Questions tagged [theology]

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

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49 views

Is Satan seen as a “god”? [duplicate]

This question, history - Is there sufficient evidence to support the theory that ancient Israel practiced monolatry? - Mi Yodeya, and several duplicate questions, ask whether Judaism involves ...
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1answer
51 views

Source for Ralbag on G-d's knowledge

Does the Ralbag ever say that G-d does not know the future? I am aware that Ralbag writes that G-d only knows the generality of things but not the particular. Abraham ibn Ezra is of the same opinion. ...
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How can G-d’s attribute of infinity be squared with the finitude of His self-revelation?

I was wondering what the Jewish tradition teaches about the implications of the belief in the infinity of G-d. Whilst it obvious to me that a human being cannot relate to the infinite, it also seems ...
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Transgender identity and judaism [closed]

Why Hachem create transgender people? Did Hachem make some mistakes? Is there a purpos behind it? What is it the opinion of the rabbis from the different Jewish religious movements? Is it considered ...
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Does G-d's overt presence invalidate one's free choice?

It is frequently claimed that the reason for the current Haster Panim (lack of G-d's overt presence in the physical world) is that it is necessary for our free choice. In other words, if G-d's ...
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How does Rambam see the influence of our personal prayers on unchangeable G-d? [duplicate]

Rambam in Yesodot Hatora (1.11) describes a transcendent G-d that knows no change: He is not found within time, so that He would possess a beginning, an end, or age. He does not change, for there ...
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1answer
55 views

Is it permitted to think about God / Hashem in the bathroom?

One may not learn Torah in the bathroom, even if the thoughts are not verbally expressed. That made me wonder if it is permitted to think about God. My definition of "thinking about God" would be ...
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44 views

What's the purpose of the body in/after resurrection?

Following "what-is-the-purpose-of-tchiat-hametim", the Gemmorah says: העולם הבא אין בו לא אכילה ולא שתיה ולא פריה ורביה ולא משא ומתן ולא קנאה ולא שנאה ולא תחרות אלא צדיקים יושבין ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ...
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Why doesn't Dor Hamabul deserve the World to Come?

The Mishna (Sanhedrin 10) states that Dor Hamabul do not have a part in the world to come: דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵין עוֹמְדִין בַּדִּין The generation of the flood ...
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What made G-d change His opinion about Humans and how is it possible?

וַיָּ֣רַח ה' אֶת־רֵ֣יחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר ה' אֶל־לִבּ֗וֹ לֹֽא־אֹ֠סִף לְקַלֵּ֨ל ע֤וֹד אֶת־הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּעֲב֣וּר הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֠י יֵ֣צֶר לֵ֧ב הָאָדָ֛ם רַ֖ע מִנְּעֻרָ֑יו וְלֹֽא־אֹסִ֥ף ע֛וֹד ...
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How did Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel arrive at the conclusion that it would have been preferable had man not been created?

תנו רבנן: שתי שנים ומחצה נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל, הללו אומרים: נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא, והללו אומרים: נוח לו לאדם שנברא יותר משלא נברא. נמנו וגמרו: נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא, עכשיו ...
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What was G-d's plan in having 20 generations before Abraham appears?

I'm trying to understand G-d's plan for creating wicked and sinful humans, waiting for 1600 years/10 generations for them to sin, wiping them out completely, then waiting for another 400 years for the ...
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67 views

What does “the tree of life” mean when G-d decides on life solely?

My question is maybe an elaboration on this question "How does the tree of life work?: The Gemmorah says that G-d decides exclusively on a person’s lifespan. But the Torah says that G-d Himself is ...
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1answer
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Were G-d's expectations for Dor Hamabul realistic?

Undoubtfully the all-loving G-d was a bit harsh on punishing the whole generation of Noah (probably millions?) by drowning them (and all the animals - what did they do?) in boiling water (He could ...
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Reverse Pascal's wager in the plain Torah

I'm trying to understand the simple "game theory" of the plain text of the Tora. I don't deal with the idea of afterlife/World to Come as it does not appear in the scriptures (maybe remotely hinted). ...
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Why does נהמא דכיסופא make sense at all between lovers? [duplicate]

This preliminary question asks about what N"D is. The נהמא דכיסופא is a possible explanation for why should we suffer in this world to receive the reward in the afterworld. I tried to verify that: ...
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3answers
103 views

Why Adam wasn’t explicitly commanded to pass his knowledge on to others?

I'm still trying to grasp the way of transmission of the Torah knowledge from day 1. This question can equally deal with two phenomena: the commandment of eating the forbidden fruit or the commandment ...
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What does it mean to bless anything?

In the first chapter of the Torah G-d Himself blesses various things: people, animals, days. What does it mean for G-d to bless anything after creating it?
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Theological importance of the Noah's flood

The story of the flood spans roughly three chapters of the Torah, yet it has no practical Halachic value. It describes numerous miraculous events that have no relation to the Jewish people and ...
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What does it mean that G-d calls names to things?

In the process of Creation G-d eventually calls names of different things: וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה ...׃ God called the light Day, and the darkness He called ...
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Why should G-d correct His Creation as He goes?

THe Torah and the commentaries clearly suggest in several places that G-d corrected His Creation while still in the process: וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאוֹר כִּי־טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים בֵּין הָאוֹר ...
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Why should G-d look at the parts of His creation?

THis part of the story of the Creation seriously puzzles me: G-d looking at His creation and checking/judging/evaluating it. Examples: וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאוֹר כִּי־טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים ...
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101 views

Bodily or spiritual resurrection?

When, exactly, do we transition from physical, bodily resurrection after death, to a purely spiritual existence, with no body? On the one hand, we are taught the following order of events: The ...
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Does God need us?

Does God need us? In Nitzavim, God says: This commandment [in the singular], that I command you today, is not hidden from you and is not distant. [Deut. 30:11] The Midrash explains: What [...
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Why does G-d carry out all the curses by Himself?

In Parashat Ki Tavo (28:15-on) Moses threatens the Nation with very descriptive curses. It starts from a distance: 'וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ׃ אָרוּר אַתָּה וכו One ...
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Sinning and G-d's will, what's wrong with this logic?

Nothing happens against Hashem's will. Ergo, when one sins, that's also Hashem's will. Yet we know that Hashem wants us not to sin, so it's against His will. Contradiction?
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193 views

Hashem in a Tallit

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah 17b says: ויעבור ה' על פניו ויקרא א"ר יוחנן אלמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו מלמד שנתעטף הקב"ה כשליח צבור והראה לו למשה סדר תפלה אמר לו כל זמן שישראל חוטאין יעשו לפני ...
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Ein Sof - Name or describes the Atzmuth?

I have read conflicting views on whether Ein Sof (אין סוף) is a name of G-d, like for instance Havaya, or it describes, so to say, the Atzmuth. For the Gra and the Ram'hal, it seems that Ein Sof is a ...
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702 views

Does Yeshayahu 43:10b / 43:13a imply HaShem was created?

I cannot read Hebrew and am struggling a great deal to understand Yeshayahu 43:10/43:13. In my English versions, these verse-parts seem very much to suggest that HaShem was Himself ‘formed’ at some ...
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1answer
56 views

Metaphorically speaking who is closer: humans to ants or humans to G-d?

Following my theological quest on the differences between the Maimonedian and Zoharian approach to G-d's anthropomorphism, how would both schools see this question: intellectually and spiritually, ...
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61 views

How do we understand G-d's attribute of “wisdom”?

In various places in tefillah, we speak of G-d as having or using his "wisdom" (E.g. in Asher Yatzar and in the Hame'ir La'aretz of Shacharit.) To understand G-d, we try to attribute human-like ...
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2answers
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Do Reform Jews believe in a theistic God?

By "theistic God", I mean a God who is omnipotent and omnibenevolent and expressed himself through the Tanakh, or at least as powerful as say, Apollo was believed to be in ancient Greek religion. ...
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144 views

Why did G-d create the Earth spherical?

I hope nobody questions the fact of the spherical Earth. Just as spherical as all other celestial bodies. Many argued whether we knew this fact or not, but I don't recall that those who claim we ...
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What is a summary of basic Jewish metaphysics or theology?

Whilst wishing no disrespect to any religion, various "basic concepts" are easily found summarised or explained in introductory texts or online. For example: Buddhist metaphysics would have to do ...
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4answers
111 views

If it is not mentioned in the Torah as a miracle - can it be interpreted as one?

Many events in the Torah were explicit miracles - meaning that G-d's super-natural intervention was mentioned, e.g. Sarah giving birth at 100 or splitting the sea or Mannah. For many other events, no ...
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Does G-d have expiration on His tolerance?

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עַד־אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְעַד־אָנָה לֹא־יַאֲמִינוּ בִי בְּכֹל הָאֹתוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃ And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people ...
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Range of G-d's educational methods in the Torah

It is a positive Mitzvah to "emulate G-d's ways" (Rambam Deot, 1). To be a better father to my kids, I'm trying to see what educational methods does G-d exercise in the Torah to His sons when they ...
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3answers
152 views

Metaphorical understanding of the term “אבינו מלכנו”

To continue my quest for understanding Rambam's view on the metaphorical interpretations of Torah passages (Yesodey Hatora 1-2): ...הרי מפורש בתורה ובנביאים שאין הקב"ה גוף וגוייה ...אם כן מהו ...
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Why don't Rabbis endorse technological progress?

I started off thinking about technological advancements that Judaism handed to humanity throughout millennia. I couldn't find one many. Sorry for formulating it as a fact, but I feel it is ...
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3answers
127 views

Can Rabbis decide whether non-Jews are getting a piece of the Next World?

I remember asking about the limitations of the Rabbinical rulings, based on "לא בשמים היא" within Judaism. After other questions dealt with deciding whether Gentiles in general or any specific group (...
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1answer
133 views

Does G-d's closeness necessitate anthropomorphism?

A big part of our Jewish theology and philosophy is based on our desire to be closer to G-d (hope it's accepted unanimously). All of our analogies are built around the personification of G-d, whether ...
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2answers
121 views

What observable phenomena show that we live in the pre-Messianic era?

There's no doubt that we live in a very special era of fast and huge technological, social, scientific, economic, psychological and other changes. The world is also getting closer to the 6000 year bar,...
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144 views

What constrains Judaism from developing into violent fanaticism?

When we discuss the religious that spun off Judaism, we attribute their malicious and unanimously condemned artifacts like Crusades and Jihad to the fact that they "altered the sacred tradition" or ...
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1answer
112 views

How a prophet translates a vision into words?

According to Rambam (Yesodey Hatorah 7,2), a prophet sees a vision of prophecy, not receiving a clear verbal message: וכולן אין רואין מראה הנבואה ... ...אלא בחלום בחזיון לילה או ביום אחר שתפול ...
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31 views

History and prophecy in Na"ch

I can roughly divide the text of the Torah into two categories - historical facts and prophecies. But, traditionally, they were all dictated by G-d to Moses. The books of prophets retain a similar ...
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32 views

Level of exactness of Na'"ch

Torah was dictated by G-d to Moses and is exact by letter. Mishnah and Gemmorah (and all subsequent books) are man-made and written loosely (at least not letter-exact - see תנא ושייר and more). The ...
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97 views

The purpose and the permission to write Na"ch?

Torah (the 5 books) is [considered] G-d dictated, holistic and include all the necessary knowledge. It is allowed to be passed in the written form. The detailed interpretations were given orally and ...
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2answers
185 views

What does the Canonization of Tanach mean?

Following "did-the-men-of-the-great-assembly-canonize-tanach" (please read for all the related sources): To recap: before the canonization there were many man-made books, incl. Meggilot, Nevi'im, ...
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1answer
90 views

How G-d can be distinguished from AI?

One day, after the Moshiach comes, the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of G-d". On the other hand, technologically, one day the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of AI". I'm trying to prepare ...
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47 views

Were Jews always Monotheistic? [duplicate]

I was watching a debate where a Mormon claimed to a Christian that early Jews believed that other gods existed besides YHWH, but they only had a covenant with a single god (YHWH). He never got a ...