The following principles inform our approach:
“Torah min hashmayim" —Torah is from heaven (Sanhedrin 10:1).
Torah “lo bashmamyim hi”— The Torah is not in heaven (Bava Metzia 59b).
“Eilu v’eilu divrei elokim chaim”—These and those are the words of the Living God (Eruvin 13b).
We are committed to the following values:
- To uphold the spiritual importance of intellectual honesty. As the Talmud teaches: “The seal of God is truth.” (Yoma 69b). In the words of the psalmist: “Indeed You desire truth about that which is hidden” (51:8).
- To value Jewish practices and observances independently of the historical origin of the Torah and rabbinic law.
- To appreciate that Judaism is a text-based religion, connecting Jews to each other through study of common sacred texts.
- To embody the ideal that “The words of the Torah should be as new to you as if they were given today” (Rashi Shemot 19:1). Every generation needs to find an understanding of Torah based on its current realities, including the latest knowledge of science and history.
In the words of Rabbi Avraham Kook:
“The greatest deficiency in yir’at shamayim (fear of heaven) that is not well connected to the light of Torah is that fear of thought replaces fear of sin. Because a human being begins to be afraid of thinking, he drowns in the morass of ignorance, which robs him of the light of soul, weakens his vigor, and casts a pall over his spirit.” (Orot ha-Qodesh, vol. 3, pg. 26)