What I Believe
This document, like life, is a work in progress.
The idea for the format of this came from RamBams’s 13 Principles. I read them and thought about them a great deal. I then developed this list of seven principles of belief. I originally wrote this in 2004, and have made minor edits over time. The most recent edit was to move the Sabbath to the seventh principle. It seemed appropriate. If you have written a statement of your beliefs or theology, please add it to the comments to share. Here are two others that I am aware of: Velveteen Rabbi and Six Principles of Telshemesh. I also recommed reading Magickal Judaism by Jennifer Hunter. It’s primarily made up of interviews with Jewitches (including me) about what we believe and our view of Judaism.
“Thou shall have no other God before me.”
I believe that the God is the Source of Life, the Wellspring of the Universe, the Divine Spark that Inspires All, and a thousand other names. I believe “The Divine abounds in everything and dwells in everyone. The Many are one.” (Marcia Falk)
I believe that the Gods and Goddesses of other cultures are part of the great Wellspring of Life. Judaism has seventy-two names for God and a chorus of angels, demons, and heavenly creatures. Each of these has a different meaning and speaks to a different aspect of God. I believe that each culture has been given its own set of names and ways to access the Breathing Spirit of the Universe, but in the end it is all One.
I believe that all things carry a “spark” of the Divine and are connected through this spark.
Abarah K’Dabarah – “I create as I speak”.
I believe the spark of Divinity inherent in all things allows people to influence the world through reaching out to the threads of energy, which connect all things. This skill can be learned, but some will have a natural ability that will give them access with our without training.
The interconnectedness of all things requires us to live interconnected lives. One should not lie, cheat, steal, or willfully harm others and expect to interact with Divine energy without consequence. Food should not be consumed without thought the animals and plants that died to provide sustenance. Products should not be purchased without thought to the harm they may cause the earth.
The Torah is a Tree of Life
I believe that the Torah is the sacred story of my tribe. Through this medium all we need to know is available; words, letters, the ability to communicate. The gift of language and letters allows us to communicate through the centuries, that is the legacy of Torah. The written Torah is to be studied, evaluated, and interpreted.
By knowing where we have been we can map the way to the future. We know thoughts of ancient scholars because they were written down. I believe that these writings are springboards to the future, not necessarily cannons never to be wavered from or questioned.
I believe that new ideas and interpretations must be written down continuing the story that the ancients began. This is the gift of our ancestors and the sacred trust we must maintain.
The Renewal of the Soul
I believe in the renewal of the soul. I believe that souls do not die with the corporeal body. The spark of Divine that we carry within us is renewed through many lifetimes. In each lifetime we learn or experience a new facet of existence, which adds to our knowledge throughout time. I believe that one of the many reasons we are compelled to leave so many writings behind is to communicate not only those come after us, but also to remind ourselves in each lifetime of what has already been done.
When a soul has experienced all there is to experience then that spark is able to rejoin the Divine Fire, and become part of the whole once again.
I believe there will come a day when the all souls incarnated on the earth, will be ready to rejoin the Sacred Wellspring of Life. This will be the time of the Messiah. Existence as we know it will cease and a new world will begin. I do not pretend to know what form this new world will take.
The Power of Blessing
I believe in the Brachot. The act of thanking the Eternal Wellspring of Life for what seems trivial is powerful. It creates a life consciously lived. Pouring libations of wine, giving offerings of herb sachets, or simply saying “Thank for this beautiful sunset,” each is an act, which nourishes not only ourselves, but also the flow of Divine energy around us. Just as negativity can breed negativity, so can acts of blessing breed good things in the world. Each prayer said, each offering made, each good deed done, each simple act of kindness not only affects us, but everyone around us.
Blessed are those who keep the Sabbath
It is said that the Sabbath is a taste of Heaven, a glimpse of the world to come. This weekly rest is our reward for working and toiling. It serves as a reminder of why we do these things. The Ten Commandments tell us to “Honor the Sabbath and Keep it Holy.” I believe the form this takes is unimportant. Anything we do on the Sabbath to remind ourselves of this chance to rest is return many times over. We are blessed when we bless. No matter if you have a simply ceremony on Friday night, follow the modern traditions for keeping the Sabbath to the letter, or just wear a special piece of jewelry for the Sabbath – the simple act of acknowledging and remembering will bring great rewards.