Questions regarding our understanding of God, such as it is. NOT for every question about Jewish beliefs.

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28
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9answers
2k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
22
votes
8answers
1k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
21
votes
4answers
1k views

How does one explain God to little kids?

As I understand it, the ability to understand abstract concepts develops gradually in kids and is certainly not all there when they first start having conversations. This comes into play when kids ...
18
votes
1answer
199 views

Can a Noachide continue to believe in religious tenets that are against the Torah?

Say you have a Christian* or a Muslim (or a member of any other monotheistic religion) who accepts the Seven Noachide Laws, and (as per Mishneh Torah, Hil. Melachim 8:11) does so because he believes ...
15
votes
4answers
955 views

What is the machlokes between the Gra and Ba'al HaTanya?

What is the famous argument between the Vilna Gaon and the Ba'al HaTanya in understanding the Sod HaTzimtzum? And what are some ma'areh mekomos in their works where this Machlokes is seen?
14
votes
7answers
1k views

How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes?

How does Judaism deal with paradoxes relating to the omnipotence of God? For example: Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift?
14
votes
8answers
651 views

Reconciling the evidence for the Uncertainty Principle with belief in an omniscient G-d

One of the foundations of modern quantum mechanics is the Uncertainty Principle. This principle is not an assumption, but rather is derived from assumptions made with regard to the structure of ...
14
votes
3answers
323 views

Do people have an effect on the mood of God?

If a person commits idolatry or fornication he is sinful. Not only that, but the curse of Hashem is with that person. On the other hand, if a person does a lot of mitswots (commandments) and believes ...
14
votes
1answer
163 views

Is God swayed by popular appeal?

When we pray for someone to be healed, we pray this individually in the Amidah but we also often have a community misheberach list. I assume that there is a theological reason for the public prayer, ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

Sheidim, fact or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
13
votes
6answers
276 views

Hashem studies Torah?

The Gemara in Avodah Zarah 3b lays out the 12-hour schedule of Hashem's day. I realize that any kind of description of Hashem in human terms is allegorical as Hashem is not a human bounded by time and ...
11
votes
5answers
280 views

Why did Yonah run away?

If Yonah understood that he was being commanded by God, then how could he have possibly thought that he could run away? Did he believe that God was tied to a particular land, the way pagan gods were ...
11
votes
4answers
348 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Gan Eden was Satan?

Upon reading the recent CNN article, That Actually Isn't In The Bible, one not-really-in-the-Bible misconception they cite is the idea that serpent in the Garden of Eden was the Satan. The article ...
11
votes
9answers
643 views

do we really have free choice?

I was told Hashem created us with free will; so we can make a choice to do good or evil, right? Well, Hashem knows what we are going to do in 10 minutes. So do we really have free will? Hashem can see ...
11
votes
6answers
422 views

Why is God so hidden from us

Why did God institute a natural order so that His presence would be hidden. I know so many people who are hopelessly convinced of the scientific perspective that the world is basically a machine ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Have Jews believed that Ezra was the son of God?

In reading the Qur'an, I noticed this passage: Qur'an 9:30 The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their ...
9
votes
3answers
251 views

How do scientists such as Natan Aviezer and Gerald Schroeder understand the fourth day of creation?

If I understand correctly, scientists such as Natan Aviezer and Gerald Schroeder have readings of Genesis Chapter 1 that fit with the current scientific understanding of how the universe/planet/life ...
9
votes
3answers
797 views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
9
votes
2answers
308 views

“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
9
votes
2answers
166 views

Yearning for Moshiach while the Temples stood

Did we (the Jewish people) yearn for the complete Redemption (with the Techias HaMasim, etc) like we do today, at the time the either Temple was standing? It can't be that we just assumed "This is ...
8
votes
3answers
147 views

What happened to Avraham's students?

We read how Avraham was going around convincing people to believe in one G-d and of his many students. Yet we don't hear of those students (or their descendants) ever again. What happened to them ...
8
votes
2answers
219 views

What is the proof that HaShem's purpose in creation was to bestow good?

Rabbi M Ch Luzzatto in Derech HaShem (1:2:1) gives HaShem’s purpose in creation to “bestow of His good to another”. (Translation Aryeh Kaplan.) The translator in his notes gives several ...
8
votes
4answers
386 views

What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
8
votes
2answers
141 views

Baruch Hu Ubaruch Shmo-Meaning

I am looking for a good explanation of the phrase, "Baruch Hu Ubaruch Shmo".i.e. why do we praise both Hashem and his "name" separately? Can anyone help me with this? Thanks!
7
votes
4answers
295 views

Is Hashem corporeal?

I heard of a discussion over Peseach about whether Hashem is corporeal. Which classical Jewish sources (Talmud/Achronim/Rishonim) offer definitive opinions about this? (Please cite references!) I ...
7
votes
5answers
886 views

Does God love non-Jews?

I've read the topic of whether or not God discriminates between Jews and non-Jews, but does God love non-Jews? Does it say anywhere that He does love non-Jews. I don't believe that God hates non-Jews ...
7
votes
4answers
182 views

If the odds are against you in life (Bais Shammai's opinion), why did G-d bother?

I'm asking this question only because I recall hearing an answer, but unfortunately I don't remember the answer, or from which rabbi. Help me please? Mesilas Yesharim says G-d made creation out of ...
7
votes
2answers
109 views

Why are several Biblical characters called “man of the Lord” (Ish HaElokim), but no one in the Bible is ever “man of God” (Ish Hashem)?

Ramban makes this observation (Deut. 33:1), and says "anyone with a good intellect" can figure out the reason. Okay I'm stumped ... help me out here please?
7
votes
4answers
239 views

If Hashem doesn't change, how does prayer work?

If Hashem is perfect and unchanging, how can we pray to Him to have mercy on us? Doesn't that imply a change? I've heard it implied that the way this works is that the prayer itself has the effect ...
7
votes
5answers
746 views

How can we be sure that Judaism is the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
7
votes
3answers
139 views

What is the difference between תקיף and בעל היכולת and בעל הכוחות כולם?

The Shulchan Aruch says: ובהזכירו אלהים, יכוין שהוא תקיף, בעל היכולת ובעל הכֹחות כֻּלם When saying G-d's name אלוקים one should have in mind that G-d is תקיף, בעל היכולת, ובעל הכחות כולם. These ...
6
votes
3answers
456 views

Is there sufficient evidence to support the theory that ancient Israel practiced monolatry?

I just came across this Wikipedia article on monolatrism that says some people believe ancient Israel practiced monolatry. The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a ...
6
votes
3answers
302 views

The Absolute Unity of G-d

As we all who know Hebrew can assert, the sufix "im" in the words usually means plurality. How can HaShem be Elohim or Elokim if He is absolutely One and the Only Lord?
6
votes
4answers
218 views

God's Pair of Teffilin

How when moshe turns his head not to see God's face, he sees He's got on teffilin? I thought God had no physical form.
6
votes
3answers
232 views

What is the Yetzer Harah?

What is the meaning of the "Yetzer Harah" - יצר הרע? How does it compare to the סטן?
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Better for Man to Not have Been Created

The Talmud in Eruvin 13b concludes that it were better for a man not to have been created than to have been created. How can we understand this given that God is absolutely benevolent. Wouldn't it ...
6
votes
5answers
71 views

Was Kriyas Yam Suf difficult?

The gemora in Pesachim 118a says "קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף", and there is a similar expression in Sota 2a and Sanhedrin 22a "קשה לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף". What exactly was difficult about ...
6
votes
4answers
352 views

Hashem is here and there and everywhere?

Is Hashem really in front of us, behind us, next to us, etc?
6
votes
6answers
185 views

Books on the Existence of G-d?

I was wondering if anyone would be able to recommend to me books from a Jewish perspective on the existence of G-d. Something along the lines of proving G-d's existence. I would prefer an evidentiary ...
6
votes
1answer
564 views

What does “Baruch shem k'vod malchuso l'olam vaed” mean?

A sentence commonly said during prayer is "בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד". How do we interpret it? What does it mean? It sounds like it means: Blessed is/be the name of the ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

How is knowledge of G-d different from any other knowledge?

The Rambam, in his Morei Nevuchim, says that when it comes to knowledge about G-d, we can only know what G-d is not. I.e. He is not limited in space, or time, He does not have property A, nor does he ...
6
votes
4answers
168 views

Onkelos, Anthropomorphism, and The Exodus

Onkelos the Convert is said by the Talmud to be the author of the official aramaic translation of the Pentateuch. Rashi and Maimonides understand Onkelos as having a tendency to interpret physical ...
6
votes
1answer
236 views

Why does God tolerate demons? What is their purpose?

The Bavli records in many places the existence of demons, and answers to this question cite rishonim and acharonim who take this seriously. Pesachim 112b relates a story in which demons are ...
6
votes
1answer
164 views

Does G-d only hear one language?

I'm a little confused by Rambam Hil. Tefilla 1:4. Consequently, when someone would pray, he would be limited in his ability to request his needs or to praise the Holy One, blessed be He, in ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there any difference between Jewish G-d and Muslim G-d? [closed]

Do Jews and Muslims worship the same G-d? If so, do they understand G-d the same way? As a related point, is there any linguistic or theological connection between "Allah" and "Eloha" (or "Elohim")? ...
5
votes
5answers
285 views

Why is learning Torah today harder than 1000 years ago?

Why did Hashem make it harder for this generation to learn Torah, rather than making it equal for every generation? We have all these distractions like tv or games.
5
votes
4answers
489 views

In Judaism, does God have a body?

In the Bible it says [Gen 3:8]: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". It seems God has carnal body (thus he could walk). In Judaism compared with ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

Can Hashem see under our covers?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 3 Sif 1 אלא ילבישו ויפשיטו כשהוא שוכב על משכבו מכסה. ואל יאמר הנני בחדרי חדרים ובחשכה מי רואני, כי הקדוש ברוך הוא מלא כל הארץ כבודו, וכחשכה כאורה לפניו יתברך שמו. My ...
5
votes
1answer
165 views

What is the Shekhina?

To what are people referring when they talk about the Shekhina? Is it a form of God? A part of God? An attribute of God? Perhaps it is something else entirely? Also, what is the etymology of the ...