Questions tagged [theology]

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

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1answer
242 views

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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1answer
77 views

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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1answer
70 views

Does a soul develop over a lifetime?

@AvrohomYitzchok asked me this question to support the assertions for another question: "why-dont-newborns-speak-outright. In my understanding, in Judaism, a soul is a complete entity having only ...
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2answers
137 views

Why don't newborns speak, why do we need to learn a language?

In our dualistic approach, the soul is one that possesses the knowledge of a/the language (not clear to me if all souls speak Hebrew or just 70, like the angels or just any language) AFAIC, the soul ...
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3answers
73 views

Is “Understanding God half-way” a true understanding?

If I try to summarize answers to various theological questions, it goes like this: we understand that God is/acts/feels/desires X (good, just, etc) in the literal sense, or in this world, e.g. caring,...
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3answers
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Locality and directionality in the world of immaterial souls

IIRC, in all prophecies and Rabbinic stories about Heavens, all Heavenly entities are local (let alone embodied), they have a certain location, they are not "all-around" or everywhere, and ...
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3answers
150 views

Is a trinitarian-like view of God found in the Tanakh and held in Judaism? [closed]

Is a triune quality to God's nature, like the Trinity as espoused in Christianity, a foreign teaching as far as Judaism is concerned? Or is such a belief held (or have been historically held) by Jews?
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3answers
140 views

Can God do bad?

Man has free will. He can choose to do good or bad. Does God have free will? Can God choose to do bad things? If we say that god does only good, isn't that putting a limitation on him?
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What exactly is “prohibited magic” in Judaism?

It appears that "magic" in most "modern" "western" civilizations is prohibited. But societies like those in China or Latin America or Africa have mentions of all kinds of ...
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2answers
53 views

How to safely write a name of G-d in Hebrew?

I noticed that in English it is preferred by some to say G-d. What is the preferred way to write the/a name of G-d in Hebrew? For example, if you were to title a paper "G-d", how would you ...
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Does the fact that “Elohim” is plural indicate that parts of the Tanakh hearken from a pre-Jewish polytheistic culture?

(disclaimer, I am a gentile and don't know how to type in square script) My question applies to the whole Tanakh, but I'm specifically curious about Genesis. Translating strictly literally (ie, ...
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2answers
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Mercy and Strict Judgment are both mercy

In Parsha In Pink on Parshas Va'eschanan, the author cites a Ramchal that gives a beautiful insight into the Passuk of Shema Yisrael (Devarim 6:4). שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד YKVK represents ...
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2answers
235 views

Does Hashem judge on Shabbos?

I was just reading a Devar Torah which said "Hashem does not judge human beings on Shabbos." I feel like I've heard this before but I'm wondering if this is true. Does anyone know of a ...
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1answer
73 views

How can I understand the concept of Uncorporeality [closed]

Speaking of Corporality, one can describe it as a shape and as a consistence or a density. Rambam 3rd article of principles states: "The belief in G‑d's non-corporeality, nor that He will be ...
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1answer
189 views

By what standards does Judaism hold infants accountable for sin?

In Samuel 15:3 Samuel relays God's instruction to Saul of obliterating the nation of Amalek. Included in this instruction is also the command to slay infants and sucklings. Samuel 15:3 "Now, go, and ...
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49 views

Looking for a quote by Maimonides that expresses how God is beyond us

Does anyone know of a quote by Maimonides (Rambam) that expresses how God is way beyond us and how we are so distant from God?
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Is it compatible with the Torah to believe that HaShem is not omnipotent in an absolute sense? [duplicate]

I am an Italian Noahide. HaShem is also defined in the Torah as "Elohim" who in this case expresses, as Ramban teaches, the concept of "Master of all the forces" and "the Power over all the powers". ...
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2answers
102 views

Ralbag and G-D'S Knowledge

I have recently read some posts here commenting about Ralbag and the Book III of Milchamot Hashem in which the basic idea is that G-D'S Knowledge of man's future actions is limited by man's free will. ...
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4answers
190 views

Animal Suffering and The Cruelty of Nature

Whilst the world's ecosystem and natural phenomena are magnificently complex and awe-inspiring, it is undoubtedly a system that is brutal - 'red in tooth and claw'. The laws of nature we can observe ...
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0answers
73 views

Is there an analogy between the concept of “sefirot” and that of Hindu “devataas”? [closed]

I am an Italian noahide. I recently discovered that relevant rabbinic authorities have changed the traditional orientation of the Jewish position towards the Hindu faith, considered in the past to ...
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2answers
127 views

Contradiction in Maimonides?

Maimonides felt that G-d is transcendent, that G-d has no body and is one, though we cannot attribute any description to G-d. At best, we can say what G-d is not. Thus it is impossible to describe G-d ...
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4answers
248 views

Does God owe us anything?

This is a question I've been wondering about for a few years. I've not been having an easy time in life, and that's why I have started asking this question. I'm sort of waiting for a "salvation", but ...
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110 views

9 year old Daughter Asked Me About god

My 9 year old learned in Sunday School about how we don't pray to idols but couldn't quite understand how god was any different. I wasn't sure how to approach the topic because I didn't know what they ...
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2answers
128 views

Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?

Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?
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4answers
196 views

Why do we need to daven out loud if G-D can hear our thoughts?

We know that G-D is all knowing, and all powerful. Therefore, when we pray, why does it have to be out loud? There are some brachos that you are not even יוצא if you say it quietly! Then why do we ...
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1answer
76 views

Is there a Modern day example of someone Sacrificing their Life to Sanctify HaShem's name?

Are there any recent (post holocaust) stories of a Jew who chose to sacrifice his life in order to be meKadesh HaShem? Are there any modern day Jewish martyrs (not including the many Jews who were ...
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55 views

Hashem's Ontology and the Sefirot

My question is, Hashem ontologically speaking, His Being, is a singular, yichud in all respects. So does this conception stop at Ein Sof, or even before Ein Sof? And once the ohr proceeds forth from ...
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1answer
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Was R' Yishmael aware that his blessing was Hashem's prayer?

Berachos 7a: אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יוֹסֵי: מִנַּיִן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִתְפַּלֵּל? ... מַאי מְצַלֵּי? אָמַר רַב זוּטְרָא בַּר טוֹבִיָּה, אָמַר רַב: ״יְהִי רָצוֹן ...
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4answers
174 views

What is the soul and why is my conviction so weak? [closed]

Coming from a scientific materialist past, I have always had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of G-D and the Soul (נשמה ,רוח ,נפש). Due to some personal experiences, I have come to ...
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123 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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2answers
167 views

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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1answer
185 views

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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0answers
74 views

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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2answers
92 views

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
62 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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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 ...
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48 views

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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40 views

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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1answer
76 views

What was G-d's plan in having 20 wicked generations before Abraham?

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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71 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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1answer
88 views

Does the plain text of the Torah support the view that “It would have been preferable had man not been created”?

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים וּמֶחֱצָה נֶחְלְקוּ בֵּית שַׁמַּאי וּבֵית הִלֵּל. הַלָּלוּ אוֹמְרִים: נוֹחַ לוֹ לְאָדָם שֶׁלֹּא נִבְרָא יוֹתֵר מִשֶּׁנִּבְרָא, וְהַלָּלוּ אוֹמְרִים: נוֹחַ לוֹ לְאָדָם ...
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1answer
129 views

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
116 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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2answers
103 views

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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1answer
57 views

Theological importance of the Noah's flood story in the Torah [closed]

I"m trying to contemplate the place of the flood story in the Torah. The story of the flood spans roughly three chapters of the Torah, seemingly implying its importance, yet: it has no Halachic ...
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1answer
41 views

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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52 views

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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26 views

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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