The following are some of my foundational beliefs.
The Authority of the Torah
What is the Torah? Within Judaism, the word “Torah” is most commonly used to refer to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, which were written by Moshe. Because the entirety of the Hebrew Bible is considered to be the instructions of Hashem, in many instances the word “Torah” is also used to refer to the entire Tanach. I am fully convinced that the entire Hebrew Bible has the authority to teach us the ways of Hashem. I approach Judaism from a Messianic direction, so I also hold the Torat HaShlichim on the same level of authority as the Hebrew Scriptures.
I do not believe that the Torah has been abolished, abrogated, or in any other way done away with. I also do not believe that the Torah has been completely adjusted so that it is effectively done away with. These two common teachings are, in my mind, not founded on correct interpretations of the Scriptures. I do beleive that the Torat HaShlichim gives us additional instructions and that we must make our lives fall in line with its teachings, but I do not see any part of the Torat HaShlichim that opposes the Torah or its intent.
As I see it, the natural flow of the Scriptures is this: The Torah is the foundational teaching; all other teaching must keep in step with it. The Neviim and Ketuvim are both complementary works and commentary on the Torah, offering new insights into Hashem's heart. The Torat HaShlichim is also a complementary work, and it is intended to be an exposition on the entire Tanach.
Judaism is a living, breathing religion. Because it acts as the civil foundation for a nation, Torah is, by nature, a legal system. This legality is necessary to ensure its longevity, but the beauty of the system is that it is not stagnant. It has the flexibility to adjust as necessary to meet the demands of life in every generation, while losing neither its power nor its moral foundation.
What gives the Torah this flexibility? The Oral Torah (Torah shebal peh) and halacha, which originate in the Written Torah (Torah she’biktav) and derive their authority from it. I believe that the Oral Torah, halacha, and Jewish tradition are all authoritative.
The Jewish People
Hashem expresses His desires for mankind in the Torah, and in the Torah He shows us His choice of the Jewish people as His special people. I believe that that choice is irrevocable. I also believe that His choice of the Jewish people gives their understandings and interptretations of the Torah weight and validity. So, the Jewish people model for the rest of mankind the way to follow Hashem—a way of life of that includes not only the Torah, but also the other teachings and the traditions that have been passed down to us.
I am a student of the Scriptures, so my hermeneutical principles are founded what I have studied, what I have been taught, and what I have followed myself. I am not a “King James only” man, and I do not hold to the school of thought that rejects the use of textual criticism in the study of the Scriptures. My belief in the authority of the Scriptures actually requires me to utilize textual criticism to increase my understanding of it.
I believe that Yeshua of Natzeret is the Moshiach. I go into detail in my Moshiach section as to why I hold this belief and particular issues surrounding it, including the divinity of Moshiach and His place in the atonement process.