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Catechism For Jewish Children

By Isaac Leeser.

Appendix II

The Jewish Creed

1. What do you call a creed?

Those doctrines which are the foundation of any system of religion: in other words, those ideas of belief which one admits as the followers of a particular faith.

2. Have we any ideas peculiar to us, as followers of the Mosaic Law?

We have; and upon the admission thereof rests the distinction which divides us from other nations.

3. Is the belief in this creed alone sufficient to insure salvation?

By no means; we should believe and confide in the truth of religious doctrines; but without acts to demonstrate the existence of such faith, our life is not pleasing to God, who demands of us active exertions in his holy service.

4. What is then the use of a creed?

The firm faith in and admission of acknowledged truths will best promote a correct course of life; for by being impressed with holy feelings we will be best able to withstand temptations and the inclination to sin inherent in man.

5. Which are the chief doctrines already given?

I. The belief in God.
II. The belief in the revelation of the Law.
III. The belief in reward and punishment after death.

6. Are there not some modifications, or more extensive ideas, connected with these chief doctrines of Faith?

There are several, which have been already partly mentioned.

7. Into how many divisions is then the whole Jewish Creed divided, as generally accepted among us?

Into thirteen, which are generally called the Thirteen Fundamental Principles of the Jewish Faith, because upon the admission of them we found the truth and the justness of our lives as Israelites faithful to the law of God.

8. Please to recite them in the order in which they are found in our books.

I. I believe with a firm faith that there exists a Creator, who, blessed be his name, has created and governs all his creatures; and that He alone has made, does make, and will make, all things that can by any possibility have existence.

II. I believe with a firm faith that the Creator is ONE, and there is no unity like Him in any manner, and that He alone is our God, who was, who is, and who will be.

III. I believe with a firm faith that the blessed Creator is incorporeal; that no bodily infirmities or accidents can reach Him, and that He can be compared to nothing corporeal of which we can form any idea.

IV. I believe with a firm faith that the blessed Creator is the first and the last.

V. I believe with a firm faith that the blessed Creator is the only one to whom we should pray, and there is besides Him no being to whom we ought to address our prayers.

VI. I believe with a firm faith that all the words of the prophets are true.

VII. I believe with a firm faith that the prophecy of our teacher Moses (upon whom be peace) is true, and that he was the chief of all the wise men that lives before him or will come after him.

VIII. I believe with a firm faith that the whole law, which we have now in our possession, is the same which was given to our teacher Moses (upon whom be peace).

IX. I believe with a firm faith that this law will not be changed, and that there will not be another law from the Creator, blessed be his name.

X. I believe with a firm faith that the blessed Creator knows all the deeds of the sons of man, and all their thoughts; as it is written: "He fashions all their hearts, and understands all their works."

XI. I believe with a firm faith that the blessed Creator will reward those who keep his commandments, and punish those who transgress them.

XII. I believe with a firm faith in the coming of the Messiah; and though he tarry, still will I daily wait for his coming.

XIII. I believe with a firm faith that the dead will be called to life at the time it may be the will of the blessed Creator, whose memorial be glorified for everlasting, and to all eternity.

9. Why do you believe in these doctrines?

Because they are all founded upon the revealed word of God, as we have shown by the various texts from the Bible which we have quoted before. In short, our creed is based upon the truth of God, and in confidence upon his wisdom and goodness, and in reliance upon his mercy and justice, which, like His existence, are everlasting.


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