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Basic Beliefs

What do we believe as Jews? What are the fundamentals of our faith? How do we connect with G-d? What is more important one’s passion or one’s deed?...

What Jews Believe
A Brief Introduction to Jewish Theology
A six-part series on the major ideas of Jewish theology, this overview attempts to present the tenets of Jewish belief in a single, cohesive picture.
G-d, Torah, and the Jews
Audio | 1:17:42
G-d, Torah, and the Jews
Jewish Essentials - Part 1
What does it mean to be a Jew? Join us as we explore the fundamentals of Judaism and our role in the world. This class is the first of a six-part lecture series titled ‘The Essentials,’ which introduces the foundations of Jewish life and living.
The Dynamics of Faith
Faith is not a last resort of desperation: it’s an inherent faculty whose muscle needs to be exercised. Explore the dynamics of our inner faith.
This is Judaism
Audio | 58:07
This is Judaism
The religion that suggests eating a meat and cheese sandwich is of concern to a universal Divine being, and other interesting facts about Judaism.
Defining Miracles
Audio | 47:07
Defining Miracles
A miracle breaks the barriers of nature. Do miracles happen today? Can we create miracles in this world through our prayers and actions?
When a Mitzvah Hurts
All resistance to G-dliness comes from un-holiness; through mitzvots we can bring G-dliness even to areas of resistance, and where G-d feels foreign and un-natural He eventually finds a home.
Freedom: Are We Programmed?
This lecture address, from both a philosophical and practical perspective, the timeless question regarding man’s capacity to choose freely notwithstanding G-d’s absolute knowledge and providence, based on the teachings of Maimonides.
The Soul of the Matter
Rabbi Friedman sheds new light on the timeless question of anti-semitisem and goes on to describe the definition of the three souls.
To Be Connected
Audio | 1:18:53
To Be Connected
How do we connect with G-d? How are we judged by G-d? The real meaning of freedom and choice.
Free Choice Or Has It Already Been Decided
If G-d knows what is going to happen, where is our free choice? Discover the deeper meaning of "G-d was, is, and will be".
It's the Thought that Counts, But for What?
The eternal question, "Which is greater, the intention or the deed?" is examined in this lecture. The virtue of the intention is that it raises the earthy, finite condition, which is man, toward heaven. The virtue of the deed is that it brings the infinite to earth. In a relationship, interaction is more essential than personal growth and intention.
Bad Things to Good People?
Here is an authentically Jewish presentation of a painful subject which enables us to lay the groundwork for understanding G-d's justice. We come to understand the nature of Divine Providence, recognizing G-d's hand in every event.
Make Good - Not War
Audio | 53:42
Make Good - Not War
The old conflicts of faith and how to serve G-d are at the core of life and therefore at the core of the most devastating of disagreements and conflicts. Let’s reflect upon Judaism’s logical and healthy approach to G-d and religion.
The Purpose of Creation
The divine presence came down to this world and then the divine presence left this world. What will bring it back?
To Believe or To Know - Part 1
Part 1 of 2
Do you just believe in G-d or do you know that there is a G-d? What defines belief in G-d and what does it mean to know G-d?
To Believe or To Know - Part 2
Part 2 of 2
Do you just believe in G-d or do you know G-d? The conclusion of a two part series.
Trust in G-d: To What Extent?
To what extent are we to place our trust and reliance in G-d? For this we must analyze the distinction between emunah and bitachon—belief in G-d vs. trust in G-d.
It’s Good to Know
Audio | 37:11
It’s Good to Know
Knowing brings us closer to the subject and in Torah all knowledge is good. The true function of knowledge is to merge and become one.
The Reward for Mitzvot
Which Mitzvot (good deeds) done in this world bring us reward in this world and which do we reap the benefits in the world to come.
The 7UP Obligation
Audio | 1:20:07
The 7UP Obligation
How Should Jews Relate to Noahides?
The Torah prescribes seven universal laws for all humanity. What is our role as Jews in observing these laws?
The Jewish View on the Devil
What is the Jewish view on Satan, demons and other forces of evil?
How Old is G-d?
Audio | 48:48
How Old is G-d?
Should we modify our interpretation of the Torah and faith in G-d to fit human understanding and science or should it be the reverse?
Understanding our Faith
This class explores the elements of logical faith, the rational side of our belief in G-d and the divine origin of the Torah.
Bitachon – Trust in G-d (1)
Audio | 40:46
Bitachon – Trust in G-d (1)
This class expounds upon the true meaning of Bitachon – trust in G-d as a distinct quality from belief and faith in G-d.
Bitachon – Trust in G-d (2)
Audio | 46:30
Bitachon – Trust in G-d (2)
G-d Helps Those Who Help Themselves
This class explains in great detail how our involvement in natural endeavors isn’t a contradiction to our absolute trust in G-d.
Love Thy Neighbor
Audio | 43:24
Love Thy Neighbor
Hillel taught: what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; this is the whole Torah and the rest is just commentary. Join us for a wonderful analysis of this mitzvah.
In the Beginning
Fundamentals in Judaism regarding faith, G-d’s Oneness and the existence of the universe.
Using Your Future to Change Your Past
The Power of Teshuvah
Understanding the mechanics of how repentance actually repairs spiritual damage in the cosmos.
Many Bodies, One Soul
The Mitzvah to Love Your Fellow
A kabbalistic explanation of why whatever we do to others, we are actually doing to ourselves.
Spirituality for Materialists
Why you need a body to be spiritual
Great spiritual treasures lie hidden in the most material aspects of our world—a unique chassidic perspective on physicality.
How Involved Is G-d in Running Our World?
The Concept of 'Hashgacha Pratit'
If we know with certainty that G-d is involved and cares about all the details of our world, we can be happier and more empowered individuals.
Is Faith a Reality?
Audio | 59:54
Is Faith a Reality?
Explore the essence of faith
Must we accept belief in G-d blindly? What role does faith play in a modern day world? Discover how to bring the G-dly back into a G-dless society and communicate faith in the face of adversity.
Faith Amid Tragedy and Pain
The single greatest challenge to faith is when experiencing tragedy or loss. Can we make sense of the bad things that happen in our world, and how should we deal with these challenges? What is the Jewish approach when faced with grief and suffering? Must we defend G-d, challenge G-d, or simply accept?
Can the Twelve Tribes Become One People?
Looking Beyond the Labels
Our strength as a people has always lied in our unity, but what is the key to transcending our differences? Rabbi Yitzchok Schochet explores the danger of religious prejudice and judgmental tendencies, and the fundamental imperative to foster loving respect for all. (From a talk celebrating the 19th of Kislev at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.)
Why Bad Things Happen
The painful questions in life
When things get really tough, when there are dark moments, our sense of justice asks: why is this happening, and why to me?
Stronger Together After Tragedy
An inspiring talk by Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet at an evening of Jewish unity in Pittsburgh following the tragedy of the Tree of Life shooting.
A Vengeful G-d?
Audio | 38:07
A Vengeful G-d?
The first teaching of the fifth chapter of 'Ethics of Our Fathers' states that the primary reason why G-d created the world in the manner in-which He did is to 'exact retribution from the wicked'. This statement appears puzzling and indeed disturbing. This class will peel back the layers in light of the teachings of Chassidus and reveal its powerfully loving message.
All Is One? Judaism and Eastern Spirituality
Contemporary, spiritually seeking Jews are often drawn to Hinduism and Buddhism, attracted by teachings that espouse oneness and transcendence. This class explores the origins and differences between Judaism and Eastern faiths. The results are revelations that many will undoubtedly find astounding.
Trusting G-d When He Seems MIA
We all face hardship, pain and challenges in life, and at times we may ask: where is G-d in all of this? Let’s probe deeper to find perspective when it all seems random.