5

Here I've read, that the Rambam in yesode hatorah says, G-d has no emotions.

But the Torah is full with things like:

  • what He hates (usually the breaking of His laws, especially the sins related idolatry, or if the people doesn't believe him enough strong)
  • what He likes (mainly the odor of the burning sacrifices)
  • He repents the creation of the antediluvian humanity, even exterminates nearly the whole,
  • but after the Flood, He also smells Noah's sacrifice in the new Earth, and says in His hearth to not do that again.

How G-d doesn't have emotions? As I see, he does his task highly emotionally.

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  • Hello, maybe provide the source from where you saw that " God doesn't have emotions. And I'm sure your question will be more readily answered – Shoel U'Meishiv Feb 23 '15 at 15:31
  • @Nafkamina I edited the reference in the question. – Gray Sheep Feb 23 '15 at 15:34
  • Please cite where the Torah says those things. – Double AA Feb 23 '15 at 15:37
  • @DoubleAA I will do, despite I think most people here knows the Torah enough well to remember these verses. – Gray Sheep Feb 23 '15 at 15:38
  • @user8558 A) But not everyone does. B) Often you think you're quoting something correctly till you force yourself to find an actual source. – Double AA Feb 23 '15 at 15:40
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The Rambam referenced in the question actually deals with the many times in Tanach in which we ascribe emotions to Hashem.

In chapter 55 in Moreh Nevuchim, the Rambam discusses Hashem's "emotion" as a literary device used to convey meaning to us an audience. Emotions and moods are transient in nature, and are impossible for the unchanging perfection of Hashem. "Wanting" something means that there is something you are lacking, "anger" means something doesn't follow your intent, etc.

When we use these phrases, it is to explain to us that the manner in which there is a "response" from Hashem is as if he were angry, jealous, happy, etc.

In reality, what is changing is our relationship to Hashem - the rest flows as an inevitable reaction to the changes we make in that relationship.

A very similar answer is given regarding prayer - we aren't "changing Hashem's mind" when we pray, we are changing who we are in our relationship to alter how we interact with Hashem, and the (hopefully desired) results flow from there.

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  • I would just add that the verses that ascribe emotions to G-d are just like the verses ascribing limbs to G-d: allegorical. – N.T. Dec 9 '20 at 2:36
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Good question. After the flood, Genesis recounts G-d in a state of regret, “His heart was saddened.”

Radak explains that: “When it says that He ‘regretted,’ this is the Torah speaking in human terms (Rabbi Ishmael), for in truth, ‘He is not human that He should change his mind [le-hinahem]’ (I Sam. 15:29), for in the Almighty there is no change of will.” Ibn Ezra and Maimonides agreed that the Torah ascribes emotions to G-d figuratively.

Whenever any one of His actions is perceived by us, we ascribe to G-d that emotion which is the source of the act when performed by ourselves, and call Him by an epithet which is formed from the verb expressing that emotion. We see, e.g., how well He provides for the life of the embryo of living beings; how He endows with certain faculties both the embryo itself and those who have to rear it after its birth, in order that it may be protected from death and destruction, guarded against all harm, and assisted in the performance of all that is required [for its development]. Similar acts, when performed by us, are due to a certain emotion and tenderness called mercy and pity. G-d is, therefore, said to be merciful: e.g., "Like as a father is merciful to his children, so the L-rd is merciful to them that fear Him" (Ps. ciii. 13); "And I will spare them, as a man spareth (yaḥamol) his own son that serveth him" (Mal. iii. 17). Such instances do not imply that G-d is influenced by a feeling of mercy, but that acts similar to those which a father performs for his son, out of pity, mercy and real affection, emanate from G-d solely for the benefit of His pious men, and are by no means the result of any impression or change--[produced in G-d].--When we give something to a person who has no claim upon us, we perform an act of grace; e.g., "Grant them graciously unto us" (Judges xxi. 22). [The same term is used in reference to G-d, e.g.] "which G-d hath graciously given" (Gen. xxxiii. 5); "Because G-d hath dealt graciously with me" (ib. 11). Instances of this kind are numerous. G-d creates and guides beings who have no claim upon Him to be created and guided by Him; He is therefore called gracious (ḥannun)--His actions towards mankind also include great calamities, which overtake individuals and bring death to them, or affect whole families and even entire regions, spread death, destroy generation after generation, and spare nothing whatsoever. Hence there occur inundations, earthquakes, destructive storms, expeditions of one nation against the other for the sake of destroying it with the sword and blotting out its memory, and many other evils of the same kind. Whenever such evils are caused by us to any person, they originate in great anger, violent jealousy, or a desire for revenge. G-d is therefore called, because of these acts, "jealous," "revengeful," "wrathful," and "keeping anger" (Nah. i. 2) that is to say, He performs acts similar to those which, when performed by us, originate in certain psychical dispositions, in jealousy, desire for retaliation, revenge, or anger: they are in accordance with the guilt of those who are to be punished, and not the result of any emotion: for He is above all defect! The same is the case with all divine acts: though resembling those acts which emanate from our passions and psychical dispositions, they are not due to anything superadded to His essence. (Friedlander translation)

"For He is above all defect!" Since God is perfect, G-d does not have human emotions. According to Rambam, G-d does not become angry. When the Bible says that G-d becomes angry this is there to prompt people to act properly. The Rambam continues:

You, no doubt, know the Talmudical saying, which includes in itself all the various kinds of interpretation connected with our subject. It runs thus: “The Torah speaks according to the language of man,” that is to say, expressions, which can easily be comprehended and understood by all, are applied to the Creator. Hence the description of G-d by attributes implying corporeality, in order to express His existence: because the multitude of people do not easily conceive existence unless in connection with a body, and that which is not a body nor connected with a body has for them no existence. (Guide for the Perplexed 1.26; Friedlander translation, p. 111)[1]

[1] From Dr. Yair Barkai’s essay “The L-rd and Regret.”

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Notwithstanding all of the above quotes I would strongly suggest that God does have emotions otherwise it would be perfectly impossible for us to love God. (You cannot love a brick, because it is not loveable).

As the passuk says

https://www.sefaria.org/Proverbs.27.17?lang=bi

כַּ֭מַּיִם הַפָּנִ֣ים לַפָּנִ֑ים כֵּ֤ן לֵֽב־הָ֝אָדָ֗ם לָאָדָֽם׃

As face answers to face in water, So does one man’s heart to another.

In reference to the sources quoted in the previous answers to this question, I would understand most of them meaning to say that God is not ruffled by our response to Him.

So he is not wrath because we upset him, nor is he merciful because we bought him a birthday present. Rather God directs his emotional response to us in the way that is dictated by his wisdom and eternal plan.

As an example of God's emotional involvement with his creations see

https://www.sefaria.org/Chagigah.5b.10-11?lang=bi

(ירמיהו יג, יז) ואם לא תשמעוה במסתרים תבכה נפשי מפני גוה אמר רב שמואל בר איניא משמיה דרב מקום יש לו להקב"ה ומסתרים שמו מאי מפני גוה אמר רב שמואל בר יצחק מפני גאוותן של ישראל שניטלה מהם ונתנה לעובדי כוכבים ר' שמואל בר נחמני אמר מפני גאוותה של מלכות שמים

The verse states: “But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret [bemistarim] for your pride” (Jeremiah 13:17). Rav Shmuel bar Inya said in the name of Rav: The Holy One, Blessed be He, has a place where He cries, and its name is Mistarim. What is the meaning of “for your pride”? Rav Shmuel bar Yitzḥak said: God cries due to the pride of the Jewish people, which was taken from them and given to the gentile nations. Rav Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: He cries due to the pride of the kingdom of Heaven, which was removed from the world.

11 ומי איכא בכיה קמיה הקב"ה והאמר רב פפא אין עציבות לפני הקב"ה שנאמר (דברי הימים א טז, כז) הוד והדר לפניו עוז וחדוה במקומו לא קשיא הא בבתי גואי הא בבתי בראי

The Gemara asks: But is there crying before the Holy One, Blessed be He? Didn’t Rav Pappa say: There is no sadness before the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place” (I Chronicles 16:27)? The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. This statement, that God cries, is referring to the innermost chambers, where He can cry in secret, whereas this statement, that He does not cry, is referring to the outer chambers.

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  • Notwithstanding the downvote, you still can't love a brick. – The GRAPKE Dec 9 '20 at 1:34
  • G-d is not a brick, G-d is the provider of life. If you love life, you should love G-d. – N.T. Dec 9 '20 at 2:37
  • Love is an emotion. If a brick provided with you life, could you then love the brick? Of course not. You can only love something that returns your love, as the passuk says. – The GRAPKE Dec 9 '20 at 3:00
  • Your pasuk is a proof against yourself, because God is not a man. And the gemara that you bring is no more of a question than the pasukim in the OP. – Mordechai Dec 9 '20 at 20:00
  • @Mordechai Yes, but as Reb Elya Lopian points out, you only have one set of emotions, and it is not possible to differentiate between your emotions as you apply them to people and your emotions as you apply them to Hashem. Do you have any other way of understanding that gemara? – The GRAPKE Dec 9 '20 at 21:50
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I agree with Maimonides that G-d does not has emotions. Maimonides explains:

"I am G-d who does not change (Mal. 3:6). And if He were sometimes angry and sometimes happy, He would be changing (MT, Hilkhot Yesodei HaTorah, 1:12). Yet Maimonides failed to convince most Jews that G-d does not have emotions.

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The idea that G~d does not have emotions does not make sense unless we think od G~d knowing ablout emotions but not experiencing them. In order for G~d to understand us he must understand how our emotions affect our behaviour. To do this he must experience emotions in the way we experience them, otherwise he is not completely informed. To experience them the way we do he would need to experience certain very strong emotions as totally consuming himself in they way they consume us. Otherwise G~d understanding of emotions is purely abstract and detached.

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    Your response reminds me of the uproar caused by the film "Last Temptation of Christ" which implied Jesus had to experience all human emotions in order to better understand man. The church was particularly disturbed by the film's assertations that in order to do so, he had to have a sexual experience. That idea is diametrically opposed to Judaism and Islam and all other monotheistic religions as G-d has no physical form and would not have to "feel" or experience human emotions. For G-d to become man for such knowledge is totally against Judaism. – JJLL Feb 24 '15 at 3:52
  • You are applying human limitations to G-d. He can know things in ways that we cannot. – N.T. Dec 9 '20 at 2:38

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