||Ani Maamin Be'emuna Shelaima.....
We have it listed in the 13 required beliefs. The big question is how can you require me to believe?! I either believe or I don't. The reality is that even some of the most brilliant people didn't believe in God, so how should I be smarter than them and know that there is a God, and he's my God?!
The Sefer Kovetz Ma'amarim written by Rav Elchonon Wasserman explains this at length. It is required reading for all who really care about their lives and fulfilling their purpose here. It is the beginning of the Sefer. It is not fair to summarize his words in my own silly words, but I'll try anyway to give you a small bit of it.
The concept is that our beliefs are basic. They're simple, and every person has the ability to come to them without any effort. So where's the problem? God created us with an ability to be swayed. You pay off a judge and suddenly you're the good guy. You see something that you desire, but are not permitted, and your mind spins out some pretty innovative excuses why it is OK. Even the most brilliant people have things that can cause their mind to become subjective. Look at Christianity and Islam. You have here religions that span the majority of the globe and they are based on Judaism completely. They believe that our God created the world, he gave Moses the Torah, and the Jews are the chosen people. Somehow God scrapped that plan, and changed all the rules one day. Who would buy that today? Can someone say to them that Jesus Christ revised the New Testament and now the Chinese are the real people and we need to start following a whole set of new rules?! They'll railroad you out of town and probably crucify you. But I'm Jesus's son. I'm taking over now. I have the Will right here. This would be the most absurd conversation, yet somehow a majority of the world is buying it. Strangely enough, they added to their revised Judaism's this interesting commandment; "Thou shalt kill Jews!" These religions are wonderful because they give the people what they want. They allow Christians to not have many serious requirements, because Jesus died for their sins. Now all the rules don't apply. How convenient! The Moslems added an additional little twist to accomodate their anger management problems. We call this Jihad. Or in English, kill whom you like. The Torah says that Esav lived by his sword. They say that they're from Yishmael, but I'm not so sure.
Our beliefs are simple.
We believe in a supreme being that created this whole world. It could not have created itself. He must be "one," in full control, the first, the last, the all-mighty, all knowing, all everything, etc... If not, then he is limited and thus not the GOD. Just think it through once or twice and you'll see that this supreme creator must be not physical and not limited in any way. He created this world to give people a chance to chose good over bad in a sort of game that he created. In order to be able to reward the good and bring God's goodness out into the open. Everything that happens is God's doing except what relates to that choice between good and bad that he gave over to humans to control. In order for us to know the rules to this game, God would need to give us a book of rules, and give it in a way that was public and clear enough that this was the one. That manual that comes with every human explaining how to properly use it. This is clearly the Torah that generation after generation parent passed it to child testifying to millions of people receiving this Torah from God, and actually hearing God speak directly to them. Even the non-Jews knew of this and that is why the new religions needed to include this doctrine into their religion in order to have people buy their story. There was no rule book in history given to any religion with such publicity and fanfare. This small people with such a minimal membership somehow have such a large part of the world of religion. Once everyone agrees to the fact that the Torah is true, you'll see in the Torah that it cannot be changed. Even if it could, I'd need some real good proofs to have me throw it all away and start on a new program. Once we realize that our Torah is true, we must also follow our Mesorah, which is the passing down of the unwritten parts of the Torah as described in the written Torah. If we study our books, we can follow the heritage from Mount Sinai till today and we can see the tracking of each law. That is the proper Torah Study, understanding how each law came from Mount Sinai to today. All the variations to Judaism that are not the rules that were passed down through the generations are not a part of Judaism, just as with Christianity and Islam. There is no room for change in our Torah. Now that we know the Torah is true, it's very easy. Stop thinking, stop philosophizing! Just follow the rules. And of course it is simple to believe everything written there, since we know it's from God. In the Torah we learn some of the basics. We learn that there is reward and punishment. We learn that God will send Moshiach (the Messiah) to bring us back home to Israel and build our Temple. We learn that eventually God will bring the dead back to life. These are our beliefs that mostly come from the Torah. The initial beliefs came from our own mind, realizing what we have a God, that he must give us a book of rules, and understanding that the Torah is that book. Once we get there, the rest is even simpler. Whatever God wrote in his book, we need to believe. Of course, didn't God write it?! You asked a simple question and you got a mouthfull (or an eyefull)
Next time your in Shul, listen to the words you say in "Yigdal."