Questions tagged [theology]

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

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Why are blessings preceded by suffering?

In Torah there are about 6 or 7 people/groups I can think of whose suffering preceded some blessing. The first is Abraham’s prolonged childlessness and his subsequent test to sacrifice his son. The ...
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God as the Father of converts?

Chizkuni on Numbers 5:8 refers to God as the "Father of the convert". Do any other, earlier sources convey this idea?
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Question about Joseph the Righteous, Yoshke, and Capture and Enclothing by the Sitra Ahra

Still aspects unanswered, please see edit at bottom of post if interested. The book Divine and Demonic in the Poetic Mythology of the Zohar (p. 247) discusses the concept of the "Other side" ...
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Is Hashem only God of the Jews?

According to Exodus 20:2-3 "I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall not have the gods of others in My presence. There are various ...
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What does it mean קנאה, Jealousy?

שמות לג:יד. Rashi explains the verse that says G-d is a Jealous G-d. My understanding of how Rashi explains: the root of the word Jealousy means is "my way goes, and every other way suffers"....
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Do angels serve God out of love?

There are plenty of sources that angels serve Hashem out of fear. However, are there any early sources that angels serve Hashem out of love? Is that something that humans are unique in doing? It seems ...
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How did Yisro figure out that Hashem is the greatest?

When Yisro came to the Jewish nation, he said that now he knows that Hashem is the greatest because "in the very same thing in which they sinned against them" (18:11). What does this mean ...
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Can God influence man to sin?

We know that God is Sovereign, Creator of all things, whether spiritual or physical, and nothing escapes His control or goes against Him. So, from what is written: "However, [God hardened Pharaoh'...
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May one study medieval Christian philosophers such as Augustine or Aquinas?

Many colleges and graduate schools require their students to read Christian philosophers such as Augustine or Aquinas. Does this pose a halachic problem?
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Why didn’t the sages sense a problem with "in God's image"?

The Talmud (Megillah.9b and Tractate_Sefer_Torah.1.9) lists the 13 places/verses that felt problematic in the translation into Greek. "י״ג דברים שינו בה: אלהים ברא בראשית. אעשה אדם בצלם ודמות ...
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Created in the Divine Image

The Torah tells us that Adam was created in the divine image (Gen 1.26-27; 5; 9.6). If the divinity had a body, then we would suppose this means that Adam was created as the divinity's Doppelgänger, ...
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Sources to Learn about Bechina

I'm studying Chovos Halevavos. Can you provide me with some further sources to learn more about Chovos Halevavos's "bechina", i.e., reflecting on God's kindnesses in creation. Books/articles/...
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Did Rambam ever refer to the 13 Principles in his other works?

Rambam lists the 13 Principles as the beliefs which measure one's merits for the world to come, and he writes it as an elaboration of the Mishnaic statement: "All of the Jewish people, have a ...
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Was the man who wrestled with Jacob, God?

It seems to me that the most plain reading of the passage in Genesis 32:22-32 suggests the man who wrestled with Jacob was somehow God, as crazy or as insane as it may sound. I'm looking for ...
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What is the earliest reference of the "original sin"?

The term "חטא הקדמון", or "חטא אדם הראשון" is used widely in Kabalistic and Musar literature to explain Jewish theology, where the world is seen as somewhat broken by this "...
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Are there any references from the schools of Shammai and Hillel that support belief in the soul separating from the body at death?

I found an old question on Mi Yodeya asking for proof of the existence of the soul. Part of the question made this comment: Judaism asserts that a human being is a composite of a body and a spiritual ...
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What is the source of the teaching that Hashem, unlike humanity, perceives time continuously?

I recall once reading a passage that discussed divine perception of reality. The idea was something like this: Humans blink their eyes, and so do not see everything that happens in time. Hashem, ...
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Sources on the Divine Documentary hypothesis

First, to accommodate contradicting Tannaic views, the Rabbinic tradition allows for multiple Halachic lineages stemming from Moses (see "אלו ואלו דברי א' חיים" regarding Hillel and Shamai). ...
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How is the Book of Life / Death organized?

Are these just two books containing lists of people detined to die and one destined for life? Or does each person have his own life and death book? How does it work from one year to the next? If it's ...
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Can G-d read our minds?

In Devarim 8:2 it is written G-d test us in order to know what is in our hearts, so G-d uses an non-direct way to know what is in our hearts. Can G-d read our minds?
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How come that the natural state of a newborn kid is non-theistic?

IIRC, when a person is conceived, a soul is brought before God whom it knows or recognizes well, who decides on its traits and puts it into a fetus, which studies the Torah with an angel for a couple ...
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Do the current nations also have their own angels like the 70 from in the Torah?

Do the current nations (in 2021) also each have their own angel, like the 70 nations mentioned in the Torah?
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Is the following Trinitarian conceptual understanding of the deity polytheistic according to Jewish theology? [closed]

My previous question on this topic was closed because it required knowledge of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. To avoid that problem, I am proposing a particular formal definition of the ...
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Why is the Trinity considered polytheistic in traditional Jewish thought? [closed]

I've read a couple questions on this site and other Jewish sources stating the traditional Jewish view is the Christian concept of the Trinity is polytheistic. However, I haven't found any questions ...
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Looking for sources that explain why monotheism is true (as opposed to paganism) and how to attain that knowledge

Shalom. I am looking for sources (a list if possible) that explain why monotheism, as opposed to paganism, is true. I would also like to know how to attain that knowledge. I am aware that Chovos ...
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Source of Ramban's opinion regarding the Shekinah

Where did the Ramban express his view that the Shekinah was God? I came across this here. In the footnotes it states that he expressed this view in his commentary on Genesis 46:1, but upon ...
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Looking for rabbinic exponents of cataphatic theology

Shalom. It is well-known that the Rambam and the Kabbalists espouse an ‘apophatic’ understanding of G-d, in which Hashem is understood negatively, as not-this and not-that. Could someone point me to ...
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Was the concept of Godhead (one God in multiple persons) known to Judaism before the advent of Christianity?

Was the concept of Godhead (one God, but multiple persons) known to Judaism prior to the advent of Christianity? Were there Jews that held a Binitarian, Trinitarian or similar "Godhead" ...
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Creation and God

What was the purpose of creation? Why did god have the WILL to create a universe? Why create timelines and stories and create a religion? Why not just sit back and party with your angels? Or better ...
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Why does Rambam give such extensive treatment to the theories of the Mutakallemin

In Chapter LXII of Moreh Nevuchim, Rambam presents a convincing argument as to the fallacy inherent in the machinations of the Mutakallemin theology, in particular, the proof of the existence of God. ...
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Are we required to defend the omniscience of Hashem? [closed]

Commenting on Bereishit 6:6, Rashi provides examples for defending the Omniscience of HaShem by stating: "The following extract from the Midrash Rabbah I am writing in order that you may know how ...
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Do prophecies have expiration date after which they would be deemed mistaken?

Reading some of the Haftoros from Ezekiel (8 or 23), I noticed that some of them had yet come to fulfillment, such as the total desolation of Egypt or Babylon. How should we treat those prophecies: ...
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Would God be equally happy if the sages canceled Shabbat or allowed some Arayot?

"...Years after, Rabbi Natan encountered Elijah the prophet and said to him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do at that time, when Rabbi Yehoshua issued his declaration? Elijah said to him: ...
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Ein sof and Havdalah

One of my favorite concepts (if one is allowed to have favorites) is ein sof (or ein od, or ein od milvado). A rosh yeshiva and mashpia once told me that when you say "echad" in the shema, ...
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How can the Almighty purify himself? [closed]

The Gemara discusses something of the following question: How can the Almighty purify himself, His Presence can never be contained in any body of water, so how can He ever properly emerge Himself?
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Does God love every Jew unconditionally?

If a Jew spent his entire life doing terrible sins, would God still love him? For example, does God love Jesus or Jews who have caused similarly terrible damage? Please provide sources.
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What was the reason for Job's original success and prosperity?

The book starts with the description of Job's piety and then his wealth and success: ... That man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born ...
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What practical powers do angels have?

In Jewish theology, what practical physical powers do angels have? How far can they intervene in our world while on a mission? Are those powers linked to the "name" they have for their ...
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How does God's bet with Satan square with monotheistic theology?

One day the divine beings presented themselves before the LORD, and [the] Satan came along with them. The LORD said to the Satan, “Where have you been?” ... -“I have been roaming all over the earth.” ....
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Why didn't God reveal to Job that He simply bet with Satan?

The book of Job focuses on theological and philosophical explanations of Job's (and other pious individuals') suffering. Eventually, God Himself talks to Job revealing that His thoughts and plans for ...
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Why does the Torah end before fulfilling the promise of entering the Promised land?

Most mundane facts are the most fascinating to question. The Torah ends with Moses dying in the wilderness and the Israelites still camping on the other bank of the Jordan River. This plot sounds ...
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How is it we often see people who are on a mission to do a mitzvah get harmed?

The gemara quotes Rabbi Elazar no less than six(6) times saying, "שְׁלוּחֵי מִצְוָה אֵינָן נִיזּוֹקִין -- those on a mission to do a mitzvah are not harmed." (Pesachim 8a, 8b (twice), ...
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Why isn't Heavenly judgement final and exhaustive and requires Earthy retribution?

Many Biblical and Rabbinic sources speak of the Earthy retribution - a person suffers (is justly punished) in this Earthy world because of the sins of previous generations. For example, "אֵל ...
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Why didn't God intervene in the story of Itzhak's blessings to Eisav?

We can see God intervening in numerous situations in the Book of Genesis, revealing His divine plans to our forefathers, saving them, and preventing them from falling into different traps. However, in ...
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Why would God need to introduce Himself when revealing to forefathers?

וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו ה' בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ ...׃ - That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. ...” Genesis.26.24 This is ...
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What is the interpretation of Judges 11:24?

In the book of Judges Jephthah, judge of Israel and leader of the Israelite army, tells the king of the Ammonites (chapter 11 verse 24): "Do you not hold what Chemosh your god (elohim) gives you ...
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Why is the name of mercy YHWH is mentioned exclusively in the story of Sodom?

The name YHWH is associated with mercy whereas the name Elokim is associated with justice (Refer to Rashi on Devarim 3:24 quoting the Sifrei here). I noticed that the name of YHWH is used exclusively ...
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how does one grow spiritually thus connecting to Hashem to become a better person and a better Yid?

I would like to be answered regarding the questions I have on spiritual growth. how does one grow? is it the internal or external factors that enable one to grow? is it possible only to rely on ...
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Did Rambam reflect on non-Jewish sources that shaped his views?

Many commentators and researchers point to the great influence that the Greek, Christian, and Islamic thinkers had on Rambam's theological, philosophical and scientific views, for example, in Hilchos ...
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How does Judaism solve the Euthyphro dilemma?

In short: Socrates asks whether God loves the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it is loved by God. How does Judaism solve this dilemma?
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