Questions tagged [theology]

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

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11
votes
9answers
1k views

Was Kriyas Yam Suf difficult?

The gemora in Pesachim 118a says "קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף", and there is a similar expression in Sota 2a and Sanhedrin 22a "קשה לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף". What exactly was difficult about ...
11
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6answers
452 views

God's Pair of Teffilin

How is it that when Moshe turns his head not to see God's face, he sees He's got on teffilin? I thought God had no physical form.
2
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2answers
72 views

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, ...
8
votes
1answer
212 views

Does one have to listen to an angel?

Does one now (or ever in the past) have to listen to the instructions of an angel? If so, would that include listening if the angel told you to violate a Torah commandment (either temporarily or ...
1
vote
1answer
61 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 ...
0
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1answer
71 views

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?
1
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2answers
150 views

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.
-1
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4answers
142 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 ...
3
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2answers
162 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 ...
3
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4answers
193 views

How can G-d without form produce sound (voice)?

How can a G-d without form produce sound (voice)? For instance, G-d spoke at Mount Sinai to millions of Jews.
2
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1answer
58 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
47 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
126 views

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.” ....
0
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0answers
30 views

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 ...
1
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0answers
39 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
89 views

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), ...
2
votes
2answers
69 views

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 ...
2
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4answers
202 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
687 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 ...
-1
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2answers
91 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
345 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
75 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
92 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 ...
0
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0answers
23 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
111 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 ...
0
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0answers
12 views

“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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
123 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?
0
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3answers
81 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,...
-3
votes
2answers
150 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
270 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
182 views

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 "...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

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; ...
-6
votes
1answer
106 views

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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
163 views

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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
86 views

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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
81 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
47 views

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 ...
-6
votes
3answers
161 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?
14
votes
4answers
3k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
820 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
144 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?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

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, ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
57 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
111 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

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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