In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal
In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal

The 13 Fundamental Principles Of Our Torah Tradition

With Tolerance, Respect, and Love for Jews of Other Torah Traditions

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Principle 9
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Principle 11

Principle 10 – Taking Responsibility for One’s Own Torah Learning and the Role of One’s Rabbi

The only alternative to learning for oneself with a teacher is choosing a halakhic guide, such as a rabbi, to dictate how one should practice halakhah. However, following such a rabbinical figure does not exempt the follower from his rabbi’s mistakes. Every Jew is personally responsible for practicing the Law correctly, and is punishable for his mistakes – even those he learned from his rabbi. (1)This is the overall principle behind Hilkhoth Shegagoth, and one emphasized by HaRav Yosef Qafiḥ of blessed memory, one of the most influential ...continue

For the serious student, even the greatest rabbi is a poor alternative to taking responsibility for his own learning; for him, there is no viable alternative to learning in the Land of Israel, together with like-minded peers, ideally in Hebrew. (2)As noted in the footnote 5 to Principle 7, Beth Midrash Ohel Moshe strives to provide that fellowship and sense of community not only for local ...continue

Although independent study is important, the guidance of truly competent teachers is crucial. Unlike more recent rabbinical works, the early authoritative rabbinical sources were written in order to be read in their entirety, and understood in the context of the whole text. Mishneh Torah must be read well, several times in its entirety, in order to gain the most accurate understanding of any part of the Law. Until one has completed the whole text several times, and perhaps even well afterwards, one must have the guidance of a teacher who has.

Moreover, it is one thing to understand the halakhah, but another thing to know how to apply it in real life: how to live the Torah peaceably without sacrificing what HaShem expects of us. Therefore, beyond knowledge of the text alone, one must choose a rabbi, ḥakham, or mori based on his noble character traits and life experience as well.

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Principle 9
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Principle 11

Notes   [ + ]

1. This is the overall principle behind Hilkhoth Shegagoth, and one emphasized by HaRav Yosef Qafiḥ of blessed memory, one of the most influential rabbis of my own Torah teacher.
2. As noted in the footnote 5 to Principle 7, Beth Midrash Ohel Moshe strives to provide that fellowship and sense of community not only for local students and friends, but for those all over the world via our online classes for Jews and Noahides.