Thursday, October 31, 2013

The mitzvah of belief in Gd


 According to the Sefer haChinuch, mitzvah #25 is the start of the Aseret haDibrot, “I am Gd, your Lord, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.”

The Sefer haChinuch follows the view of Rambam (Sefer haMitzvot, Aseh 1) that this mitzvah includes belief in a single Gd who created all that exists, by whose Will all exists, and who is eternal. The mitzvah is also to believe that this same Gd brought us out of Egypt and gave us the Torah. This is the foundation of Jewish belief and practice; the fact that there is an omnipotent Gd, and that He is involved with our world, is what establishes the validity of the rest of Torah.

In contrast, Baal Halachot Gedolot and Ramban, apparently based on a midrash (Mechilta d'R' Yishmael, Yitro: BaChodesh 6), argue that this Divine declaration sets the stage for all other mitzvot, but is not a mitzvah unto itself.

Have a great day,

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