Tag Archives: theology

Torah Exploration – Va-Yetse’

This Torah portion, Va-Yetse’ [Genesis 28.10 – 28.22] is one that I find intriguing. I hope you will, too. Take some time to consider what you would do differently if you knew the Lord was present in a place. Then ask yourself why you don’t do that any way.

10Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran. 11He came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it. 13And the Lord was standing beside him and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring. 14Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants. 15Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is present in this place, and I did not know it!”17Shaken, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.” 18Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

20Jacob then made a vow, saying, “If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21and if I return safe to my father’s house—the Lord shall be my God. 22And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God’s abode; and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You.”

SOURCE: JPS Tagged Tanakh

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 ha­Hazakah, 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 prayer­book, and is therefore familiar to almost all Jews of the Orthodox school.

SOURCE: The Jewish Virtual Library

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