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
61 views

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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Rambam on the relationship between oneness and incorporeality

One of Rambam's arguments for the existence of only one G-d is that the existence of multiple gods by definition implies some form of corporeality. Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 1:7 אלוה זה אחד הוא ואינו ...
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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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71 views

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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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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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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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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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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“sweep away the innocent along with the guilty” vs “once permission is given, he makes no distinction between righteous and wicked”?

וַיִּגַּ֥שׁ אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַאַ֣ף תִּסְפֶּ֔ה צַדִּ֖יק עִם־רָשָֽׁע׃ Abraham came forward and said, “Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty? Genesis.18.23 The negotiation ...
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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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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Why is G-d mentioned in the feminine sometimes?

In one part of the Birkat Hamazon we say "veal hakol... anu modim lach umevarchim otach". This is only one small example, and there are many others, but why is God being adressed in the feminine "...
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How can something contain the Presence of the Almighty?

How could a building like the Mishkan or the Beit HaMikdash, or a natural phenomenom like a cloud (at Har Sinai) contain the Presence of the Almighty (Ubiquitious, the infinite volume; omnipotent; ...
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How the experience of G-d can be distinguished from experiencing AI? [closed]

This is a thought experiment aimed to aid me to prepare for the Messianic times: We know, that the European colonizers of America were seen by the natives as "sons of gods" because of the ...
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What constrains Judaism from developing into violent fanaticism?

When we discuss the religions that spun off Judaism, we attribute their vicious behavior like Crusades and Jihad to the fact that they "altered the sacred tradition", misunderstood or ...
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Range of G-d's educational ways in dealing with disobedience

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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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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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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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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1answer
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What גילוי פנים (G-d's closeness) looks like unlike הסתר פנים?

Besides some formal signs of "גילוי פנים" like the Temple or the prophecy that Am Israel enjoyed for about 1000 years from Matan Torah to the destruction of the first Temple. What are some general, ...
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50 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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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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Is there sufficient evidence to support the theory that ancient Israel practiced monolatry?

I just came across this Wikipedia article on monolatrism that says some people believe ancient Israel practiced monolatry. The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a ...
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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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808 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
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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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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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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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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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Hashem's infinite power

I've heard many times that Hashem is infinitely powerful. But how do we know this? Perhaps he's just very powerful or even all powerful (possessing all power there is, which is possibly finite). Is ...
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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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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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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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Do we really have free choice?

I was told Hashem created us with free will; so we can make a choice to do good or evil, right? Well, Hashem knows what we are going to do in 10 minutes. So do we really have free will? Hashem can see ...
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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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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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What should a chazan do if he has theological problems with the congregation's text?

There are several places in the selichot where there are controversial phrases, e.g. addressing prayer to angels not G-d. I'm not asking for opinions on this, but I've heard some people just skip ...
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1answer
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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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How can we be sure that Judaism is true/the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
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Rashi and Corporealism

Shemos 7:4- וְלֹא-יִשְׁמַע אֲלֵכֶם פַּרְעֹה, וְנָתַתִּי אֶת-יָדִי בְּמִצְרָיִם; וְהוֹצֵאתִי אֶת-צִבְאֹתַי אֶת-עַמִּי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, בִּשְׁפָטִים, גְּדֹלִים There, Rashi comments-...
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How can G-d regret anything?

Does G-d regret making or creating something? Of course not! I've always believed this question to be silly and somewhat inappropriate, knowing that G-d is perfect, knows everything, has infinite ...
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595 views

G-d doesn't have emotions? Why?

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 ...
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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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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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2answers
104 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
194 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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