Questions tagged [theology]

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

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53
votes
12answers
5k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
36
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13answers
3k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
30
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12answers
6k views

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 ...
25
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4answers
3k views

How does one explain God to little kids?

As I understand it, the ability to understand abstract concepts develops gradually in kids and is certainly not all there when they first start having conversations. This comes into play when kids ...
23
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7answers
2k views

How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes?

How does Judaism deal with paradoxes relating to the omnipotence of God? For example: Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift?
23
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1answer
659 views

Can a Noachide continue to believe in religious tenets that are against the Torah?

Say you have a Christian* or a Muslim (or a member of any other monotheistic religion) who accepts the Seven Noachide Laws, and (as per Mishneh Torah, Hil. Melachim 8:11) does so because he believes ...
21
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4answers
3k views

What is the machlokes between the Gra and Ba'al HaTanya?

What is the famous argument between the Vilna Gaon and the Ba'al HaTanya in understanding the Sod HaTzimtzum? And what are some ma'areh mekomos in their works where this Machlokes is seen?
20
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6answers
12k views

Have Jews believed that Ezra was the son of God?

In reading the Qur'an, I noticed this passage: Qur'an 9:30 The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Why isn't the Kabbalistic doctrine of Sefirot considered Shittuf if the Christian Trinity is?

From the answers to this question it seems that most if not all Jewish sources treat Trinitarian Christianity (in particular, their doctrine of the Trinity) as either Shittuf or outright Avoda Zara, ...
19
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2answers
12k views

Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Garden of Eden was Satan?

Upon reading the recent CNN article, That Actually Isn't In The Bible, one not-really-in-the-Bible misconception they cite is the idea that serpent in the Garden of Eden was the Satan. The article ...
19
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1answer
397 views

When did usage of “Hashem” to refer to G-d gain traction?

It seems as though virtually all seforim (especially those written by Acharonim and earlier) refer to G-d as either Hakodosh Boruch Hu or Ribono Shel Olom, and never as "Hashem." Similarly, I don't ...
16
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6answers
880 views

Hashem studies Torah?

The Gemara in Avodah Zarah 3b lays out the 12-hour schedule of Hashem's day. I realize that any kind of description of Hashem in human terms is allegorical as Hashem is not a human bounded by time and ...
15
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12answers
1k views

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 ...
14
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8answers
4k views

Does God love non-Jews?

I've read the topic of whether or not God discriminates between Jews and non-Jews, but does God love non-Jews? Does it say anywhere that He does love non-Jews. I don't believe that God hates non-Jews ...
14
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11answers
940 views

Reconciling the evidence for the Uncertainty Principle with belief in an omniscient G-d

One of the foundations of modern quantum mechanics is the Uncertainty Principle. This principle is not an assumption, but rather is derived from assumptions made with regard to the structure of nature....
14
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7answers
603 views

Why did Yonah run away?

If Yonah understood that he was being commanded by God, then how could he have possibly thought that he could run away? Did he believe that God was tied to a particular land, the way pagan gods were ...
14
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2answers
539 views

Do people have an effect on the mood of God?

If a person commits idolatry or fornication he is sinful. Not only that, but the curse of Hashem is with that person. On the other hand, if a person does a lot of mitswots (commandments) and believes ...
14
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3answers
314 views

Yearning for Moshiach while the Temples stood

Did we (the Jewish people) yearn for the complete Redemption (with the Techias HaMasim, etc) like we do today, at the time the either Temple was standing? It can't be that we just assumed "This is it"...
14
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1answer
217 views

Is God swayed by popular appeal?

When we pray for someone to be healed, we pray this individually in the Amidah but we also often have a community misheberach list. I assume that there is a theological reason for the public prayer, ...
13
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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 ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Native American Traditions and Mass Revelations

In Deuteronomy(4:32-34), two points are made in reassuring Israel that God has not abandoned them. The reader is tasked with searching from one end of the heavens to the other to see if a God ever ...
13
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8answers
768 views

Why is God so hidden from us

Why did God institute a natural order so that His presence would be hidden. I know so many people who are hopelessly convinced of the scientists' belief that the world is basically a machine running ...
12
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2answers
1k views

What should our response be to ancient scripts that mirror the Torah?

There are quite a number of ancient documents that have been found that (supposedly) predate the Torah, and yet they share many lines practically verbatim. If the Torah is truly divine, how could this ...
12
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6answers
732 views

What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
11
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8answers
912 views

Sources for Hashem being corporeal/incorporeal?

I heard of a discussion over Peseach about whether Hashem is corporeal. Which classical Jewish sources (Talmud/Achronim/Rishonim) offer definitive opinions about this? (Please cite references!) I ...
11
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5answers
809 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
11
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5answers
251 views

Reconciling “פותח את ידך” and knowing people are starving?

Tehillim 145:16 (Sefaria's translation): פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת־יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל־חַי רָצוֹן׃ You give it (the food mentioned in the previous pasuk) openhandedly, feeding every creature to its ...
11
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6answers
823 views

If Hashem doesn't change, how does prayer work?

If Hashem is perfect and unchanging, how can we pray to Him to have mercy on us? Doesn't that imply a change? I've heard it implied that the way this works is that the prayer itself has the effect ...
11
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3answers
16k views

What does “Baruch shem k'vod malchuso l'olam vaed” mean?

A sentence commonly said during prayer is "בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד". How do we interpret it? What does it mean? It sounds like it means: Blessed is/be the name of the glory/...
11
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1answer
112 views

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 ...
10
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4answers
428 views

What happened to Avraham's students?

We read how Avraham was going around convincing people to believe in one G-d and of his many students. Yet we don't hear of those students (or their descendants) ever again. What happened to them ...
10
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6answers
413 views

God's Pair of Teffilin

How 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.
10
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1answer
2k views

Is calling The LORD as “Father” common during Jesus time?

Most of the time I hear from some Christian friends that the "Father" name for to The LORD was founded by Jesus. Because I find it odd (if Jesus was the first person to start calling The LORD "...
10
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3answers
352 views

How do scientists such as Natan Aviezer and Gerald Schroeder understand the fourth day of creation?

If I understand correctly, scientists such as Natan Aviezer and Gerald Schroeder have readings of Genesis Chapter 1 that fit with the current scientific understanding of how the universe/planet/life ...
10
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3answers
2k views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
10
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8answers
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 ...
10
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2answers
381 views

What is the proof that HaShem's purpose in creation was to bestow good?

Rabbi M Ch Luzzatto in Derech HaShem (1:2:1) gives HaShem’s purpose in creation to “bestow of His good to another”. (Translation Aryeh Kaplan.) The translator in his notes gives several sources/...
10
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2answers
623 views

“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
10
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5answers
360 views

Onkelos, Anthropomorphism, and The Exodus

Onkelos the Convert is said by the Talmud to be the author of the official aramaic translation of the Pentateuch. Rashi and Maimonides understand Onkelos as having a tendency to interpret physical ...
10
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8answers
721 views

Why is being religious a duty if God chose to not have a proof to his existence in this world?

According to the answers to the question "How do we know that God exists" it seems some (if not most) Jews on this site believe there is no way to verify whether or not God even exists. If this view ...
9
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6answers
465 views

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-...
9
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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5answers
708 views

Hashem is here and there and everywhere?

Is Hashem really in front of us, behind us, next to us, etc?
9
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4answers
328 views

Does HaShem need rest?

Why did HaShem create Shabbos? He doesn't need rest!
9
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3answers
190 views

Why is Sabbath so important?

In Isaiah 58:13-14 we read: “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Is there any difference between Jewish G-d and Muslim G-d? [closed]

Do Jews and Muslims worship the same G-d? If so, do they understand G-d the same way? As a related point, is there any linguistic or theological connection between "Allah" and "Eloha" (or "Elohim")? ...
9
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4answers
326 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 ...
8
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7answers
2k views

Why is the Bible not a work of theology?

The Bible contains stories, and poetry, and history, and myth, and rules, and a few other bits and pieces. What it does not contain is theology, per se. Nowhere in the Bible does anyone attempt to ...
8
votes
3answers
806 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 ...
8
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4answers
705 views

Source of Ramban's famous debate

Where can one find the 'disputation of Barcelona' between Pablo Cristiani and the Ramban?

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