The Thirteen Articles of Maimonides

The most widely spread and popular of all creeds is that of Maimonides, embracing the thirteen articles. Why he chose this particular number has been a subject of much discussion. Some have seen in the number a reference to the thirteen attributes of God. Probably no meaning attaches to the choice of the number. His articles are:

1. The existence of God;

2. His unity;

3. His spirituality;

4. His eternity;

5. God alone the object of worship;

6. Revelation through his prophets;

7. the preeminence of Moses among the Prophets;

8. God’s law given on Mount Sinai;

9. the immutability of the Torah as God’s Law;

10. God’s foreknowledge of men’s actions;

11. retribution;

12. the coming of the Messiah;

13. Resurrection.

This creed Maimonides wrote while still a very young man; it forms a part of his Mishnah Commentary, but he never referred to it in his later works (See S/ Adler, “Tenets of Faith and Their Authority in the Talmud,” in his “Kobez ‘al Yad,” p. 92, where Yad ha¬≠Hazakah, Issure Biah, xiv, 2, is referred to as proof that Maimonides in his advanced age regarded as fundamental of the faith only the unity of God and the prohibition of idolatry). It did not meet universal acceptance; but, as its phraseology is succinct, it has passed into the prayer¬≠book, and is therefore familiar to almost all Jews of the Orthodox school.

SOURCE: The Jewish Virtual Library

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