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This may sound like a simple question, but every time I speak with a Jewish person and ask them if they believe in God they talk about all kinds of things but they never give me a straight answer. They say that they don't believe in anything that is not in the Torah, and I ask them well then who do you pray to? And they say we pray to the Torah.

I don't understand do Jewish people pray to the book? Or do they worship the scrolls that the Rabbi's write, like the Rabbis are the descendants of God.

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they say we pray to the Torah. Personally, I vever saw anyone like that. Maybe they think that since we pray in the direction of the Aron (which contains Torah scrolls), they think we pray to them. Maybe we'll criticize someone for acting as if he prays to the seforim (like the classic person who learns Torah but forgot "the giver of the Torah"). I don't know anyone who actually prays to a book. –  Shmuel Brin Nov 29 '13 at 6:54
    
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Maybe those were irreligious Jews? –  Shmuel Brin Nov 29 '13 at 7:30
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@SSpoke, with respect, is English your first language? I ask because there seems to be some loss in translation, as it is impossible to comprehend that any Jew would claim to pray to the Torah, or that rabbis are descendants of G-d. It might help us to know too your cultural and religious background, as it seems that you are perhaps bringing assumptions from non-Jewish culture. By the way, yes, Judaism mandates a belief in G-d. –  yoel Nov 29 '13 at 21:00
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Who have you been asking, and what exactly (word for word) were the questions and answers? Because this sounds like a ludicrous thing for any religious Jew to say. I can't imagine this being anything other than a misunderstanding. –  Seth J Dec 1 '13 at 0:09

3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes.

Belief in God is axiomatic to Judaism.

Jewish prayer features, at least twice a day, every day, the Shema, a compact assertion of this belief from Deuteronomy 6:4:

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Jews traditionally teach this prayer to our children almost starting at birth. I strongly suspect that almost any Jew with any knowledge of Jewish prayer knows this one.


Of course, there are plenty of individual Jews who believe all kinds of things, including atheism. I have never heard before of someone praying to the Torah.

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@Yitzchak Anyone who permits making requests of dead relatives, or of angels, or of the Torah for that matter, would not characterize that as praying to them (as if they have some power to grant your request). It's simply a request that they intercede and pray to the Almightly on your behalf in the hopes that their prayers might be more effective. –  Fred Nov 29 '13 at 19:02
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Granted but those who do not permit it, or are uncomfortable with it and would forbid it if not for the well established minhag, would call that difference specious.(If I had the knowledge to forbid anything I'd be in the latter group) –  Yitzchak Nov 29 '13 at 19:07
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@Yitzchak Ok, so you admit that no one claims to pray to the Torah. Only the people that omit certain lines claim that about those other guys. (By the way, see Igros Moshe OC, vol. 5, 43:6 for discussion of this machlokes). –  Fred Nov 29 '13 at 19:15
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@yitzchak, then why get into confusing semantic arguments on an answer to a question from a confused OP who seems to think Jews are idolaters? –  Seth J Dec 1 '13 at 0:12
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@SethJ, +1000 But you know, Jews want to be precise. Which is probably part of how OP got confused in the first place. –  Isaac Moses Dec 2 '13 at 5:12

the central prayer in the Jewish prayer order is the Amidah and yes it is addressing God. see more about it here. The God being addressed is the one spoken about in the torah, as the amidah starts "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob".

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Jews believe in God and introduced the concept of one God to the modern world. Judaism existed thousands of years before Christianity and Islam. Jews only pray to God, a God that does not have physical form (unlike Christianity) and to a God that is neither male nor female. There are other religions that worship one God but they do not necessarily worship the same God of Israel. In order to worship the God of Israel, you can't call God by a different name that is not belonging to him. For example, there were nations that worshiped ba'al and this is not the same as worshipping the God of Israel who is beyond time and space and referred to only by the names in the Torah. Jews do not pray to the Torah. That is akin to idol worship. They might pray in the direction of the Temple but they do not pray to any physical object. You must be asking non-religious Jews or Jews who are culturally Jewish, not necessarily practicing. Perhaps you could help them learn more about Judaism :)

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