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13

The straightforward answer to this question is that whereas the Christians are discussing what Hashem is made up of, the Kabbalists are discussing the ways in which He chose to reveal Himself. Just like we can understand that ה' ממית ומחיה is not reminiscent of trinity, since it is simply a reflection of what Hashem will do about different circumstances, ...


8

I have also thought about the same question and have come up with seems most logical to me. I too think that talking about "God living" in the Beit HaMikdash causes many unnecessary misconceptions, So I think a better way of explaining it is like this: The Temple was not a house but rather a meeting place, like an office where the "CEO sitting on the other ...


8

One of the sources for this statement is in Ma'amar 2, towards the end of Chapter 30 of Rabbi Yosef Albo's Sefer Ha'ikrim. It is brought in the name of the "chacham" - "wise person." אי אפשר שישיג עצמותו שום נמצא זולתו. כמו שאמר החכם כששאלו אותו אם היה יודע מהות האל, והשיב: אילו ידעתיו הייתיו. כלומר כי אין מי שישיג עצמותו אלא הוא יתברך, עם היות מציאותו ...


7

The great Torah scholar and codifier of Jewish law, the Rambam (R Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204) compiled what he calls the "Thirteen Fundamental Principles of the Jewish faith", as derived from the Torah. They were to him "the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations." (from here). Some have challenged to what extent everyone always agreed ...


6

Our tradition believes in an Oral Torah which accompanies the Written Torah. Our Oral tradition describes that there are two parts of Jewish wisdom, described as Ma'aseh Bereishis and Ma'aseh Merkava - the account of creation and the account of G-d's divine chariot - which are not meant to be publicly expounded. The Mishna in Chagiga 2:1 states: אין ...


6

I think you are confusing theology with one of its sub components: doctrine/dogma. A systematised description of theology is only one approach to theology. In fact your comment (below the question) that the Christian New Testament does contain theology in the letters shows that your understanding of theology isn't broad enough: for Christians the Gospels are ...


6

The Jewish view is that everything that has been created is under the control of G0d and cannot be considered an independent being in the sense that non-Jewish religions regard "Satan" (as a "rebellious" angel). One of the translations of the word is "prosecutor". Only human beings have free will and the associated "desires" that can cause them to rebel ...


5

תלמוד בבלי מסכת עירובין דף יג עמוד ב אמר רבי אבא אמר שמואל: שלש שנים נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל, הללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו והללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו. יצאה בת קול ואמרה: אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים הן, והלכה כבית הלל חידושי הריטב"א מסכת עירובין דף יג עמוד ב אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים. שאלו רבני צרפת ז"ל היאך אפשר שיהו שניהם דברי אלהים חיים וזה אוסר וזה מתיר, ותירצו כי ...


5

First off, this is a perfectly valid and very important question, and it deserves a thorough, well thought out answer. While I'm not sure I can provide that, I'll try to give at least a small answer to try to explain this phenomenon. There is a concept in the tradition known as "Shivim Panim Latorah" which loosely translates to 'there are 70 interpretations ...


5

Since Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, there has been little faith in any philosophical proof of theological and metaphysical claims. But then, despite the misnamed "Kuzari Principle", this is R' Yehudah haLevi's point in much of the first section of the Kuzari as well. The Kuzari opens with the king having a series of dreams in which an angel tells him, ...


5

First, some background information: The passuq in question is Bereshith 28:16 - "Wayyiqass Ya'aqov mishenatho wayomer akhen yesh HaShem ba-maqom ha-zeh wa-anokhi lo yadha`ti" Translation: "And Ya`aqov awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely HaShem is in this place and I did not know it." However, the Targum Onqelos renders the sense (cf. ...


5

Yes, those before Abraham were indeed aware of the One, Everlasting God. However the Talmud in Brachos says that Abraham was the first to call God, Lord. Before Abraham God was known (to those that knew Him) as God Most High. The difference is that those before him viewed God as the creator and even controller of the world but without a close level of ...


4

Tehillim 94:1 refers to Hashem as being "vengeful" (twice in one verse!): קל נְקָמוֹת ה' קל נְקָמוֹת הוֹפִיַע A word about our descriptions of Hashem - when we attribute descriptions to Hashem, we are not describing His essence, or His nature. We are describing the way in which he interacts with the world. When a person is "loyal," that means that ...


4

The shema? But seriously, see hagiga 15a. Acher's heresy was stating that metatron was a power equal to hashem. Upon seeing metatron sitting in heaven, he proclaimed "There are indeed two powers in Heaven."


4

The sources are vast, ranging from the Tanakh itself, through Tannaitic and Amoraic eras, and into the Geonic era (since you specifically asked for sources pre-rishonim). The Shema (Devarim 6:4) is of course the flagship statement of Jewish monotheistic faith (see also Devarim 4:35 and others). See also Yeshayahu 44:24 and 45:12; Tehillim 135:6; Daniel ...


4

Bereishis Rabba (44:1) asks whether it matters to G-d whether we slaughter an animal from the front of the neck or the back. (This question is even more difficult when you realize that in usual shechitah a bird is slaughtered from the front of the neck, but meliqah, a sort of slaughtering done for qorbanos with the kohein‘s nail was done from the back!) Rav ...


4

The Rambam explains two very different implications of these two ideas. Regarding Exodus 33:20, in Moreh Nevochim 1:54, the Rambam writes that Moshe had requested to grasp Hashem "as He is" - בקש השגת עצמו יתעלה, to which Hashem responded לא יראני האדם וחי - a man cannot see Me and live, meaning one cannot grasp Hashem's essence while he is a being in this ...


3

I just blogged about this at more length here http://www.aishdas.org/asp/what-did-the-elders-see . The most relevant bits: Rashi says that they saw something like the Ma’aseh HaMerkavah, the chariot that Yechezkel saw. “And above the firmament which was over [the chayos’] heads looked like sapir stone, the image of a throne; and on the image of a throne was ...


3

Rashi in Bereishis 1:26 mentions the Pasuk in Melachim that refers to right and left of Hashem. Rashi continues, Is there a right and left of Hashem? Only it means those saying merits, which is referred to as 'right', and those condemning, referred to as 'left'. This clearly shows Rashi not accepting corporeality. As for the Rashi in question, it is more ...


3

Rambam famously adopts the approach of negative-theology (see Rabbi Meir Triebitz's lengthy article about it here). That is, Rambam opines that we cannot speak about God in terms of what he (it) is, but rather what he (it) is not. That is, we can speak of God not being corporeal, not being limited, etc. Also noteworthy, is the Gemara Megillah 18a אסור ...


3

the torah needs to speak to all human beings regardless of their intellectual level or young age. here is an excerpt from part 10 of Duties of the Heart, a classical work on Jewish philosophy: if the scriptures had employed more accurate, truer terminology, then nobody would have understood it except the wise, understanding reader and most of mankind ...


3

The Kli Yakar on the last verse (20:13) explains it nicely. He brings the Mechilta and then sometimes adds his own thoughts. Here's a brief summary (with some possible additions). The original is below. 1. I am the Lord your Gcd <-> 6. Murder As humans are created in the image of Gcd, killing a person diminishes the godliness in this world. (Besides ...


3

Much of the Rambam's first chapter of Yesodei HaTorah deals with these issues. Also, chapter three of Hilchos Teshuva brings them up again (halacha seven).


2

I'll quote Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in Handbook of Jewish Thought, volume 1 chapter two. Due to the delicate subject I will quote directly. Due to the length of this answer, I am leaving out all the sources. 2:35 Our understanding of God's relationship to the world is twofold, namely that He is both immanent and transcendental. Thus, He both fills and ...


2

I once heard HaRav Aharon Lopiansky quote the following from HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein Zt"l: המתחתן עם הדור הזה מתאלמן מן הדור הבא or, in less-poetic English, One who marries this generation becomes widowed from the next generation. In other words, Creation was something that happened a rather long time ago, it's cryptic and unclear exactly what ...


2

There is a mishnah that explicitly addresses this question (Although @ray's quote of Chovos haLavavos makes the point pretty directly. Avos 3:14: הוא היה אומר, חביב אדם שנברא בצלם .חבה יתרה נודעת לו שנברא בצלם, שנאמר (בראשית ט), כי בצלם אלקים עשה את האדם. חביבין ישראל שנקראו בנים למקום.חבה יתרה נודעת להם שנקראו בנים למקום, שנאמר (דברים יד), בנים אתם לה' ...


2

Excerpt from this beurei hatefilah article: Summarizing the concept, Talmud Brachot (3a) states that G-d is saddened when he realizes that He has exiled his children from his house. The following is excerpted from the end of the article (English translation section): When the congregation then comforts G-d because of G-d’s sadness the language ...


2

I'll quote a bit from Rabbi Kaplan's handbook of Jewish thought chapter three entitled Man. See there for his sources. 3:4 Since God is absolutely perfect in Himself, it is obvious that He had no inner need to create the universe. It must be concluded that God's creation of the universe was a most perfect act of altruism and love. It is thus written "The ...


2

A classic ancient source that discusses the revelation of the Shechinah is the Hagada Shel Pesach. During Magid we say וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל - זוֹ גִלּוּי שְׁכִינָה - and with Great Fear - this refers to the Revelation of the Shechina. When one merits a revelation of the Shechina one is overcome with great awe and fear of the almighty. Some of the prophets ...


2

The Shulchan Aruch rules that one should always be in the habit of saying, "Everything the Merciful One does is for the best." (Orach Chaim 230:5; Berachos 60b). So we should say that throughout the day, whenever something happens. A shorter equivalent would be "gamzu l'tovah" from the Talmudic story of Nachum Gamzo. (Ta'anis 21a). Similarly, the Yerushalmi ...



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