RCA Core Principles

The RCA’s history, activities, and accomplishments reflect, in practical terms, the core principles which have long defined the RCA’s outlook:

  1. We affirm that God’s revelation at Sinai created an eternal covenantal relationship with the Jewish nation as a chosen people which obligates all Jews in all generations to lives of complete observance of the commandments.
  2. We affirm that God gave the Torah to Moses, who in turn gave it to the Jewish people. The laws of the Torah are immutable and apply in all generations.
  3. We are heirs to and participants in a millennia-old halachic process which is founded upon an unbroken chain of tradition from Sinai and continues until today, embodied in a literature which incorporates the Bible, the Talmud, Jewish law codes, responsa literature, and other authoritative works. This process greatly emphasizes tradition and precedent while also sanctioning the adaptation and application of Jewish law to new circumstances and evolving realities. Halacha includes internal mechanisms which uniquely guide its responsible development by acknowledged halachic authorities and which create and thereby sanction multiple views on many issues. In accordance with the principle of “These and those are the words of the living God” (Eruvin 13b), we affirm that each such view deserves respect and consideration.
  4. We are passionately committed to the ongoing flourishing of the State of Israel, seeing its establishment and continued existence as historic, Divine expressions of national dignity, sovereignty, and redemption.
  5. We seek to maximize the involvement in Jewish life of all Jews, including young and old, groups with diverse customs due to their countries of origin, as well as those with greater knowledge of Judaism and those who are novices. We affirm the essential uniqueness of each sex and the halachic distinctions between them. We also foster, in light of the many positive changes in the lives of Orthodox Jewish women over the past century, a diversity of halachically and communally appropriate opportunities for women’s lay and professional involvement in Orthodox Jewish life.
  6. We embrace our mandate to interact with, and to effect positive changes in, all of human society, in keeping with the view of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (in “Confrontation”) that Jews must “stand shoulder to shoulder with civilized society… and members of other faith communities, … committed to the general welfare and progress of mankind determined to participate in every civic, scientific, and political enterprise[, as we] feel obligated to enrich society with our creative talents and to be constructive and useful citizens.”
  7. As proud, loyal citizens of the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, we urge the Jewish communities we lead to comply with all non-discriminatory civil legislation, in fulfillment of the Talmudic dictate of dina de’malchuta dina (secular law has the force of halachic obligation).
  8. We believe that in addition to the ongoing study of Torah which is central to all Jews’ religious lives, Jews must pursue knowledge of the universe and humanity, including the natural, social, and applied sciences, humanities, and higher culture. Such knowledge is part of an integrated quest to know God, the unified Source of knowledge about His varied Creation.