Tag Archives: Thirteen principles of Emuna


I Believe ~ Ani Ma’amin

March 6, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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Avraham Avinu implanted within the Jewish people the concept of emuna. He challenged the pagan beliefs of his time and faithfully proclaimed the belief in One Supreme Authority. We his descendants are gifted with the name Ma’aminim b’nei Ma’aminim – Believers the children of believers.

By definition emuna means faithfulness and loyalty; a commitment to uphold the words of the Torah. This allegiance is not dependent on logical understanding or intellectual rationale. It is a declaration on our behalf to uphold the belief system taught to us by our Holy Torah by virtue of the fact that it is Divine, 100% truthful and just. All of this we inherited from Avraham Avinu.

The preservation of our Torah is credited to the loyal and consistent transmission from father to son throughout the generations. We know that the guiding messages of the Torah are accurate. It must be since without this knowledge we have no spiritual existence; likened to cutting off our spiritual air supply.

In Parshat Reeh (14:1) the Torah clearly states, “Banim atem l’Hashem (You are children of Hashem)”. Hashem will never forsake or abandon His beloved children.  We need to consistently reassure ourselves of this vital message at times of difficulty. This is the pathway to strengthen our emuna – fortifying the notion that Hashem’s love is eternal and will never perish.

In good times and in bitter times our emuna ought to flow in our mind and heart and permeate our entire being singing the words Ani Ma’amin – I believe!

Thirteenth Principle of Emuna

January 26, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Shimon Machlouf ben Miriam Varda, the son of Rav Arush shlit’a who is in critical condition after a head-on collision this past motzei Shabbat. Also to the refuah of his wife Daniella bas Zehava who B’H gave birth to a healthy baby boy right after the accident and to their two children Nachman and Miriam b’nei Daniella.  May Hashem shower them with a refuah shleimah refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Thirteenth Principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

At the proper time, there will be a revival of the dead for those righteous individuals who deserve it.

The World to Come is a state of complete attachment to Hashem, the source of life.  Our G-dly spark is the essence of our being; it is our link to eternity.  Chazal teach that one who does not have emuna in techiyat hameitim is disassociated with techiyat hameitim, just as one who does not have emuna in the Torah is disassociated with Torah.  A person who does not believe in techiyat hameitim is disconnected from Hashem and is thus severed from his root above and cut off from eternal life.

The nefesh, a person’s life force, the fact that he is alive is the one thing that Jews and non-Jews have in common.  The ruach is a person’s conscience and inclines us to do good deeds.  This too non-Jews have.  There is yet an additional lofty level of holiness that is beyond the natural human framework.  It propels us toward greatness; this is the Jewish neshamah.

At the time of techiyat hameitim the nefesh will be accompanied by the body.  The ruach returns to Hashem.  The prevailing view of the Ramban is that Mashiach will come, build the Beit HaMikdash and bring the Jewish people back to Hashem.  Life in this world will continue ‘normally’ yet in its rectified state.  When this world ends Olam Haba will be our only reality.

The Jewish people will radiate with holiness and we will reach tremendous heights. This comes as a result of Eretz Yisrael finally being handed to the Avot HaKedoshim who will set a personal example if avodat Hashem for all the people.

This completes our quick study into the basics of the Thirteen Principles of Emuna.

Twelfth Principle of Emuna

January 22, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah Herzl ben Farcha the bus driver stabbed in yesterday’s terrorist attack and all of the injured.  May Hashem shower them with a refuah shleimah refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Twelfth Principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

Mashiach ben Dovid can come at any time and he will be a greater king than any other human king.

The Chatam Sofer ztk’l teaches what is already clear to many of us – the galut will not carry on forever.  This is one of the basic principles, without it the Torah cannot stand.  Why?  Judaism is based on a loving close relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem; Mashiach reflects this bond.

Mashiach embodies the concept of time where reward and punishment will be openly revealed.  The Midrash in Parshat Bamidbar writes that a Divine voice will echo from the hilltops at the time when Mashiach arrives and announce, “Whoever acted for G-d, let him come and receive his reward.”   We are in this world to develop a close knit bond with our Creator; that is the most profound reward we can ever ask for.  Mashiach will perform wondrous miracles in the merit of the Jewish people.  At this time all will witness Hashem’s love for the Jewish nation.

Moshiach will be a man who possesses extraordinary qualities. He will be proficient in both the written and oral Torah traditions. He will incessantly campaign for Torah observance among Jews, and observance of the seven universal Noahide laws by non-Jews. He will be scrupulously observant, and encourage the highest standards from others. He will defend religious principles and repair breaches in their observance. Above all, Moshiach will be heralded as a true Jewish king, a person who leads the way in the service of G‑d, totally humble yet enormously inspiring.

Eleventh Principle of Emuna

January 21, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah Rivka bat Berta Bracha.  Please daven for the success of multiple surgical procedures that she will be going through today. May Hashem shower her with emuna, strength, clarity, chochman, binah and da’at, refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Eleventh principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

There is reward and punishment for our actions.

The Torah discusses the idea of individual, national and universal reward and punishment. It is evident that Hashem rewards the tzaddikim by granting them bracha and punishes the wicked with devastation. In fact this is the basis of the second perek of the Shema, “… the rain of the land in its seasons” is dependent on our adherence to Torah and mitzvot. Even the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is rewarded with “your days may be long upon the earth which Hashem will give you.”

All wrongdoings will be taken into account and will not simply be ignored. Even the tiniest misdeed is recorded and the soul of that person will need to be rectified either in this world of the next. Yet, the truth is that reward and punishment to many is just a belief and not a fact. If we are honest with our feelings because there is no absolute proof of consequence we many times fail to fulfill our calling.

The most important step is to first believe that our actions have consequences; that is the most powerful motivator possible. Yet if this would occur instantly free will would cease to exist. Therefore we have the freedom to decide whether we will or will not believe in the repercussions of our actions. All suffering serves as a means of rectification and healing; sort of like a spiritual rehabilitation making a new beginning possible.

Chazal teach us that “the reward for mitzvot is not in this world” rather it will be in Olam Haba. The reason is explained, there is no possible reward for mitzvot in this world; there is nothing of such great value that would compensate and compare.

Tenth Principle of Emuna

January 20, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah Rebbetzin Tziporah bat Sarah.  May Hashem shower her with a refuah shleimah refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Tenth principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

G-d is aware of all of our actions

Hashem knows everything that we think and do; He knows it all.  His knowledge is not limited to the past or the present; He knows the future as well. Hashem creates the world and continues to run all of creation down to the minute detail. Nothing exists, no activity occurs without Hashem.

Hashem in our compassionate Father; kind and merciful.  I am responsible to be proactive but rely on Hashem to look out for my ultimate best.  As written in the Chofetz Chaim, a Lesson a Day, “Hashem’s involvement in this world is unchanging and He continues to watch over those who place their trust in Him.”

Seeing Hashem as the source of all existence essentially leads us to recognize His goodness and constant concern over us.  Thus we are driven to praise Him for all the wonders of the world and constant miracles He performs.  All life is in the palm of Hashem’s Hand, so to speak, as we see in this week’s parsha of the plagues.  The Egyptians were no more than a mere fly to be swatted away, as Hashem saw fit. The world was dumbfounded when they learned that the Jewish nation fled Egypt and more so with great wealth.

Though this occurred thousands of years ago Hashem’s intimate interaction with existence and the Jewish people in particular still ensues. The Borei Olam “… Peers out from the windows, Peeks through the lattice work …’ as written in Shir HaShirim; is always aware of our every move.

We may not clearly see Him, but know that He is here; aware and involved in everything.

Ninth Principle of Emuna

January 19, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Lenoy bat Chagit.  May Hashem shower her with a refuah shleimah refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Ninth principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

Since the entire Torah comes from G-d, one may not add to it or take away from it.

The Torah will not be changed and wasn’t intended to be given to us in installments in the future.  We have in our hands the entire Torah which communicates to us the ways of Shamayim.   Torah in all of its parts is relevant to each of us at all times in every generation.

The holy task of the Jewish people is to strive to grasp the depth that is contained within the Torah.  Essentially, Torah is HaKadosh Baruch Hu as is written in the Zohar Hakadosh.  We were given HaKadosh Baruch Hu when we received the Torah; we fundamentally bond with the Infinite each time we delve into Torah learning. Torah is the greatest gift that Hashem gave to man.  Through Torah Hashem brought all His power and all of Himself, so to speak, down to the world.

It is vital for us to understand that Torah does not have an expiration date or clause that limits chas v’Shalom its validity only to certain conditions and times.  The teachings of the past are just as relevant to our lives today as they were to our ancestors. The profound wisdom deeply tucked away in the words of the Torah offer us lasting guidance that benefit us today.

For example just as this coming week Parshat Bo writes, “Come to Pharoah…” so too does Hashem instruct the ‘Moshe Rabbeinu’ in us to come to the ‘Pharoah’ in us and demand freedom.  For more on this particular topic you can listen in to the soon to be posted shiur of the week, “Parshat Bo: Hashem is With Us.”

Eighth Principle of Emuna

January 14, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Rabbanit Rut bat Ahuva.  May Hashem send her a complete healing refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Eighth principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

Belief that the entire Torah is true and completely accurate as dictated to Moshe by G-d.

The same Torah we have today is the one given to Moshe Rabbeinu.  Every Rabbi imparts his wisdom to his disciples. Hashem, so to speak, the ‘Rabbi of the world’ transmitted to us more than just wisdom; He even gave us Himself along with it.  Each time we delve into the wisdom of Torah, we ‘take hold’ so to speak of Hashem Himself and bond with a ‘part of Him.’

It is vital for us to internalize the conviction that every letter of the Written and Oral Law transmitted through Moshe Rabbeinu was of Divine origin.  This is not to be taken literally, implying that all the letters of the Torah are the exact letters given to Moshe Rabbeinu.  Rather in a general sense.  The Torah we learn and live by is for all intents and purposes the same Torah that was given to Moshe.  Another words, absolutely none of it was edited by Moshe in any way whatsoever. As mentioned in the seventh principle, he had no input of any kind but functioned only as the mouthpiece of Hashem.

Additionally, it is important to remember that nothing was left in Heaven; the entire Torah was given to us on Har Sinai.  Torah was not given to us in installments, part by part for us to learn as history unfolds.  We received everything we need to know.

The Talmud teaches in Sanhedrin 99a, that denial of the Divine origin of a single word or letter of the Torah is as though the entire Torah is being rejected, chas v’Shalom. In order to attain emuna shleimah we need to fully trust that the Torah conveys Hashem’s will precisely and specific instruction on how to fulfill our spiritual mission in this world.

If there is even a small trace of doubt or uncertainty on the authenticity of the Torah, even the size of a pinhole, it will surely impede on our ability to live a life of emuna shleimah.

Seventh Principle of Emuna

January 13, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Esther Deena bat Risa, a 33-year-old mother of three, just diagnosed with breast C.  May Hashem shower her with a complete healing refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Seventh principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

The prophecy of Moshe was greater than any other prophecy before or since.

Why is it so important to differentiate between Moshe Rabbeinu ztk’l and the other prophets?  Upon seeing the powerful wonders during their prophecy, all other prophets fell off their feet; they almost went insane.  They were overwhelmed by the intensity of the prophetic vision.  A prophet felt as if he was the only one in the world and lost all connection to this world.

Yet Moshe Rabbeinu was so holy that he received his prophecy while in full control still aware of his surroundings.  This enabled him to give over the prophecy with exact precision as though it was being spoken directly from Hashem’s ‘mouth’.

This fact is vital to internalize since the Torah was given to us through Moshe. Therefore it must be as though Hashem was personally giving over each commandment; since the Torah is the direct word of Hashem. Through Torah we perceive Hashem’s will and that is the ultimate goal of creation.  This message cannot be compromised or given over any other way than as though it is being told over by Hashem Himself.

This is contrary to the other prophets who relayed the messages although in absolute truth but in their own style. Other prophets would have to be awakened and returned to a ‘human state’ after receiving prophecy.  It was then in their ‘everyday state’ that they would relay the prophetic messages

Moshe Rabbeinu was an Ish Elokim, a G-dly man.  He was able to connect the upper and lower realms as though he was moving from room to room.  His prophecy was greatest as a result of his refined G-dly middot. He reached such a lofty level where he was able to transmit Hashem’s word without any barriers as the Torah states in the Zohar HaKadosh, “The Shechinah spoke from Moshe’s throat.”

Sixth Principle of Emuna

January 12, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated l’iluy nishmat HY’D the four kedoshim that were killed in France. May Hashem reveal true justice to the enemies and shine His eternal love and compassion on the Jewish nation, Amen.

Sixth principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

G-d bestows prophecy to those who follow all of the Torah commandments and merit to perfect their personal attributes.

A founding principle of Judaism is that Hashem is intimately involved in our lives. He personally directs and oversees the minute details; He didn’t merely create us and leave us in the dark.   How has Hashem related His will to us; through His prophets.

Prophecy is likened to ‘seeing’ whole new worlds, seeing a truthful reality in its entirety.  The prophet entered into a whole new world of depth and perception; a place where only truth reigns.  It was in this place where doubt was completely erased and only the absolute reality of Hashem’s presence was recognized.  The purpose of a prophet was to guide the Jewish nation and for that he needed perfect clarity and understanding of what Hashem is.

The difference between a prophet and us is like the difference between the world of truth and the world of falsehood, light and darkness, closed eyes and opened ones.  A prophet must be with great wisdom and in full control of his yetzer hara.  He sees Hashem’s greatness in all of creation and is always connected to that which is directly under the Holy Kisei HaKavod. The prophet follows the Heavenly decrees and is connected to the worlds so that he knows what has been announced above.  He hears Hashem’s word.

The worst tragedy that ever beset us was that prophecy was taken from our midst.  The prophet assisted the Jewish people to achieve perfection by telling them which path to take according to the root of their soul.  Now that we are no longer worthy of prophecy we essentially live in the dark.

The importance in believing in this principle is so that we may fortify our emuna and trust that Hashem revealed His will and specifically guided us how to live our lives.

Fifth Principle of Emuna

January 8, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Rav Shlomo ben Elisheva Chana.  May Hashem shower him with a complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’briut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Fifth principle of Emuna according to the Rambam ztk’l:

There is no power besides G-d whom it is fitting to serve.

This is a most fundamental principle.  Hashem has made it possible to communicate with Him through tefillah. He hears us, cares about us and even ‘lowers Himself’ so that He may attend to even the smallest of creatures.

Incorrectly we may feel that due to Hashem’s greatness He does not have any contact with this lowly world. Yet on the contrary it is because of His greatness that He is able to bridge the gap between heaven and earth and connect with us.  In fact this was one of the falsehoods that lead to idolatry; the belief that mankind needs an intermediary in order to relate to Hashem.  This clearly goes against a chief principle of emuna that Hashem hears us, understands us and feels our pain.  We can thus safely conclude there is nothing too small or inconsequential that Hashem does not care about.

It is through tefillah that we acknowledge that ‘Someone’ is listening to us and personally takes interest in what we have to say.  This serves to increase our emuna as the ego is faced with its sense of smallness and recognizes Hashem’s greatness.  It is our avodah, the foundation of our service and task in life, when we acknowledge Who we are speaking to, ‘A great and mighty G-d.’ Standing before Hashem and relating to Him is the most intimate mitzvah we are involved in since as we perform it we become an essential part of the mitzvah itself.

Tefillah is one of the most vital parts of our avodat Hashem. It refers not only to the prescribed prayers of the siddur but to the everyday intimate conversations filled with gratitude and longing that we should be having with Hashem.  Acknowledging how kind and caring Hashem is, sensing His infinite love and guiding hand is the avodah of tefillah and what essentially is called kavannah in tefillah.

Tefillah in its simplest form is the proclamation that there is no power beside Hashem.

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