little bit of what we've done so far.

What is another name that Maimonides is known as Rambam or Maimo? Rambam, many people will refer to Maimonides as the Rambam.

What country was Maimonides born in? Egypt, Spain, Israel or Morocco? Yeah, he was born in Spain, and then moved to Morocco, and then to Israel, and then to Egypt.

What was Maimonides' goal when writing the Mishneh Torah? Did he want to create a new Torah? Did he want to become a famous author? Did he want to make up new laws or did he want to create a guide to help Jewish people follow Jewish law? Maimonides' goal was to create a guide to help Jewish people follow Jewish law.

One of the things that Maimonides is his most famous for is writing down what is now known as the 13 principles of faith or the 13 articles of faith, depending on the translation.

During this time period and throughout Jewish history, there were many people who wrote down principles or articles of Jewish faith, meaning what does it mean? What are the main things that a Jewish person needs to believe? Now, each one is debated by different people and not all are accepted by all people.

One of the most famous ones, which is what we're going to look out here, is written by Maimonides.

In many orthodox Jewish prayer books, this list is found after the morning service prayers.

And so there are some people who read this every single day to remind themselves of what they should be believing in or announcing that this is what they believe in.

Again, not all Jewish people follow or believe in these specific 13 principles of faith.

This is just one example of what Jewish faith can look like.

We're going to go through all 13 principles together.

Each sentence begins with, I believe with full faith.

I believe with full faith that the Creator, blessed be He, Created the world and rules all creations, and He alone made, makes and will make all things.

So the first belief is that God is the Creator of the world.

I believe with full faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is one, and there is no one like Him, and He alone is our God, who was, is and will be.

Meaning that God is one, that the Jewish people are monotheistic.

Three, I believe with full faith that the Creator, blessed be his name, does not have a body, and no attributes can apply to Him, and there is nothing that can be compared to Him.

So the third belief is that God doesn't have physical attributes like humans do.

And humans can't really compare God to anything that humans know, which is similar to what is what we said before when we were learning about the attributes of God, that God is transcendent.

I believe with full faith, that the Creator, blessed be His name, is first and last.

This is the belief that God always was and always will be.

I believe with full faith, that the Creator blessed be His name, is the only one who one can pray to, and it is not allowed to pray to anyone else.

So this is the belief that God is the only God.

And that is the only one, not person, one that a person, as a Jewish person is allowed to pray to.

So if we notice these first five so far are about what does one, a Jewish person or what can a Jewish person believe in and about God? Now we're up to number six, I believe with full faith, that all the words of the prophets are true.

Here we're saying that the book of prophets and that of Moses, but we're going to get to more about Moses.

Happened that there is truth in what is written in the Tanakh I believe with full faith, that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, peace be to him, was true, and he was the father of prophets, to all those who came before him and after him.

So here are the belief is that Moses was true.

That Moses was a different type of prophet than any other prophet both that existed before Moses and after Moses, I believe with full faith that the entire Torah that is now in our hands was the one given to Moses, our teacher, peace be unto him.

Number eight is saying that the Jewish person believes that the Torah was given to Moses at Sinai by God.

Nine, I believe with full faith that this Torah will not be changed, and there will not be another Torah from the Creator, Blessed Be His Name.

Number nine is saying that the Torah is what the Torah is, and God will never give the Jewish people another Torah.

10, I believe with full faith, that the holy One Blessed Be He, knows all actions and thoughts of all humans.

As it says, "He created the hearts of all of them and understands all of their actions." Number 10 is saying that a Jewish person believes that God knows everything, God is omniscient.

God knows everything that is going on in this world.

11, I believe with full faith, that the Creator, blessed Be His Name rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress them.

11 goes to the idea that a Jewish person believes that there is reward and punishment for following God.

12, I believe with full faith, in the coming of the Messiah or Mashiah, and even though he may be delayed, I continue to wait daily that he will come.

12 is a belief that Mashiah or the Messiah will come and the world would change to in many opinions, be more peaceful, and tranquil, and good, and full of goodness.

And number 13, I believe with full faith, that there will be resurrection of the dead at the time when the Creator just chooses, Blessed Be His Name, may his name be elevated forever and all time.

Number 13 is talking about this idea of the resurrection of the dead or the souls of those who had died during the time of the Mashiah.

We're going to talk about that a little bit more in an upcoming class.

I'd like you to do, after going through these 13 principles, and they're are quite wordy, is to go back to the slides and copy down what's written.

And then next to each one, write a short summary of what each principle is.

That can be done in your own words.

What are you understanding from each of these 13 principles? So pause the video to complete your task and then press resume when you're finished.

Here's my shortening of the 13 principles of faith.

It's a little bit easier to remember or note down.

So the 13 principles of faith, according to Maimonides, which many Jewish people believe are, one, God exists.

Two God is one.

Three, God is transcendent and has no form Four, God is eternal.

Five, only worship God.

Six, there were a prophets and what they said is true.

Seven, Moses was the greatest of the prophets.

Eight, God gave the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Nine, the Torah is God's law and there will never be another Torah.

10, God is omniscient, He's all knowing.

11, God will give rewards and punishments based on one's actions.

12, there will be a Messiah or a Mashiaḥ.

And 13, there will be a resurrection of the dead.

So these are according to Maimonides.

what are the articles of faith that make up a Jewish person? And today there are many Jews who believe all 13 of these principles, and there are Jewish people who believe some of these 13, and there are other opinions and other writings, other than Maimonides who writes down, what are the principles and articles of faith? This is just one of the most popular ones.

So we learned about Rambam and The Mishneh Torah of writing down a legal code.

Well, there were more rabbis later who revamped and made the legal code a little bit easier or different to read.

One of those such people is a rabbi named Rabbi Yosef Caro.

And then he wrote a book called the Shulchan Aruch.

Well, really it's a long book with four volumes here and about 1563.

So he was and he lived between the years of 1488 and 1575.

He also was, he was born in Spain, in Toledo, and then moved to the Safed in Israel, a Northern city.

The the Shulchan Aruch is still the standard code of Judaism.

When a rabbi, especially if they're Orthodox is asked a question to determine what someone should do in a case of Jewish law.

The Shulchan Aruch is one of the first books that they'll look into.

Around the same time or during the same time as Rabbi Yosef Caro was in Spain, there was another rabbi, Rabbi Moses Isserles writing in Poland.

We're going to talk a little bit more soon about Jews from around the world.

And we can even see here that there were rabbis both in Spain, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, and Poland.

Rabbi Moses Isserles was noticing that some of the customs or ways of following Jewish law in Poland were different than what Rabbi Yosef was writing.

And so he wrote an addition to the Shulchan Aruch.

And today's copies of the Shulchan Aruch, one can see that Rabbi Yosef Caro's writings is first, it's in bold usually.

And underneath in a different font, is the writings of Rabbi Moses Isserles.

Both are used across Jewish communities around the world.

As I said before, the Shulchan Aruch is split up into four volumes or four different sections.

One section talks about the laws of prayer and holidays and how to do everyday life.

One speaks about laws around a veried variety of topics, such as how to give tzedaka, give a charity and what is Torah study and who's obligated in it? Or the laws of keeping Shabbat or keeping Kosher The third volume talks about the Jewish laws of marriage and divorce.

And the fourth volume looks at Jewish civil law, how to pay fair wages, and how to divide land if one needs to, according to Jewish law.

Another aspect of Jewish law or writings of Jewish law is what's called Responsa.

This actually is a form a body of Jewish legal writing that is happening today.

It happens in books, there's actually responsive via SMS or people emailing.

This is a body of writing that's written in the form of questions and answers.

And sometimes these are actually real questions that people sent to their rabbis to be answered.

Sometimes these letters are going to be compiled, put into a book, and those books will have names or ways for other people to look up into.

These writings, these questions and answers, and the way that the questions are answered are sources for halachic rulings.

So when a rabbi has asked a question and wants to know how to decide something, they might look into the Talmud, they might look at the Shulchan Aruch, but they also might look at writings of Responsa to see how other rabbis in similar situations dealt with the same issue.

Question and answers and responses sometimes are and easy.

Here's the question, here's my answer, and sometimes the letters in Responsa are going to go through the way that the rabbi was thinking about whatever question it was.

And they're going to bring in quotes from the Torah, from the Mishneh and Talmud, from Shulchan Aruch and some of the commentators, and then other Responsa to prove whatever their point might be.

I'd like you now to pause the video and complete this task, answer the following question in full sentences.

One, in what ways do some Jewish people use books like the Shulchan Aruch or Mishneh Torah? Two, what areas of life do the laws in the Shulchan Aruch cover? And three, describe in your own words what Responsa is.

When you're finished, press play to resume learning.

So in what ways do some Jewish people use books like the Shulchan Aruch or Mishneh Torah? Some Jewish people use books like the Shulchan Aruch or the Mishneh Torah to know how to follow Jewish law.

What areas of life do the laws and the Shulchan Aruch cover? The Shulchan Aruch covers laws relating to all areas of life, such as laws of prayer, keeping Kosher, marriage and civil law.

Describe in your own words what Responsa is.

This is my description, your description might be a little bit different.

Responsa is a body of Jewish legal writing.

It is mostly written in question and answer form, with questions written to a rabbi and the rabbi's answer.

This type of Jewish legal work is still happening today.

We touched upon this a little bit about the idea that there are Jews from all over the world.

And based on where a Jewish person might be from or where their ancestors are from, they might have different customs or traditions ranging from tunes that are said, the way a Torah scroll will look to what's considered a traditional food for a holiday or for Shabbat.

The three major breakdowns and there's much, much more and many more ways to break apart and look at the vast diversity within the Jewish community is that there are Mizrahi Jews, which are Jewish people who come from or have ancestry from the middle East or North Africa, Sephardic Jews, who are Jewish people who come from or have ancestry from Spain or Portugal, and Ashkenazi Jews are Jewish people from, or who have ancestry from Eastern Europe.

Now, many Jewish people might also have a variety of customs because they have family from all over the world.

Or sometimes now in today's day and age, many people are learning more about the different customs and sometimes take on certain customs from other communities because it feels meaningful or feels right.

But again, there are Jewish people all over the world.

And to say that there's one Jewish way of practising isn't totally right.

Well, what does join the Jewish people together is that they identify as Jewish and have a few core beliefs that are the same or similar.

So true or false: All Jewish people have the same customs. False, there are many different customs that many Jewish people have.

True or false: There are Jewish people who have ancestors from many parts of the world.

This is true.

There are Jewish people who have ancestors and relatives, both ancestors who have come from around the world, or even have family and friends and relatives that live around the world.

True or false: Some different customs might include different prayer tunes, or different approaches to Jewish law, or different traditional foods.

True, some of the different customs coming from where one's family comes from might include different tunes or approaches to law, or what are foods that are considered traditional.

You all did a great job today.

We learned so much, we learned about Maimonides, we learned about Rabbi Yosef Caro.

I've read Rabbi Moses Isserles, and the writings of the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch and about Responsa, which are questions and answers that are still being looked at and written at today.

We saw Moses Maimonides' idea of what does it mean to be a faithful Jewish person? And he wrote down 13 principles.

And finally we learned about the idea that there are Jews from all over the world, and there are many different customs, and many different traditions that are all part of the global Jewish community.

Before we finish today, try write down three things that you learned.

And share that with your parent, or carer, or friend, or teacher, and don't forget to take the end of the lesson quiz.

And if you want to share your work with us here at Oak National, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

It was great learning with you today.

I hope you have a wonderful day and happy learning.